Best Zimbabwe Safaris & Tours
Zimbabwe is a vibrant African country boasting dramatic landscapes, impressive national parks, five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as abundant wildlife, 5-star lodges and world-class rangers. Be amazed by the culture, wildlife and energy of Zimbabwe. Find out more.
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Zimbabwe has to be visited to be appreciated. These are just a few of the reasons to visit this incredible country.
The thundering Victoria Falls creates a curtain that is almost twice the size of the Niagara Falls. Situated on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border the Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) as it is known locally, has earned its place as one of the seven natural wonders and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989.
The steep gorge created by the falls is an adrenaline junkie’s heaven, with plenty of thrilling activities to entertain the family, including helicopter flights, white-water rafting, canoeing, bungee-jumping and much more. For a more relaxed experience you can head to the Victoria Falls Hotel to enjoy a lunch or afternoon tea at one of the most historic hotels in this town.
The Zambezi River & Lake Kariba
Another attractions of Victoria Falls is its source, the Zambezi River which plays host to boat cruises, dining cruises and a range of adrenaline and leisure-based water activities, not to mention game viewing along the river’s edge.
Lake Kariba is a reservoir created, together with the Kariba Dam, in the 1950s and is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. Situated on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe it is a popular destination for those in search of a relaxed safari. There is no better way to experience Lake Kariba than aboard a houseboat, which is ideal for fishing and enjoying wonderful sunsets.
Lake Kariba adjoins the Big 5 Matusadona National Park which is the place to head to for a laid-back, activity-rich safari. The lake is popular for its excellent wildlife-viewing, particularly during the dry season with big cats preying on antelope in search of water. The lake is teeming with crocodiles and hippo and bird life is prolific thanks to the diverse environment, which has a healthy population of fish eagles and waders.
National Parks & Wildlife
Zimbabwe’s diverse national parks showcase some of Africa’s best wildlife. Hwange National Park, set aside purely to protect wildlife in its natural habitat, is one of Africa’s biggest conservation areas and provides the opportunity to see Africa’s largest draw, the Big Five. The secret hides at your lodge allow for an up-close and intimate viewing experience.
The Mana Pools National Park is situated on the Zambezi River bordering with Angola. This wildlife-rich park offers visitors a different kind of safari with opportunities to view game from boats and canoes. Walking safaris are also on offer for a more intense game-viewing experience. Wildlife sightings include four of the Big 5 and the area is renowned for its conservation of wild dog (painted dog).
Best Guides & Rangers
Zimbabwe has a reputation for employing some of the best guides on the continent, having all undergone rigorous training for a minimum of four years.
World Heritage Sites
Zimbabwe is home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Mana Pools National Park, Matobos National Park, Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe and Khami Ruins. Besides incredible game-viewing these sites offer visitors insight into the great history and culture of ancient Zimbabwe.
A National Park per Season
On the whole Zimbabwe offers year round bright and sunny days and clear and cool nights.
November to April is summer and the rainy season in Zimbabwe. Winter runs from May to August, which is usually dry. September and October are very hot and very dry, while May to August can bring cold temperatures (at times below 0°C) in the early morning and evenings.
The dry season is excellent, particularly in April, May and September, as the temperatures are not too extreme and the risk of malaria is low. Also, the wildlife gathers around the waterholes at this time of year. October is also dry but very hot ,with temperatures soaring and is known locally as ‘suicide month’ for good reason.
It may be heating up, but September and October are considered the best time to see elephant herds in Hwange National Park.
Many lodges around Mana Pools National Park close between November and March for the low, rainy season. But July and September are excellent times to visit – open for business and but not too busy.
Similarly, some lodges close during the rainy season at Hwange National Park (December to March) and it is at it is crowded between June and October.
It is best to visit Victoria Falls when the water is lower from June to September. The spray obscures the good views in the wet season. By October the falls are usually very low and completely dry on the Zambian side.
The rainy season begins in November and December and lasts through to March, although it usually confined to afternoon showers. A lot of wildlife is born at this time and the bushveld is lush and green.
The best time to raft the Zambezi is from August to February when the river is lower and the white water is at its most dramatic. When the waters get higher around March or April, it becomes too dangerous to raft and this activity is suspended.
Effortless Travel to Zimbabwe
All visitors to Zimbabwe must possess a passport that is valid for at least six months after their departure from the country. Additionally, onward travel documents, proof of accommodation and sufficient funds for the duration of your stay are required.
Have at least two, but preferably three or four, consecutive/side-by-side pages available for visas and border stamps, particularly if you are traveling to more than one African country.
Some nationalities need to acquire visas in advance, others can get them at the border. Zimbabwe has recently launched an online facility to pre-apply for visas. Please speak to the team at Jewel of Africa Safaris to ensure that you have the appropriate travel documentation before departing.
Understanding Zimbabwian Culture
English is widely spoken and most Zimbabweans wear western-style clothing, although a small section of the population still occasionally wear traditional costumes in bright colours and tribal patterns with elaborate headgear and bright showy beaded ornaments.
Shona and the Ndebele are the largest ethnic groups and these dialects, together with English, are the official languages of Zimbabwe. An additional 13 minority languages have also been given official status.
Cornmeal is a staple of the Zimbabwean diet.It is often eaten as a porridge-like bota for breakfast with peanut butter or butter. Sadza is also made from cornmeal, but is coarser and is eaten for breakfast or lunch and is served with vegetables, meat, and beans. Boerewors (a sausage made from beef or pork) is popular as is chicken and rice. Braaied (barbecued) meat is common at celebrations. The influence of British colonization can still be observed in Zimbabweans reverence for ‘tea time’ which takes place at midday and 4pm.
Traditional crafts include basketry, carving, jewellery and pottery and the country’s artisans are particularly well known for their soapstone carvings.
Fast Facts (& Figures)
- Zimbabwe’s capital city is Harare
- The official languages are English, Shona and Ndebele
- Zimbabwe has a population of about 16-million people.
- Christianity is the predominant religion, with Protestant Christians accounting for 85 percent of the population.
- The currency is the Zimbabwe Dollar (Z$). Zimbabwe had adopted a multi-currency scheme; the US Dollar and South African Rand in 2009, but his has been phased out. However, visitors can still use US$ in most lodges and hotels.
- The Victoria Falls can be heard from up to 40 kilometres away.
- Zimbabwe is a young nation, with half the population below 21 years of age.
- Zimbabwe has the largest platinum and diamond reserves in the world.
Top Zimbabwe Safaris & Tours 2019
These are just a few of the premier Zimbabwe safaris offered by Jewel of Africa Safaris. If you do not see exactly what you are looking for, let us help to customize your personalized package.
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Top Zimbabwe Safari Destinations
Zimbabwe offers a variety of top safari destinations, combining thundering waterfalls and majestic rivers with game-viewing enjoyed by vehicle and boat. Each of these destinations is a unique experience on its own but combined will make for a safari of a lifetime.
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For ongoing news, inspiration, ideas and African travel information. The African Guide will keep you updated on prime destinations, game viewing and activities to help you plan your dream safari.
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