Beautiful wilderness areas like Mana Pools and Hwange National Park make visiting Zimbabwe essential when traveling to Southern Africa. The most popular vacation packages that explore Zimbabwe would include a visit to Victoria Falls, where you can enjoy exciting activities like sunset cruises on the Zambezi River and viewing the might and grandeur of the Falls.Need Advice?
Zimbabwe is home to the iconic Victoria Falls and a wealth of exceptional wilderness areas to travel to for your safari vacation.
Some general travel information related to Zimbabwe, the country, and it's people.
Zimbabwe is easily accessible from South Africa with daily flights to Harare, Bulawayo, and the town of Victoria Falls. From here, most of the safari areas and attractions of the country can be reached either overland or by light charter flight.
In addition to the mighty Vic Falls and Mana Pools, Zimbabwe is home to a treasure trove of other national parks and historical attractions. Those traveling to this Southern African country can revel in unforgettable wildlife sightings, grand natural scenery, and rich history stretching back as far as the bronze age.
Great Zimbabwe is the ruins of an ancient city located in the southeastern hills of Zimbabwe, near the town of Masvingo. It is believed to have served as the capital for the Kingdom of Great Zimbabwe during the late Iron Age era. It covers an area of 722 hectares (1780 acres). These ruins have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Zimbabwe's eastern highlands, Nyanga National Park is a scenic delight with rolling green hills crisscrossed by perennial streams and rivers. The park's altitude ranges from around 1 800 to just under 2 600m, with cool mountain air and an abundance of large antelope species, including sable and eland.
A sanctuary for both the white and the rare black rhino, Matobo National Park covers an area of just under 45 000 hectares (about 110 000 acres) in the Matobo Hills, with its magnificent granite outcrops and domes. The park has the distinction of being the burial site of Cecil John Rhodes.
Gonarezhou is a large national park set in the southeastern Lowveld of Zimbabwe. The name means 'place of many elephants in the local tongue. It is a place of great beauty that forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, including the Kruger Park in South Africa and Gaza in Mozambique, creating one of Africa's largest conservation areas.
Kariba is one of the world's largest artificial lakes, created in the Zambezi River between the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is considered one of the finest places in Africa to pursue the tiger fish, legendary amongst the world's freshwater fighting fish. It is also an ideal destination for a houseboat vacation in an area of stunning natural beauty.
Zimbabwe's eastern highlands are a mountain range in the country's east that forms one of Africa's four distinct physio-graphic divisions. These very sparsely populated highlands are rich in animal and bird life, inhabiting an area of vast, grassland-covered hills with a cool climate and high annual rainfall.
These national parks have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with the primary purpose of conserving the area surrounding the mighty Victoria Falls for future generations.
Chiamanimani National Park conserves an area of rugged mountainous terrain on the Zimbabwean border with Mozambique. Virginal forest and several mammal species make this park a delight to nature lovers. Infrastructure and facilities in the area are limited. We recommended this park for die-hard nature lovers intent on venturing off the beaten track.
Vacations in Zimbabwe typically range from awe-inspiring visits to Victoria Falls to safari experiences in proper wilderness areas.
A twelve-day fly-in safari package that explores some of the finest safari areas in the countries of South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe from basis at fine luxury lodges.
Three of the most iconic destinations in Southern Africa are explored as clients first enjoy a guided tour in Cape Town before traveling to the Sabi Sand Private Reserve and Victoria Falls.
Though mired in political turmoil and economic crises for many years, Zimbabwe's tourism hot spots remain consistently popular, particularly Victoria Falls. Seasoned travelers consider the views from the Zimbabwean flank of the Zambezi River to be superior, as a more panoramic view of the Falls is visible from this angle.
Wilderness areas like Mana Pools and Hwange National Park are barely touched by development and yet established enough to provide luxury safari experiences that capture the imagination of those who dream of traveling to Africa. The results are authentic safaris over breathtakingly wild landscapes, with guests wanting for naught.
