Big Cave Camp is positioned on top of a massive granite ridge, commanding inspirational views across the Matobo National Park. The central living areas in the Camp are set against a backdrop of massive boulders that form part of the design of the 8 thatched chalets and central area.
Set amidst ancient Khoisan rock art, Big Cave Camp offers seclusion within an intimate retreat, with a relaxed atmosphere and a host of activities on offer.
Some of the most breathtaking granite scenery is found in the Matobo Hills, home to a profusion of wildlife including the world’s highest concentrations of leopard and black eagle. It is also an IPZ sanctuary to endangered black and white rhino.
Established in 1926 as Rhodes Matopos National Park, a bequest from Cecil John Rhodes who was buried here, the renamed Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo Hills. This area of rocky outcrops or dwalas is composed entirely of granite that has weathered into fantastic shapes of balancing boulders over time. The Hills is an area of high botanic diversity, with over 200 species of tree, including the mountain acacia, wild pear and the paperbark tree. There are also many aloes, wild herbs and over 100 grass species. The wide diversity of fauna includes 175 birds, 88 mammals, 39 snakes and 16 fish species. You are likely to see game such as leopard, rhino, sable antelope, impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and ostrich.
Most of the animals can also be found in the adjacent small Whovi Game Park, which is a specially protected area for both white and black rhino, and holds a dense population of wildlife including giraffe, ostrich, wildebeest, leopards and a number of different antelope.
The eight thatched suites are built right into the granite boulders, which ensures they are cool in summer and warm in winter. Resonating African creative flair, each has a private balcony with magnificent views into the National Park. There is also a honeymoon suite, as well as family rooms for those with small children.
The Leopard's Lair includes a teak bar, lounge and communal dining area. The bar and dining area features a huge rock enclosed in the room, with trees growing through the roof creating a natural atmosphere. Dining is a relaxed affair, where guests and the lodge managers all share stories around the dinner table.
The library is a cosy retreat with fireplace for those wishing to spend a quiet moment. Outside, the natural rock pool and sundeck is a cool contrast to the warm granites that surround the pool. Refuge can also be taken at midday in the nearby pool boma area, where ice cold drinks are served. At sundown lanterns illuminate the cave-style boma, as guests sit around a traditional fire recounting stories of the day’s activities.
Big Cave borders the Matobo National Park, and game viewing is done both on the private property as well as into the Whovi Game Park.
Activities on the 2 000 acre private wilderness area include game walks, game drives, and the not to be missed sundowner drive to see the Matopos Hills at its very best. Night drives on the Big Cave wilderness area can be enjoyed on the private property (depending on the time of the year) to view the nocturnal creatures of the Matobo Hills.
Matobo Hills has the last significant population of rhino in Zimbabwe, and the best way to view and photograph these rare creatures is on foot, with a professional guide.
Big Cave offers game drives into the Whovi Park with a professional guide to view not only rhino, but also leopard and a selection of plains game. Guests can enjoy creeping up on these animals on foot, once they have been tracked by the professional guide.
Matobo Hills boasts one of the highest concentrations of birds of prey anywhere in the world. Big Cave has several nesting sites on and adjacent to the property, and the black eagle and the elusive Cape (Mackinder's) eagle owl are found here.
The Matobo Hills contains one of the highest concentrations of rock art found anywhere in the world. This ancient Khoisan art can be viewed in the both the National Park and within the immediate vicinity of Big Cave Camp. These famous rock art galleries can be visited on foot or by 4x4. One of the more famous sites is Nswatugi Cave, which is normally combined with a trip to the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, a spectacular place to visit at sunset.