Matobo Hills Lodge – Zimbabwe
Matobo Hills Lodge was designed and constructed by Touch The Wild and was built using local labour and material. It opened in August 1992.
The lodge is situated within a private nature reserve bordering the Matobo National Park and is surrounded by some of the most spectacular granite scenery in the world. The Matobo Hills are renowned not only for their beauty and abundant flora and fauna but also for their unique historical, cultural and spiritual significance.
The granites of Matobo were formed over three thousand million years ago and have been carved by the erosive forces of nature into a remarkable gallery of sculptured rock covering several thousand square kilometres.
In general terms two types of granite hills occur in Matobo. The chaotic jumbles of rocks and balancing boulders or ‘ castle kopjies’ have been created by erosion working along the horizontal and vertical lines of weakness that formed as the ancient granites cooled. The massive ‘ whale backed’ domes or ‘ dwalas’ are the result of spheroidal weathering or ‘onion skin peeling’ that occurs during sudden changes in temperature. All of these forces of erosion act at an excruciatingly slow pace and it has taken nature hundreds of millions of years to create the incredible landscape we see today. Unfortunately she is not yet content with her efforts and her erosive power continues to act upon the surfaces of the rock.
Nature will only rest when all the granites are gone and the Matobo becomes a flat, featureless sandy plain. Luckily for us this is going to take several more hundred million years so for now at least, we can continue to enjoy this amazing wilderness in all it’s complexity.
The northern section of the hills is a national park and it’s wooded gorges and open valleys are home to a wide range of wildlife species including black and white rhinoceros, giraffe, sable antelope, kudu, impala, zebra, wildebeest and tsessebe. Throughout Matobo the granite slopes and boulders are home to a dazzling range of brightly coloured lizards and skinks as well as vervet monkeys, chacma baboons, leopards and such specialised species as klipspringer and rock hyrax. The Matobo is also renowned for its rich diversity of birds of prey including the worlds greatest concentration of black eagles.
For countless millennia Matobo has provided a sanctuary for people and the hills are alive with the history of their human occupiers. For tens of thousands of years during the stone age the hills were home to the Bushmen (or san) and their delicate paintings adorn the walls of hundreds of rock shelters and caves throughout the hills. More than a thousand years ago the first iron age settlers arrived in Matobo and their rusted iron implements,broken shards of pottery and clay beads are still periodically exposed by the summer rains.
The Ndebele tribe arrived here from Zululand in the mid 19th century while European occupiers took control of the hills in 1893. As each successive wave of invaders arrived in the hills, the residents of Matobo sought to hide their food stocks and in many secluded caves empty clay grain bins still stand in mute testimony to the futility of their efforts. Throughout history the allure and spirit of the Matobo hills has captivated its inhabitants. Mzilikazi, the first great king of the Ndebele people, is buried in a secret cave to the east of the hills while Cecil John Rhodes, the 19th century British colonialist chose to be buried on the lonely summit of Malindidzimu “The Hill of Benevolent Spirits”, at a place he called “A View of the World” Today the southern and eastern sections of the Hills are a tribal area, home to the Ndebele and Kalanga. Many aspects of the modern world have crept into their lives but they continue to be a traditional people and their thatched and decorated mud walled villages still dot the landscape in echoes of earlier times.
The Matobo Hills have always inspired within their human inhabitant feelings of awe and reverence and the Hills have long been regarded as a place of great spiritual importance. Some of the largest granite domes are sacred mountains and must not be pointed at for fear of causing disrespect to the spirits that occupy them. A long established system of belief and worship is still associated with Matobo and several ancient rainmaking shrines continue to be used for age-old rituals and ceremonies. Prior to the commencement of
each rainy season and it times of drought, people from throughout Zimbabwe and beyond come to the Matobo shrines to pray for rain.
The Matobo Hills are unique in the remarkable range of African images and experiences they provide. We wish you an exciting and memorable encounter with this captivating landscape.
• Visit the famous painted caves.
• Game drives into the national park.
• Scenic drives and walks.
• Visit the tribal villages.
• Visit the grave of Cecil John Rhodes at “a view of the world”.
• Take early morning walks within the lodge reserve.
Matobo Hills Lodge information.
On some occasions wild animals may come into the lodge grounds, please treat all wild animals as potentially dangerous and do not attempt to approach even the most apparently docile of them. Great care should be taken when climbing anywhere in the Hills. If in doubt you should turn back, it’s often easier going up than coming down! There are a great number of historical sites within the Hills but these can generally only be located with the help of a guide. Should you accidentally come across any of these sites please treat them with the greatest possible respect. The stone age paintings are thousands of years old and can be destroyed simply by touching them. Clay grain bins and other artefacts are also easily damaged.
Swimming pool towels are available from the bar or reception. Please note that the swimming pool has been built into the granite and therefore has an irregular shape and depth. For this reason diving into the pool cannot be permitted.
Water is drawn from deep beneath the Mamlongwe river and is safe to drink. If you have any concerns however, bottled water is available from the bar.At certain times of the year the Lodge may experience water shortages. During such times we do remove bath plugs from the rooms in an attempt to save water and we would ask guests to shower rather than bath. If you would like to bath however please ask the reception staff and plugs will be provided.
You may sign the slips from the bar by printing and signing your name and cottage number. This account is payable upon departure.
If you are leaving early in the morning please settle your accounts before 7.00pm on the evening before departure.
Reception is open from 7.30am to 6.30pm daily.
Check out times
To allow for the preparation of rooms for incoming guests we would ask you to vacate your room by 9.30am on the day of departure. Should your room not be required for incoming guests it will be our pleasure to allow you to utilise it until your actual departure. Please ask at reception regarding availability.
Matobo Hills Lodge is one of the few safari lodges in Zimbabwe that accepts children of any age and we believe it is important that families have the opportunity of enjoying wilderness areas together. We would however ask parents to ensure that their children are under responsible supervision at all times, that they do not make excessive amounts of noise or disturb the privacy and enjoyment of other guests.
On line booking or quote for Matobo Hills Lodge
the afrisafari group
Skype – africa.travel