The Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo or Matopos Hills, an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 35 kilometres south of Bulawayo, southern Zimbabwe. The hills were formed over 2 billion years ago with granite being forced to the surface, this has eroded to produce smooth “whaleback dwalas” and broken kopjes, strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation.Mzilikazi, founder of the Ndebele nation, gave the area its name, meaning ‘Bald Heads’.
Administratively, Matobo National Park incorporates the Lake Matopos Recreational Park, being the area around Hazelside, Sandy Spruit and Lake Matopos.
The Matobo Hills is an area of high botanic diversity, with over 200 species of tree recorded in the national park, including the mountain acacia, wild pear and the paperbark tree. There are also many aloes, wild herbs and over 100 grass species.
Matobo National Park has a wide diversity of fauna: 175 bird, 88 mammal, 39 snake and 16 fish species. Game include white Rhinoceros, sable antelope, impala and leopard. The park contains the world’s densest population of the latter, due to the abundance of hyrax, which make up 50% of their diet. The game park in the west has been restocked with white and black rhinos, the former from Kwa-Zulu Natal in the 1960s and the latter from the Zambezi Valley in the 1990s. It has been designated as an Intensive Protection Zone for the two species, as well as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and ostrich.
Matobo National Park contains the highest concentration of black eagles, and breeding pairs of these birds, worldwide.