“Natural wonders abound here as well as manmade attractions and great ancient civilizations. With unique landscapes and a country filled with people eager to make your stay a memorable one, Zimbabwe should be on everyone’s radar.”
Zimbabwe may not be as well known for its National Parks as some countries are (think Kruger or Serengeti) but the parks here are not only huge in the area they cover but they are some of the most untouched and authentic areas for immersing oneself in nature. From Hwange, Mana Pools, Nyanga (eleven in total), there is a wide variety of wildlife, landscapes, and culture to experience.
As mentioned, it’s not on the top of most people’s dream destination list but doesn’t be one of them. The lack of popularity is a major benefit. Fewer crowds mean you have the chance to fully take in everything around you without the hustle and bustle of scores of tourists. Going on a game drive will be immensely more enjoyable as most times only a few people going along, affording you the opportunity to really live in the moment.
This list wouldn’t be complete without mention of Vic Falls, the largest waterfall in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These majestic falls are simply breathtaking. Visit the numerous viewing decks or take a trip to the rainforest which rains all day every day or take a dip at Devil’s Pool. If Vic Falls is a priority for you try to plan your trip around a full moon to experience the iconic Moonbow, a phenomenon that occurs from sunset to sunrise where the light from the moon bounces off the mist gracing you with an extraordinary night rainbow.
The land of bush as its often referred to provides what some consider the most authentic safari. Due to its still low (but growing) popularity travellers can take advantage of this and experience the wild as it’s meant to be. Nothing crushes the thrill of spotting the big five like having to wait in line for the best viewing spots on a game drive. And because they value quality over quantity, they’ve chosen to maintain the exclusivity of their safari trips. This, coupled with the low impact of tourism on the land itself, lets you fully immerse yourself and experience it all on a much more personal level.
If you cannot be convinced about the “Authentic Safari” experience, then Zimbabwe still has something special for you. Go on a horseback safari and feel the exhilarating change of pace from a regular game drive to riding a horse through the untamed bush, over grasslands, rocky outcrops, rivers and more. The unmatched freedom that this provides has to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Not just anyone can become a guide here. Considered the most intense, comprehensive, and rigorous guide training program in Africa, the guides here are of impressive quality. Being the knowledgeable local experts they are, they know everything there is to know about the land and wildlife to make it one of the most thorough and educating experiences you can have. Without the right guide, it’s simply a walk in a really big park with really big animals.
If ancient cultures and history are what you’re after, then visiting these ruins will leave you in awe. A great medieval African city was enclosed with high circular walls and a massive tower that is now a place of historical significance and a national monument. The Khami Ruins and Danamombe Ruins developed after the capital can also be toured. There are also numerous museums to learn more about their ancient civilization.
With a cobalt blue pool, called Pool of the Fallen, these caves cater to tourists and locals. Believed to be sacred, locals use this place for worshipping and holding cultural ceremonies whilst tourists can explore the caves systems of interconnected chambers, scuba dive the numerous pools and have a picnic. The largest man-made lake in the world lies here and the sheer size of Lake Kariba is something of itself. Beautiful sunsets and scenery along the lake banks provide a mesmerizing view. The vastness allows for the use of a houseboat allowing you to spend a few days on the water exploring the shores and indulging in sundowners on the deck.
Unlike its neighbouring country Botswana, Zimbabwe has managed to intertwine high-end exclusive lodges at an affordable price point. They have put much emphasis on keeping the prices as low as they can in order to entice luxury visitors back to them. There has been expansive effort put into infrastructure and upgrades to cater for the tourism industry and the results put them on the map next to some of the most expensive lodges in Africa. What does this mean for you? The chance to experience what few are able to thanks to the foresight of their tourism industry.
Arguably the friendliest people you will meet in Africa, the smiles from everyone you meet here will radiate their love for their country and it is impossible for it not to be infectious. They are warm and always willing to help as best they can with reviews booming about their positivity towards tourists. Don’t be shy to smile back, shake hands and engage in a conversation that is guaranteed to leave you a little happier.
One can definitely see why Zimbabwe is regarded as one of the most rewarding destinations in Africa. Be it its people, its history or its unrivalled natural attractions, this is a country that is moving beyond its past obstacles and fast becoming a well-known hotspot in its own right. Just don’t put it on the back burner or you might be disappointed when it finally becomes as popular as it was meant to be.
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