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Zimbabwe Country Guide

Take a walk on Zim's wild side

Zimbabwe’s political challenges and economic troubles have been well-documented over the years – but despite the upheavals, this serenely beautiful country has kept its tourist credentials firmly intact, thanks to its gracious and welcoming people, staggering landscapes and world-class, off-the-beaten-track wildlife experiences that will leave you wanting more. Not forgetting the country’s most iconic feature of course, the majestic Victoria Falls. With Vic Falls, the wild and scenic Hwange National Park, lush Mana Pools, spectacular Lake Kariba and pristine, unexplored tracts of land in the south and east, Zimbabwe is the perfect destination for travellers looking to unleash their adventurous side. To help you plan a thrilling trip to remember, we’ve put together a handy Zimbabwe Country Guide (you’re welcome). Just shout if you need further help!

Zimbabwe Country Guide

Victoria Falls

A natural, World Heritage-listed spectacle of the finest sort, Victoria Falls is an iconic sight to behold – no wonder ‘Vic Falls’, as they are affectionately known, are Zimbabwe’s (and neighbouring Zambia’s) number one tourist destination, and a must for our Zimbabwe Country Guide. Gushing over a 1.6 kilometre-long cliff before plunging into the Batoka Gorge, the sheer volume and force of the water will take your breath away. Explore it from all angles during spine-tingling walks and expect to be blown away by the majestic power of it all.

How do I do it?

With its own international airport, Victoria Falls is the perfect place to start or end a trip and can be used as a base point for just about any Zimbabwe safari. In fact, almost all of our Zimbabwe routes start or end in Vic Falls – simply have a look for the one that fits your travel style and add camps, lodges and locations to suit.

Where do I start? 

If this is your first visit to the country then our Ultimate Zimbabwe trip lets you dip your toes in the water(fall), so to speak. Victoria Falls will be the starting point of your adventure – get the adrenaline rushing through your veins with a helicopter flight or bungee jump, or stay more zen-like with a boat cruise along the Zambezi. You’ll then admire the enormous elephants at wildlife hotspot, Hwange National Park, followed by leisurely boat trips and canoe safaris on Lake Kariba.

Victoria Falls
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Zimbabwe Country Guide

Hwange National Park

One of the oldest national parks on the continent, and the largest in Zimbabwe at 14,650 square kilometres, Hwange’s forested woodlands, granite hills and sprawling valleys are home to a staggering amount of wildlife. The undoubted stars of the show however are the park’s elephants, and no wonder – an estimated 40 000 tuskers roam the park. Venture out on a walking safari with an experienced guide (Hwange’s are some of the best on the continent) for exhilarating up-close encounters.

How do I do it?  

The park is accessible by road transfer and can be reached from Vic Falls in about 1.5-2 hours, making the two a perfect pairing. Alternatively catch a short flight from Victoria Falls Airport to Hwange Airstrip, and you’ll be ready to immerse yourself in the park’s beautiful surroundings in no time.

Where do I start? 

Try a walking safari from firm favourite Davison’s Camp, or Somalisa Expeditions for a bush camp experience – or take things one step further and add on a stop in Zambia’s South Luangwa to really make the most of your walking adventure. Our trip, An Adventure in Zambia and Zimbabwe, will show you how to do it – both countries showcase what are some of the best walking safaris of the continent, followed by a traditional safari or canoe expedition in Mana Pools National Park.

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Zimbabwe Country Guide

Gonarezhou National Park

A genuine wilderness area with teeming wildlife and rugged, mostly unexplored landscapes, Zimbabwe’s second-largest park is a hidden gem that is tucked far away in the deep south on the border of Mozambique. Fully dedicated to conservation, the area is part of The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park – a 35,000 square kilometre area protecting wildlife corridors between Gonarehzou, Limpopo in Mozambique and Kruger in South Africa. The park is home to herds of majestic elephant, and an array of rainbow-coloured birdlife. And you’ll probably be the only people there to witness it all. Pure magic – and a no-brainer when it comes to our Zimbabwe Country Guide edit.

How do I do it?

The beauty of Gonarezhou is its remoteness and wilderness so as you can expect, it’s not the easiest spot to reach. Once you’re there though, you’ll appreciate that the difficulty keeps the hordes of tourists at bay, leaving you to experience the area at its quiet, pristine best. Only the hardiest of locals would ever consider driving though so we would always recommend flying to the local Gonarezhou Airstrip.

Where do I start? 

Our An Exploration of Southern Zimbabwe trip will take you on a thrilling journey through the Southern parts of the country, seamlessly weaving together scenic landscapes, phenomenal game viewing and the country’s rich history. Following time spent at Victoria Falls and Hwange, you’ll explore Matobo’s ancient rock art paintings and spiritual side, before heading to the rugged wilderness of Gonarehzou.

Gonarezhou
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Zimbabwe Country Guide

Mana Pools National Park

Next up on our Zimbabwe Country Guide list is this stunner of a park. Remote, wild, and brimming with a remarkable amount of game, Mana Pools most definitely deserves its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mighty Zambezi will lure you in for an epic canoe safari – floating along the river amongst herds of majestic elephant and harrumphing hippo is a tranquil yet totally thrilling way to wildlife-watch. The park is also renowned for its walking safaris – roam between acacia and mahogany trees to spot wild dog, buffalo and lion.

How do I do it?

You’ll find Mana Pools in the northern region of the country, on the southern banks of the Zambezi. 388km from Harare and far from any human settlement, it’s safe to say that flying is is easiest way to get here.

Where do I start? 

Amazingly, Mana Pools allows you to walk around on foot without a guide. Not that we’d recommend it – in fact, don’t even think about it, unless you are an expert who has already spent a considerable amount of time in the bush. Instead, book our trip Walking Safaris and Canoe Expeditions, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Following the obligatory visit to Vic Falls you’ll go on adventurous walkabouts in Hwange and a thrilling river-based safari (topped off with a little beach action in Mozambique). We also love the Mana Canoe Trail, an epic three night adventure travelling an impressive 65km through the beautiful wilderness of Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools and Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.

Mana Pools
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Zimbabwe Country Guide

Lake Kariba and Matusadona

One of the greatest, man-made lakes in the world, Kariba is a vast, shimmering spectacle on the edge of Matusadona National Park. Framed by the inky-black Matuzviadonha Mountains and surrounded by truly excellent game, this is a water-based safari destination of note. Home to the Big Five, huge herds of buffalo and elephant, endangered rhino and lion, you can go wild here by mixing rhino trekking with traditional and canoe safaris for an unforgettable adventure – and the dazzling sunsets are the cherry on top.

How do I do it? 

Matusadona lies 470km northwest of Harare and has two airstrips for those flying in to see this beautiful destination. Once you’ve landed, depending on where you’re staying, you will be transferred either by boat or road to your accommodation.

Where do I start?

The best way to see Matusadona’s wildlife is undoubtedly from the water – lucky then that there are a variety of water-based modes of transport to choose from. We rather like the Matusadona Luxury Safari Cruiser, a sleek, seven-person yacht that will take you from pods of hippo to prides of lion in one nautical mile. Add it to the Ultimate Zimbabwe trip and you’ll be ready for the Zim adventure of a lifetime.

Matusadona
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