Destinations

Zimbabwe

Combine big game, walking expeditions and a dash of adventure for a perfectly authentic safari.

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Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is like a bright phoenix, its wildlife arising out of a rocky past to once again become one of Africa's top safari attractions. The home of the great Victoria Falls in the north, the wild and beautiful Hwange National Park, serene Mana Pools, and pristine, unexplored tracts of land in the south and east, a Zimbabwe safari is for travellers looking for a touch of adventure. Safe to say, everyone who visits Zim returns raving about the friendly people, beautiful scenery and incredible, off-the-beaten-track wildlife experiences, so we suggest you go there now, before more people catch on…


Why you'll love it

You can’t really sum up the magic of Zimbabwe in one sentence, but one thing that really stands out on a safari here is the quality of the guides, their warmth, friendliness and knowledge – one of the best ingredients of any safari, we’re sure you’ll agree!


Off the beaten track

It’s certainly not rustic, but for something a little different, don your glad rags and travel in serious style from Pretoria to Victoria Falls on Rovos Rail's luxury train. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife in Hwange on the way – few people can say they’ve seen an elephant from a train, that’s for sure.


Something to think about

Since 1999, Zimbabwe has been plagued by unrest and dubious politics, and tourism has suffered badly. Today, it’s more than on the up (and probably one of the safest places to travel), so don’t let its bad reputation put you off.

When to go

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity varies throughout the month and there is a 1 in 2 chance of rain, although it usually falls at night.
  • The Zambezi River's water levels begin to increase, improving the Victoria Falls spectacle.
  • White water rafting is good at this time of year particularly in the first half of the month.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

February

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity is unpredictable and rain falls regularly but usually at night.
  • The water level of the Zambezi River continue to climb, enhancing the Victoria Falls spectacle.
  • Take advantage of the Victoria Falls spectacle with an aerial view from either a light aircraft, helicopter or a micro light.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity has dropped and rain is falling only a couple of afternoons a week.
  • The Zambezi River water levels are nearing or at their peak, providing views of Victoria Falls at its most impressive.
  • A great time to fly over the falls in either a micro light, helicopter or a light aircraft, offering a unique aerial look at this natural wonder.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are high but comfortable, with little to no humidity, cloudy skies and rain is still a possibility.
  • The water level of the Zambezi should be at its peak, showcasing Victoria Falls in all her glory.
  • Take advantage of the Victoria Falls spectacle with an aerial view from either a light aircraft, helicopter or a micro light.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

May

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures begin to cool with the onset of the dry season, rain is unlikely.
  • The Zambezi River is near its peak but starting to recede, providing breathtaking views of Victoria Falls.
  • Water level dependent, visit 'The Angel's Armchair', a pool on the edge of Victoria Falls providing high excitement for those looking to get a little closer to the drop off.
  • A great time to fly over the falls in either a micro light, helicopter or a light aircraft, offering a unique aerial look at this natural wonder.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

June

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are warm and comfortable with little to no chance of rain, potential for morning frosts.
  • Victoria Falls provides incredible spectacle, with the Zambezi River level still being high.
  • Water level dependent, visit 'The Angel's Armchair', a pool on the edge of Victoria Falls providing high excitement for those looking to get a little closer to the drop off.
  • Take advantage of the Victoria Falls spectacle with an aerial view from either a light aircraft, helicopter or a micro light.
  • Enjoy the intensifying game densities along the water's edge with a boat, canoeing or horse riding safari.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

July

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are warm and comfortable with little to no chance of rain, potential for morning frosts.
  • The Zambezi River level is slowly dropping but still high enough to inspire awe and wonderment at Victoria Falls.
  • Water level dependent, visit 'The Angel's Armchair', a pool on the edge of Victoria Falls providing high excitement for those looking to get a little closer to the drop off.
  • A great time to fly over the falls in either a micro light, helicopter or a light aircraft, offering a unique aerial look at this natural wonder.
  • Take advantage of the peak game densities along the water's edge with a boat, canoeing or horse riding safari.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

August

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures begin to heat up but are still comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • The Zambezi River waters have receded somewhat but still offer impressive spectacle.
  • Water level dependent, visit 'The Angel's Armchair', a pool on the edge of Victoria Falls providing high excitement for those looking to get a little closer to the drop off.
  • Take advantage of the Victoria Falls spectacle with an aerial view from either a light aircraft, helicopter or a micro light.
  • Enjoy a boat, canoe or horse riding safari, with game viewing at its peak along the water's edge.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

September

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are high with relative humidity, there is little chance of rain.
  • The last opportunity to experience Victoria Falls before the full extent of the dry season sets in.
  • Water level dependent, visit 'Devil's pool', a rock pool on the edge of Victoria Falls providing high excitement for those looking to get a thrill closer to the drop off.
  • Zambezi River rafting is approaching its best, but can get busy, so book early.
  • Experience wildlife densities along the water's edge at their peak, with a boat, canoeing or horse riding safari.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