Adrenalin rush activities are plentiful in Zimbabwe, notably around Victoria Falls. Bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge, swing for 95m across a gorge 120m high, observe the Falls from a helicopter, brave the Batoka Gorge on a white water rafting expedition, hurtle along the world's longest zip-line, ride atop an elephant - the opportunities are exhilarating.
The hotels and lodges may not be considered 'cheap' by most standards, but they tend to be more affordable than the pricey palaces of Zambia and Botswana, where mid-range is rarely an option. All these countries typically charge in US Dollars for their accommodations and activities, so they tend to be pricier to visit than Namibia and South Africa.
Zimbabwe experiences are largely oriented around adventures - from the leisurely and immersive to the hair-raising and unforgettable. Bewitching wildlife and enchanting natural scenery are standard across the board.
The greatest attractions and wilderness areas in Zimbabwe occur in and line the Zambezi River. Sights and sounds never to be forgotten.
From the initial itinerary preparation to collection from the airport to the conclusion of the fantastic short tour, African Sky was exceptional. Highly professional with a friendly and welcoming approach that couldn't be faulted.Richard McGrath, Australia
When visiting Zimbabwe, the available accommodations include fine hotels in the town of Victoria Falls, from where you can explore the waterfall. There are safari camps located on the shores of the Zambezi River and more traditional safari lodges in areas like Hwange and Mana Pools.View Camps & Lodges
From Luxury 5-Star hotels to more moderately priced 3-star options, there is quite a selection of hotels available in Victoria Falls, Harare, and Bulawayo.
Lodges are small intimate establishments - set in pristine wilderness areas. These establishments offer daily safari activities, luxury lodgings, and delectable cuisine.
Generally located on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, these tranquil havens are known for their exceptional views and the rich bird life that surrounds them.
As the roads in the main tourism hubs - like Victoria Falls - are relatively good, your transfers between accommodations, airports, and activities will typically take the form of either an air-conditioned minibus or coach, depending on the size of your group. These vehicles and their drivers adhere to all safety regulations and official requirements.
Should you travel further afield, a hardy 4x4 vehicle may be necessary to navigate poorly maintained or dirt roads en route to national parks and wilderness areas.
Unless otherwise indicated, your transfers will always be private. Your comfort and safety while traveling are paramount to us, and we only work with drivers and companies that comply with the same high standards.
Zimbabwe has some interesting local cuisine that warrants sampling.
Victoria Falls is a tourism-driven town on the western end of the famous waterfall. Daily commercial flights are scheduled between Johannesburg and the the town of Victoria Falls. Harare International is the largest airport in the country, with a number of daily direct flights to and from Johannesburg. It is the ideal access point for those traveling to Mana Pools, as it offers the nearest commercial airport to this beautiful wilderness.
In Zimbabwe, the rains typically arrive in December and continue into January, February, and March. The further north you venture, the earlier the advent of the precipitation and the later it departs. Zimbabwe's more elevated eastern areas generally enjoy more rainfall than the lower-lying western regions.
Around April or May, most of the rain has ceased, leaving behind a lush setting that starts to dry out. The nighttime temperatures begin to wane. Evenings in June, July, and August are considerably cooler, so be sure to pack some warmer items if you plan to be outside on game drives. The days remain clear and warm. In Zimbabwe, this is the beginning of 'peak season'– days are often cloudless, and game sightings increase.
In September and October, the temperatures rise again: Zimbabwe's lower-lying rift valley – Mana Pools – can become uncomfortably hot in October. During this time, you will enjoy some fantastic sightings, as the wildlife is forced to concentrate around the limited remaining water sources. November is unpredictable; it can be hot and dry, but it can also see the season's first rainfall.
Visitors from most Western countries, including much of Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, require visas to enter Zimbabwe, with New Zealand being the rare exception. The Middle East and Far East countries are also quite restricted. It is essential to check Zimbabwe's official home affairs website or to contact your nearest embassy before planning your travels.
