A nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture, Zimbabwe’s status as one of Africa’s leading safari destinations was dampened for years by its political instability. But now that the country is transcending its strife and returning to a state of equilibrium, it is once again emerging as a vacation highlight of the continent. Victoria Falls – known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot featuring mind-blowing sunsets; Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants; and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through the Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.
Southern Hwange National Park
Days 1 - 4
Located in western Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie Game Reserve) is the largest natural reserve in the country and is famous for its rich diversity of wildlife. Home to one of the biggest elephant populations in the world, as well as around 100 mammal species, the park is a wonderland for animal lovers. Several protected animals inhabit the awe-inspiring open landscapes, including the endangered wild dog, critically endangered black rhino, and rare roan and sable - along with lion, cheetah, and around 500 bird species. Adventurers can look forward to guided bush hikes, game drives, and horse riding safaris, all of which offer excellent photographic opportunities. Hwange boasts several unique natural features, most notably the natural seeps such as Nehimba and Shakwanki animals dig for water.
Mana Pools National Park
Days 4 - 7
Located in northern Zimbabwe, the life-giving power of the Zambezi River makes Mana Pools National Park one of Zimbabwe’s most lush and flourishing regions. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known for its natural beauty and as one of the continent’s premier game-viewing areas. Visitors can look forward to an array of activities such as canoe trips which are offered year round and provide a unique and memorable way for visitors to experience the area’s striking scenic beauty and diverse fauna, while guided walks are a great way to take its pristine riverside forests. Other popular activities include: game drives, river cruises, nature walks, bird watching, catch-and-release fishing, and searching for dinosaur tracks.
Days 7 - 10
The planet’s most voluminous man-made lake, Kariba is a popular tourist destination that was created in the 1950s when the mighty Zambezi was dammed. It stretches for more than 200 kilometres along the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, forming a natural boundary between the two countries. The lake’s waters are home to abundant wildlife including: crocodiles, hippos, fish and aquatic birds, while its shoreline and islands are rich with terrestrial game such as elephant and buffalo. It has become one of Zimbabwe’s main tourist attractions offering houseboat holidays, fishing safaris and wonderful game viewing experiences.