Destinations

Zimbabwe

Nestled between two of Africa's great rivers, the mighty Zambezi to the north and the tranquil Limpopo to the South, Zimbabwe is big game country harbouring some of Africa's largest herds. It is also home to one of the natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. The guides here are among the best in Africa, and even throughout challenging political periods since the turn of the century, Zimbabwe has continued to provide world-class safaris and it remains one of the friendliest and safest destinations in Africa.
A land blessed with abundant natural beauty
2017 was a historic year for Zimbabwe when peaceful protests encouraged former dictator Robert Mugabe to step down after 37 years in power. Tourism in Zimbabwe is currently going through a long overdue renaissance, and its elephants and other wildlife have benefitted immensely from the dramatic increase in visitors. With world-class national parks, the country harbours immense herds of wildlife and offers excellent game viewing. The mighty Zambezi River boasts an exceptional variety of wonderful scenery and water activities, and the views from the Zimbabwe side of the majestic Victoria Falls is also more expansive, allowing visitors to really take in the glorious views of the largest waterfall in the world.
 
Gateways to the Zimbabwean wilderness
Zimbabwe's international airports offer convenient international flights and connections, with frequent scheduled flights between Victoria Falls and Harare, its two major gateways. Onward travel to the national parks is via private or scheduled charter flights.

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.

Where the wild things are
Zimbabwe supports the second largest population of elephants, important and growing populations of lions and wild dogs and many other iconic species.

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.

Ancient Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe is an extensive stone ruin of an African Iron Age city. Situated in the southeast of the country, the central area of ruins extends about 200 acres, and it is estimated that the area and its surrounding valleys supported a Shona population of 10,000 to 20,000.

​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.

DID YOU KNOW?

Africa is believed by most scientists to be the cradle for both humans and great apes. The earliest remains of the modern human species, Homo Sapiens, have been found in Ethiopia and date to roughly 200,000 years ago. In 1974, the skeleton of 'Lucy', a hominid who lived approximately 3.2 million years ago and has been considered a common ancestor to the human family, was discovered in Ethiopia.

 

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