While from a distance, Zimbabwe’s recent political and economic turbulence has negatively impacted the nation’s tourism industry, the situation on the ground is in stark contrast to that which is reported through our media networks. Zimbabwe’s by far one of the safest, welcoming and most breathtaking countries in Africa – and a must for the Safari connoisseur.
Exploring the remote wilderness of Zimbabwe
While Zimbabwe’s recent uncertainties have caused great concern to us all, the recent positive political changes are positioning Zimbabwe to blossom once again, propelling the country on its way to regain its deserved spot as a true great on the African safari circuit.
A safari journey to Zimbabwe will take you to the heart of southern Africa, through untouched landscapes, from the highveld to friendly towns, to exploring jungle-covered mountains on foot. With the right guide to show you the way, encounter first-hand the abundance of wildlife that can be found throughout this beautiful part of Southern Africa.
Here in Zimbabwe, you will have the opportunity to track the Big Five and the highly-endangered African wild dog, visit as many as five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and see first-hand a Natural Wonder of the World, Victoria Falls.
While most talk of Zimbabwe is of a country beset with political and economic difficulties, the truth remains: Zim, as it’s affectionately known by locals, is and always will be, one of the most rewarding and iconic safari destinations in Africa.
With more than 20% of its land protected in the form of national parks and game reserves, Zimbabwe is famed for offering an exceptional safari experience alongside some of the finest guides anywhere in Africa, for whom the training requirements are the most rigorous anywhere on the continent.
Detailed theory examinations aside, each guide is expected to undergo a two year apprenticeship before they can take the one week long practical examination. Given the unpredictable nature of game viewing when on safari, this training will manifest itself directly in the quality of your experience. When guided by an expert who knows the land from the inside out, the odds of getting up-close with wildlife and the legendary Big Five are stacked in your favour.
Friendly people, striking landscapes, leading range guides, abundant wildlife. A Zimbabwean Safari offers a multi-layered itinerary with an infinite amount of adventurous activities. Experience the thunderous roar from Victoria Falls, go on a walking safari in Mana Pools National Park, encounter elephants and wild dogs on a game drive in Hwange National Park or, for the brave and reckless, bungee-jump over the Zambezi River.
Where to explore
Mana Pools National Park
Stretching along the southern flank of the Zambezi River, Mana Pools is renowned for game-viewing on foot. When the floodplains recede following the annual rainy season, water sources reduce in size, condensing the areas wildlife who are in search of water. If you’re lucky, you may witness elephants on their hind legs, reaching up for their favourite pods from the acacia trees.
Victoria Falls, known by the locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya (“smoke that thunders”), is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. If you visit during the height of the rainy season, you’ll know the reason for this name. Following the annual rains, over 500 million litres of water can be seen cascading over the edge of the falls into the Zambezi River every minute.
The force of such immense volumes of water is a sight to behold, and a force to be felt, as the cascading torrents displace the surrounding air. A constant gust of wind and mist serves as a reminder this is one of nature’s greatest forces.
Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is one of the largest parks in Africa, covering nearly 15,000 square kilometres. The stunning biodiversity is reflected in the park’s population of over 400 bird species and over 100 species of mammal, including lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, giraffe and large packs of wild dogs. Hard to miss of course, is the parks undeniably high population of elephants, numbering approximately 45,000, ensuring a high likelihood of sighting this most iconic of species.
The granite plateau and the spiritual home of Zimbabwe, Matobo National Park is home to the highest concentration of ancient San rock-art sites in Africa. This hidden gem may not be on everyone’s radar but for those looking to further their understanding of Africa’s complex anthropological history, a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is something we are extremely keen to encourage.
Lake Kariba, the world’s largest man-made reservoir, is a fisherman’s dream and offers the perfect counterbalance to your time spent on safari. It is best experienced drifting along in a private houseboat, spending your days tiger-fishing, enjoying a sundowner while surrounded by hippopotamus and being watched by wildlife on the shore. For those keen to continue their wildlife watching from the vantage point of the lake, bird watching opportunities are extensive here with over 240 unique species.
The best time to visit Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe can be visited all year round. For higher chances of viewing wildlife on your safari, it’s best to visit Zimbabwe during the dry season – May to October – when animals gather around rivers and waterholes. Hwange is great during September and October for big herds of elephant. Visit Victoria Falls from May to September, directly after the region’s summer rains, when you will see the falls at their greatest volume.