Holidays to Zimbabwe
While Victoria Falls is undoubtedly Zimbabwe’s best known attraction and a highlight of many a trip, the rest of the country should by no means be overlooked.
In fact, Zimbabwe’s National Parks offer some of the finest opportunities in Africa to spot the ‘Big 5’ and other large wildlife, but with a lot more space to yourself than you might enjoy at some of the continent’s more famous reserves.
Zimbabwe is also a country of ancient kingdoms and culture, with ruins to explore and rock art to discover. Fast forward to the present day, it is a nation of people keen to progress, with tourism playing an important role within this. In Victoria Falls and the larger National Parks especially, there is a range of safari lodges and experiences catering for varying budgets. English is spoken by most adults.
Below you will find an introduction to the best things to do in Zimbabwe, as well as a guide to its most popular regions. Please visit our Zimbabwe safari page to browse itineraries or get in touch with our Africa Experts for the latest travel advice and to start planning your own Southern African adventure.
Things to do in Zimbabwe
Our top ten things to do in Zimbabwe include:
- Spot the ‘Big 5’ in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest nature reserve which is also home to cheetah, wild dog and over 420 bird species
- Marvel and the unabated power of Victoria Falls, from helicopter, on a guided tour or over a four-course dinner on a beautifully refurbished steam train
- Explore the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, which served as a royal palace and city, between the 11th and 15th centuries as is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Fly to Mana Pools National Park, which offers superb wildlife viewing as herbivores seeking water sources on the flood plain attract big cats
- Watch the sunset over the calm waters of the Zambezi River, around the islands immediately upstream of Victoria Falls, its mist rising in the air
- Discover 13,000 year old rock art among the caves and rock formations of Matobo National Park, where you can also go in search of leopard and rhino
- Enjoy a two night cruise on a luxury houseboat on the peaceful waters of Lake Kariba, with game viewing and guided walks included, available as part of our Intimate Botswana & Zimbabwe tour
- Stay at a safari lodge in Matusadona National Park, to watch elephant gracefully wander along the shores of Lake Kariba from your private balcony
- Enjoy a game drive in Zambezi National Park, on the doorstep of Victoria Falls, or perhaps stay in a safari lodge overlooking the kilometre wide river
- Watch one magnificent landscape transform into next from the observation car of the luxurious Rovos Rail Pretoria to Victoria Falls journey, traversing western Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls & Surrounds
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, there are very few who fail to be impressed by the scale, power and beauty of Victoria Falls. In peak flow it drops 3 million litres of water from the calmly meandering Zambezi River into a mile-wide chasm, creating swirling rapids that have carved out a spectacular, sheer-sided zig-zagging gorge.
Many Zimbabwe holidays include two or three nights in the town next to the falls, as it is also only a three hour drive to Hwange National Park, the departure point for several Botswana safaris and well-connected by regular and charter flights to airports across Southern Africa.
Our dedicated Victoria Falls holidays page includes day tours, experiences and suggested itineraries and facts on the falls.
Lake Kariba & Northern Zimbabwe
The world’s largest man lake by volume, Lake Kariba lies both in Zimbabwe and Zambia and has created an ecosystem in which Africa’s wildlife and birdlife thrives. The Zimbabwean side is protected by Matusadona National Park, a ‘Big 5’ destination.
Upstream from Lake Kariba, on the Southern shores of the Zambezi River is the unfenced Mana Pools National Park, dominated by a large flood plain teeming with hippo and crocodile. The rugged backdrop of the southern Zambezi Escarpment and ‘upside-down’ baobab trees make a safari in Mana Pools all the more special.
Both parks are best accessed by small aircraft and 4×4, adding to the adventure.
Hwange & Western Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s premier safari destination, Hwange National Park offers year round wildlife viewing, in part due to the artificial waterholes that have enabled nature to flourish.
200 km on tarred road from Victoria Falls, the park has some of Zimbabwe’s best safari lodges, such as The Hide, a luxury tented camp with a tunnel from its main viewing deck to an underground hide by the waterhole for an incredibly intimate wildlife experience. It also offers game drives and bushwalks.
Continue 3 to 4 hours southeast of Hwange and you reach the town of Bulawayo, and then Matobo National Park. An area of stunning landscapes, characterised by granite kopjes, formed over millions of years but appearing delicately balanced. Leopard’s slide between the rocks at dusk and dawn, while white rhino graze on the surrounding grasslands.
Thousands of ancient rock paintings can also be found across the Matobo Hills, depicting complex scenes of hunter and hunted.
Great Zimbabwe & The Eastern Highlands
History comes alive at the Great Zimbabwe ruins near Masvingo and Lake Mutirikwe. UNESCO heritage listed, it is thought the ancient city was once home to 18,000 people and the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe.
Our Best of Zimbabwe safari visits the national monument on route to the Limpopo River and South Africa, as does the magical 12 day Shongololo Express Southern Cross escorted rail holiday from Pretoria to Victoria Falls, or vice versa.
Around half way up Zimbabwe’s border with Mozambique are the Eastern Highlands, a stunning mountain range, popular with hikers and accessible from Harare.
Flights to Zimbabwe
Most visitors fly into Victoria Fall, to witness ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ and because the town is the starting point for many safaris in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries. British Airways, South African Airways and Ethiopian Airways all operate services from London, and the latter also from Manchester. Your flight will stop in Johannesburg or Addis Abba en route, where you may need to change plane.
From Victoria Falls you can also fly to Lake Kariba, Mana Pools on the Zambezi River and Bulawayo, the gateway to Matobo National Park. Flying via Harare provides another option to reach these unique reserves, with Emirates, British Airways, South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines and all operating one-stop routes to the Zimbabwean capital from the UK. Take an Emirates flight and you could enjoy a Dubai stopover on the way to or from your African adventure!
Multi Centre Zimbabwe Holidays
Its location in the heart of Southern Africa, incredible wildlife and landscapes and welcoming people, make Zimbabwe a superb inclusion in a multi centre holiday. Three of our customers favourite tours and itineraries include:
- Great Trans African Lodge Safari – a 21 day small group adventure visiting the Sossusvlei salt pans in Namibia and Chobe National Park in Botswana, before Hwange and Victoria Falls
- Cape Town, Luxury Rail and Victoria Falls – 11 days combining a city stay in the shadow of Table Mountain and journey on board the exquisite Rovos Rail
- African Adventure – another 11 day itinerary, starting at the ‘Falls’, before three nights in Chobe and five by the tropical beaches of southern Mozambique
If you are feeling inspired, but not sure where to start, feel free to give our team of Africa Specialists a call. They can help you plan your dream Zimbabwe holiday, as well as provide more practical travel advice, such as visa information.
Alternatively, please take time to explore our website, our tours, safaris, deals and more, then get in touch and when you know what you would like to do. By booking everything in one place with FREEDOM, you will not benefit from great service from a personal Travel Consultant, but full ATOL protection on your holiday.
Your Zimbabwe adventure awaits!
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