Interested in a Zimbabwe safari? Read on below for the full low down…
Located between the mighty Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, landlocked Zimbabwe is one of Africa’s most pristine countries. The country borders Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia, and is best known for the magnificent spectacle of the Victoria Falls – a wonder of the world.
Having gone through decades of social unrest during the Mugabe era, Zimbabwe now openly welcomes tourists to the country. Zimbabweans, as a rule, are friendly and warm people, the country sees fewer tourists than its neighbours, the game reserves are virtually untouched by mankind, and the guides are excellent. All this makes Zimbabwe a top – if under-attended -safari destination.
Alongside some of Africa’s best game viewing the country boasts its fair share of epic African scenery. The name Zimbabwe is derived from the incredible stone structures of the Great Zimbabwe ruins, a World Heritage Site, and the country has a further four World Heritage Sites, including Victoria Falls, the conservation area of Mana Pools and the spectacular granite Matobo Hills.
The central and western parts of the country are made up of mostly savannah grassland, with tropical evergreen forests in the eastern highlands and wonderful rock formations in the north. Whether you’re visiting for a safari or simply to take in the scenery, Zimbabwe offers a fantastic variety.
Self-drive safaris are an option in most national parks in Zimbabwe, though to enjoy full access to the most remote (and tourist-free!) areas you’ll need a 4WD car or jeep. If you fancy taking a tour or arranging your own guide and/or driver have a look at our list of safari tour companies in Zimbabwe before arrival in the country.
Zimbabwe safari highlights
Experience the Victoria Falls
Forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the 110 meter tall waterfall is one of the seven wonders of the world for good reason. Over 400,000 tourists visit Victoria Falls annually, to watch the Zambezi plummet over a cliff quite spectacularly.
Take a Zambezi wildlife cruise
Downstream from the Victoria Falls, the Zambezi – one of Africa’s mightiest rivers – flows through Zimbabwe’s Matusadona and Mana Pools national parks, home to hippos, rhinos and birdlife. There’s plenty of opportunities to hop on to a boat of some type to enjoy the wildlife whilst floating down the river.
Relax lakeside at Kariba
Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake, stretching 226 km, and forming part of the border between and Zambia and Zimbabwe. As with the all of Africa’s Great Lakes, Kariba offers spectacular views, stunning sunsets, great fishing, and is a wonderful spot to simply relax and reflect on your African adventure.
Best time to safari in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a year-round safari destination, though depending on where you go and what you plan to see (and how much rain and heat you can take), you may want to plan on visiting at a specific time of year.
Peak season to visit Zimbabwe is from May to October. At this time of year, Victoria Falls is in full flow and at its most impressive, while the wildlife viewing is excellent as animals concentrate around waterholes and rivers. With peak season comes crowds of tourists, though as the temperature rises to the 30s from July to October there are fewer visitors to contend with away from Victoria Falls.
The rainy season – made up predominantly of afternoon showers – begins in November or December, and lasts into March. Although some camps around Hwange close for the rainy season fthe park and many lodges remain open. This is a great time for a crowd-free safari with the added bonus of migratory birds. At this time lots of wildlife is born and the dry Zimbabwean bush becomes green and lush. Water levels in the Zambezi are low through the rainy season, making for better whitewater rafting on the Zambezi.
National parks in Zimbabwe
Over 15% of Zimbabwe’s land area is protected, with most of the resulting national parks in Zimbabwe including some form of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although Zimbabwe – and Zimbabwean wildlife – has seen some tough times in recent years, the tourism industry is open for business, and wildlife populations are slowly increasing to former levels. Zimbabwe is the premier destination in the world to see huge elephant herds and black rhinos.
Top Zimbabwe national park picks
Matusadona National Park
A picturesque park on the southern shore of Lake Kariba, backdropped by the Matusadona mountain range. The park is a refuge for the black rhino – one of Africa’s most endangered species.
Have you been to a national park in Zimbabwe, or got some useful information you’d like to share on the topic? Please feel free to get involved in the comments section below.
Zimbabwe safari resources
Search & book Zimbabwe accommodation