Matobo National Park camps - Big Cave Camp

Big Cave Camp

Big Cave Camp (“Lodge on the Rocks") lies aptly atop a whale-backed rock surrounded by huge granite boulders that appear as though they’ve been tossed there haphazardly by some careless giant. Many of the boulders appear to teeter on a narrow edge or rest improbably on comparatively little rocks – dwarfing the little thatched rooms. “Health & Safety" would definitely have something to say about Mother Nature’s negligence in this matter, but in the delightful absence of such a regulatory body, we are at liberty to fully enjoy this lovely spot.

Once on a family farm, bought over 50 years ago by the Waddys', the Big Cave is one of the very few lodges in this area to offer good quality accommodation. The rooms are cosy thatched and stone numbers with muted decor and the odd local objet d’art. They are simply styled in African print rather than the more modern clean colours favoured more often these days, but attention has been given to important things like comfy beds and nice towels. Some are more private than others with lovely views over the Matopan landscape that stretches to the horizon.

The bar-cum-dining room is built around a vast boulder which is a conversation point in itself. Of unique interest is the slightly musty smell due to the legacy of rock hyrax that rinses off the rock...but that’s all part of the atmosphere.  The food is simple and tasty without being flash and there are one or two rough edges but nothing important; the place has a charm and warmth that recommends itself. It’s the kind of place in which it is easy to relax.

Big Cave has managed to emerge from the tough years, head held high, and represents a good value option for those whose main interest is to explore the Matobo Hills.  In addition to trips into the Park to look for rhino on foot, or seek out the birdlife, you can spend a good few hours wondering the immediate area in search of the prolific birdlife and plants, or simply marvelling at the rock formations.  You can't leave the area without seeing some of the rock art for which Matobo is famous, nor visiting Rhode's Grave atop the aptly named World's View.

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