Matopo Hills

Zimbabwe

Approaching from the north you glimpse the surreal world that lies ahead, not far from Bulawayo.

Curious columns of stacked boulders tower above the hills, seemingly placed by a giant’s hand. This is a place where the usual rules of physics don’t seem to apply as massive rounded rocks some 30 feet wide balance improbably in wonky piles that can be seen for miles.

This area is steeped in history and for thousands of years the Matopo Hills have been a spiritual home and retreat for warring tribes, a haven that holds an aura of calm from the outside world. So revered is this place that it was controversially chosen as Cecil Rhodes final resting place, a brass tomb set into a vast granite boulder known as World’s View. The panorama is spellbinding with spires of bizarre rock formations in each direction creating a monolithic auditorium. For a man of Rhodes’ stature, it seems like a fitting resting place, ignoring If you will, some of his political viewpoints.

History and ambience are not the only reasons to visit this gem of a World Heritage site, the boulders also abound with wildlife. Allegedly home to the world’s largest leopard population it’s a place where rock hyrax and klipspringers compete for the most agile on the sheer rock faces, where Black Eagles wheel on the thermals overhead. On flatter ground away from the “whaleback boulders” you can find both black and White Rhino and a good number of sable antelope close to the dams.

To knit this all together and make sense of this Dali-esque landscape, head out with Paul Hubbard from Camp Amalinda. Not only can he show you the finest San Bushman rock art and cave paintings but also explain the historical relevance of this unique landscape and explain its continuing relevance in Southern Africa’s development.

View destinations

Meet The Experts

Ben Oxley-Brown
Ben has been exploring Africa for well over twenty years and is yet to curb his voracious appetite for the continent.