Matusadona

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Matusadona Park Overview

Matusadona National Park is situated on the shores of Lake Kariba but was proclaimed a non-hunting area on 7 November 1958 before the dam was built.

It became a Game Reserve in 1963, and in 1975, in terms of the Parks & Wildlife Act, it became a National Park. The Park comprises some 1 400 square kilometers of diverse flora and fauna. Before the lake was built, Matusadonha was a vast, rugged wilderness with limited access.
With the lake came ecological changes. One in particular, the lakeshore contributed greatly to the increase of large mammal populations in the area, especially elephant and buffalo. The grass found on the shoreline is Panicum repens and is a rejuvenative grass – needing only fluctuating lake levels to replenish its nutrients. With this ready food source, buffalo, waterbuck, zebra, and even impala have thrived and with them the predators. Matusadonha is an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) and home to several relocated rhinoceros.

 

Featured Attractions

The Environs of Matusadona

The southern boundary of the Park is the Omay communal land and the northern boundary is the lakeshore. The eastern side of Sanyati Gorge and the middle of the Ume River provide the east and west boundaries respectively.

 

 

 

Flora and Fauna

Matusadonha has three distinct ecological areas. First is the lake and shoreline grassland; second, the Zambezi Valley floor, a mass of thick jesse and mopane woodland, and; third, the Escarpment area of Julbernadia and Brachystegia woodlands.
The Jesse/ Mopani area is sparsely grassed, but provides habitat for browsers, most notably the black rhino. Elephants range throughout the Park, seeking the shade of the Jesse in the heat of the day.

The Escarpment rises some 700 metres above the Valley floor and is extremely rugged. Over the years, elephant and fire depredations have caused the once substantial woodlands to dwindle, and in parts, grasslands have taken over.
It became necessary to take control measures to reduce the elephant population to a manageable size
. It also became necessary to carry out early burning programmes in the upper escarpment,
to prevent later, hot fires from raging through and causing serious damage to tree growth.
The effectiveness of the programmes can now be seen by the tremendous regrowth apparent in the Escarpment area.

Animal species that are found in abundance include elephant and buffalo. Other common species are those of: night ape, honey badger, civet, small spotted genet, slender mongoose, banded mongoose, spotted hyaena, wild cat, lion, leopard, yellow spotted dassie, black rhinoceros, zebra, warthog, common duiker, grysbok, klipspringer, waterbuck, bushbuck, scrub hare, porcupine, vervet monkey, chacma baboon, side-striped jackal, hippopotamus, roan antelope, kudu and bush squirrel. Some of the more elusive species include: clawless otter, white-tailed mongoose, reedbuck, sable antelope, eland, civet, rusty spotted genet, caracal and bush pig. Animals that are present but only sighted on rare occasions include wild dog, cheetah, roan and pangolin.

Facilities

Lodges & Campsites

Tashinga Camp

The Park has a camping site at Tashinga on the lake shore. There is an ablution block with hot and cold water, showers, toilets, wash basins and baths. Firewood and braai facilities are available. Some of the camping sites have sleeping shelters.

Sanyati Camp

There is a smaller camping site at Sanyati consisting of 6 sites, each with a braai stand. There is an ablution block with hot and cold water and laundry trough.

Changachirere Camp

Changachirere Camping Site is an exclusive camping site that caters for one party of a maximum of 10 persons. The facility has a mini-ablution block and shelter.

Undeveloped Bush Camps

There are also 2 totally undeveloped bush camping sites at Jenje and Kanjedza for up to a maximum of 10 persons per camp. Visitors must be fully equipped and have a four wheel drive vehicle for this section.

Exclusive Campsites

Ume

Situated close to Tashinga airstrip on the east bank of the Bumi River, 55 kilometres from Kariba by boat.

Muuyu

Situated at Elephant Point, 44 kilometres from Kariba by boat.

Mbalabala

Also situated on the Bumi River upstream around 300 metres beyond Ume Camp.

 Other exclusive camp sites can be found at Maronga close to the Chifudzi substation and Kautsiga sited on the escarpment which is ideal for hikers and climbers.

Accommodation

Park Fees

Amenities

The closest convenience shops are found in Kariba town, therefore, visitors are advised to thoroughly pack for the trip. Petrol, diesel and oil are sometimes available at Bumi Harbour but supplies are not always reliable.

How to get there

By Air

A small, 800 metre landing strip is available at Tashinga Camp and can take small aircraft. The strip is licensed Category II.

By Boat

Visitors can come in from Bumi Hills located14 kilometres from Tashinga, or 50 kilometres across the Lake from Kariba town.

By Road

Normally the Park is reached via Karoi, but it can also be accessed from Victoria Falls, via Binga. If traveling from Karoi, 8 kilometres north of Karoi on the Harare-Chirundu Road turn left through the Hurungwe communal land. 115 kilometres from Karoi you cross the Sanyati River. You continue on the Binga Road for a further 62 kilometres and then turn right and continue for 82 kilometrs to Tashinga which is the headquarters of the Park. Except for a short distance of narrow tar, when one leaves the Harare-Chirundu Road, the roads are either gravel or dirt. The last 82 kilometres are rough and not suitable for saloon and low clearance vehicles. It is advisable to enquire about the condition of the road before starting your journey. Game viewing roads are closed during the rainy season

Activities

  • Unbridled adventure in the extreme wild
  • Hiking and escarpment climbing
  • Game viewing along the lake shoreline from the safety of houseboats
  • Fishing in the rivers and inlets
  • Bird watching in the breathtaking Sanyati Gorge
  • Game drives
  • Boating and canoeing safaris

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Zimparks guns down hippo in Nyanyadzi

August 31, 2017August 31, 2017
Inset from Zimpapers. THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority last week shot dead a hippopotamus that was damaging winter wheat in Nyanyadzi. The hippo, which had a calf, is believed to have escaped from Save Conservancy. ZPWMA ordered the shooting of the hippos after traditional leaders in the area reported that it was damaging crops and endangering lives. ZPWMA officer, Mr John Danfa, said they were still hunting for the calf which is believed to have found habitat along Save River. “Usually hippos move up and down rivers during the rainy season. We believe the two escaped from Save Valley Conservancy. They were both females and they do not usually click if there is no male. “They are believed to have separated. We received reports from traditional leaders in Hot Springs and Nyanyadzi that these hippos were feeding on wheat and crops in their fields.” “People’s lives were endangered so the authorities ordered its killing. The first time we attempted to kill it, it was in the company of so many cattle and could not do anything. Our officer teamed up with villagers to track it until last week when it was shot down in Nyanyadzi”. The officer is said to have fired 12 shots before the hippo died. The meat was shared by villagers. One of the villagers in Dirikwe village, Mr Tapiwa Munyati, said: “This hippo was becoming a threat to human lives in the area. It was being spotted near homes at night. “There are vegetable gardens along one of Save River’s tributaries where it was being spotted.“We were told that hippos do not like light and the danger was that lives would have been lost.” “A villager survived death by a whisker recently when the hippo strayed into his homestead.“He went out of his house to investigate when his dogs were barking. He had a torch and the hippo advanced towards him. “Fortunately he managed to escape the attack and notified other villagers and the village head. We are appealing to the responsible authorities to make sure that the remaining one is also killed,” said Mr Munyati.