Zimbabwe

All Destinations

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa known for its dramatic landscape, the majestic Victoria Falls and extraordinarily diverse wildlife, much of it within parks, reserves and safari areas.

Read More

Despite its political past and its economic challenges, Zimbabwe has kept intact its most extraordinary tourist credentials: dramatic landscapes under a perfect climate, friendly and welcoming people, a wide range of historical and cultural attractions, a number of thrilling adventure activities, and some of the best wildlife encounter worldwide. As stability to the country has returned, so too have the travellers and slowly but surely Zimbabwe is once again earning its reputation as the top Safari Destination of choice.

Good infrastructure make it relatively easy to move between different parks and enjoy different environments. Hwange National Park is just about one hour south of Victoria Falls, in the northwest corner of the country. Further South to Bulawayo Matobo Hills National Park is also easy to access. More difficult to reach but highly rewarding is Mana Pools and another great water-based safari experience is at Matusadona Park, on the Southern shore of Lake Kariba, between Victoria Falls and Manap Pools.

It is not only the dramatic landscapes teeming with wildlife, the beautiful national parks, rugged mountains and lush forests that make this country a prime safari destination. Zimbabwe is renowned in Africa for the high quality of its guides, and the standard of lodges. The decline in tourism in the past years in Zimbabwe provide even greater opportunities for unparalleled wilderness experiences, far from the safari highways known in South Africa, Kenya or elsewhere. In its national parks there is a high probabiilty of seeing several of the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino), as well as giraffe, cheetah, hyena, jackal, monkey, antelope. Zimbabwe is one of the last rhinoceros havens with both white and black rhinos. Other rare species to be found in Zimbabwe include the wild dog, nyala, the king cheetah and the samango monkey.

Adrenaline seekers will love bungee jumping and white-water rafting at the Falls, while adventurists turn to canoeing and walking safaris along the mighty Zambezi River. Culture vultures and historians will be enthralled by the bushman paintings at Matopos, the mysterious Ruins of ancient Great Zimbabwe and the stone sculptures in Harare.

Read Less

Quick Facts

Capital
Harare

Population
16 million

Area
390,759 sq km (150,873 sq miles)

Major Languages
English (official), Shona, Sindebele

Major religion 
Christianity, indigenous beliefs

Monetary Unit 
Multi-currency system; US dollar and South African rand predominate

Flight time from London
15 hours via Johannesburg

Time Difference 
GMT + 2

When to go
Nature has given Zimbabwe one of the finest climates in the world: it is warm without being oppressive and with an average sunshine ranging from four to ten hours per day (and the sun shines 90% of the year!)

There is a dry season, including a short cool season during the period April to September when the whole country has very little rain. The rainy season is typically a time of heavy rainfall from mid November to March. Generally, the days are bright and sunny, the nights clear and cool. Even during the rainy season, the sun will brighten most of your days!

December to March is known as the green season. It is a time of abundance… births, babies and breeding (and predators). Excellent game concentrations on Ngamo Plains in south-eastern Hwange, but note camps at Mana Pools are closed during these months. No large herds, so good opportunities to see smaller, shyer animals and summer bird migrants abound sporting their breeding plumage. Glorious photographic opportunities… great light, vibrant colours and subject matter. Temperatures average 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F).

April and May is the mid season, the transitional months when the climate is moderate with a mix of the green and dry seasons including the dynamics of a change in season. Vegetation is very green and thick and still lots of surface water around, so big game watching is limited to open areas. A great time for birding and for sighting insects and butterflies. And in Hwange it is the rutting season for impala, making for exciting viewings. Temperatures remain high during the day, up to 30°C (86°F), but the evenings and mornings are cooler (12°C to 17°C (54°F to 63°F), and in Hwange can drop to freezing at night, so warm clothes required.

June through to November is the dry season. A diminished water supply and the drying up of natural springs results in high game concentrations around Hwange waterholes and along the Zambezi River at Mana Pools. There is great visibility in leafless woodland.

