I lived and worked in Zimbabwe for almost 5 years. Heading out to the bush to experience the wildlife. Having a weekend on Lake Kariba on a houseboat. Seeing Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park. I lived in Harare and made many good friends in this warm and welcoming country. Though it has had some political turmoil over the past few years, Zimbabwe is one of the great African destinations to experience authentic Africa.
Have you ever visited Africa and felt, ‘Wow, this is epic!’ For many travelers, Zimbabwe is a goldmine of ‘bush luxury.’ It’s the perfect vacay destination for travelers who want to experience the true spirit of an African Safari. Zimbabwe has it all, from dramatic landscapes, endless National Parks under clear blue skies, not to mention the staggering thriving wildlife, and authentic locals. Once you set foot on the red soils of this sprawling country, you’ll never want to leave.
Spend your days exploring the Mighty River Zambezi, on long game drives in the expansive game reserves, or relax on a boat cruise on Lake Kariba. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the countless activities you’re about to enjoy in Zimbabwe.
Whether it’s an adventurous game drive, a breathtaking Savannah, a thrilling night drive, or bush walks with professional safari guides; This undiscovered country has a variety of activities for you to enjoy.
Home to some of the most breathtaking beautiful waterfalls on earth, Zimbabwe is genuinely unique. Not forgetting the helpful locals, expect a joyful and friendly welcome. The convenience to traverse between different cities and national parks also makes the country an exciting destination.
If you plan to visit Zimbabwe, here is our ultimate guide to Zimbabwe:
I lived and worked in Harare for almost 5 years and love the city. Zimbabwe’s capital city. Located high on Zimbabwe’s great plateau, the air in Harare certainly feels fresh and clear, and while many won’t want to spend a lot of time in the area, it’s good for an overnight stop.
While here, you are spoilt of choice on what to do and see. You can check out the Botanical Gardens that is home to hundreds of different tree species. From there, you can head down to Mukuvisi Woodlands or Kuimbashiri Bird Sanctuary; this is a perfect place for bird watchers.
If you are not interested in birds, you can explore the Wild is Life Trust, a wildlife sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitate animals. Other notable animal parks include the Lion and Cheetah Park and Lake Chivero Recreational Park.
From the animals, you can drive north to Domboshava village for some sightseeing. In the evening, stroll around the Doon Estate, a shopping district- be sure to carry your bargaining skills. Check out the National Archives Of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Museum Of Human Sciences for some history lessons.
Best resorts in Harare include; The York Lodge, Kingsmead Guest House, Amanzi Lodge (recommended for an African experience).
Bulawayo’s wide, tree-lined walkways are flanked by steadily fading colonial buildings that ooze Victorian-style art deco. The city has a beautiful historic vibe, and it’s worth spending a few daysthere. This is the gateway to Matobo National Park, while here, make sure you visit Cecil Rhodes Burial Place. You can easily access Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park from Bulawayo.
Spend your morning soaking up the beautiful architecture while strolling through the beautiful allay-ways. Start by checking out the Bulawayo Railway Museum and learn everything about trains. Then head to The Museum of National History to learn more about Zimbabwe.
Later on, you can try out the lovely restaurants popping up at every corner for some mouth-watering steaks. There are also plenty of curio shops to shop and pick some African Souvenirs such as Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre, Induna Arts, and Fazak Gift Centre.
For best places to stay in Bulawayo check out Holiday Inn Bulawayo, Motsomai Guest Lodge, and The N1 Hotel.
Sitting beautifully inside a dish-like valley, Mutare is surrounded by rugged mountains in the splendid Eastern Highlands. These majestic mountains separate Zimbabwe from Mozambique, with the borderline about 8 km away.
You’ll find numerous attractions to see both in and out of town. While in the city, you can go to the Mutare Museum, then visit The Mutare National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe for some inspirational art collection. Another must-see site is the Cross Kopje site, a memorial site for Zimbabwe soldiers who died during the first world war.
Later on, head outside the city, and explore the Honde Valley, which borders Nyanga National Park. From there, you can also visit the Vumba Mountains for some scenic views of the city. Mutare has a fine selection of pocket-friendly accommodation options. Several lodges, resorts and campsites are available in town.
Renowned for its famous Lake Kariba, this little town has become a popular destination for tourists visiting Zimbabwe. Boadering Zambia, Kariba town offers a breathtaking view of the Kariba Dam, one of the most magnificent engineering works in Zimbabwe.
You can start by doing a morning game drive in the Zambezi Valley for a fast class adventure. Then head down Lake Kariba or the River Zambezi for a fishing excursion.
If you’re up for a thrilling adventure in the wildlife reserves, try the Matusadona Game Park for some action-packed game drives. You can also use this town as a launching point to other areas such as Mana Pools, Matusadona, and Chizarira.
At dusk, stroll through the township; make sure to pass by the Santa Barbara Chapel and conclude your day at the magnificent Karibu heights for a dreamy sundowner romantic view of the Lake and surroundings.
Victoria Falls (Town)
This is a must-have destination when visiting Zimbabwe. Thanks to its magnificent views of the iconic waterfalls, Victoria Falls will remain one of Africa’s most popular tourist towns. This small town sits on the Zambezi River’s southern bank and next to the famous natural wonder, the Victoria Waterfalls.
