Zimbabwe - A Wilderness Adventure
Zimbabwe offers some of the most spectacular wildlife experiences in Southern Africa. See elephants standing on their hind legs searching for marula fruit in Hwange National Park. Watch hippos lolling on the banks of the Zambezi River as you paddle down in a canoe. Feel the sudden spray 100 metres high into the air as another million megalitres of water plunge over Victoria Falls.
Without a doubt, the Falls, affectionately known as the ‘Smoke that Thunders’, provide some of the most iconic Zimbabwean experiences. However, it is engaging with the locals that you gain insight into the warmth of this landlocked Southern Africa destination. Bartering at markets, enjoying a Zambezi Lager around a fire and chatting to your ranger while on safari is all part of the experience.
Zimbabwe offers true off-the-beaten-track safari experiences, with off-the-grid tented camps providing the wildest of encounters with Africa’s big game. Far-flung spots like Matusadona, Malilangwe and Gonarezhou take your safari experience up a notch. And Mana Pools National Park, a World Heritage Site, offers multi-day canoe trips. Lunch on the river anyone?
From the incredible aerial vistas of Victoria Falls in full flood to the dawn marches of elephant herds making their way to the river in Hwange, Zimbabwe is the ultimate Southern Africa safari destination.
Best Time to Visit Zimbabwe:
Like Botswana and Zambia, the best time to visit Zimbabwe for game viewing is during the dry season (between May and October). Birders often prefer to visit in the Green Season (December to February). However, be aware: it is hot and humid at that time. Victoria Falls, however, is at full flood between March and April and is rather spectacular from the air. If you are keen to hit the rapids on a white water rafting trip, instead go in low-season (September through December).
Set sail on the tranquil upper reaches of the Zambezi River just before sunset and enjoy sundowner drinks on the de
Take a guided tour of thundering Victoria Falls, the largest sheet of falling water in the world.
Head to Hwange National Park for exceptional guided walking safaris and big elephant herd encounters.
Top Destinations in Zimbabwe Safari
“Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
It’s no wonder David Livingstone was struck poetic when he first laid eyes on Victoria Falls in 1855. Certainly, every traveler since then who has peered through the rainbow-smudged mist for their first gasping view of the Falls has experienced the same sense of wonder.
Known locally as Mosi-oa-tunya (‘the smoke that thunders’), Victoria Falls, at 1,708 meters wide, is earth’s largest single sheet of falling water. It’s officially one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and unofficially Mother Nature’s party trick. Every minute during the rainy season, 5 million cubic meters of water plunge 108 meters into the gorge below in something of a dramatic stage bow. And as an encore, in the dry season, the Devil’s Pool – a natural rock pool precariously nudged up against the lip of the falls – attracts its own audience of thrill-seekers. Only the brave dare to jump in for a swim… and a selfie. Above the Falls the Zambezi River meanders, teeming with life. You’ll find crocodile, hippos and tigerfish in its waters and on the lush green banks you’ll find some of Africa’s most romantic luxury safari lodges.
But when you’re standing in the thick of it; when the spray of the Falls speckles your skin, when your heart skips a beat at the might and roar of it all, and your adrenaline rears its head at the sniff of adventure, nothing else matters than the moment, now. It’s epic. And it’s yours.
Best Time to Visit Victoria Falls:
The best time to visit the spectacular Victoria Falls is from February to May, directly after the region’s summer rains, when you’ll see the world’s largest sheet of falling water flowing at its greatest volume. If you’re keen on taking a dip in the Devil’s Pool, late August to early January.
At 15 000 km², Hwange National Park is the largest of Zimbabwe’s National parks and renowned for its Big 5 viewing and the dense population of wildlife it accommodates.
Located in Northwestern Zimbabwe, bordering Botswana, Hwange is easily accessed by air (30 min flight from Victoria Falls) or road, and is the perfect safari vacation add-on after exploring Zimbabwean attractions like the Great Zimbabwe ruins, the mighty Vic Falls or the 2000 million year old Matobo Hills. Its location also makes it convenient to combine with an African safari tour itinerary including Botswana or South Africa.
Hwange’s vast reserve is known for its diversity of wildlife, particularly the large herds of buffalo and impressive concentration of elephants that inhabit its dramatic landscape. The reserve is the home to between 20,000 to 50,000 elephants. Lions are also a prominent feature within the Hwange National Park. There are as many as up to 700 lions within the greater Hwange ecosystem. There is a wide array of accommodation available to suit any budget. The options range from affordable tented camps, to luxury eco-lodges and exclusive hotels.
Best Time to Visit Hwange National Park on Safari:
Wildlife viewing is optimal in the dryer months from April to October. The waterholes attract animals of all kinds and the scrub is less dense. However, the wet summer months from November to April present interesting opportunities for birders. This is when the migratory birds are present and the lush vegetation vibrates with over 420 species of birds, including raptors and grassland birds.
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Top Experiences in Zimbabwe Safari
The colonial grand dame of Victoria Falls is the Victoria Falls Hotel, and no trip here is complete without a traditional high tea out on the terrace. A true ‘step back into time’ experience.
Set sail on the tranquil upper reaches of the Zambezi River just before sunset and enjoy sundowner drinks on deck as the sky turns pink, orange and mauve. A magical experience.
Locally known as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ (the smoke that thunders), Victoria Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Visit 19 different viewpoints along the route, taking in the Devil’s Cataract, the Main Falls and the Horse Shoe Falls among others.
At 111 metres, the Victoria Falls bungee is one of the highest in the world – and certainly one of the most fear-inducing. Take the plunge to face the swirling rapids of the Zambezi below!
The Zambezi River is widely considered one of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the world! Experience class 3 to 5 rapids interspersed with tranquil pools.