In June and July herds start to form and dogs emerge from dens. There is more activity around the pools. Although the bush is still quite thick, it is starting to dry up which can make it easier to see animals. This is a cooler and drier time of the year; days are still warm but nights are cold: 5°C to 25°C (41°F to 77°F).

In August through to September temperatures become more extreme; depending on where you are (parks at lower altitute will be warmer), as low as 5°C at night but up to 35°C by day (41°F to 95°F), so advisable to pack for varying temperatures. The competition for water intensifies providing excellent photographic opportunities around water holes. Greater visibility, bigger herds – this is the height of the dry season in Hwange resulting in great game sightings. This is also the beginning of the rafting season for the serious lovers of white water: lower water levels = higher thrill levels! From now through to December is the time to visit Victoria Falls.

October is the peak of the dry season across the country. Water sources are at their most scarce, making this the best time for wildlife sightings: large herds of antelope, buffalos, leopards, fish eagles and an abundance of bird species. Botanists will enjoy the many flowering trees and bushes. Evenings are warmer and midday heat is extreme: 19°C to 36°C (66°F to 97°F).

November is a transitional month. The landscape is still dry with wildlife sightings unparalleled, including African wild cats, bat eared foxes and the elusive aardvark. But mid-way through November the rains begin to come in. Afternoon thunderstorms bring welcome respite to the heat, evenings are warmer. This is a great time to see lots of baby elephants and baby impala. And with the easier prey around the predators take full advantage, which can make for some exciting predator/prey interactions.

Read Less

  • J
  • F
  • M
  • A
  • M
  • J
  • J
  • A
  • S
  • O
  • N
  • D
  • High Season
  • Mid Season
  • Shoulder Season

Highlights

Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park is about one hour south of the Mighty Victoria Falls, in the northwest corner of the country bordering Botswana. On the edge of the Kalahari Desert, it covers a vast 14,651 km² plateau, 1,000m above sea level, and features desert sand to sparse woodland, as well as grasslands and granite outcrops.

The flora of the park is mostly Acacia woodland underlain by Kalahari sands, which have blown across from the Botswana desert over many decades. The miracle of Hwange is the life brought to it from its 63 man-made waterholes, without which its natural arid climate would render it an unpopulated, sandy mopane forest. Rivers and their tributaries drain the north and north-west of the park and the far south, but there are no rivers in the rest of the park. Two years following its establishment as a national park in 1928, the borehole drilling project started in earnest, pumping calcium rich waters to the surface from 60 meters below ground level. Now, with 480 km of game viewing roads network connecting waterholes and outstanding animal concentrations, the park is easily accessible and the most visited park in Zimbabwe though thankfully not overcrowded – save for its 30,000 elephants!

But there is much more to Hwange than the elephants. All Zimbabwe’s specially protected animals are found here and it is the only protected area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in reasonable numbers; added to which the population of the Cape wild dogs in Hwange is thought to be of one of the larger surviving groups in Africa. More than 100 different species of mammals and 400 species of birds fill this national park with life. Major predators include the Southwest African lion – whose distribution and hunting in Hwange is strongly related to the pans and waterholes – African leopard, spotted hyena and South African cheetah. It is not uncommon to come across good herds of buffalo and you may be lucky and see the magnificent sable or roan that live here too. The different habitats of the park, from wide open grasslands to thick forest, provide exceptional opportunities to see a great range of game on drives.

Mana Pools

Mana Pools National Park, centred on the mighty Zambezi River, has some of the most spectacular river scenery and game-viewing in the country.
Situated in the North of the country, Mana Pools is a superb wildlife reserve lying at the heart of an important conservation area, a large parks and wildlife estate that stretches from the Kariba Dam in the west to the Mozambique border in the east.

The name “Mana” means four in the local Shona language, denoting the four big pools surrounding the park’s headquarters, a veritable oasis for hippopotamuses, crocodiles, elephants and innumerable aquatic birds. It is a small park covering just 2,190km², but contained within there is an extraordinary density of wildlife, notably lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and of course elephants. This is also one of the very best locations in Africa for wild-dogs.

