Victoria Falls is an awe-inspiring sight along the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe. One of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, the magnificent falls was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ or ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Columns of spray are visible high in the air from far away, and during the height of the rainy season, more than 500 million cubic metres of water plummets over the edge every minute over a width of nearly two kilometres, into a gorge over one hundred metres below; It is truly a sight to behold. The neighbouring Zambezi National Park is located upstream of the falls, stretching for some 50 kilometres along the Zambezi River. The park is little known despite its proximity to the falls; however, with 560 square kilometres of pristine wilderness and wildlife, it is also a destination in itself.
While it is tempting to rush off to your safari destinations, it is worth hanging around this dynamic capital. Filled with wide avenues that are lined with dusty red earth, Harare has no shortage of museums, craft markets and fine dining options. The indigenous plants and blooming jacarandas dotted around the city also give the city a unique and stunning summertime feel.
Wide tree-lined avenues, parks and charming colonial architecture make charming Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, an ideal staging point for Hwange National Park. Bulawayo is also the gateway to Matobo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to some of the most majestic granite formations in the world. Matobo has about 3,000 registered rock-art sites, including one of the best collections of ancient San paintings in the world. The aptly named World’s View, or Malindidzimu Hills, offers a sense of immense peacefulness among the giant boulders teetering on top of one another; it’s no wonder its spiritual quantity is considered sacred to the Ndebele people.
Sharing a border with Botswana, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's largest game park with varying scenery and terrain, ranging from the semi-desert scrub on the edge of the Kalahari in the south, to forests, granite hills and valleys of mopane woodlands in the north. The national park is home to over 100 mammal species including lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and sable antelope, and is also known for its large population of elephants. The best time to visit is during the dry season from June to October when large densities of wildlife congregate around the park's watering holes. The private concessions within the park are truly wild areas where animals continue to trek their ancient migratory routes.
Located along the Zambezi River on the low-lying floodplains of Africa's Great Rift Valley, Mana Pools National Park is Zimbabwe’s second World Heritage Site. The area offers extraordinary game viewing and remarkable scenery with the mountains of the Rift Valley forming a picturesque backdrop. The name ‘Mana’ means ‘four’ in the local Shona language, referring to the four large pools inland from the Zambezi River. The park has an important population of lions, wild dogs, hippos and crocodiles, and is a favourite of large herds of elephants that come out to drink on the banks of the Zambezi. It is also famous for its multi-day canoe safaris; time to get your feet wet (so to speak).
Matusadona National Park is flanked by gorgeous Lake Kariba in the north, and two perennial rivers, the Ume and the Sanyati. Proclaimed a national park in 1975, it was once a conservation stronghold for elephants and black rhinos, and a sought-after tourism destination before succumbing to neglect. In late 2019, African Parks, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, signed a 20-year agreement to manage this remote and rugged park and restore its stunning and unique landscape to its former glory.
Located in Zimbabwe's southeast is Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, a remote and undiscovered area which offers spectacular game viewing. Meaning ‘Call of the Leopard’, Malilangwe is a 50,000-hectare private reserve with healthy populations of lions, buffaloes, leopards and elephants, and is one of the few havens for both black and white rhinos in Africa. The reserve is managed by a non-profit trust, which works hand in hand with the local communities and provides improved healthcare, education and a major source of livelihood for everyone in the region.
Located in the country’s southeast, this national park spans just over 5,000 square kilometres and boasts iconic sceneries such as Chiojo Cliffs, wide meandering rivers and extensive woodlands. The park’s reputation as a premier destination is also well-regarded as it’s home to over 11,000 elephants, making this an unbeatable location to spot the beautiful creatures.
The city was the heart of a thriving trading empire from the 11th to the 15th centuries, and the word Zimbabwe, is actually derived from a Shona word, meaning ‘stone houses’.
Zimbabwe is a resilient nation and its tourism and safari industries are driven by well-established operators who have navigated the country's longstanding economic challenges, ensuring safe, authentic and unforgettable safari experiences for all its visitors.
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