Ancient civilizations, scenic landscapes, and wild game combine to produce exhilarating Zimbabwe safari experiences.
One popular must-see, must-visit is Victoria Falls. Christened Smoke That Thunders, this sheet of water plummets to produce a deafening sound, spraying water on spectators of this majestic wonder.
Other destinations include the sacred Chinhoyi Caves which has enchantingly beautiful pools, the vast Hwange National Park with its numerous elephant and buffalo herds, Matobo Hills with its balancing boulders, Zambezi River, lakes and other picturesque landscapes.
Even though it has had a tumultuous political environment, Zimbabwe continues to be a tourist magnet because Zimbabweans are extremely warm and hospitable. Moreover, most of Zimbabwe destinations are found outside of main cities which are usually safe.
Expect soul-stirring views of the misty Victoria Falls, history lessons from UNESCO World Heritage Sites and close encounters with wildlife.
Zimbabwe Safari Parks
Mana Pools National Park
Aquatic wildlife can be viewed at the Mana Pools National Park as well as elephants, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, Nile crocodiles, and hippos.
Each of the pools in this park was created by the Zambezi River as it changed course and they never dry up even in the dry seasons. This has made the park popular with mammals and birds alike.
Activities: Camping, walking safaris.
Hwange National Park
Situated between Victoria Falls and Bulawayo, Hwange National Park hosts all of Zimbabwe’s protected wildlife like the gemsbok and brown hyena.
That makes it one of the most animal populated parks in Africa with over 400 bird species and 100 mammal species, not to mention large elephant herds.
Due to its proximity to the Kalahari Desert, Hwange National Park receives minimal rainfall and is mostly inhabited by arid plants and woodlands such as the Zambezi Teak.
Activities: Camping, picnics, cultural visits in local villages, walking safaris, bird watching and game drives.
Matobo National Park
Plenty of hyenas, white rhinos, giraffes and other wild animals call Matobo National Park home as well as the hills that stretch for over 30 kilometers.
These hills, previously the abode of the San people, feature centuries-old rock paintings that make for a thrilling history lesson.
Matobo Hills are made of granite rock and were previously a Ndebele stronghold in the 19th Century but now host the graves of Cecil John Rhodes and the great Ndebele King, Mzilikazi.
Boulders tirelessly maintain their balancing act as baboons, legions of black eagles and wild cats coexist in this savage beauty.
Activities: Horseback safaris, camping, game drives and rock art exploration.
Gonarezhou National Park
If you are looking for a Zimbabwe safari destination that has minimal crowds, consider going for a game drive at Gonarezhou.
With the exception of Gonarezhou elephants which are very aggressive, other animals here are usually quite shy; they are not used to game vehicles.
It’s the second largest reserve in Zimbabwe and hosts the Big Five, the rare King Cheetah and Zambezi shark.
Filled with rivers, dense bush and baobab trees, Gonarezhou is considered sacred and visitors are encouraged to treat it with respect.
You will know you have arrived at Gonarezhou when you see the Runde River Valley and Chilojo Cliffs, which are made of red sandstone and formed through years of erosion.
Activities: Game viewing, camping and bird watching.
Things to do in Zimbabwe
- Bungee jumping, white water rafting and abseiling on Victoria Falls
- Take a boat cruise on Zambezi River
- Fishing trip on Lake Kariba
- Go lion trekking at Mana Pools National Park
- Hike and mountain bike on Nyanga Mountains
- Visit the Great Zimbabwe Ruins
- Dive into the 50m deep Sleeping Pool in Chinhoyi Caves
- Tour the Bulawayo Railway Museum
- Visit Nesbitt Castle for a walk through Bulawayo’s colonial history
- Get 360-degree views of Zimbabwe’s landscapes from Malindidzimu hill
Tourist attractions in Zimbabwe
The brown hyena is found within the scrublands of Zimbabwe and arid terrain of the Kalahari and is fiercely protected.
Unlike the spotted hyena, this creature is scruffy looking with long fur and tends to hunt solo.
A Zimbabwe safari will give you an opportunity to view this odd scavenger as well as the gemsbok.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khami Ruins was developed after the city of Great Zimbabwe was abandoned.
Walk through this archaeological wonder and learn about the Torwa Dynasty.
Mutarazi Falls is the highest waterfalls in Zimbabwe falling at 762m and are found on the Mutarazi River which flows through Nyanga National Park.
Buffaloes, waterbucks, lions, kudus, cheetahs, blue duikers and samango monkeys can be found around the falls.
This thundering curtain of water is shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe and is one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
Two-thirds of Victoria Falls lie in Zimbabwe which gives superb views of Devil’s Cataract, Rainbow Falls, Main Falls and Horse Shoe Falls.
Take a ‘Flight of the angels’ for an aerial view of the falls, bungee jump off the bridge and take a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River while you are here.
Zimbabwe safari lodges
- Rhino Safari Camp in Lake Kariba
- Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
- Singita Pamushana Lodge in Gonarezhou
- Ivory Lodge in Hwange National Park
- Big Cave Camp in Matobo Hills
- Little Makalolo in Hwange National Park
- Lodge at the Ancient City in Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Best time to visit Zimbabwe
For the best of game viewing, schedule your Zimbabwe safari in the dry season from May to October when animals flock to waterholes.
Temperatures are also mild and malaria risk is low.
This is also the best time to visit Victoria Falls if you want dramatic views as the falls are in flood.
However, if you are planning to go water rafting, consider visiting the falls in the drier months from October to December.
What to pack for a Zimbabwe safari
- Insect repellent
- Antihistamines (for insect bites)
- Antimalarial drugs
- Wet wipes
- Comfortable walking shoes
If Southern Africa is on your wish list, check out the Zimbabwe safari packages available or call an agent to customize your trip.
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