Matobos National Park, Zimbabwe

When I was on Chipangali as a volunteer we got to visit Matobos National Park. Chipangali tracks leopards and hyenas in this area for research. We slept in tents and it was just a fun little excursion. Similar to the ones you went on while in school.

Field trip to Matobos National Park, YEY!

It was raining quite a lot, which I thought was nice, since the sun has been near torture for me. One day on Chipangali while sorting out “gifts”, which looked more like trash, I got sunstroke and started vomiting. I had to lie down and stay inside for the rest of the day. Not my idea of a great time in Africa!

Sunstroke was something I’ve never experienced, and more or less considered some made-up crap!

Even though this park has the most dense population of leopards – in the whole world – we didn’t get to see any. This is how shy leopards really are when normal. Since they’re nocturnal too, they were active while we were sleeping.

Of course I was disappointed for not getting the slightest glimpse of one tiniest wild leopard.

matobos national park wildlife camera
Camera for tracking leopards and hyenas.
cage in matobos national park
Meat rigged cage to lure leopards and/or hyenas. If caught, the team swoops in to examine, before releasing the animal back into the wild.
woman with machete in her hand
Me in the backseat with my new toy, which was to be used for grass slashing. So much fun! Although I did send a message to my dad claiming this was for protection against all the dangerous people in Zimbabwe. Even funnier!

Matobos National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mountains here are of granite, and have some really peculiar shapes (see gallery above) created during millions of years. There are also lots of old cave paintings here. A lot of nature and a lot of human history.

charnette woman posing in matobos national park
I’m trying to stand steady on the mountain. The wind is rough.


gnu skeleton
Skeleton of a wildebeest (probably).
skeleton kranium head
Who this was is somewhat unclear!

So what did I see in Matobos National Park?

I got to see an animal I’ve never seen before… Wildebeest. In Sweden there’s an expression regarding this animal. Instead of working hard like an ox, we can sometimes put this animal in the sentence. Or running like this animal as well. But why we use this animal for reference I have no idea, since it is not common (frankly quite non-existent) in Sweden. I had some idea it might be an African animal, but the rest was a mystery to me. Until now.

This wasn’t at all what I had in mind the wildebeest looked like!

matopos wildebeest family
A wildebeest calf wants to suckle. Can you see the umbilical cord? Just a few days old!
wildebeest in the wild zimbabwe
Grazing wildebeest.

Also got to see some zebras and giraffs…

zebras zimbabwe matobos national park giraf matobos national park

There was the cutest calf where we put up our tent. Oh well, all calfs are cute, of course 😉

calf matopos zimbabwe



Have you been to Matobos National Park? What are your experiences? Did you get to see any leopards? Please share a comment!

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Photo of the Month: Carla – a leopard on Chipangali
Matobos National Park, Zimbabwe

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