Over the millennia, the Zambezi’s meandering waters have been responsible for depositing the unusually rich soils that line the river across the area encouraging the creation of broad grassy floodplains and impressive stands of open mahogany and ebony forests. The river has formed islands, channels and sandbanks in the valley, enabled small ox-bow lakes to shape in the mineral-rich volcanic soils, which together contribute to the magnificent scenery of Mana Pools.

Mana Pools is renowned as one of the very best locations in Africa for walking safaris, including on foot approaches to larger wildlife including elephants and lions. Some of the guides here have been in the park for decades and have personal relationships with individual elephants and other animals. It is also famous for its epic canoe safaris along the Zambezi River, which can get rather exciting at times as the resident hippos can be quite unpredictable.

Mana Pools National Park was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, even before Victoria Falls, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, the Khami Ruins and Matobo Hills National Park.

Victoria Falls

The crowning glory of Zimbabwean natural beauty and known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya or “Smoke That Thunders”, Victoria Falls was named in honour of the queen of England by David Livingstone, the first European to discover them in 1855.

A UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, this 1700m wide waterfall drops up to 5 million litres of water every second 70 to 108 meters down into the narrow Batoka Gorge whilst sending giant spray clouds high into the air.

Beside the fantastic viewing of the Falls, the Victoria Falls bridge and David Livingtsone’s Statue, the destination offers a wide range of activities to distract the safari lovers from game viewing:
For those seeking an adrenaline buzz: bungee jumping from the Zambezi bridge, the gorge swing, the flying fox, and white water rafting trips downstream in the gorge all offer some of the most adrenaline drive activities in the world.

A number of operators offer flights over the mighty falls with microlights, light aeroplanes and helicopters.

Other activities on offer are horse-riding, elephant-riding, walking with Lions, canoeing or visiting the crocodile farm and diving with crocodiles.
More relaxing activities include rain forest walks, and sunset cruises which are a must.

Game drives are conducted in Zambezi National Park.
African traditional dancing, craft markets and gastronomy complete the cultural picture.

Matusadona & Lake Kariba

With 2,000 km of shoreline, Lake Kariba is the 4th largest man-made lake in the world and the 2nd largest in Africa. It was built to generate hydropower from the powerful Zambezi river and Nyaminyami – the River God.
There were many stories and even legends attached to the dam construction. Matusadona was proclaimed a non-hunting area on the 7th November 1958 before the dam was built. By the opening of its operations in 1959, as water levels rose dramatically, a huge rescue operation called “Operation Noah” had to be organized: it saved some 5,000 animals of 35 different species from drowning, but only on the Zimbabwean side.

Located on the shores of the lake, the Matusadona National Park hosts most of these animals who had to adapt to the initial flooding and annual fluctuation. Matusadona now has three distinct ecological areas: the lake and shoreline grassland; the Zambezi Valley floor, a mass of thick jesse and mopane woodland; and the Escarpment area of Julbernadia and Brachystegia woodlands. The Jesse/ Mopani area is sparsely grassed, but provides habitat for browsers, most notably the black rhino. Elephants range throughout the Park, seeking the shade of the Jesse in the heat of the day.

With a ready supply of regenerative grasses as a source of food and an abundance of water from the lake, buffalo, waterbuck, zebra, and even impala have thrived and with them the predators. Matusadonh a is an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) and home to several relocated rhino’s. The lake is teeming with massive Nile crocodiles, herds of swimming elephants, and the lake shores of Kariba include sightings of the big five. The bird life is exceptional with a very large population of fish-eagles, and the aquatic animal population is equally interesting.

Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park is about one hour south of the Mighty Victoria Falls, in the northwest corner of the country bordering Botswana. On the edge of the Kalahari Desert, it covers a vast 14,651 km² plateau, 1,000m above sea level, and features desert sand to sparse woodland, as well as grasslands and granite outcrops.

