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Matusadona
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Matusadona National Park

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... is located in the north of Zimbabwe and is one of the country's second rank safari areas after Hwange and Mana Pools. It is be most easily accessed by air from Victoria Falls.

At 1400 square kilometres, Matusadona is a modestly sized national park lying on the southern shore of Lake Kariba, an enormous and very scenic expanse of water which was created in the 1950's when this section of the Zambezi Valley was flooded by the building of an enormous dam.

During the flooding of the dam, which took several years, conservationists mounted Operation Noah, to relocate wildlife to the higher ground here in Matusadona. During this process some animals found themselves stranded, most notably at Starvation Island, where their descendants remain to this day.

The main safari areas in Matusadona these days lie in the 'inter-tidal' zone between the high and low water marks of the lake, where grassy floodplains have become established. Although this may not be a completely natural environment, the flora and fauna has done a pretty good job of re-establishing some kind of equilibrium.

The area is reasonably rich in wildlife, especially Jul/Oct, with the key river-front areas having decent densities of elephants, hippos and lions, as well as a wide range of other lesser animals. Birding is particularly strong.

But one should not come here in the hope of seeing a great deal of wildlife, this is not a reserve to compete with the likes of Hwange and Mana Pools in that respect. Vehicle safaris and walking safaris are both considerably weaker here.

The biggest draw-card in Matusadona is motorboat safari. The shoreline around the reserve is stunning, with its characteristic flooded forests and low-lying grasslands. Wildlife viewing from the boats can be good, birding is usually excellent and fishing is also popular.


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