As one of four World Heritage sites in Zimbabwe, it is an area of significant cultural importance with the largest concentration of rock art within Southern Africa – an estimated 3000 sites are hidden amidst dramatic landscapes, dominated by gravity-defying towers of balancing boulders. This is also the resting place for controversial colonialist Cecil Rhodes; his grave, at the appropriately named World’s View has a spectacular vista, especially at sunrise.
Exploration can be done from the small selection of lodges by almost every mode of transport imaginable – by foot, vehicle, mountain bike or horseback; boating and fishing are even possible on the area’s dams. Although often in the shadow of the country’s more famous national parks, Matopos is surprisingly rich in game, entertaining the world’s highest concentration of black eagles and offering an excellent chance to see white rhino. It also lays claim to the continent’s greatest concentration of leopards although the plethora of hiding places make spotting one of the charismatic felines notoriously difficult.
Bulawayo is a laid-back city, which makes a great stopover and has a surprising number of activities on offer. Visit the renowned Nesbit Castle for afternoon tea (if you aren’t already staying there), ride on horseback through Tshabalala Game Sanctuary, take a swim at Diana’s Pool or explore the Khami Ruins, a remnant of the centuries-old civilisation of Great Zimbabwe.