Zimbabwe spent a whole decade off the tourism map due to its troubled politics. Now it’s well and truly back and once again staking its claim as one of the best safari destinations in Africa.
Practically, Zimbabwe makes a lot of sense. Getting there is easy thanks to its international airport and getting close to the wildlife is made possible by Zimbabwe’s excellent, charismatic guides. What’s more, safaris here often come at a fraction of the cost of its neighbours.
You get a lot of wildlife too. Matusadona National Park, on the shore of Lake Kariba, has some of the highest concentrations of lion anywhere. You’ll find huge herds of elephants in Hwange National Park and Zimbabwe is one of the few remaining places where you can see white and black rhino in the wild. And, then there is Gonarezhou. On the southern border to Mozambique, has long been a favourite of ours with its unexplored Jurassic feel – big tusker elephants here loom as large as woolly mammoths.
Scenically speaking, Victoria Falls is a main attraction, taking its place as one of the natural wonders of the world. You should also make time for Mana Pools, located on the flood plains of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. It’s one of the richest and least developed wetlands in Africa and there are some really excellent walking and canoe safaris down its pretty oxbow lakes.
Culture and history are also catered for in the shape of the huge granite formations of Matobo Hills and The Great Zimbabwe Ruins, the second oldest human structure on the continent. Along the way, you can expect a warm welcome from the locals. After years of hardship and upheaval, their friendliness and resilience is one of the most cherished memories you’ll take home.
When to go
You can visit at any time of the year, although you might want to avoid the rains of December, January, February and March.