Big Cave

Situated just 46 kilometres from Bulawayo in the Matobo Hills

Big Cave is a privately owned safari lodge built on top of an enormous natural granite rock formation in the Matobo Hills which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Situated just 46 kilometres from Bulawayo, the lodge comprises eight thatched A-frame cottages, each with en-suite bathroom and private balcony. The lodges all blend into the surrounding environment and offer imposing views of the surrounds. They have been tastefully decorated with a natural African bush feel about them. All lodge rooms are African themed and very well appointed with comfortable beds and plenty of space. Each affords the visitor lots of privacy and the only sounds you hear are those of the plentiful array of birds.

The luxuriously appointed thatched main lodge is positioned amidst ancient Khoisan rock art and houses the Leopard’s Lair lounge and bar, a cave-style boma for pre-dinner drinks and the popular lodge library. Close by is a natural rock-pool and sundeck.

Big Cave is situated in the Matobo Hills which is the oldest National Park in Zimbabwe having been established in 1926 at the bequest of Cecil John Rhodes.

The ‘Matopas’ as it is widely known, is a very spiritual place and offers the visitor a wide variety of activities.. The amazing rock formations alone warrant a visit and the Matobo Hills area boasts many impressive examples of San Bushmen paintings which are well worth seeing.

Whilst the Big Cave is ideal for anyone who simply wants to relax, there are many activities on offer which may include swimming, guided bush walks, visits to a local village, game viewing in the national park, birding, or a visit to the magnificent ‘Worlds View’ where you can visit Cecil John Rhodes grave and the Shangani Memorial.

The Matopas area has a wide variety of birds including the famed Black Eagle and within the park you may well see a good variety of animals including the white Rhino.

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At A Glance



The design of the lodges is A-frame granite under thatch, which ensures they are cool in summer and warm in winter. The eight lodges, each with en-suite bathroom and private balcony, resonate African creative flair. Included is a honeymoon suite, as well as family rooms for those with small children.

The chalets can sleep up to a total of 21 guests and are configured as follows:
Ndwangu: 1 x Family suite accommodating 2 adult and 2 children with en-suite flush toilet, shower and basin with hot water. Doors open onto a private deck with breathtaking views.
Bhejane: 1 x Triple chalet including a double bed and single bed with en-suite flush toilet, shower and basin with hot water. Doors open onto a private viewing deck.
Igogo, Mbila, Bhalabhala: 3 x Twin chalets with en-suite flush toilet, shower and basin with hot water. Doors open onto a private deck.
Ingwe: 1 x Family room including a double bed and double bunk bed with en-suite flush toilet, shower and basin with hot water. Doors open onto a private balcony, with stunning views of the valley below.
Ntwane: 1 x Honeymoon suite that can include 2 children on a sleeper couch, lounge area, en-suite flush toilet, shower and basin with hot water. Doors open onto a private deck with spectacular views.
Skhova: 1 x Twin chalet with en-suite flush toilet, shower and basin with hot water.
• Khozi: 1 x Single chalet no ensuite bathroom for guides or pilots accommodation. Special rates apply.
Ndebele Village
Big Cave Camp offers an overnight experience in authentic Ndebele Village Huts. Your Ndebele hut sleeps 2 people at a cost of $20 per person per night.

The hut has electricity and a plug point so you can recharge cameras or phones. The art on the walls was done by a local Ndebele staff member so is completely authentic. There are shared ablution facilities with the Big Cave Camp campsite.

You get the rustic camping experience but with a permanent roof over your head and don’t have to pitch a tent!

Cost $20 per person per night.


Airport and Transfers

Bulawayo Airport (Joshua Nkomo International) is 23 kms from Bulawayo.

There are daily direct flights from Harare and others three times a week from Victoria Falls.

There are also daily direct flights  from Johannesburg and other centres. Check with your travel agent.


Big Cave is 46 kms from Bulawayo. We can arrange pick up from the airport or from a pre-arranged venue in Bulawayo.

Taxis are also available at the airport.

Transfer fees are applicable.



Local Wildlife

Matobo National Park has a wide diversity of wildlife with 175 bird, 88 mammal, 39 snake and 16 fish species. Animals include rhinos, sable antelopes, impala, kudu, eland, klipspringer and leopards. The park contains a large population of the latter, due to the abundance of hyrax, which make up 50% of their diet. The game park in the west has been designated as an Intensive Protection Zone for the Black and White Rhino as well as hyenas, hippopotami, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest sand ostriches.

