Reviews of Amalinda
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Amalinda was excellent. Rooms built into hillside incorporating rocks. Very hospitable. Great meals.
Visited Khami ruins on way from Bulawayo, which were excellent. Only visitors at site. Recommend the longer walk to get full appreciation of the site.
Day trip to Great Zimbabwe was long - very early start. The site is really worthwhile. Very few visitors.
Matopos is a beautiful National Park. Wildlife somewhat limited, though we did (briefly) see rhino.
Rock Art and Great Zimbabwe
Apart from the better than average likelihood of Rhinos, i think the rock art and Gt Zim are the highlights for Amalinda.
Doing Gt Zim as a day trip is hard, especially for the guide, but for the guests too. That said, staying overnight adds a fair amount of additional expense and (according to Paul Hubbard) in pretty average hotels. But if money isn't a problem, then having more time at Gt Zim and easier travelling over two days would be welcome.
These travellers booked a private guide here, Paul Hubbard, and they commented:
Paul Hubbard is clearly a top guide with excellent knowledge on the archaeology and culture of Zimbabwe and particularly around the Motopos. This undoubtedly enhanced our experience significantly.
Having Paul for the two full days activities was the requirement and was great. I'm not sure that having him for the airport collection and an afternoon walk added quite as much value. Please note - this is not a reflection on Paul, but on how we, and others, might structure their holiday with cost in mind.
Not long enough at Camp Amalinda
We loved Camp Amalinda. We were given Room 10 which was very spacious and set around a huge boulder. The showers in the bathroom area were excellent and very hot. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of extra seating both inside and outside the room.
We had booked Paul Hubbard as our private guide for our stay and had the most amazing time with him. We stayed out in the National Park both days. Day one we took an extended walk to Nswatugi Cave to see the rock art and after another long and very enjoyable walk through the Park back to the vehicle, we drove to World's View to the site of Cecil Rhodes' grave. We had the entire site to ourselves and had a very pleasant time drinking sundowners while watching the sunset and listening to Paul talk about the history relating to Matabeleland.
Day two we spent the morning 'boulder bashing' in another part of the Park. The boulder scenery is stunning and we had great fun with Paul climbing up and down the huge domed granite rocks, many of which were covered in a beautiful yellow lichen. In the afternoon we went rhino-tracking. A Parks ranger accompanies you and within a short time we had found the dominant male white rhino and then later on a white female with her calf. On both sightings we were able to get very close to the rhino on foot.
We were the only guests initially at camp and a special mention must go to Colin, our young host, and Zeph, the barman/waiter who has been with Amalinda over 20 years. We were extremely well looked after by both of them and they were a pleasure to spend time with.
We could have spent at least a couple of more days in Matopos looking at other rock art caves and walking further in the Park, and we would definitely recommend booking Paul as your guide.
Set in the Matobo Hills this is an excellent lodge where Billy, the manager, takes excellent care of all his guests.
Our guide Kevin was tireless in his efforts to find rhino for us - on one occasion haring up a kopje with his binoculars to try to view any movements from on high. Just before dusk he found a magnificent male white rhino and we were able to approach it on foot within 50 yards. Magical!
Thrilled with our room which we suspect was the best! (room 10). Service was somewhat haphazard but always very friendly. Had interesting fellow guests from different countries which added to our enjoyment.
Guiding: first class visit to cave paintings in a morning and Cecil Rhodes grave in the pm of one of our days. Paul Hubbard was an exceptional guide and a mine of information. (Thanks Nick!).
A unique and fascinating camp.
very different to camp hwange
The weather has a big effect on the availability of game and the tourists attitude, so a drop of 20degC from 40 in Hwange to 20 in Matopos is bound to colour my comments and the staff at Amalinda were very good but they suffered in comparison with Camp Hwange. It felt more like a"commercial organisation" which was relying a little too much on the funky chalets built into the rocks, which had their problems particularly when the power failed in the dark. Game viewing was O.K. but because of the temperature we didn't see Rhino until the 11th hour.
Enjoyable but if I had to miss out on something this would be my choice.
Everything about this stay was excellent, except we had a thieving mouse who stole the early morning flapjack biscuits and our soap!!
The guides and staff were superb, so was food and service. The location and ambience were wonderful.
Our visit to the orphanage was eye opening and game drives and rock paintings were excellent.
Electric blankets were a nice touch, as it was cold in the early morning. We were sad to leave?
This park is a bit devoid of mammal species due to the poaching activities some years ago. We were told populations were slowly re-establishing.
A broad and rewarding experience
We wanted to do something which was a bit different to the 'normal' safari experience and, in a very positive way, Amalinda provided just that.
First, the Matopo Hills are scenically very beautiful and worth a visit for this alone.
Second, one of our main reasons for going was to see some of the cave paintings. We were really impressed by the paintings; and, in Amalinda's Paul Hubbard, had the best possible guide. Paul also impressed us with his more recent historical knowledge. Paul's (wet afternoon) lecture on the early white incursion into what became Rhodesia and reflections when we visited Rhodes's grave were both highly informative and entertaining; and we were delighted that he devoted an afternoon to take us round the Bulawayo museum, which is well worth a visit.
In between the cultural activities, we had some good birding and were delighted to find white rhinos during our stay.
The camp itself is well run by Priscilla, Billy and the team.
Motobo Hills, Camp Amalinda
Fantastic room with wonderful views.
Made welcome on arrival by pool after a long journey from Harare.
Howard, our guide was excellent and infinitely patient. Cannot speak too highly of his knowledge and skills.
A cave with a view
We booked 4 nights because we thought there it would provide a wide range of experiences. We weren't wrong! The camp is set in an amazing location in the Matopos Hills. Most of the rooms are folded into the granite rocks. We had one of the honeymoon suites (again!). We had to squeeze through a crack in the rocks which opened out to the pathway to our large cave house that had a veranda and a swinging walkway to a gazebo looking out over the hills. It was just the best place to relax, remember our place in the grand scheme of things, and learn something about the culture of Zimbabwe.
The camp staff were great - very kind and efficient - and we were lucky to have Paul Hubbard as our guide during the stay who is a real expert not just on Matopos but on archaeology and the history of the area generally. He took us into the Matopos National Park to look at some amazing cave paintings; to see Rhodes grave; and to visit a rural school and children's home and was a generous and friendly companion. We didn't go on game drives here but the white rhino are nearby.
The camp was a great place just to hang. It has a good library, a lovely natural swimming pool, and an interesting mix of guests. We'd really recommend it.