Zimbabwe is on the rise. There is a new, more engaged government in power and they seem to be making the right noises about rejuvenating the country, which includes the all important tourism sector. Zimbabwe has always been a beautiful country with some of the best safari experiences on the continent. The local people have always been friendly and welcoming despite the hardships under the oppressive government controlled by ousted Robert Mugabe.
When we attended an AWF (African Wildlife Foundation) hosted event in the House of Commons in October, the Director General of Zimbabwe National Parks, Fulton Mangwanya, was very keen to let all in attendance know that Zimbabwe was ‘open for business” After the event, during the networking I had a further chat to Fulton and asked him what the governemnt was doing to promote tourism on the ground in Zimbabwe. He reiterated that they are keen to promote more responsible tourism, but that they needed help, both in expertise and financing. He also made a persoanl pledge by saying, “If you know anyone facing problems on the ground, send me an email and I will see what I can do.”
Lonely Planet has just released its Best in Travel 2019, with a list of the top countries to visit. The representatives for the African continent are Zimbabwe, which comes third, and the African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe which is ninth.
The full list of nominated countries is:
Safari legend Zimbabwe is on a mission to shrug off its troubled past and launch itself onto the world stage once again. There is an abundance of wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino) in its beautiful national parks as well as a huge range of accommodation options from the luxurious to the rustic. Building the tourism sector up to its former glory is a good starting place to keep moving along the road to recovery. It must be said that some of the national parks are in better shape than others but all have huge potential to improve their management and their offerings for wildlife travellers looking for an exciting safari.
The premier Zimbabwe national parks are:
- Mana Pools National Park (World Heritage Site)
- Zambezi National Park
- Hwange National Park
- Matobo National Park (World Heritage Site)
- Matusadona National Park
- Chimanimani National Park
- Nyanga National Park
- Chizarira National Park
- Kazuma Pan National Park
- Gonarezhou National Park
- Victoria Falls National Park
And there is much more besides wildlife, with fabulous historical sites, including some UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- Great Zimbabwe (World Heritage Site)
- Matopos Hills
- Victoria Falls (World Heritage Site)
- Khami National Monument (World Heritage Site)
- The BaTonga Community Museum
- Chimanimani Mountains
- Danamombe Ruins
Zimbabwe is still considered one of Africa’s best destinations to go on safari boasting excellent airports with links to neighbouring countries. There is no doubt that tourism can have a hugely positive impact on the country where hard currency makes a massive difference on the ground. With this new phase of rebuilding and growth, now is the time to plan a holiday to Zimbabwe and connecting with the right Zimbabwe safari operator is your first port of call…
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