Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park gets its name from the rolling Matusadona hills that form part of its water rich landscape. Flanked by Lake Kariba in the north, and two perennial rivers, the Ume and the Sanyati on either side, this remote and rugged park has become the first in Zimbabwe to fall under the African Parks mandate and we are excited to be part of this phenomenal conservation opportunity alongside both the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and African Parks.

The Matusadona was proclaimed a non-consumptive safari area on the 7th of November 1958 before being declared as a Game Reserve in 1963.  In 1975 it became a National Park, under the Parks and Wildlife Act of Rhodesia. Matusadona National Park covers 1,470 km2 of flat plains and rugged mountains protecting an exceptionally diverse range of flora and fauna. Its’ area encompasses a combination of pristine and rugged wilderness, which was relatively inaccessible prior to the construction of  the Kariba Dam being built and Lake Kariba created. The construction of the dam caused profound ecological changes and Matusadona National Park consists of lush landscape and undulating hills that quickly descend to abruptly flat savannah type grass plains that are brought about as a result of the annual fluctuations of water levels on Lake Kariba. 

Whilst these grasslands have contributed to an incredible increase in the populations of large mammals in the park, especially those of African Elephant and Cape Buffalo, they have also created an enabling environment for large populations of additional species of plains game to thrive and therefore also attracted the associated predators which are now frequently seen patrolling the fantastic shoreline that is often guarded from Lake Kariba by a kilometre-wide, iconic drowned forest.


The diversity of Matusadona National Park forms an important habitat for a large diversity of, lake, river, savannah and woodland species and residence of well over 240 different bird species.

Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba, with 5,580 km2 of surface area, 2,000 km of shoreline, an approximate maximum length in excess of 270 km, a width at its widest point in excess of 40 km, maximum depth of 97 metres is the 4th largest man-made lake in the world by surface area, the 2nd largest in Africa and the largest man-made reservoir of water in the world by volume – so it is truly an impressive place to explore when you further add the unique aquatic and fish species to the incredible portfolio on land that Matusadona National Park encompasses.

GPS Co-ordinates

S 16° 42’ 06.06”

E 28° 39’ 57.80”

Fothergill Island

In 1958, as now, the Zambezi Valley which forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia (then Northern and Southern Rhodesia) was one of the richest wildlife sanctuaries on the planet and Rhodesia’s Chief Game Ranger was Rupert Fothergill.

Rupert was tasked with rescuing the Kariba wildlife from the rising flood waters following the construction of the Kariba Dam. Over the course of five years, until 1964, he, his team and volunteers worked under the most rigorous conditions from extremely basic and rudimentary bush camps whilst often being required to travel large distances in rowing boats, using equipment no more sophisticated than ropes, sacks, nets (made of old nylon stockings), boxes and dart guns.

The men ultimately rescued and relocated over 6,000 animals, from zebra and warthogs to snakes, rhino, elephant, lion and leopard, most of which were taken to the Matusadona National Park.

We are exceptionally proud, and it is indeed a true privilege and honour to live in his shadow and call the island named after him – our home. Welcome to Fothergill Island.