A Country of Culture & Colour
Zimbabwe is not only rich in wildlife and nature experiences, but it’s bursting with African culture and its people are known for being some of the friendliest in the world.
Experience the hustle and bustle of the local markets, the thrill of walking in the wild and explore one of the greatest wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe offers more than just a safari getaway – it offers a true and authentic African adventure.
Wildlife & National Parks
Zimbabwe has many National Parks scattered throughout the country and we’re sharing our top three. Mana Pools is situated in the northern region of Zimbabwe known for its walking and canoeing safaris. This remote wilderness is home to the big-five and not only offers incredible game viewing but also many photographic opportunities for the wildlife and landscape enthusiast.
Hwange National Park is the largest protected park in Zimbabwe located just a two-hour drive from Victoria Falls. Home to over 100 different mammal species, over 400 bird species, and one of the most spectacular concentrations of tusker elephants in the world, the total elephant population is over 40,000 strong in Hwange.
Matobos National Park sprawls over 44,000 hectares and its landscape is like no other. Balancing rock formations, undulating domes and rocky spires have been created by weathering and erosion of the solid granite plateau over millions of years, the parks terrain makes for a hiker’s paradise. Matobos has a vast array of wildlife to see and is known for its well protected population of both black and white rhinos.
Victoria Falls / Zambezi River
One of the seven wonders of the world Victoria falls is on the bucket list of many and offers many ways to explore this waterfall wonder, from helicopter rides to river rafting.
Victoria Falls was named after Queen Victoria by the first European explorer - David Livingston. However, before that and still today locally, the falls are known to be The Smoke That Thunders and is named “Mosi-oa-Tunya” by the Makololo tribe.
The Falls waterfall wouldn’t exist without the mighty Zambezi River feeding thousands of cubic meters of water over it every day. The Zambezi River is the 4th largest river in Africa, spanning some 1 400 000 square kilometers and travelling 2 700 kilometers from its source in Zambia to the river mouth on the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.
Take a sunset river cruise or fish for ferocious tiger fish in the Zambezi waters.
Harare & Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Zimbabwe’s capital Harare is not only the gateway to the country’s incredible wildlife destinations such as Mana Pools and Hwange, it’s a city with a colorful culture and has many attractions to see before you head off on safari. If you visit between September or October, you’ll see the bright purple blossoms of the jacaranda tree in full bloom. The city has many towering skyscrapers and also many spots of natural beauty such as the Botanical Gardens of Harare which has over 900 various species of tree and shrubbery to see.
A Unesco site covering almost 1,800 acres of land - The Great Zimbabwe is made up of complex ruins built by indigenous Africans which are believed to be the ancestors of modern Zimbabweans. There are three distinct architectural groupings known as the Hill Complex, the Valley Complex and the Great Enclosure these are formed of regular, rectangular granite stones which were carefully placed one upon the other. Dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, the intricate ruins were once the center of a vast kingdom known as the Munhumutapa Empire. These remarkable buildings have survived for seven centuries, the stone walls are up to 6 meters thick and 12 meters high with a section of wall running 60 meters long.
When to go
November – February: During this period the days are warm, with potential for light rain in the afternoons. The country however will be quiet, and this is one of the best times to head out on safari. This time of year is also ideal for bird- watching as many migratory and resident species can be seen.
March: This is one of the best times to visit Victoria Falls water level is perfect to see the unique gorges and geology of the area, and of course that famous rainbow spray.
April – May: The famous Mana Pools reopens, this World Heritage National Park is particularly famous for it’s walking safaris and spectacular game viewing. The seasonal rains end during this time and the landscape is left emerald green and bursting with life.
June – July: Temperatures begin to cool down, especially at night as winter sets in. June marks the return of many species to the Hwange waterholes. This is also the perfect time for photographers to make the most of the sunken hides for wildlife viewing before the parks get busier over the holiday period.
August – September: During these months the days are bright and clear, with hardly any cloud cover in the sky, however temperatures still fall at night, and wildlife sightings are continuous. This is also one of the busiest periods to visit the parks.
October: This month the days are heating up, with temperatures soaring to the late 30°Cs and early 40°Cs. Wildlife sightings are also at their peak as the dry season ends as life is drawn to water.
Hwange National Park
Mana Pools National Park
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Matobos National Park
Anti-malaria tablets are advisable as Zimbabwe is a malaria zone.
Carry insect repellant with you.
Learn the common phrases in the local language and about local culture, and respect cultural norms.
Drink Bottled Water.
Listen to Safety briefings for any game drives or bush walks.
Be wary when eating outside of high-end lodges as sometimes the quality of the meat and the way in which it has been prepared might not be suitable for a sensitive western stomach.
Those on safari should make sure they have enough cash to leave roughly USD $10-15 in tips per day for their ranger and around USD $5 per day for the back of house staff.
In Zimbabwe’s big cities, such as Harare, most items will have fixed prices in most shops and will not be up for negotiation. Stalls, markets and family-owned stores, however, tend not to have any price labels and it is here that you will be able to engage in a bit of bargaining.
The Zimbabwean Dollar was abandoned in 2009 and the country has now adopted a multi currency scheme using US Dollars and South African Rand.
Zimbabwe is essentially a cash-only society now with ATMs pretty useless for the foreigner and credit cards are only accepted in a handful of places.
Bring enough cash to cover your stay in Zimbabwe (in either USD or ZAR) especially in the smaller denominations (US$1-20 and ZAR10 - 200) as there is always a shortage of change and shopkeepers will often refuse larger bills.
Standard voltage is 220 volts. Primary sockets generally require the three round-pin varieties (type D and M) similar to South African sockets.
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