Sandwiched between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers in southern Africa, Zimbabwe can certainly lay claim to being in just the right spot for any prospective safari-goer. Several tourist experiences, from wildlife encounters to adventure excursions, will fill up any travel itinerary. It is a varied landscape that stretches across the country. Mountains, hills, and outcrops are scattered like beacons with Mount Nyangani at 2,593 meters the highest, offering views as far as 70 kilometres on a clear day.
Visitors won’t want for anything more from a safari, with more than 20 protected wilderness areas to visit. In the northwest of the country, the indomitable Victoria Falls tumbles more than a hundred meters to the bottom. Further north lies the famed Mana Pools, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the biggest national park, Hwange, where herds of elephant roam, occupying the west of the country. Zimbabwe is home to a great number of ancient city ruins. The most famous is, of course, the Great Zimbabwe ruins while sites at Khami, Dhlo-Dhlo, and Naletale can also be visited.
It takes a roundabout way to travel to Zimbabwe with flights via other cities in the region to the capital Harare, Bulawayo, or even straight to Victoria Falls. Because of political turmoil in recent years, it is wise to check travel advisories before travellers depart from their home countries.
Whether observing wildlife from the comfort of a game-drive vehicle, adrenaline-pumping through the veins while cascading down a river, or stepping back in time amid the remnants of yesteryear, Zimbabwe offers the full experience. Visitors can opt for anything from traditional safaris in national parks like Hwange and Lower Zambezi, to gliding along in a canoe in Mana Pools. Additionally, travellers can marvel at the “The Smoke That Thunders” on foot or admire the Victoria Falls from a helicopter vantage point. For adrenaline junkies, the choices are endless. Bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, zip-lining, and even attempting the flying fox are just some of the activities on offer.
Watersport lovers and keen fishermen with a tiger fish or two in their sights, shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend some quality time on Lake Kariba, the largest manmade lake in the world. For those more culturally inclined, discovering the Great Zimbabwe Ruins is a must.
When picking Zimbabwe as a safari destination, visitors are spoilt for choice thanks to a collective approach to conservation between the government and private sector. Together, 10 national parks, nine recreational parks, four safari areas, three sanctuaries, and four botanical gardens form the Wildlife Estate that encompasses around 47,000 square kilometres. The jewel among these protected wilderness areas is unquestionably Hwange National Park, which boasts an abundance of wildlife for excellent game viewing. Best known for its large elephant herds, the rest of the Big 5 can also be spotted.
An overabundance of common and unique species can be observed in the other national parks and reserves like Mana Pools, Gonarezho, Zambezi, and Matusadona. These include buffalo, southern giraffe, leopard, lion, plains zebra, African palm civet, suni, southern white rhino, yellow-backed duiker, striped polecat, yellow mongoose, and short-snouted elephant shrew. The bateleur is the national bird of Zimbabwe and only one of over 680 species that glide across this southern African nation. Additionally, 10 species are globally threatened, as well as two species that were introduced into the country. Birders can also tick off various flamingos, swifts, lapwings, hawks, and eagles on their bird list.
Zimbabwe is a well-established tourism destination and thus caters for every type of visitor and every budget—from ultra-luxurious lodges and hotels to tented camps and rustic camping facilities. There are even houseboats available for rent, complete with butler service. Given the volatile economic situation in the country, it is advisable to check before departure on whether Zimbabwe dollars or US dollars are in circulation.
Zimbabwe is a good destination to visit all year round. Seasonal rain can be expected between December and March, while the period from June to November is considered the dry season. The months of April and May are considered as the shoulder season. Optimum wildlife viewing takes place between June and November, with moderate day temperatures. A visit to Victoria Falls is most spectacular between April and May, while those interested in whitewater rafting should aim for any time between August and December.
|Time Zone||GMT +2 (CAT)|
|Language||English, Ndebele and Shona|
|Power||Plug D and G & 240V/50Hz|
|Dress Code||Neutral for Safaris|
|Wi-Fi||Most lodges have Wi-Fi|
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Zimbabwe is a good destination to visit all year round. Between December and March, the country experiences seasonal rain, while dry season occurs between June and November—the ideal months for game viewing.
Zimbabwe offers various accommodation options, catering for every discerning traveller. The country boasts a well-established tourism sector, provides easy access to modern facilities and services. Accommodation options range from luxury lodges and hotels to tented camps and rustic camping sites.
Visitors to Zimbabwe require a valid passport, a visa, proof of a return ticket, and adequate funds to cover the intended stay. Visas can be obtained at the airport or from any consulate in the traveller’s country of origin.
It is always important to take into consideration the possible health risks when travelling to Africa. There are various tropical diseases in many African countries, so vaccinations for the most common risks are recommended. However, travellers should always check with their local Travel Clinic. Vaccinations for the following are usually recommended: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, malaria, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR),
In some places, tap water is fine to drink, while in other places, travellers should boil or purify the water. Bottled water is readily available, and is the better option when travelling in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is a fantastic destination for family-friendly safari experiences. There are a host of options for everyone, including fun and adventurous activities for children.
This really depends on the type of safari experience travellers are looking for. Walking safaris can sometimes require a certain level of fitness, while guided game drives are ideal for any level of fitness.
Most tour operators and travel agents will recommend purchasing travel insurance before arriving in Zimbabwe. Most plans include emergency air evacuation if visitors are travelling to remote areas of the country. We advise that visitors talk to their travel consultant before travelling.
As a general rule, travellers opting to self-drive in Zimbabwe should always carry their driving license/international driving permit, registration documents, and insurance documents. Cars drive on the left side of the road.
Always be respectful towards the culture. While there are a few different cultural and religious beliefs, a large population of Zimbabweans have modernized their traditions. However, there are certain traditions that remain, such as slightly bowing when greeting, giving or receiving a gift with both hands, not raising your voice to elders, and dressing conservatively.