Matusandona National Park is one of several protected wildlife areas with shorelines on Lake Kariba. Some 338,000 acres (1370 km2) in the area, it is bounded on the west by the Ume river and the east by the Sanyati River. Two-thirds of it lies south of the Zambezi Escarpment formed by the 1968 foot (600 m) high Matusadona Hills from which it takes its time. Matusadona boasts a unique combination of pristine and rugged wilderness, together with the water frontage of Lake Kariba. It is one of the last remaining sanctuaries of the endangered Black Rhinoceros. It is commonly recognized as having the second largest concentration of wild Lions in Africa after Ngorongoro crater. Its relatively poor accessibility by road and an extremely harsh internal network of roads keep the crowds and the traffic low.
Many of the animals rescued during operation Noah when Lake Kariba was filling (following the construction of Kariba Dam) were released into Matusadona, which now hold healthy populations of most mammals occurring in the Zambezi Valley. Buffalo is especially prominent, and herds of up to 1,000-strong often congregate along the shoreline in the dry season.
Lowveld and Gonerzhou National Park
Gonerzhou National Park is a National Park located in south-eastern Zimbabwe in a relatively remote corner of Masvingo Province, south of Chimanimani along the Mozambique border. At 5,053 km2 Gonerzhou is the country”s second largest game reserve after Hwange National Park. The word Gonarezhou means “Place of Many Elephants.” It forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Gonarezhou with the Kruger National park in South Africa and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. Animals can move freely between the three sanctuaries. Three major rivers – The Save, Runde, and Mwenezi – cut their courses through the park, forming pools and natural oases from which hundreds of species of birds, wildlife and fish gather to feed and drink. As its name implies, Gonarezhou is famous for its elephants, and many of the largest-tusked elephants in the region may be found within the park. Lion, Leopard, Cheetah (including the rare king Cheetah), buffalo, giraffe, zebra and many species of large antelope are also present within the park. The rare Nyala and smaller suni are two of the spotted in the Park. Unique species of aquatic wildlife such as the Zambezi Shark, Freshwater, Goby, Black Bream and the unique turquoise killifish can be seen within the Park’s rivers and pools.
One of the most prominent and enduring natural features of Gonarezhou National park is the beautiful Chilojo Cliffs. These magnificent red sandstone cliffs have been formed through eons of erosion and overlook the scenic Runde River Valley. This park is worthwhile a visit whilst on safari in Southern Africa.