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The ancient ways of Matobo, Zimbabwe

The ancient ways of Matobo, Zimbabwe

Tara Perepeczko enjoying her Matobo experience
Tara Perepeczko enjoying her Matobo experience
VAYENI

 

BY: TARA PEREPECZKO

info@vayeni.com

www.vayeni.com

The Matopos National Park situated 30km south of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, is one of the country’s best kept secrets. With an array of breathtaking views, historic heritage, balancing rock formations and a selection of outstanding accommodation and hospitality, it is one of Zimbabwe’s upcoming destinations. One of the highlights of this magnificent park is the possibility of getting up close and personal with those most majestic and endangered of species, the rhinos.

I have lived in Zimbabwe all 28 years of my life but had never visited the Matobo Hills. I had a rough idea of what to expect from the descriptions of my colleagues and pictures that I had seen, but no description or picture will ever do this awe-inspiring landscape justice.

Having just completed a fascinating tour of some of the historical sites in the area with our informative tour guide and conservationist Ian Harmer, we set off to find Africa’s most loved and endangered animal, the rhinoceros. Before we got off the vehicle to approach the area where rhino had been sighted, Ian briefed us on safety measures and ways to avoid attracting poachers to the area.

I have a healthy respect for the danger of wild animals. As I caught my first glimpse of the rhino, a slight panic crept in – until I glanced over and saw the calm look on Ian’s face as he quietly started communicating with the rhinos that he has built a strong bond with over the years.

We slowly and quietly approached the rhinos and Ian explained each family member to us. Only when you get so close can you truly appreciate their magnificence, strength and serenity. Ian explained how much goes into the conservation of rhino in Africa. We are lucky to have such dedicated people protecting our wildlife in Zimbabwe.

In 2010, 333 rhino were killed in South Africa and in 2014 1,215 vulnerable rhino were killed for their horns! Their deaths were completely unnecessary as contrary to some eastern beliefs, rhino horn has absolutely no medicinal value whatsoever.

As we walked away through this incredibly ancient environment, where the rhino are an integral part of the hills, I realised that the amazing experience we had just had may not be possible in generations to come.