Zimbabwe

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  • Hwange Walking Safari
  • Victoria Falls
  • Zambezi River Canoeing

Overview

Zimbabwe still rates as one of the greatest Southern African safari destinations. Despite its recent troubles, it offers a superior safari experience and is home to some of the very best guides in the business. With a people whose history and culture dates back thousands of years, Zimbabwe sits between two great rivers; the tranquil Limpopo to the south and the mighty Zambezi to the north. Here visitors flock to see one of the wonders of the natural world - the spectacular Victoria Falls.

However, Zimbabwe is a country with much more to offer than its most famous water feature. Visitors choosing a safari have a huge range of options in a host of natural habitats untouched by the political upheavals of past decades. From the mountains and forests of the Eastern Highlands, the granite hilltops in Matopos to the mopane woodlands of Hwange and the waters of Lake Kariba, there is plenty here to enjoy.

Zimbabwe's best known nature reserve, as well as its largest (14,600km²) and oldest (established in 1928), is Hwange National Park. With its huge variation in vegetation, including Kalahari sands and mopane woodland hills and valleys, Hwange is home to more than 400 bird species and 100 species of mammal. These include lion, rhino and leopard, and in particular, large herds of elephants, rivalling that of neighbouring Botswana. Easily accessible to visitors, most of the camps are found along the northern fringe of the park and offer of variety of price ranges and styles.

Mana Pools National Park, below Kariba dam wall, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and wildlife mecca. Mana Pools has been formed over millennia by the rushing of the Zambezi River through the valley, leaving in its wake are myriad of islands, sandbanks and channels, as well as many small ox-bow lakes, all lush with vegetation and a magnet for wildlife. It's still one of the best places in Southern Africa to do a canoe or walking safari.

For those wanting a less well-trodden path, Gonarezhou National Park in the southeast is a remote wilderness region, and the country's second largest national park. It offers abundant trees and vegetation, as well as antelopes, elephants and large herds of the beautiful but shy nyala. Chizarira National Park, to the south of Kariba dam, is another wild and isolated place, perfect for the more adventurous. There are some great walking safaris that follow the escarpement with majestic views down the valley. Wildlife populations are not at the same levels as Hwange or Mana Pools but you will be rewarded none the less.

 

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Quick Facts - Zimbabwe

Travel Seasons

  • Jul-Oct - High Season. Dry season and prime wildlife viewing with animals gathering at water sources. During the winter months of Jun-Aug it's cold in the mornings and evenings. By October it's very hot, late 30°Cs and early 40°Cs.
  • Nov-Mar - Low Season. Wet season with warm days and potential for rain in the afternoon. Quiet time of year, a great time to see resident and migratory birds. In March the Victoria Falls are at their fullest with huge amounts of spray in the air and rainbows. This is a great value time to travel.
  • Apr-Jun - Shoulder Season. Seasonal rains end, the landscape is vibrant and very beautiful, although game viewing can be more challenging with long grass and trees in leaf. Mana Pools re-opens in April. 


General Information

  • Currency - USD is the most widely used. Others including SA Rand, Botswana Pula and GB Pound are also considered legal tender
  • Lauguages - English, Shona, Ndebele plus more (16 official languages in total) 
  • Size - 390,757 km2 - three times the size of England
  • Population - 16,150,362 (2016 estimate) 


Travel Insurance

  • Travel insurance is essential for all international travel. Click below to find out more:

Medical and Health

  • The CDC recommends the following vaccinations for Zimbabwe: hepatitis A and typhoid. Check with your doctor which other vaccinations you might need and make sure your routine vaccinations are all up-to-date.
  • Malaria is present in Zimbabwe - get medical advice on which prophylaxis to take.
  • It is best to stick to drinking bottled water.


Tourist Information

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • World class guiding
  • Beautiful and varied landscapes 
  • Great for walking and canoeing safaris
  • The Victoria Falls, Natural Wonder of the World 
  • Well priced safari options
  • Many camps are on private concessions with exclusivity and no crowds

CONS

  • Decline of facilities in national parks
  • Wildlife numbers affected by poaching
  • Political instability

Travel Info

Arriving in Zimbabwe

  • The main arrival airports are Harare and Victoria Falls for international and regional flights, as well as Bulawayo and Lake Kariba.

Getting Around

  • Charter flights operate into safari areas.
  • Road access to many of the main safari areas is good.

Visas

  • Tourist visas are required by many nationalities - check before you travel Zimbabwe visas >>
  • Tourist visas are available on entry at major borders and airports or in advance online or from the Zimbabwe Embassy.
  • There is a KAZA Univisa valid for travel between Zimbabwe and Zambia and day trips into Botswana, available at all major ports of entry into Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

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