Zimbabwe, The Number One African Safari Destination For 2019
Zimbabwe, not always in the headlines for the right reasons, is in fact a very safe, magnificent safari destination and was recently rated by one of the world’s most popular travel guides Lonely Planet in third place on their ‘Top 10 Countries primed to capture travellers’ imaginations in 2019!’
This is what Lonely Planet had to say: “Not only is it one of Africa’s safest destinations, it’s one blessed with ultra-friendly locals, Big Five-filled national parks, World Heritage-listed archaeological ruins, forested mountains and, of course, the mighty Victoria Falls.”
Yes, this certainly is a great place to visit for many reasons and here we take a closer look at why Zimbabwe is your ‘must visit’ African safari destination for 2019!
It is in the first place a simply beautiful African country, not large but with many worlds in one, from the eastern highlands where lush green forest-filled mountains beckon, trout fishermen and trail riders, to the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Kariba, and of course it co-hosts, with neighbours Zambia, the magnificent Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and borders South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia. The two main cities of Harare and Bulawayo are vibrant business hubs and the two main indigenous African tribes are the Shona and Matabele people, all warm, welcoming and of course today sophisticated, well-educated inhabitants of this colourful place of many cultures, contrasts and most importantly great places to visit!
Victoria Falls National Park – Victoria Falls
One of the seven Natural Wonders of the world, The Victoria Falls makes a thundering 108m drop into the narrow Batoka Gorge, where there’s white-water rafting and bungee-jumping on offer, just two of the of exciting activities that one can enjoy here once you have recovered from the jaw dropping first sight of these magnificent natural falls!
It is one of the widest waterfalls in Africa, over a mile wide and the spray it produces has created a narrow strip of dense rainforest around the falls. It’s beautiful to walk on top of the gorge and the sound of the falls can be heard for miles, hence its local name ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya,’ which is ‘The Smoke that Thunders.’ Along a guided walk, you can see and photograph the beauty and magnificence of it all from 16 viewpoints. Some of these take you right to the edge of the precipice, quite a heart-pounding experience!
Other recommended Victoria Falls safari activities include helicopter flights, tandem sky dives and many extreme sport and other leisure pastimes.
Best time to go: March to September
The Zambezi River
A favourite additional activity, while on safari in Victoria Falls, is a serene sunset cruise along the Zambezi River where wildlife like Hippo, Crocodile and Elephant can be spotted in the water and along the river bank as you sip on champagne and cocktails.
Fishing is extremely popular here and the Zambezi National Park is a great game reserve with wildlife a plenty, many bird species and one of the largest herds of the rare Sable antelope in Africa. White-water rafting, Kayaking and Canoeing trips are also favourites.
Western Region – Hwange National Park
This is an excellent, relatively unspoilt wildlife safari reserve and is one the largest on the planet! It is just 1 hour’s drive south of Victoria Falls, however we will recommend a longer stay of a minimum of 3 nights here.
Hwange National Park, pronounced ‘Wang-ee’, has a ridiculous amount of wildlife. Some 400 species of bird and 107 types of animal can be found in the park, including lions, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs. But the elephant is what really defines Hwange, being home to one of the world’s largest populations of around 40,000 tuskers.
Hwange offers visitors on safari access to incredible morning and afternoon game drives, bush walks, birding expeditions and some lodges also boast with sunken game viewing hides and lodge-based waterholes, so you don’t have to travel far to see amazing animals from up close.
The accommodation here ranges from mid-range to luxury, so you are spoilt with a choice of all different kinds of accommodation, including those offered by some of the world’s best eco-tourism companies.
Best time to go: May to October (best wildlife viewing from July to October).
Northern Region – Lake Kariba and Matusadona National Park
The largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Kariba is fisherman’s paradise and a game lover’s dream come true. Glorious sunsets and balmy summer days as you cruise to see the sights or just wait for a bite, make this is a piece of heaven on earth. For those more interested in safaris, when the lake was created, the Kariba valley’s prolific game was concentrated on its islands and southern shore, where the Matusadona National Park was created.
Birding, canoeing and photographic safaris are just a few of the large range of activities on offer here including plenty of extreme sports like Abseiling, White river rafting, Elephant trails, Hydro speeding and River boarding ….to mention just a few!
Best time to go: July to October
Northern Region – Mana Pools National Park
This UNESCO World Heritage site is famed for its protected wilderness and is widely considered one of Zimbabwe’s finest parks. There is little mystery as to why.
Mana Pools is remote and delivers a true sense of being in the wild. The park is renowned for its position on the Zambezi River, massive elephants and healthy lion population. This is one park in Zimbabwe where you’re guaranteed close encounters with plenty of hippos, crocs, zebras and elephants and are almost guaranteed to see lions and possibly wild dogs, leopards and cheetahs.
With beautiful, intimate luxury camps to stay at and land- and water-based safari activities like their famed boat cruises, game drives, canoe safaris and bush walks, Mana Pools National Park is a safari jewel that one cannot ignore when visiting Zimbabwe.
Best time to go: April to September (closed in the rainy season from December to March).
Speaking of jewels, we at Jewel of Africa Safaris have been preferred luxury safari and guided tour operators to Zimbabwe for many years. We have seen its wonderful tourist destinations go from strength to strength and now it is rated as one of the best African countries to visit!
Contact us to find out more about our excellent packages, some standard and many tailor -made to suit your specific requirements, to Zimbabwe and many of the other surrounding destinations. There is no question in our minds that this certainly will be the ‘must visit’ African vacation destination for 2019!