Unforgettable and enchanting hills
Excursion 263: Matobo Hills
Located 40 kilometres north of the City of Kings, lies the Valley of Kings. A place full of history, culture as well as character. Matobo national park houses plenty of amazing flora and fauna, wildlife as unique geographical structures. The land on which Matobo national park was established is marred with tales of historically significant features.
The most intriguing part of Matobo hills is how the wildlife, history and culture are intertwined to create an aesthetic mix for a great outdoors trip.
Matobo boasts of a variety of beautiful natural rock features and structures such as balancing rocks, caves and huge granite protrusions. The numerous caves found in the area served as habitats for man and beast alike. Some smaller caves were used as grain storage facilities and others as accommodation. These were often marked with rock paintings which were done as a pastime. Some of the noteworthy caves are Ntswatugi, Pomongwe and Silozwane caves, each harbouring picturesque paintings.
The Flora and Fauna.
This seemingly human invaded land carries a surprisingly large amount of Wild and plant life. The Matobo hills is home to over 170 bird species and well over 80 mammal species. A few Fun Facts:
Matobo hills has the world’s highest population of the Black eagle.
The park also has the highest population of leopards.
The park is one of the last sanctuaries on Earth with free roaming rhinos (black and white rhinos)
The Culture and The historical significance
The historical importance of the Matobo hills is laden with kings and Chiefs as well as figures of historical importance. Mzilikazi, Cecil John Rhodes and Leander Starr Jameson are buried in the Matobo hills. The story of Zimbabwe and Matobo would be incomplete without a mention of their names.
Culture and tradition hold a major role in the character of the Hills, the place of the Benevolent Spirits (as the Hills are sometimes called) offer many stories. It is said that the Spirits of the departed Ndebele chiefs dwell within the Hills of the Matobo. The rock paintings of the early inhabitants and the rainmaking ceremonies of the later occupants that have spanned across centuries are classic examples of the cultural hold of the Matopos. Tales of the pilgrimages to the Njelele shrine to ask for rain have been told. Tales of Gods voice being heard in the hills have been told. Oral tradition has preserved the magic of the Matobo hills.
There are many reasons why should take a trip to the Enchanted Matobo Hills. Do share your favourite aspects of Matobo hills and your experiences.