The visa is acquirable and payable at the port of entry or missions abroad. The current cost is 30USD for a single entry, 45USD for double entry, and 55USD for multiple entries. In each case, the visa is 25USD more expensive for UK passport holders. All tourism visas are valid for up to six months. Visa regulations are always subject to change.
Malaria is prevalent throughout Zimbabwe, and anti-malarial medication is thus highly recommended. Traveling to Zimbabwe with small children who are not yet old enough to take anti-malarial medication is not recommended. Unless you are traveling via a country with a risk of yellow fever, a yellow fever certificate is not required. None of the Southern African countries included in our itineraries fall under yellow fever risk, so this will only be a necessity if you were to travel beyond our care. In addition, be sure to bring along any prescription medication you may be taking and ensure that you are up to date with all routine vaccinations.
In more urbanized centers like Victoria Falls, petty crime can be an issue. Be prudent with your valuables. If your hotel or lodge room does not have a personal safe, request reception to store your valuables. When visiting high-density attractions like the Falls or markets, keep alert and remember to be firm with hagglers.
The best time for bird watching in Zimbabwe is between October and March. The temperatures during this time of year can be very high, especially in the Zambezi Valley. Keen birders opting to travel during this time - will be richly rewarded. Over 650 species have been identified in the country. Though none endemic to Zimbabwe specifically. Eight of the ten families of birds endemic to the African mainland could potentially be spotted in Zimbabwe. The African Pitta is amongst the rarest of these birds.
Areas and parks that bird-watching enthusiasts favor include the densely wooded Victoria Falls National Park and Mana Pools and Hwange. Those who wish to travel off the beaten track can go to one of the parks in the eastern highlands -where unique species can be viewed. It is the only area in Zimbabwe where temperatures are moderate during the summer months from October to March.
Canoeing safaris in Zimbabwe are focused mainly around the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls, especially the tract of the river that flows between the Mana Pools National Park on the Zimbabwean side of the river and the Lower Zambezi National Park on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River. This region allows the adventurous traveler to traverse one of Africa's grandest wildernesses on canoe trips ranging from one-day outings to accompanied week-long adventures. The opportunity to view wildlife is unrivaled on any canoeing safari in Africa.
Though not as elaborate as some of the mobile safaris available in Botswana, those wishing to enjoy the wild places of Africa on a mobile camping safari have many options available in Zimbabwe. The most famous national parks for mobile safaris include Hwange and Mana Pools. Both of these parks are easily accessible from the town of Victoria Falls. Hwange is a drive of just over an hour away, and Mana Pools is roughly seven and a half hours.
These camping trips range from basic, where you will be required to assist with pitching tents and other camp duties, to the luxurious. On luxurious tours, a team of skilled professionals set up camp before guests' arrival with sumptuous meals prepared by chefs and your every need catered to - in the heart of an African wilderness. Whichever option you choose, you are assured of an authentic experience, exceptional game viewing, and being immersed in vast African landscapes of pristine beauty.
The area surrounding Victoria Falls is the area in Zimbabwe that offers visitors the most extraordinary diversity of different activities. These range from the leisurely, like sunset cruises, game drives, and cultural village tours, to the exhilarating, including white water rafting, elephant-back safaris, and bungee jumping. Whatever your persuasion, you will find a host of enjoyable activities when visiting Victoria Falls.
Fishing the mighty Zambezi for its most worthy adversary, the tiger fish brings many sportspeople to Zimbabwe each year. Other fish species that draw anglers to Zimbabwe include the red-breasted tilapia, Zambezi tilapia, chessa, nkupe, and the eastern bottlenose in the Zambezi River system and Lake Kariba. Those venturing to the eastern highlands can pursue trout in crystal-clear mountain streams or a variety of freshwater lakes surrounded by dramatic natural scenery.
Lake Kariba offers many houseboats for hire from the towns of Binga and Kariba, both set on the shores of one of the largest man-made freshwater lakes in the world. Boats of all sizes, from eight to thirty sleepers, can be rented. Here you can enjoy a leisurely vacation cruising the lake, watching various species come to the water's edge for a drink, admiring the many crocodiles and hippos that inhabit these waters, fishing for some of the largest tiger fish in Africa and savoring stunning sunsets over the African wilderness.
