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national parks (back to intro)

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Charara Safari Area
Gonarezhou National Park
Hwange National Park
Mana Pools National Park
Matusadona National Park
Victoria Falls National Park
Matusadona National Park

One of the lesser-known stretches in northwestern Zimbabwe is the location of the Matusadona National Park. Lying on the southern shore of Lake Kariba, the park covers an area of 1,407 square kilometers. It is one of several protected wildlife areas that lie on the shoreline of Lake Kariba. The park takes its name from the "Matuzviadonha" Hills, which form the Zambezi escarpment that splits off one third of the park. This park is generally acknowledged to include the second largest concentration of lions, after the Ngorogoro Crater, and a small, important population of the endangered black rhino.

The park is open to visitors throughout the year. There are three camps: Ume, Muuyu Elephant Point and Mbalabala. Each of the camps offers accommodation in fully equipped family units. In addition, there are two popular camping sites. Moreover, Spurwing Island and Matusadona Water Lodge are two attractive lodge sites in the middle of the Matusadona shoreline.

A walking safari is the best way to explore the park. In addition, visitors can stay in cruisers or houseboats along the long shoreline in the north. Sailing safaris can also be undertaken. In addition, a network of roads, although uncomfortable, provides more opportunities to view wildlife such as the lion, black rhino, elephant, leopard, antelopes, hippo and the eland. A small population of cheetahs was reintroduced in 1995. Moreover, over 240 species of birds are present in the park.

Mountain acacia is common in the open woodlands in the plateau area beyond the escarpment. Ultimately, the plateau area falls to a low-lying region filled with Mopane scrub and dense Jesse bush. The shore of the Lake Kariba forms the entire northern border. A special type of swamp torpedo grass thrives in the area while "drowned forests" exist along the coastline - dead trees still standing 29 years after the lake was filled. The park owes its strong populations of most mammals to the fact that most of the animals rescued during "Operation Noah" were released here.

While the national park is easily accessible by boat from Lake Kariba, its relative inaccessibility from land (the gravel Karoi-Kamatavi road provides access) allows the park to preserve its untouched beauty.

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