From ancient ruins to beautiful national parks and the world's longest zip line.
19 Dec 2018
Share article on
With its varied landscapes, amazing wildlife and fascinating history, Zimbabwe is a stunning country. A place as big and as diverse as Zimbabwe has a lot to offer in terms of exciting activities to do and interesting places to visit. Whether you are interested in wildlife, history, culture or high adrenaline sports, Zimbabwe has plenty of unforgettable experiences for you. Fly across the Zambezi River on the world's longest zip line, or visit Africa's most impressive ruins outside of Egypt. If wildlife and nature is more your forte, Zimbabwe has a huge selection of game reserves and national parks, the most popular being Hwange. If you really want to experience the African wilderness, trek across Mana Pools National Park on a seven day excursion.
Hwange National Park
A visit to Hwange National Park is the ideal addition to any Zimbabwe itinerary. The largest National Park and possibly the most well known, Hwange consists of sprawling open grasslands and vast swathes of mopane woodland. Interestingly, none of the surface water bodies are natural - instead, they are man-made and are supplied with pumped water which means that Hwange's waterholes are brilliant wildlife viewing spots all year-round. Many of these waterholes have viewing platforms and/or hides that allow you to get very close to Africa's amazing animals.The park contains more wildlife species than any other park in Zimbabwe, including high numbers of lions, leopards, wild dogs and especially elephants, of which there are believed to be 30,000 living within the park. Cheetahs, buffalo and rhinos are also present, along with over 400 different bird species. When staying at Hwange, you have the option of lodging in the main areas of the park or in one of the numerous private concessions.
Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools is a fantastic National Park in the North of Zimbabwe, with UNESCO World Heritage status. This park’s remote location gives guests a sense of being in the African wilderness, with its stunning landscapes and abundance of wildlife. Close encounters with a wide range of animals is guaranteed. There are a number of lodges and camps offering a variety of different experiences, safaris and itineraries. One of our favourites is the 'Greater Mana Experience’, which comprises a six-night trip across Mana Pools National Park and Sapi, a private concession on the eastern border of Mana. Guests explore the Park’s wilderness by foot, vehicle and boat, taking in the sights and sounds of the African bush and getting up close to the wildlife, staying in a different camp every couple of nights. This varied itinerary means that guests receive a wide range of different experiences and have the chance to really connect with the surrounding nature. The knowledge gained of the park’s environment will also be second to none.
Matobo Hills National Park
A haven for wildlife, especially white and black rhinos, Matobo Hills National Park is also a place of cultural and historical interest. It is such a remarkable location that in 2003 it was given World Heritage status. 2,000 years ago, Bushmen called the Matobo hills their home, and the artwork that they painted on the rocks and boulders can still be seen today. Guests can go on tours with knowledgeable guides to visit this incredible historical site. Matobo is also well known for its remarkable balancing rock formations, such as the ‘mother and child’.
The park is also a protection zone for both white and black rhinos, both of which are endangered species. Guests to Matobo can go on game drives to see these animals, or track them on foot on a bush walk. Bush walks are an amazing way to experience and connect with the African wilderness, and allow the opportunity to get up close to these incredible animals.
Great Zimbabwe is the biggest historical site in Africa after the Pyramids in Egypt and is one of the few genuine historical experiences that you can have on the continent, due to the heavy focus on wildlife and safaris. Once an important town, Great Zimbabwe was made up of impressive granite buildings, with towers, turrets and elegant staircases. Expert craftsmanship built these structures without using mortar – instead, the stones were packed tightly together to create some rather unique shapes. Historians believe that between 10,000 to 20,000 people called this affluent trading centre home, doing business with nations such as China, India and Persia. However, by the 16th century, the town was deserted and had fallen into ruins. No one knows why.
Gonarezhou National Park
Off the beaten track, Gonarezhou is a fantastic national park located in the South East of Zimbabwe. Filled with rivers, flood plains, waterfalls and rocky gorges, Gonarezhou is an absolutely beautiful location. Breathtaking views can be seen from the top of the Chilojo cliffs – giants red sandstone towers that loom 200 metres above the surrounding plains and instill a sense of wonder in their beholders, making them one of the park’s most distinctive features. A series of conservation breakthroughs means that Gonarezhou is teeming with wildlife, including large populations of elephants, lions, cheetahs and African wild dogs to name just a few. The lack of other tourists gives visitors a sense of truly being in the African wilderness and provides a more personal, private experience. There are a variety of accommodation options in Gonarezhou, although no matter where you stay, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable safari experience.
A stunning mountain range in the East of Zimbabwe, with spectacular views and a huge variety of fun and exciting activities on offer, the Eastern Highlands are a worthy contender on any itinerary. Full of unspoilt wilderness, the area contains several national parks and nature reserves, such as Nyanga National Park and Cecil Kop Wildlife and Nature Reserve. It is also an ideal place to go hiking, with many established walks throughout the area, of varying degrees of difficulty. For more of an historical experience, there are several small ruins that can be visited, including the Ziwa ruins, which date back to 200AD. Alternatively, you can tour the Rhodes Nyanga Historical Exhibition or visit Tessa’s pool, a natural swimming hole with ancient rock paintings nearby. The Eastern Highlands also boasts several waterfalls and caves that can be explored.
If high adrenaline sports are what you're after, then Victoria Falls is the place for you. Located on the Zambezi river, this area has a number of water based activities on offer, such as white water rafting in canoes and kayaks. Or, if you are feeling particularly daring, you can ride the rapids on a body board. Aerial adventures include experiencing Victoria Falls’ zipline, the longest one in the world at 425 metres, or bungee jumping from the Victoria falls bridge. Not the highest bungee jump in the world, but perhaps the most scenic, with Victoria falls providing a stunning backdrop while you hurtle 111 metres downwards towards the world famous Zambezi river. A less hair-raising activity is taking a flight over Victoria falls waterfall in a helicopter, an amazing experience that provides breathtaking views.