The flora of the park is mostly Acacia woodland underlain by Kalahari sands, which have blown across from the Botswana desert over many decades. The miracle of Hwange is the life brought to it from its 63 man-made waterholes, without which its natural arid climate would render it an unpopulated, sandy mopane forest. Rivers and their tributaries drain the north and north-west of the park and the far south, but there are no rivers in the rest of the park. Two years following its establishment as a national park in 1928, the borehole drilling project started in earnest, pumping calcium rich waters to the surface from 60 meters below ground level. Now, with 480 km of game viewing roads network connecting waterholes and outstanding animal concentrations, the park is easily accessible and the most visited park in Zimbabwe though thankfully not overcrowded – save for its 30,000 elephants!

But there is much more to Hwange than the elephants. All Zimbabwe’s specially protected animals are found here and it is the only protected area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in reasonable numbers; added to which the population of the Cape wild dogs in Hwange is thought to be of one of the larger surviving groups in Africa. More than 100 different species of mammals and 400 species of birds fill this national park with life. Major predators include the Southwest African lion – whose distribution and hunting in Hwange is strongly related to the pans and waterholes – African leopard, spotted hyena and South African cheetah. It is not uncommon to come across good herds of buffalo and you may be lucky and see the magnificent sable or roan that live here too. The different habitats of the park, from wide open grasslands to thick forest, provide exceptional opportunities to see a great range of game on drives.

Mana Pools

Mana Pools National Park, centred on the mighty Zambezi River, has some of the most spectacular river scenery and game-viewing in the country.
Situated in the North of the country, Mana Pools is a superb wildlife reserve lying at the heart of an important conservation area, a large parks and wildlife estate that stretches from the Kariba Dam in the west to the Mozambique border in the east.

The name “Mana” means four in the local Shona language, denoting the four big pools surrounding the park’s headquarters, a veritable oasis for hippopotamuses, crocodiles, elephants and innumerable aquatic birds. It is a small park covering just 2,190km², but contained within there is an extraordinary density of wildlife, notably lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and of course elephants. This is also one of the very best locations in Africa for wild-dogs.

Over the millennia, the Zambezi’s meandering waters have been responsible for depositing the unusually rich soils that line the river across the area encouraging the creation of broad grassy floodplains and impressive stands of open mahogany and ebony forests. The river has formed islands, channels and sandbanks in the valley, enabled small ox-bow lakes to shape in the mineral-rich volcanic soils, which together contribute to the magnificent scenery of Mana Pools.

Mana Pools is renowned as one of the very best locations in Africa for walking safaris, including on foot approaches to larger wildlife including elephants and lions. Some of the guides here have been in the park for decades and have personal relationships with individual elephants and other animals. It is also famous for its epic canoe safaris along the Zambezi River, which can get rather exciting at times as the resident hippos can be quite unpredictable.

Mana Pools National Park was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, even before Victoria Falls, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, the Khami Ruins and Matobo Hills National Park.

Victoria Falls

The crowning glory of Zimbabwean natural beauty and known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya or “Smoke That Thunders”, Victoria Falls was named in honour of the queen of England by David Livingstone, the first European to discover them in 1855.

A UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, this 1700m wide waterfall drops up to 5 million litres of water every second 70 to 108 meters down into the narrow Batoka Gorge whilst sending giant spray clouds high into the air.

Beside the fantastic viewing of the Falls, the Victoria Falls bridge and David Livingtsone’s Statue, the destination offers a wide range of activities to distract the safari lovers from game viewing:
For those seeking an adrenaline buzz: bungee jumping from the Zambezi bridge, the gorge swing, the flying fox, and white water rafting trips downstream in the gorge all offer some of the most adrenaline drive activities in the world.

A number of operators offer flights over the mighty falls with microlights, light aeroplanes and helicopters.

Other activities on offer are horse-riding, elephant-riding, walking with Lions, canoeing or visiting the crocodile farm and diving with crocodiles.
More relaxing activities include rain forest walks, and sunset cruises which are a must.