All of Zimbabwe's indigenous people are of Bantu origin. The Shona, who form nearly 80% of the population, have a robust and regional clan structure, with six main groupings: Zezuru, based in the highveld around Harare; Manyika and Ndau, in the east of the country; Korekore in the north and northeast, Karanga, in the Midlands; and smaller Rowzi groupings. Most Shona lives in Mashonaland - the country's north, central and eastern two-thirds.
The Ndebele, descendants of South Africa's Zulus, occupy Matabeleland in two tribal groups - the Ndebele and the Kalanga - in the Southern and western parts of the country, centered around Bulawayo. They comprise around 14% of the population.
Smaller ethnic groups include the Batonga, which inhabit the area south of the Zambezi around Binga; the Venda, a predominantly South African group focused in the south around Beitbridge; and the Shangaan of Gonarezhou, whose traditional land extends into Mozambique and South Africa.
Zimbabwe has many fascinating sites of historical and geological interest, the most significant being the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The remarkable ruined city is a national monument that stretches over 722 hectares, some 25km southeast of Masvingo. It is the largest stone structure ever built south of the Sahara. Great Zimbabwe was the base for a succession of kings and rulers spanning four centuries.
This prestigious history led to the country being named after it following independence. The term 'zimbabwe' or 'dzimbahwe' derives from the Shona words' dzimba dza mabwe', meaning 'houses of stone, referring not just to the main site but to the hundreds - if not thousands - of similar but smaller sites in this area and further afield. The unique, carved soapstone birds found here have become the country's national symbol.
Less than an hour's drive south of Bulawayo, you will find one of Southern Africa's most dramatic rock landscapes. In the Matobo Hills (or 'the Matopos'), granite is the building material and weather the craftsman. Two distinct rock forms characterize the setting, resulting from the same geological processes. Most dramatic are the balancing rock koppies - massive angular blocks of granite piled on top of and beside one another, forming pillars and stacks.
However, the enormous, bald dwalas or 'whalebacks,' grey granite hills rising from the surrounding woodland and crisscrossed with fault lines, are more dramatic in scale. The area's hundreds of caves and rock shelters were inhabited and decorated by descendants of the world's most ancient peoples. The site remains one of the few areas in the world proven to have sustained extended human activity for over 40 000 years.
Zimbabwe has a large central highveld area, commonly known as the Zimbabwe Plateau. It averages at an elevation of around 1 500m. Running roughly northeast to southwest across it is the Great Dyke, a central ridge notable for its wealth of valuable minerals, including gold and diamonds, which are mined along its length.
The highveld ridge is belted on both sides by pervasive and progressively sloping middle veld areas averaging just over 1 000m. It culminates in two separate Lowveld areas where the lowest elevation is around 150m. These two areas are in the far Southern corner, from Gonarezhou National Park to Beitbridge, and in a northeasterly direction all along the Zambezi Valley and around the northern border with Mozambique.
In the north and the northwest, the highveld drops dramatically towards the river valley, forming the Zambezi Escarpment, while in the south, the slope towards the Limpopo is more gradual. The Matobo Hills, at the Southern end of the Great Dyke near Bulawayo, form another significant topographical feature.
The other defining highland feature of the country is the Eastern Highlands, a narrow, 250km long, north-to-south mountain range in the east of Zimbabwe, occupying the central part of the border with Mozambique and rising to 2 592m at Mount Nyangani in the northern reaches.
The world-famous Victoria Falls are located at the northwestern tip of the country. Further downstream, the Zambezi is dammed at the town of Kariba, forming the massive 200km long Lake Kariba, one of the world's largest man-made lakes and the second largest in Africa. Apart from the Zambezi, a number of smaller rivers rise in the highveld and radiate outwards to irrigate the south and north.