Zimbabwe: Luxury & Private Safaris
Zimbabwe is a destination that offers stunning scenery, excellent game-viewing, and all the activities and warm hospitality you could ask for while on safari. Despite a turbulent political history, Zimbabweans are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Their bright smiles, welcoming attitude, and genuine warmth will have you wanting to come back to Zimbabwe again and again.
Zimbabwe offers a diverse range of safari experiences and offers classic game viewing, plentiful birdlife, and highly professional guiding. In fact, it’s a point of pride that Zim is known to have the most rigorous guide training program in all of Africa. This destination caters to the active and adventurous traveler, as well as offering rich cultural experiences and some of Africa’s most incredible historic ruins.
Zimbabwe is home to 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites including the majestic Victoria Falls; known by the locals as Mosi oa Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders), Mana Pools National Park, Matobo Hills for its massive granite formations, and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and Khami Ruins National Monument for their historical significance. Zimbabwe’s national parks (Hwange, Mana Pools, Matusadona, Matobo Hills, and Chizarira) ensure top game viewing in some of the more remote and truly wild reserves in Africa. In fact, many professional guides across Africa would choose Zimbabwe for their own personal safari when asked.
Positive political changes over the past decade have bolstered Zimbabwe’s growth in popularity and demand for safaris. As a result, there’s been a large investment into the tourism industry and infrastructure, making Zimbabwe a true competitor in the luxury safari market, which we’ve loved to see, and it offers a great value for money as well.
Secrets and Tips from our Experts
- Hwange is driving distance from Victoria Falls, but we recommend taking the short hopper flight on your arrival day to save time and get you settled into camp.
- Take advantage of walking with Zim’s highly qualified guides.
- June, July and August are cold due to higher elevations, bring layers!
- Zimbabwe offers lots of water based activities to experience the landscape.
Is Zimbabwe the right destination for you?
Zimbabwe is a wonderful country for those looking for a quality game experience, with the possibility of adding a cultural and historical component to their trip. Zimbabweans are welcoming and hospitable, and visitors will feel at ease in Zimbabwe.
It is all about the wildlife in Zimbabwe and you’ll see for yourself that the Zimbabwean Safari guides are truly excellent. Your guide will take you on a “real” safari in wild and rugged terrain, where their expert skills mean you’ll search for game and learn much along the way. It will suit those looking for a safari that is not just confined to a vehicle, as walking, boating and canoeing are other ways to appreciate this beautiful country.
Zimbabwe is a good choice for those interested in delving into culture, history and archeology. The Great Zimbabwe Ruins are the largest ancient city ruins in Southern Africa that date back to the 11th century, and the Matobo Hills National Park is a granite wilderness with San Rock Art of major spiritual and historical importance.
Travelers will appreciate the friendly and attentive service, and high quality accommodations and we love the personal touches at many camps owned by individuals and small companies in Zimbabwe. Travelers will find that Zimbabwe is a fairly laid-back destination that epitomizes old-world safari style and ethos.
When to visit Zimbabwe?
- Zimbabwe’s dry season runs between May-October which is our most recommended time to visit.
- From mid-November onward Zimbabwe can get quite hot, although the game viewing is good during this green season.
- April, May and June are great months to visit for game-viewing, although the evenings can get cold – even down to freezing.
How much should I budget for a trip to Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe: Luxury & Private Safaris
Zimbabwe has a wide range of accommodation at different price points throughout the different seasons. There are great camps at mid to upper range which boast safari-chic style, warm hosting and top-notch guiding. If you are seeking luxury, Singita Pamushana, Linkwasha, or Mpala Jena are top choices.
While not a cheap destination due to the small plane flights required to travel around, Zimbabwe offers great value for money when compared with Zambia or Botswana, it’s neighboring countries.
Our favorite areas
Zimbabwe has a range of fascinating national parks, cities, historical ruins, and areas of incredible scenery. Victoria Falls, Hwange, and Mana Pools are musts for first time safari-goers but we also love recommending Matobo Hills, Gonarezhou and Matusadona/Lake Kariba for those looking for more unique experiences.
What else should I know before planning a safari to Zimbabwe?
- Zimbabwe: Luxury & Private Safaris: It’s hard not to like Zimbabwe. The government is recovering from the reign of Mugabe and while it’s not perfect politically, it’s much improved. Keep in mind that the safari industry stuck it out during the bad years as the only hope to safeguard the wildlife and they need all the support they can get!
- Zimbabwe: Flight: For those who are averse to flying in small planes, accessing Mana Pools and Lake Kariba will prove to be a challenge for you.
- Zimbabwe: Entertainment: The main cities of Harare and Bulawayo have shopping, restaurants and nightlife, but don’t look at Zimbabwe as a classic ‘big city’ destination.
Ways to experience Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe offers a variety of ways to experience the country, and a mix of accommodation types to fit your taste and budget.
On safari, game drives and bush walks are the main game-viewing activities in the reserves, but there are also photographic hides, fishing, boating and canoeing. Up in Matopos, you can track rhino on foot and visit ancient rock art sites. Break up your safari with a couple of nights on a houseboat on Lake Kariba. Activities for the more adventurous are clustered around the Falls and can include white water rafting, swimming in Devil’s Pool and helicopter flights over the Victoria Falls.
Wildlife you will see
- Zimbabwe is home to classic big game animals, in addition to numerous other mammals and birdlife.
- Hwange is a Big Five reserve and sable, cheetah, brown hyenas and wild dog are found in good numbers in the park.
- Mana Pools is a prime location to see elephant and buffalo in the dry season and hippopotamus and crocodiles year-round.
- The Matobo Hills National Park has breeding programs for the endangered black eagle and rhino which makes for a really special game-viewing experience.
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