Who is African Parks?
African Parks is a non-profit organisation, founded in 2000, whose goal is to manage 20 National Parks by 2020. At this moment African Parks manage 16 National Parks and protected areas across Africa with emphasis on economic development and poverty alleviation of surrounding communities to guarantee that each park is ecologically, socially and financially stable in the long term.
African Parks take responsibility for the rehabilitation and long term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. A response to the dramatic decline of protected areas due to poor management and a lack of funding initially gave rise to African Parks.
They are currently involved in projects in Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, The Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
What is Matusadona National Park?
Situated on the shores of Lake Kariba, Matusadona was once a stronghold for endangered Black Rhino and had the highest density of lions in Africa. It is 338 000 acres in size, bordered by the Ume River to the west and the Sanyati River in the east, the Zambezi Escarpment to the south and the lake shoreline to the north. Within the lake “drowned forests”, some up to seven kilometres wide, have occupied the water for more than 30 years after the filling of it.
A project, known as Operation Noah, rescued animals during the time of the flooding of the lake and released them into the Matusadona which now holds most mammals found in the Zambezi Valley. It holds big populations of buffalo, elephant, hippos and crocodiles as well as good populations of predators such as lions, leopards and hyena.
A special feature of the park is its crocodile hunting lions, not normally a feature in other African parks. There is also a small number of black rhino in the Matusadona.
Why is the Matusadona National Park so special?
The first thing that springs to mind are the sunsets. Lake Kariba has some of the most spectacular sunsets we have ever seen anywhere. Perhaps it is the combination of the dust and water that brings out the spectacular colours on show. It is situated close to Mana Pools National Park making it a good combination to explore. Many of the activities at Matusadona are based on and around the lake, adding a different aspect to your safari experience. This includes boat based safaris and fishing for the delicious bream and fighting tiger-fish. Walking safaris are very popular, with the ever impressive Zimbabwean professional guides, and game drives help one to traverse a large area searching for animals. There is also a diverse selection of bird life in the area.
One of the best ways to explore the Matusadona is by houseboat. Great for families and friends the route visits some special locations along the lake where vehicles cannot venture. Houseboats are normally trailed by smaller game viewing and fishing boats for exploration purposes. They come with staff who service all needs of the guests. This is highly recommended to people who have traveled to Africa before and are looking for something completely unique.
How will African Parks help Matusadona National Park?
African Parks has signed a 20-year agreement with Zimparks providing enormous potential for both wildlife and tourism. Their work includes:
- Saving Wildlife – This includes habitat management, wildlife reintroduction and translocation, wildlife monitoring programs and relevant research to inform conservation actions.
- Park Protection – Law enforcement takes top priority here and includes anti-poaching. African parks employ the largest ranger force in Africa (more than 1000 rangers).
- Community & Development – Land use and the local people works hand in hand. The community need to benefit from National Parks to value them. African Parks is involved in constructing schools and providing educational support, such as supporting teachers. They send mobile health care units that assisted 66000 people in 2017. Job creation is another area where African Parks helps by supporting local micro enterprises such as beekeepers, local fisheries and the planting of trees.
- Tourism & Development – People are attracted to unique wildlife and safari experiences which create opportunities for employment in lodges. Tourism revenue generates income for the park itself.
- Management & Infrastructure – African Parks will assist with installing communication networks, building structures for staff (houses, offices and operational rooms), and road grading to reach areas that couldn’t have been monitored previously.
Interested in seeing more of Matusadona National Park? Check out some of the accommodations and lodges we have to offer below, or Email us for unbeatable rates: