Matusadona National Park

The mighty Zambezi river flows along the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. After crashing over the Victoria Falls the river winds its way down to Lake Kariba, one of the biggest man-made lakes on earth. The Kariba dam wall was constructed in 1958 at the Kariba gorge as a hydroelectricity scheme which supplies power to Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Zambezi River took 5 years to fill the lake and in 1963 it had reached its peak. Today it gives life to thousands of people and provides a haven for an amazing array of wildlife.

The most famous of the wildlife areas in the Matusadona National Park. Set on the shores of Lake Kariba where large concentrations come to the lake shore to drink the cool waters and feed on the grass plains that surround the lake. The Matusadona mountain range in the background provides a sanctuary for wildlife during the heat of the day. It derived its name from the word ‘Matuzviadonha’ which simply means ‘falling dung’ which is reference to the seeing elephant dung rolling down steep hills in the park. Matusadona has a great combination of floodplains and mountains making the landscape wonderfully scenic and rugged at the same time.

If relaxing while watching spectacular sunsets is your thing, then visiting Lake Kariba is an opportunity not to be missed.


Matusadona is famous for its large herds of buffalo and prides of lion that follow them. The lion prides have become well renowned and often kill hippo feeding on the shoreline at night. Cheetah and wild dog are frequent visitors to the shoreline and elephants can almost always be seen feeding on the water lilies in the shallows of the lake. Game drives on boats get you up close and one can sit quietly enjoying a cold beverage whilst watching these magnificent creatures in their environment. Lake Kariba is a tranquil and peaceful haven with abundant populations of wildlife. Hippos and crocodiles dominate that waters. The lake is famous for its fishing and has over 35 species of fish, the most famous of which is the Tigerfish which is highly sort after by sports fisherman. Lake Kariba also boasts incredible birdlife with many different species of both water and land varieties.

Time of year to travel

The best time to visit Lake Kariba and the Matusdona National Park is during the dry months from April to October. April to July has cool nights and bluebird days. Temperatures start to rise in August peaking in October which can be hot and still on the lake. During the hot dry period wildlife frequents the shoreline often making for great wildlife viewing. During the wet season from November to March wildlife can move further into the bush making viewing from the shoreline more difficult.

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