- Lake Kariba & Matusadona
A short charter flight from Victoria Falls takes you to where the wilderness still reigns. Rugged hills flatten out onto grassy, bird-covered floodplains as they meet Lake Kariba, a vast, flooded valley teeming with water-life. The Matusadona National Park is one of Zimbabwe’s classic big game reserves but its relatively remote nature means it is little-visited, making a Matusadona safari ideal for safari travellers looking to stray a little off the beaten-path.
Such a wild and well-watered landscape makes Matusadona an excellent destination for wildlife viewing. Long known for its concentrations of elephant, buffalo and lion, the park is home to leopard and cheetah as well as rarities such as African wild dog, sable antelope and both black and white rhino. There are aquatic animals to see – hippo and crocodile – as well as savannah ones: giraffe, zebra, warthog and many types of antelope. The scenery is spectacular – ghostly tree skeletons in the lake, distant shimmering mountain ranges – and Kariba sunsets are famously extravagant.
There are several safari lodges set in Matusadona, overlooking Lake Kariba and offering not just morning and afternoon game drives but boat cruises, fishing trips and guided nature walks too. You’ll find family-friendly camps as well as idyllic honeymoon suites and there’s always a private bathroom, comfortable facilities and somewhere to recharge your camera batteries. The standard of guiding is very high and you can arrange for specialist birding or fishing guides.
The best time to go on a Matusadona safari is during the May to October dry season; wildlife concentrations at the lake increase steadily as the months wear on and you’ll enjoy mild sunny days and cool nights from May to August but hot and humid weather in September and October. Once the rains have set in – usually by early January, Matusadona is mostly inaccessible.
Recommended for adventurers, wildlife photographers and discerning safari travellers, a Matusadona safari is usually part of a wider itinerary, taking in destinations like Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and the Chobe National Park in Botswana to give you almost unparalleled opportunities to see big concentrations of Africa’s biggest wildlife. View our recommended itineraries or simply contact Safari Online for a tour based on your requirements and budget.
Lake Kariba & Matusadona on the map
WHAT TO DO
ACTIVITIES TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Home to one of Africa’s largest concentrations of lions as well as healthy numbers of leopards & cheetahs, Matusadona is a big cat paradise & great for their rivals too – spotted hyenas & crocodiles!
Swop a game drive for an afternoon’s boating on the lake & sit back with a cold drink to stunning scenery & the sight of wildlife coming down to drink; highly recommended in the dry season.
A Matusadona safari gives you the chance to lace up your boots & walk with armed guides through big game country, picking out the fascinating natural details while keeping an eye out for the heavyweights.
Cast a line overboard for Kariba’s infamous fighting fish – the tiger fish – complete with razor-sharp teeth & plenty of attitude; it’s a catch & release policy but there’s time for a photograph too.
There’s no sound more quintessentially Kariba than that of the African fish-eagle, ringing out across the lake & best enjoyed as the setting sun turns the world red & purple.