Game drives are conducted in Zambezi National Park.
African traditional dancing, craft markets and gastronomy complete the cultural picture.

Matusadona & Lake Kariba

With 2,000 km of shoreline, Lake Kariba is the 4th largest man-made lake in the world and the 2nd largest in Africa. It was built to generate hydropower from the powerful Zambezi river and Nyaminyami – the River God.
There were many stories and even legends attached to the dam construction. Matusadona was proclaimed a non-hunting area on the 7th November 1958 before the dam was built. By the opening of its operations in 1959, as water levels rose dramatically, a huge rescue operation called “Operation Noah” had to be organized: it saved some 5,000 animals of 35 different species from drowning, but only on the Zimbabwean side.

Located on the shores of the lake, the Matusadona National Park hosts most of these animals who had to adapt to the initial flooding and annual fluctuation. Matusadona now has three distinct ecological areas: the lake and shoreline grassland; the Zambezi Valley floor, a mass of thick jesse and mopane woodland; and the Escarpment area of Julbernadia and Brachystegia woodlands. The Jesse/ Mopani area is sparsely grassed, but provides habitat for browsers, most notably the black rhino. Elephants range throughout the Park, seeking the shade of the Jesse in the heat of the day.

With a ready supply of regenerative grasses as a source of food and an abundance of water from the lake, buffalo, waterbuck, zebra, and even impala have thrived and with them the predators. Matusadonh a is an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) and home to several relocated rhino’s. The lake is teeming with massive Nile crocodiles, herds of swimming elephants, and the lake shores of Kariba include sightings of the big five. The bird life is exceptional with a very large population of fish-eagles, and the aquatic animal population is equally interesting.

Where to stay

These are just a selection of the properties we can personally recommend. Please get in touch to hear more about our full portfolio.

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge boasts one of Africa’s finest wilderness locations with an elevated position on a range of remote hills overlooking the vastness of Lake Kariba. Situated near the North Eastern border of the Matusdona National Park, it is easily accessible by light aircraft and boat.

take me to Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

John’s Camp

Mana Pools National Park is situated on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River where you will find John’s Camp nestled amongst canopies of Trichelia and Mahogany trees. It is a truly natural wilderness and the only wild walking National Park in Africa.

take me to John’s Camp

Kanga Camp

Set in the most remote part of the World Heritage Site in Mana Pools is the Kanga Pan. It is the only known water source in the area available throughout the year, making it a hub for wildlife and a delight to explore on foot.

take me to Kanga Camp

Linkwasha Camp

Linkwasha Camp lies in a private concession in the enormously productive south-eastern corner of Hwange National Park. Situated on the doorstep of the famed Ngamo Plains, which offers fantastic summer game viewing, the camp stands sentry over a magnificent plain and a pan that is a magnet for game year round, especially in the dry winter months.

take me to Linkwasha Camp

Somalisa Acacia Camp

Somalisa Acacia, a premium family safari camp in Hwange National Park, is situated on the western side of Somalisa, its simple but luxurious tents, all on slightly raised decks, are beautifully positioned beneath the dappled canopy of a grove of Acacias. The ultimate Zimbabwe Safari experience.

take me to Somalisa Acacia Camp

Somalisa Tented Camp

Somalisa Tented Camp is set in the heart of Hwange National Park Zimbabwe, and is known as the land of the giants because of its big elephant herds. Nestled in a stunning location tucked away on an acacia island along the edge of an ancient seasonal flood plain, Somalisa provides guests with breathtaking views.

take me to Somalisa Tented Camp

Zambezi Expeditions

The legendary Mana Pools is known for its wildlife rich flood plains and magnificent views of the Zambezi River. The river boasts some of Africa’s most amazing tiger fishing and adventure canoeing safaris, creating the perfect combination of beauty and fun and making this World Heritage site a must-visit national park.

take me to Zambezi Expeditions

Get in touch with us now to start planning your journey

Proudly ASSOCIATED WITH