Experience one of Africa’s most spectacular countries – Zimbabwe
Despite the difficulties the country has experienced in recent years, you would be hard-pressed to find a more welcoming people. With some of the most highly-trained safari guides in Africa, guests can rest assured that Zimbabwe will provide you with one of the most raw and exciting safari experiences in Africa.
Zimbabwe’s national parks provide some of the best overall game viewing in Africa. At the top of the list are Hwange and Mana Pools national parks. Reached by road from Victoria Falls, Hwange is home to an abundance of wildlife as well as over 400 bird species. The park is renowned for its vast herds of elephant whilst predators including lion, rare African wild dog and cheetah can also be seen here. Mana Pools in the countries north is a mosaic of pools, islands and forests on the Zambezi River set opposite a magnificent escarpment.
Zimbabwe is also renowned for walking and canoeing safaris and Mana Pools National Park on the Zambezi River offers some of the most exciting wildlife adventures in all of Africa. These types of safaris take guests out into the wilderness and offer an intimate, unrivalled safari experience. Guests are accompanied by expert guides who have undergone some of the most rigorous training on the continent. A canoe safari along the Zambezi River remains one of African Wildlife Safaris CEO Steve Cameron’s favourite safari experiences – and one he has enjoyed on 7 occasions!
Of course, no visit to Zimbabwe is complete without exploring the majestic Victoria Falls and there is far more to do here than just viewing the falls. Sunset cruises, white-water rafting, helicopter flights and sitting on top of the falls in Devil’s Pool are just a few of the many options to consider.
The lodges we use in Zimbabwe operate successfully in remote, wildlife-rich areas and the standard is as good as anywhere in Africa. Our portfolio includes some of the most coveted accommodation from opulent camps with private plunge pools to intimate, rustic safari chic. All are located in major game areas like Hwange or Mana Pools, or in private concessions close to the action. Victoria Falls, often the start or end point of many southern African safaris, is no exception – the Victoria Falls Hotel built in 1904 exudes colonial Edwardian charm.
The dry season (June-October) is the best time for game viewing as the bush dries out and game congregates at the precious remaining waterholes. The best time to see the Victoria Falls is early in the dry season (June to August) when there is still an impressive amount of water flowing. Late in the dry season (September-October) there will be much less water going over the Victoria Falls. Hwange National Park is open year round while Mana Pools National Park is open seasonally during the drier months between mid-April to mid-November.
June is traditionally when visitor numbers start to increase, but not yet at their peak. Temperatures can get very chilly during the night and on the early morning game drive. From August the camps are completely full, but prime game viewing areas on private concessions offer exclusivity. Wildlife sightings are at their best during this time and October offers peak game-viewing when the parks are at their driest.
Can be a fabulous month to visit Zimbabwe. Early November may be as good as October if the rains hold off, whilst it is a much quieter time to travel and can also offer plenty of savings. There is the potential for thunderstorms in the afternoons but they can clear as quickly as they arrive.
Zimbabwe’s quietest time of year due to the rains. The landscape is utterly transformed into lush grasslands and it is still a fantastic time for keen birdwatchers to visit. March is also a good time to visit Victoria Falls as high water-level create plumes of spray and multiple rainbows.
Yes – Zimbabwe is famous for its wildlife, in particular its huge herds of elephant in Hwange National Park. Buffalo, lion and leopard are also found across the country. Black and white rhino, once plentiful, are now restricted to select areas of Zimbabwe.
African Wild Dogs can be seen in both Hwange and Mana Pools national parks. In 2019 a pack was translocated from Hwange to Mana Pools National Park and, after being held in a boma (enclosure), have since been released.
For those looking for a little more adventure, there might not be a better safari in Africa! A thrilling experience that provides close encounters to some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife, canoe safaris are led by an armed, professional guide. The best place for canoeing safaris is on the Zambezi River in renowned Mana Pools National Park.
Zimbabwe also offers some of Africa’s best walking safaris and Mana Pools National Park is one of the best regions to do this. Each morning leave at sunrise and walk leisurely through the African wilderness to your next fully-serviced mobile camp. Stop en-route to look at animal tracks, interesting plants and of course, keep an eye out for the animals themselves.
Zimbabwe is easily combinable with neighbouring countries including Botswana, Zambia and South Africa – all of which provide a different safari experience. Another popular combination with a Zimbabwean safari is a visit to Uganda or Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas.
Zimbabwe offers plenty of fabulous safari experiences and the two major national parks – Hwange and Mana Pools – are top of the list when visiting the country. For the more adventurous, Zimbabwe is one of the best countries across Africa for walking and canoeing safaris, whilst the magnificent Victoria Falls is a must-visit.
The easiest way into the country is from the South African hub of Johannesburg. Multiple major airlines fly into the city including British Airways, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Delta Airlines, Qantas, and of course South African Airways. From Johannesburg there are regular flights to Victoria Falls, the start and end point for many safaris. Alternatively, for an Edwardian-style, luxury rail experience, journey by Rovos Rail from Pretoria in South Africa to Victoria Falls.
Sign up to receive updates about exciting journeys, special offers and more