Matusadona National Park is located on the southern side of Lake Kariba in northern Zimbabwe. Matusadona National Park takes its name from the undulating Matusadona hills that make up the park’s water-rich terrain. This isolated and mountainous park, bordered to the north by Lake Kariba and two perennial rivers, the Ume and the Sanyati, is the first in Zimbabwe to come under the African Parks mission.
It was declared a National Park in 1975 and was formerly a conservation hotspot for African elephants and black rhinos, as well as a popular tourist attraction. But over the years, financial resources slowly diminished and poor management impacted the parks’ wildlife. Due to limited road networks and personnel, some regions were completely unpatrolled, resulting in rampant poaching that nearly wiped off the black rhino species and significantly decreased the elephant population.
Matusadona National Park is now home to healthy populations of predators such as spotted genet, side-striped jackal, crocodile, lion, leopard, and hyena, and the elusive cheetah has also been spotted. Other common species found in the park include bushbuck, klipspringer, grysbok, roan antelope, kudu, duiker, slender and banded mongoose, warthog, porcupine, bush squirrel, night ape, vervet monkey and chacma baboon.