Matobo National Park contains the highest concentration of black eagles, and breeding pairs of these birds, worldwide.
A limnological research centre has operated since 1950 at Maleme Dam and researched species such as the yellow-fish Barbus mattozi.
Matobo’s diverse birdlife is reflected in the checklist of 347 species which have been recorded in the area. This is an impressive number for a small park and it is a popular destination for birders. The park is famous for its large concentration of raptors and has the world’s largest concentration of Verreaux’s eagles, which are also commonly known as Black Eagles. They can be seen perched on top of rock formations or soaring along the cliffs in search of prey. Migratory birds are present from November to April.

Birds to be seen include: Augur buzzard, Black-collared barbet, Mocking cliff-chat, Black-shouldered kite, Coqui francolin, Spotted eagle owl, African Crowned Eagle, Martial Eagle, African Hawk-eagle, Augur Buzzard, Black-chested and Brown Snake-eagle, African Fish-eagle, Bateleur, Lanner Falcon, African Harrier-hawk, Gabar Goshawk, Rock Kestrel, Yellow-billed and Black Kite, Wahlberg’s Eagle and Steppe Eagle.



Fully inclusive rates include:

  • Accommodation twin share, or single
  • All meals and snacks
  • Drinks – local drinks including beers, wine, soft drinks and spirits.
  • Coffee & tea available throughout the day
  • Swimming pool
  • Relaxing lounge
Location Pin


Big Cave is located in the South West of Zimbabwe in the Matobo Hills and is situated very close to the National Park.

The lodge  is 46 kms, approximately 45 minutes from Bulawayo. The road is tarred right up to the turn off to Big Cave.  A 4WD is not necessary.

Road Distances:

Bulawayo – Beitbridge 320 kms (200 miles)

Bulawayo –  Gweru 164 kms (102 miles)

Bulawayo – Hwange 337 kms (210.63 miles)

Bulawayo – Harare 440 kms (274 miles)

Bulawayo – Kariba 803 kms (502 miles)

Bulawayo – Masvingo 280 kms (174 miles)

Bulawayo – Matopas 45 kms (28.10 miles)

Bulawayo – Mutare 578 kms   (359 miles)

Bulawayo – Nyanga  686 kms (429 miles)

Bulawayo – Victoria Falls 438 kms (274 miles)

Gweru – Masvingo  164 kms (102.5 miles)

Hwange – Victoria Falls 102 kms (63.75 miles)



There are a number of activities you can participate in whilst staying at Big Cave or you can simply relax in your room, in the lounge or by the pool.

Activities include:

  • Drives or guided walks on the Big Cave property
  • Mountain Biking
  • Guided tours to see San Bushman paintings 
  • Visit to Cecil John Rhodes grave and ‘View of the World’ (Matobo Hills)
  • Guided tour through the Matobo Hills 
  • Walking safaris 
  • Game drives (Matobo Hills (Matopas)National Park)
  • Guided tours of Bulawayo
  • Birding 
  • Sunset sundowners in the National Park
  • Swimming
  • Rates exclude museum and monument fees
Sign Post

Nearby Attractions

  • Matobo Hills National Park
  • Cecil John Rhodes grave and ‘View of the World’
  • Bulawayo (40 mins) – Natural History Museum, Art Gallery, Railway Museum, and Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre
  • Tshabalala Game Sanctuary (36 kms from Big Cave on the Matopas road towards Bulawayo)
  • Khami Ruins (22 kms from Bulawayo on Old Khami Road)
  • Maleme Dam


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Ancient ruinsArt galleryBirdingBungy jumpingCharity projectsCultural village visitsCity toursCurio shopsCrocodile farm visitDivingElephant ridesFishingFlying Fox (Vic Falls)Game viewingGuided bush walkingGolfGorge swing (Vic Falls)Helicopter flightsHouse boating (Kariba)
Horseback ridingHiking – Organised toursLocal sculpture and carvingsLocal musicMuseumsNatural history museumRailway museumPlants (flora)PhotographyRock formationsSan bushmen paintingSafari drivesSnorkellingSwimmingSunset river cruiseTownship toursUltralight flightWalking with lionsWhite water rafting