5th November 2018
Zimbabwe is back on the tourist map after the bad days of the Mugabe regime. Here Michael talks about his rhino experience in Zimbabwe.
Matobo National Park is located just south of Bulawayo in the south of Zimbabwe. Home to both black and white rhino this is a success story, with the population of both on the rise here. We were picked up from our hotel – the incredibly colonial Cresta Churchill Hotel in Bulawayo - in the morning by our expert guides from Black Rhino Safaris. Introducing themselves as the Normans (they share the same first name), we climbed into jeeps and took a short drive to Matobo National Park.
Once in Matobo we parked up close to where a tracker had seen a group of rhino. We were given careful instructions by one of the Normans, “No sudden movements. Walk slowly. If a rhino does charge, stand absolutely still. They have terrible eyesight and will be unable to see you if you don’t move. Oh and no social media posting until we have left the national park – poachers can use your posts to work out where the rhinos are.”
We then and took a ten-minute walk through the bush, being careful to keep downwind of the rhinos (they have an excellent sense of smell). It was then that we saw a family of eight rhino resting under the shade of some trees. Approaching them carefully we were able to get within 15 feet of them, and spent a glorious ten minutes observing them, before something spooked them and they were off. Seeing them race off through the bush at high speed it’s easy to see where the collective noun for rhinoceroses – a crash of rhinos - comes from.
After a picnic lunch we then enjoyed some of the natural beauty that Matobo National Park offers – in particular the World’s View Mount, where the controversial figure of Cecil Rhodes is buried. This was his favourite place and it’s easy to see why – enormous boulders litter the landscape against a backdrop of huge skies, mountains and forest.
Zimbabwe is indeed once again open for business and with experiences such as this it will only be a matter of time before it is fully back on the tourist circuit. View our Zimbabwe group tour.