While here, it is only ideal for you to visit the Victoria Falls National park; soak your eyes with the best views of Victoria Falls. Don’t forget to go on camera roll-mode and capture the heavenly sites around the falls. From there, you can head upstream and enjoy a boat cruise of the Zambezi River.
If you are still fired up, head to the Victoria Falls bridge for bungee jumping, and later for a better view of the breathetaking waterfalls. You have the perfect angle to capture amazing snapshots of the entire landscape while on the bridge.
The town offers accommodation options, ranging from luxurious resorts, camping sites to bed and breakfast conveniently situated in or out of town.
Gweru, the 5th biggest city in Zimbabwe, is a perfect destination for those who love nature. Gweru has a fantastic flora and fauna with lovely flowers flourishing here all year round.
Exploring the Antelope Game Park should be on top of your list when here, then maybe visit the Thornhill Airbase, the main Zimbabwe Airbase, and a military pilot training school. While there, visit the Military Museum. Be sure to pass by The Boggie Clock Tower, one of the most iconic landmarks in Zimbabwe.
Another must-see Attraction is the Naletale ruins located just outside Gweru City. As evening approaches, you can opt to relax with the locals, stroll around admiring nature or hike up the nearby mountains.
The city’s downtown part has many accommodation options, including luxury resorts, lodgings, and self-catering sites.
Kwekwe, the Gold Mine Town
Kwekwe town, named after the famous Kwekwe River, is situated in the midlands of Zimbabwe. Kwekwe town was founded in 1898 when gold was discovered in the area. Besides mining gold, this little town is an industrial hub for iron and steel.
The most notable tourist attraction is the National Mining Museum, which showcases the town’s significance and history as a mining town. Other interests include:
- The Sable Park
- A privately owned recreational park
- The Kwekwe Sports Club
- Khayalethu Garden Centre
- The Sebakwe dam
The town is full of budget-friendly accommodations making it ideal for backpackers and other tourists.
Masvingo is a typical crossroads rural town that leads to several major cities. It has an enticing, comfortable vibe and a few glimpses of elegance, but it has very little to offer overall. Most travelers use this town as a stopover as they head outside to other parts of Zimbabwe, whether you are going west to Bulawayo east to Harare or exploring the country’s southern region.
Formerly referred to as Victoria Fort, this town pays homage to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. You can also explore the Kyle game Park and recreational center. Further down, Masvingo also hosts the second largest Lake in Zimbabwe, Lake Mutirikwi. While relaxing at the Lake’s shores, you can also check out the Chamavara Cave, which has some beautiful rock paintings believed to be showcasing the way of life of the indigenous communities.
Other must-see attractions include the Italian Chapel of Masvingo, Majiri stone Ruins, Muzhwi Dam, and the Shagashe Game Park full of wild animals.
The Midlands & Southeastern Zimbabwe
Commonly known as the highveld, the Midlands are cold, while the Lowveld is the warmer, lower-lying southeastern part of the region. Masvingo is right in the center, at the transition of both the regions, closer to Great Zimbabwe – the most senior archaeological ruins Southern Africa. Lying low in the warmer Lowveld region is the striking Gonarezhou National Park, ZImbabwe’s second-largest Park and arguably one of the most remarkable parks in the entire Southern Africa region. The Park also borders Mozambique, and that’s not all. It’s an extension of the incredible Kruger National Park bordering South Africa. Earlier in the century(2002), the three countries, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Mozambique, set apart 35,000 square km to create an extensive park with no boundaries and named it The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
The Gonarezhou National Park has a staggering landscape, including the Chilojo sandstone Cliffs, staggering baobab trees, extensive striking plains, and significant rivers meandering across the Park and into the villages. You’ll also come across all kinds of wildlife from gigantic wild elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, wild dogs, plus hundreds of varied bird species.
The Great Zimbabwe city dates back to the 15th century AD and is evidence of civilization in Africa from way back. Listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, the ruins comprises three main areas The Great enclosure, Hill Complex, and the Valley. You can either take a self guided tour or hire a tour escort @$12 per person, and authorities at the checkpoint provide reading resources to guide you as you navigate the area. The recommended time to visit is at dawn or at dusk to beat the sweltering daytime heat.
Lake Kyle (Mutirikwi) Recreational Reserve
Lake Kyle (Mutirikwi) is a man-made lake created in 1960 to water the Lowveld sugar cane farming plantations. Today it serves both as a water source for the farms and a wildlife reserve – especially to the white rhinos found in the region. There’s plenty to see in terms of wildlife, exotic ostriches, massive hippos lazing around in the muddy pools, elegant giraffes sauntering, beautiful zebras, and herds of buffaloes.
If you prefer camping, you can find accommodations about 7 miles on Mutare–Birchenough Bridge road, just after Masvingo town.
Our Final Word
There was a time in the past, political unrest tainted Zimbabwe’s tourism reputation, but today, the country is slowly shrugging off the tag and slowly making a progressive comeback as one of Africa’s truly remarkable travel destinations. I hope it continues as the country is a wonder. An amazing experience that will transport you back to old Africa.
The world’s wonder and must-see attraction that has survived the turmoil is the Victoria Waterfall. Another must-watch tourist destination is Harare City, with its fantastic cosmopolitan Vibe. So if you feel adventurous enough, it would be nice to check out this lost Jewel of Africa.
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