October

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are at their hottest, with humidity reaching an all year high before the fall of the first rains, usually towards the end of the month.
  • Victoria Falls does not offer the same spectacle during this month, with water levels low and in dry years, the fall's can dry up altogether.
  • Water level dependent, visit 'Devil's pool', a rock pool on the edge of Victoria Falls providing high excitement for those looking to get a thrill closer to the drop off.
  • Zambezi River rafting is at its best, with exciting rapids and drop-offs, be sure to book early and beat the crowds.
  • Take advantage of the peak game densities along the water's edge with a boat, canoeing or horse riding safari.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot and humid for the first half of November, becoming less intense with the increase of rain throughout the month.
  • Victoria Falls does not offer the same spectacle during this month, with water levels low and in dry years, the fall's can dry up altogether.
  • Water level dependent, visit 'Devil's pool', a rock pool on the edge of Victoria Falls providing high excitement for those looking to get a thrill closer to the drop off.
  • Zambezi River rafting is at its best, with exciting rapids and drop-offs, increasing the thrill factor.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot with unpredictable humidity levels and high evening rainfall is to be expected.
  • After the dry season, the Zambezi River water levels begin to increase in late December, improving the Victoria Falls spectacle.
  • Water level dependent, visit 'Devil's pool', a rock pool on the edge of Victoria Falls providing high excitement for those looking to get a thrill closer to the drop off.
  • The rapids and drop-offs provide high excitement for river rafting down the Zambezi at this time of year.
  • Partake in the numerous adventure activities like bungee jumping, jet-boating, quad biking or zip lining.

Need to know

Getting there

Zimbabwe has two major international airport; Victoria Falls (VFA) and Harare (HRE). These are the hubs for most airlines arriving from the US and Europe. There are various domestic airports and airfields connecting all major towns and safari destinations, and to other destinations in Africa.
Depending on your arrival time you may have to overnight before catching your connecting flight to your first safari camp the next day.

International flights
We would recommend booking your flights online in order to get the best rates. If you need any help or advice please let us know.

Domestic flights and transfers
Connecting between all the locations on your trip may necessitate a variety of modes: light aircraft charters, domestic commercial flights and road transfers. Please review the inclusions and exclusions on your specific trip page for details. If you need help understanding the best flights to book, please let us know.

From the moment that you land in Zimbabwe you will be greeted and assisted to your onward connections. You will be looked after from that point on until you are transferred back to the airport in time for your departure flight.

Health

Please consult your personal physician and/or a travel clinic preferably 6 weeks prior to your departure. Vaccine requirements vary based on your country of origin and your travel itinerary and your previous vaccination history. It is best to consult with your physician or the CDC website for guidelines.

Important vaccinations to consider and which may either be required or recommended are: Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B and Cholera, among others. Please always carry your "International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)" (or "Yellow Card") with you.

Malaria
We advise that you consult a medical practitioner at least six weeks prior to travel. Malaria is present in most areas of Zimbabwe and is considered high risk, including Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park. The highest risk of transmission is during the rainy season from October to May. It is strongly advisable to take malaria prophylactics before, during and after your visit if you are visiting a known malarial region. Please consult a medical professional regarding which prophylactics will be suitable for you.

In addition to the recommendations of your travel clinic or physician, you may also consider the following proactive preventative measures:

● Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Recommended repellents contain 20-35% DEET but it is a very virulent repellent, and should be used cautiously.
● Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants at dawn and dusk, as well as closed shoes.
● Use a mosquito net if your tent or room isn't screened or air-conditioned; and spray insecticide or burn a mosquito coil before going to bed.

If you come down with flu-like symptoms either during or within four to six weeks after your visit to a malaria area, seek a doctor's advice immediately and let him/her know that you have been in a malaria area.

You can also visit www.malaria.org.za for more information.

Yellow Fever
There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Zimbabwe; however, vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission (e.g. Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or elsewhere worldwide). This requirement can change unexpectedly, therefore, we recommend carrying a Yellow Fever card with you at all times.

Insurance
It is a condition of booking that you carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself, as well as any dependents/travelling companions for the duration of your trip. This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:

Compulsory Insurance:
a. Emergency evacuation expenses
b. Medical expenses
c. Repatriation expenses

Recommended Insurance:
a. Cancellation or curtailment of trip
b. Damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods

Communication
Zimbabwe country code: +263

Calling overseas from Zimbabwe:
From a landline dial 00 followed by the country code plus area code and number.
e.g. USA: 00 1 910 795 1048

When calling from a cell phone dial + prefix followed by the country code plus area code and number. e.g. USA: + 1 910 795 1048

Visas

As a general precaution, we recommend you make several copies of your travel-related documents (passport, traveller’s cheques, credit cards, itinerary, airline tickets, insurance cover, visas, etc). Leave one set at home, and bring another set with you, and place it in a location separate from your originals.

