Zimbabwe has not been high on many people’s travel wishlist, because of the political unrest and instability caused by the government of President Robert Mugabe.
The situation has improved dramatically over the last few years, and the country is now again a prime destination for safari, ideally in combination with a visit of the majestic Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe is also a fantastic destination for adrenalin junkies. Based in Victoria Falls town you will find a selection of companies that offer adventure activities ranging from white water rafting on the mighty Zambezi River, to “High Wiring ” over the gigantic gorge, bungee jumping down the bridge, walking with lions, to name just a few.
The Hwange National Park, only two hours by road from Victoria Falls, offers excellent Big 5 safaris, and accommodation in basic (but clean and comfortable) government-owned camps, as well as in very luxurious safari lodges.
The Victoria Falls
One of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world, locally known as “Mosi-oa-Tunya” – the smoke that thunders.
The Victoria Falls is 1708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world. It drops between 90m and 107m into the Zambezi Gorge and an average of 550,000 cubic metres of water plummet over the edge every minute. Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires visitors as much today as it did David Livingstone in the 1860′s. The falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive commercialisation. The Falls are spectacular throughout the year, but February onwards, after the rain season, has the heaviest flow and volume of spray. Our favourite hotel is the Victoria Falls Hotel, with its colonial old-world charm and magnificent gardens overlooking the spray of the falls.
Victoria Falls is also Africa’s adventure capital. Test your fear of heights by bungee jumping off the railway bridge. If that doesn’t get your adrenalin pumping then strap on a life jacket and board a rubber dingy for some exciting white water river rafting! The ‘Flight of Angels’ (helicopter) provides a fabulous vista of the falls, the upstream river and its many islands and for the more adventurous there is microlighting with stunning views of the Fall.
A visit to the Victoria Falls can ideally be combined with a safari in the Hwange National Park/Zimbabwe, the Chobe National Park or the Okavango Delta in Botswana, as well with the Kafue national Park in Zambia.
Hwange National Park
This national park is ideally situated just a two hour drive from Victoria Falls Town. Road transfers, but also light aircraft transferred are offered.
The national park boasts more than 100 different mammal species, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores, and over 400 species of birds. With up to 30000 elephants, Hwange is one of the few great elephant sanctuaries left in Africa. All Zimbabwe’s specially protected animals are to be found in Hwange and it is the only protected area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in reasonable numbers. The population of wild dog to be found in Hwange is thought to be of one of the largest surviving groups in Africa today. Prides of lions are also common.
Hwange National Park includes many diverse habitats including teak forests, palm islands, Kalahari savannah and acacia woodlands.
Accommodation is offered in basic camps and luxurious safari lodges, with Little Makololo and The Hide being our favourites.
Mana Pools National Park
Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park and The Lower Zambezi National Park, in Zambia, are divided by the magnificent Zambezi River and have some of the best game-viewing in Africa. Mana Pools is a truly remote park. Situated in the extreme north of Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, Mana is far from any major town or human settlement.
The Mana Pools National Park is one of Zimbabwe’s World Heritage Sites and forms part of the Middle Zambezi Valley, which extends eastward from Kariba to Kanyemba and southwards to the summit of the steep Zambezi Escarpment. The Middle Zambezi Valley is one of the few remaining places on earth where the black rhino can still be found. The accessible water and abundance of vegetation attracts high concentrations of animals.