Until 2001 Zimbabwe was seen as one of the finest countries for a top quality safari. The guides were the best in Africa, and the Zambezi River, the open plains of Hwange and the unique Kariba shoreline were settings for enthralling game viewing adventures. The political chaos of the last eight years saw a drop in tourism and the closure of many lodges and camps.
Yet Zimbabwe is now ready to welcome tourists again and we think that as soon as political change happens it will quickly revive as one of Africa’s most exciting destinations. There are still tens of thousands of elephants and vast numbers of plains game in Hwange with almost no-one to see them. Herds of buffalo, carefully protected rhinoceros and prides of lion roam the Kariba shoreline watched by pods of yawning hippo and crocodiles which lurk menacingly in the semi-submerged tree lines. Paddling and drifting down the Lower Zambezi for a few days on a canoe safari remains an unforgettable adventure, while the Chimanimani Highlands are some of the best safari walking country in Africa.
A number of Zimbabwe’s best safari camps are still running and are set to thrive as tourists return. Makololo Plains is a luxury tented camp deep in Southern Hwange, almost besieged by elephants as the long dry season advances. At Ruckomechi you can enjoy walking and thrilling game drives in the dreamlike landscapes of Mana Pools as well as sunset boat rides on the Zambezi, and in Kariba Steve Edwards superb little Musango Camp is now joined by a reopened five star Bumi Hills Safari Lodge. And of course that Grand Old Lady, the Victoria Falls Hotel with her classic courtyards and red tiled roof, established in 1904 – still the best place to admire the mile wide waterfall.
So, if you want to beat the rush back to Zimbabwe call Africa Exclusive and we’ll organise a magical fly in safari. The camps and lodges are running well, the wildlife is in great condition, the safari infrastructure works and Zimbabwe’s patient and friendly people will welcome you with open arms.
Contact us now to begin planning your Zimbabwe safari.
Zimbabwe Safari Seasons
Safaris in Zimbabwe are significantly affected by the changing seasons. The best times to take a safari in Zimbabwe are in the long dry season from April to the beginning of November. During these months the weather can be some of the most pleasant in the world with long sunny dry days and crisp cool nights. Hwange’s plains game and 25,000 elephants gather in increasingly large herds as seasonal waterholes dry out and cats and smaller creatures become easier to see as vegetation becomes more sparse. Walking on safari is a delight at this time, as is canoeing the mighty Zambezi which is often lined with wildlife of all kinds and abundant birds.
Nearly all of the country’s rain falls between November and the end of March. During these months the enormous elephant and plains game herds in Hwange disperse due to the abundance of groundwater, and safaris in the World Heritage Site of Mana Pools become difficult in the sticky “cotton soil”. Victoria Falls is also seasonal and at its fullest between February and June. At other times of year the falls are still spectacular and you can see parts of the rock formations behind the cataracts. The wide range of activities at Victoria Falls are possible at most times of year.
Make sure you call us at an early stage so that we can design an itinerary that is perfectly matched to the time of year that you want to travel.
Zimbabwe - Useful Information
There are no direct flights from London to Harare, Zimbabwe so to visit the country you would fly overnight to Johannesburg connecting the following morning with a two hour flight either to Harare or Victoria Falls. A visa (£35 depending on your nationality) can be obtained at the airport on arrival. We will usually arrange your travel within Zimbabwe by air using the efficient network of light aircraft to take you quickly and conveniently between safari regions.
Zimbabwe has a wide variety of spectacular scenery including open savannah plains of Hwange, beautiful Mana Pools beside the wide Lower Zambezi, the unique landscape of Lake Kariba fringed by semi submerged trees and of course Victoria Falls. The country also has a fascinating history which can be experienced in Bulawayo and Great Zimbabwe, famous for its mysterious ruins.
Zimbabwe’s safari guides are recognised as the finest in Africa owing to the unique apprenticeship and training system that has been in operation for over 30 years. It has a number of superb small camps and lodges from which you can enjoy safaris by open vehicle, walking, boating and canoeing. From Victoria Falls you can enjoy adventure activities such as rafting, microlighting, elephant back safaris and tiger fishing.
From Zimbabwe you can easily visit Botswana and South Africa as well as Mauritius or Mozambique for a beach holiday.
Please consult your medical doctor for information about vaccinations and protection from malaria.
Elephant Herds of Hwange
Hwange National Park, once home to San Bushmen, is now home for some of Africa’s largest herds of elephant. You can watch the breeding herds as they play together, walk together, refresh at the waterhole and see the huge bulls as they stand on their hind legs and pull down branches and leaves to munch on.
Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park attracts hundreds of animals and is one of the very best game-viewing destinations in Africa. The park, bursting with wildlife, sits on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, making it great for not only game-viewing but water activities too. Combine game drives and bush walks with relaxing boat cruises, canoeing safaris and fishing trips for the perfect safari holiday.
Adventures at Victoria Falls
Also known as Mosioa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders), Victoria Falls is an immense water fall that sends nearly 2,000 cubic meters of water plummeting over 5,000 feet every second, creating an almighty roar, a bright white cloud of spray, strong vibrations through your feet and, of course, an unforgettable sight. There are endless unique activities at the falls, from white water rafting, bungee jumping and taking microlight flights that soar above the spray to taking laidback sundowner cruises in the calm areas of the river and elephant rides.
Lake Kariba and the Matusadona National Park
On the shores of Lake Kariba you’ll find the Matusadona National Park, a huge reserve combing rugged mountain scenery with unspoilt wilderness. It’s also one the last remaining homes of the endangered black rhino. Lion, elephant, antelope and buffalo roam too, whilst in the lake are shiny pods of swimming hippo and groups of lazy but fierce crocodiles. With the Matusadona Mountains as a backdrop, the lake is the perfect place to enjoy the Zimbabwean sunset.
Call us now to begin planning your Zimbabwe safari adventure.
Zimbabwe Safari Highlights
These are just a few experiences you can enjoy on your Zimbabwe safari. Contact us now to plan your perfect safari.