Generally speaking, most nationalities do not require a visa to enter Zimbabwe. Passports MUST be valid for at least six months from your departure from Zimbabwe to home. There must be at least TWO (we recommend four) consecutive blank VISA pages in the passport (not endorsement pages). Zimbabwe’s immigration control is very strict, and is known to deny entry to those not meeting the requirements.

Visa requirements change regularly and it is best to contact your local Zimbabwean embassy regarding the most recent rules. Visa Central is also a good resource.

Money
The currency we would recommend using in Zimbabwe is the US dollar. You can convert money to USD at a bank or Forex Bureau prior to departure. When in Zimbabwe, you can withdraw from a bank or ATM, which are widely available in the larger airports and towns. Please check with your bank for charges and advice when using international ATMs. The ATM's do occasionally run dry, so have some cash handy just in case. VISA and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards. American Express has limited to no coverage. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops, stalls and gas stations. IMPORTANT: When bringing in foreign currency (e.g. USD, GBP, EUR), be sure to have the new format with no damage or marks.

What to pack

Climate
The weather in Zimbabwe is generally pleasant throughout the year with warm to hot days, and cool to warm nights. November to April are the summer months (which is the rainy season), while winter is from May to August (which usually brings dry weather). September and October are very hot and very dry. The winter months from May to August inclusive, can bring freezing temperatures (below 0°C sometimes) in the early morning and evenings.

Dress Code
Conservative casual clothing is acceptable throughout Zimbabwe, though it is recommended that revealing clothing be avoided. Camouflage clothing is not recommended for travel in southern African countries (camouflage or military-inspired clothing is prohibited when travelling in Zimbabwe).

When on safari, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you, as well as a warmer jacket or fleece for the colder evenings. A hat is also a must have! Bright and dark colours like yellow, red and purple are discouraged, or sometimes not allowed (on a bush walk) if you are going on safari.

What to Pack
Preparation and packing for any holiday is important but never more so than when you visit remote areas in Africa. Once on safari you will find it very hard to pick up that odd item you thought your partner had packed! What follows is by no means an exhaustive list but is designed to point you in the right direction.

• Layers - long and short sleeve shirts and trousers
• A warm fleece or jumper
• A lightweight waterproof jacket
• Comfortable but sturdy shoes
• Flip-flops
• Swimming costume (Bathing suit)
• A hat or baseball cap
• Sunglasses
• Sunscreen – a must!
• Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap
• A small torch
• Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment
• A good pair of Binoculars (8x40/8x42 is recommended)
• Books or a fully loaded Kindle / iPad for siesta time

Most camps and lodges will have a small medical and first aid kit, but we recommend bringing your own supply of essentials - cough medicine, plasters, vitamins, aspirin and paracetamol, and anything else you use on a regular basis.

Camera Equipment (for the enthusiasts)
• A telephoto lens (200/300mm)
• Flash and fast film (400 ASA) for night photography
• Lots of film (64,100,200,400 ASA) if using an SLR camera
• Spare memory cards for digital cameras
• Camera cleaning equipment and a good dust proof bag
• Bring spare batteries as although you may recharge your batteries at the camps, charging capacity can be limited

Luggage
Please check with your airlines for the specific luggage restrictions relevant to your flight schedule. Many international airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kgs or more per person and commercial airlines generally permit two (2) pieces of checked luggage per person. The carry-on bag must be of such dimensions and weight as set by the airlines.

Luggage Restrictions on Internal Flights
Please be advised that on light aircraft flights, luggage is limited to one SOFT duffle bag per person with a maximum weight of 15kg/33 lbs. No hardshell bags are permitted.

Electricity
In Zimbabwe, the standard voltage is 230 V, the frequency is 50 Hz and current and outlets are square 3-pin plugs. You can use your electric appliances in Zimbabwe, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 - 240V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa). If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100 V - 127V (as is in the US, Canada and most South American countries), you will need a voltage converter in Zimbabwe.

Gratuities
Gratuities are not compulsory or expected; rather it is a reward for excellent service. If you are pleased with the service you receive, you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff. Tipping is usually done at the end of your stay. You may tip the staff individually, give the tip to the manager to distribute or do both. Tips can be made in USD, GBP or EUR.

Gratuities suggestions:
Safari Camp lead guide: $10 - $15 per person per day
Transfer drivers (e.g. in cities or between airport and hotel/lodge): $2 per person per transfer
Porter: $1 per bag
Ranger or any “ancillary” guides on ad-hoc basis for a specific activity: $3 - $5 per person per activity
General Camp staff (put in a central box in each camp’s main area): $7 - $10 per person per day
Waitstaff in a city restaurant: 10%-15% (large group may incur automatic service charge, please check)

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