Is Zimbabwe Safe for Tourists? A Look at Matobo National Park

Matobo hills


Matobo National Parkis a UNESCO World Heritage Site found in the southwest area of Zimbabwe, around 35 kilometers south of Bulawayo. The Hills cover an area of about 3100 square kilometers and the Matobo National Park itself covers an area of around 424 square kilometers.

The attraction is the amazing landscape – giant boulders, some the size of houses are strewn about like a giant’s playground, many of which are perched on top of each other. The granite formations are among the most spectacular scenes on earth, and well worth a visit.

Wildlife in Matobo National Park

Although a lot of wildlife in Zimbabwe has disappeared in the last three decades, Matobo is still home to a large bird population, including many species of eagles and other birds.

White and black rhinos roam the park and leopards are around, although leopards are always difficult to spot, being nocturnal and very shy!

leopard zimbabwe

Accommodation Matobo National Park

Zimbabwe is generally in decline, unfortunately. The Matobo National Park campsite and lodge is no exception, being run down and semi-abandoned. However, don’t let this put you off. Come with a well equipped 4 x 4 vehicle that can easily be rented south of the border in South Africa and make sure it has a good rooftop tent and a fridge so that you can enjoy a cold beer or gin and tonic as the sun goes down.

For those who like off-the-beaten-track adventures in Africa, the solitude is actually quite welcome as the place is certainly not over-run with tourists. Most tourists visit Victoria Falls and perhaps the Great Zimbabwe ruins, and that’s about it.

An alternative option is to go to a nearby lodge, such as Big Cave Camp.

Cost of Accomodation in Matobo National Park

Camping: Expect to pay around $15 per person for camping in Matobo at Big Cave Camp. The campsites are nicely situated, and according to reviews, well cared for with clean ablutions and hot showers. Staff are friendly and will come and light fires for you at night.

The lodge at Big Cave Camp offers chalet accommodation at a cost of $160 per person for dinner, bed and breakfast. Full board (dinner, bed, breakfast and lunch) is $180 and all inclusive (all meals, local drinks and activities) is $320.

Is Zimbabwe a safe country to visit?

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president for 37 years, formally handed in his resignation at the age of 93 on November 21, 2017. Although Zimbabweans are very happy with the regime change, a lot of political and governmental restructuring needs to take place. Zimbabwe has been a shambles for a long time, and the future is uncertain. What does this mean for tourists to Zimbabwe? Is it safe to travel to Zim?

Zimbabwe’s people are generally very friendly and peace-loving and this is what has kept the country from descending into civil war or uprisings against the government over the years. While change is taking place, life continues as normal and so far it is safe to travel to these parts. To be on the safe side, check with your embassy before traveling to Zimbabwe.

Although it is true that Zimbabwe’s beauty and bounty has been overshadowed by the run-down state of the country, often marked by crumbling infrastructure and so on, the country as a whole is still worth visiting and as has been mentioned, the local people are generally helpful and peaceful.

Yes, it does mean perhaps putting up with corrupt police office or two who will try and find something wrong with your vehicle and a few other inconveniences, but approach these challenges as part of the adventure and you will still have a great time. Make sure that all your car papers, insurance and passport are in order, smile and be friendly and you will be fine. The country is still well worth visiting.


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