Whovi Wild Area, Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe

The natural rock formation named, “Mother and Child” in the Whovi Game Park

One day, while staying in Bulawayo we decided to drive out to the Matobo Game Park for the day. We chose the Whovi Wild Area because we hadn’t been there before. Although we didn’t see much game, the scenery was glorious, and we felt very privileged, especially as we hardly saw another person all day.

The country was waiting desperately for the rains.
We crossed this dry river bed, with not a drop of water to be seen…

…although as we drove along, we did see the occasional puddle,
in what should have been a flowing river...

…as we made our way to this hide, hidden among the rocks.

I wasn’t able to photograph them, but we met up with an anti-rhino poaching unit, armed with AK47s. They were recharging their phones with solar powered chargers, before going out on patrol. Their task is aided by the fact that Whovi has been entirely ringed with a rhino fence, so that these endangered animals can more easily be protected.

The view from our hide.

We did manage to spot some rhino from a distance

As we continued on our drive, we managed to see this duiker,
hiding in the undergrowth

Eventually we found this dam. Even though it is drying out,
it still has a beauty of its own.

It’s easy to understand why Matobo is considered the spiritual home of Zimbabwe when you experience the dramatic scenery that could almost belong to another world.

The word ‘Matobo’ means 'bald heads', and was the name chosen for the area by the great Ndebele King, Mzilikazi. He is buried in the Matobo Hills just a short distance from the park.

We came across a large expanse of water, and David wandered over to look at a couple of hippo.

I decided to stay in the car. We didn’t see any crocodiles, but they are sly creatures, and I didn’t want to take a chance. David is a very fast runner, and very fit, so he was braver than me!

The landscape is extraordinary. Everywhere you see huge rocks randomly balanced one on top of the other. Millions of years of erosion and weathering have shaped the granite into seemingly impossible structures that appear to defy gravity.

Balancing rocks in the Matobo Hills

Eventually, after thousands of years of erosion, the whole structure gives way, 
and the rocks come tumbling down.

We were surprised to see bundles of thatching for houses, gathered by locals.
They must have braved the wild animals to do this.

On the way out of the park we saw this sweet little Dassie (Rock Rabbit) 
peeping out from the rocks

How lovely to be staying in Bulawayo, within easy reach of this remarkable park. If you have never been to Zimbabwe, you should definitely have it on your bucket list. It’s a wonderful country.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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