Zimbabwe is back in the safari spotlight, and the country is continuing to grow in popularity with travellers who want to experience a less well travelled Africa.
The recent opening of Zimbabwe’s new US$150m Victoria Falls International Airport terminal and the possibility of direct flights could also be a game changer for travellers when it comes to their choice of safari destination.
With everything pointing to Zimbabwe's likely rise as one of Southern Africa’s main tourist hubs, leading adventure operator Acacia Africa has rounded up three 'must visit' locations in this amazing country.
Matobo National Park
Unquestionably one of Africa’s hidden gems, Matobo is impressive partly because of the scenery: its huge granite boulders balancing precariously on one another seeming to defy gravity and partly because of its wildlife: this, one of the best places anywhere in Africa to see rhino – both the ‘black’ and ‘white’ varieties. Ancient bushman rock paintings dating back some 2,000 years can also be found at the UNESCO World Heritage site and the area is considered by many as Zimbabwe’s spiritual home.
Top tip: Enjoy a heart racing walking safari with expert local guides. Aside from rhino, you might also see impala, sable antelope, giraffe, ostrich, gnu, and zebra and famous for its concentrations of black eagle, you might also see them atop the national park’s rock formations. Don’t miss the hike to World’s View, the burial place of Cecil Rhodes, with its stunning 360 vistas over plain and hillside.
Twice as high as the Niagara Falls, the Victoria Falls, or Mosi au Tunya (the ‘Smoke That Thunders’) is the largest curtain of falling water in the world. The drop ranges from between 90m and 107m with an average of 550,000 cubic metres of water per minute plummeting over the lip into the Batoka gorge. The Zambezi River forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and the Falls can be seen from both countries, but many will say that Zimbabwe offers that better all year round views.
Top tip: For the most dramatic views of this world wonder head here in rainy season, which is December to March. At this time of year the water is high and sightseers will be treated to magical views of the falls. Adrenaline seekers should opt for low water season, from April to October, as during this period white water rafting on the Zambezi’s Grade Five rapids a major highlight. Alternatively, get a birds-eye view of this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site by booking a trip on the famous ‘Flight of the Angels’ helicopter ride or a hop on a microlight. On the Zimbabwean side, the Falls are just a short walk from Victoria Falls town where you can soak up the rich history and culture of Zimbabwe, and there’s nothing quite like ending your day with a relaxing sunset cruise on the Zambezi.
Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo is a tree-lined city bordered with early Victorian colonial architecture and surrounded by beautiful parks. It is home to the country's main museum, the Natural History museum, known for its displays illustrating the country’s history, mineral wealth and wildlife. Dont miss the Railway Museum or the Bulawayo Art Gallery and the Mzilikmzi Art and Craft centre for cultural points of interest. A selection of skilfully and local crafted sculptures, basketry, pottery, beadwork and woodwork available to purchase.