Rhino Safari Camp

Rhino Safari Camp is situated on the shores of Lake Kariba and within the Matusadona National Park. It offers a balance between the mobile tented camp and the ultimately luxurious permanent camps. The remoteness of this protected area combined with the plentiful water supply provided by the lake combine to make the Matusadona home to a wide variety of wild animals.

About Rhino Safari Camp

The spirit and natural rhythms of nature combine with the warmth of the raw, untamed environment and are interwoven with legends of mysterious and powerful ancient gods to give us places far removed from the concrete jungle.

Rhino Lodge is situated on the shores of Lake Kariba, a massive man made lake formed by the damming of the mighty Zambezi River in the late 1950’s. It is also situated within the Matusadona National Park, a remote wilderness area which has been designated as an Intensive Protection Zone for a small but successful population of the endangered black rhino.

The big five: black rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo are all found here. Hippo and crocodile and a wide variety of water birds make use of the lake. Kudu, Warthog, Zebra, Bush buck, Impala, and numerous antelope species as well as over 350 documented bird species are also here. The call of the African Fish Eagle will never be forgotten, nor that of the Ground Hornbill. Vultures, bateleurs, storks, geese, ducks, plovers and other water birds abound.

This is the original habitat in which these animals have existed since before the formation of the lake. The legendary and internationally publicized “Operation Noah” took place shortly after the damming of the river. This exercise saw a small but dedicated team undertake the rescue and resettlement of thousands of animals ranging from rhino to monkeys and snakes. Rescuing the wild inhabitants of the valley and taking them to their new homes in the Matusadona area during the time that the water was flooding the valley floor.

A special place in the wilderness awaits...

Rhino Safari Camp is small and highly personalized, staffed by people who are passionate about their land, their environment and the wild animals in it.

Experience comfortable spacious accommodation with outstanding views, a superbly comfortable nights sleep, loads of hot shower water, freshly prepared homestyle meals, game viewing activities that get you up close and personal, followed by a cool drink by the fire at the end of the day and an unforgettable meal beneath the canopy of the night sky. All in uncontrived natural surroundings in one of Africa’s few remaining wilderness areas.

Rhino Safari Camp offers a balance between the mobile tented camp and the ultimately luxurious permanent camps. They do not have electricity and live with what nature provides – with a few added extras. They recharge batteries with solar panels, use petrol driven pumps for water, refrigerate and cook with gas, heat water in wood fired boilers, and light the camp at night with paraffin lamps, candles, and the flickering light of the camp fire.

Accommodation

The Main Boma
At the entrance to the camp is the main boma, the central area where we meet, eat and relax. This spacious platform is completely open at the sides allowing the breeze from the lake to cool the interior. We use both upstairs and downstairs sections for dining and relaxation.

Downstairs is a discreet bar and buffet area with a dining area and camp seating area. Upstairs is a comfortable living area and alternative dining area with magnificent views of the lake and the animals as they wander along the shoreline. We have a small but practical selection of reference books and reading material on offer, and a selection of traditional games to keep you occupied.
Tea, coffee and other beverages are available to guests throughout the day in the boma.

The Bedrooms
Each of our six twin bedded rooms nestles within the jesse bush along the lake shore line.

The emphasis is providing our guests with their creature comforts without losing touch with the natural surroundings.
Rooms are elevated wooden platforms with extended thatched roofs. Reed half walls at the sides and back allow for natural ventilation. The open fronts are screened with drop down reed mats which are opened or closed according to requirements.

The spacious room offers superbly comfortable twin beds, a wardrobe, seating area and dressing table. And of course magnificent views of the lake.

At the back of each room at a slightly lower level is the en suite open air shower, flush toilet and hand basin. Plenty of running hot water is available from wood fired boilers. We supply toilet rolls, towels, shampoo and soap.

Activities

The Matusadona National Park covers an area of 1407 square kilometres. Its boundaries are natural : the Ume River to the west, the Sanyati River to the east, Lake Kariba to the north, and the Matusdona Mountain range to the South. Loosely translated, “Matuzwi-ah- dona” means falling dung – evidence of its abundant wild animal population.

The damming of the Zambezi River to form Lake Kariba was completed in the late 1950’s. The project was carried out to provide hydro-electric power to the countries of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, now Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. On completion of the dam the waters rose far faster than initially anticipated and the legendary “Operation Noah” saw a small but dedicated team of wildlife specialists rescue over 5 000 different animals trapped by the advancing lake waters.

In 1963 the Matusadona area became a game reserve, and in 1975 it was gazetted as a National Park which it has remained until today. This is the highest conservation status that can be given to an area under Zimbabwean legislation.

The remote nature of the park, its impressive natural boundaries and plentiful year round water supply have made the Matusadona National Park an ideal Intensive Protection Zone for the endangered Black Rhino. Conservation efforts have ensured that a small but strong population of them exists here in the wild. Some were in the area already, some were relocated as part of the Intensive Protection project, and others are here as a result of a captive breeding programme.

As well as Black Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard and Elephant populations are also healthy in the area.

The lake levels vary dramatically and during the dry season a dense growth of torpedo grass (panicum repens) is exposed. This forms an important source of food for the buffalo herds, whose size is directly related to the amount of grazing available. The success of the buffalo herds also directly influences the lion populations as with less food the mortality rate of the cubs increases.

One of the striking features of the shoreline in the Matusadona is the forest of drowned trees. These make navigating the lake tricky, but form important habitats for aquatic birds and breeding grounds for the fresh water fish.

A healthy population of African Fish Eagles is found in the area, as well as several species of Kingfisher, Herons, Geese, Ducks, Storks and Plovers.
As an experiment the lake waters were stocked with Lake Tanganyika sardines (Limnothrissa miodon) which quickly thrived and adapted to their new habitat. These are known locally as “kapenta” and on moon-less nights the twinkling lights of the fishing boats can be seen from camp.

Medical and Safety

Camp guides and management have received emergency medical training and a fully stocked first aid box is on hand at camp.
Emergency air evacuation cover is provided on request.

We strongly recommend seeking advice from your health care provider for anti malarial prophylactics. Larium can cause alarming side effects so please research carefully and try it out before you travel.

During the hotter months dehydration is our greatest enemy and there is a plentiful supply of water on hand. We urge our guests to drink plenty of fluids during this time.

Please be sure to bring along any specialized prescription medication as well as a copy of a prescription in case these are damaged or go missing. A spare pair of reading glasses can also be useful.
It should be noted that we are in a safari area and operate within a potentially dangerous environment. Our professional guides are armed and highly qualified by experience to ensure the safety of our guests at all times.