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Zimbabwe Safari Tours & Holidays

Be prepared for an exciting journey full of surprises when going on safari in Zimbabwe. Go for a game drive in search of the Big Five in Hwange National Park. Push up the heat with a canoe or walking safari in Mana Pools National Park on the mighty Zambezi River. Search for ancient rock art on the balancing boulders in Matobo National Park, and get drenched in the spray of Victoria Falls (Vic Falls), one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Wherever you go, you’ll be charmed by the friendly people you meet along the way. Slow down and make time for a conversation here and there. Once back home, you might find that these moments are among the most precious memories of your trip.

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6 Questions About Zimbabwe Safaris

 
 

6 Questions About Zimbabwe Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

What are the best parks to visit on a safari in Zimbabwe?

“There are lots of great parks worth visiting in Zimbabwe. Hwange, Mana Pools and Matobo National Parks are especially recommended. Zimbabwe is best known for the magnificent Vic Falls, which at 1.7km wide is one of the world’s largest waterfalls. A beautiful feature of Victoria Falls National Park is the rainforest, nourished by the spray of the waterfall. Although the forest is home to many small mammals and birds, this isn’t a real wildlife-viewing destination. For a real safari experience, you need to go to Hwange NP, Zimbabwe’s biggest and most popular Big Five destination. The waterholes provide great viewing in the Dry season, with elephants particularly abundant at that time. Hwange is well-equipped for self-drive visitors, but the surrounding private concessions provide high-end five-star luxury and exclusivity. Mana Pools NP, with 70km of Zambezi River frontage, offers a true wilderness experience. The park is best explored on foot or by canoe. The park is home to the Big Five and boasts huge numbers of buffalo and elephant. Matobo NP is less densely populated with animals, but definitely worth a visit. This World Heritage Site is a haven for white and black rhino. The ‘balancing rocks,’ which dominate the dramatic landscape, are home to the world’s largest concentration of Verreaux’s eagle. ”

1

What is the best time of the year for a safari in Zimbabwe?

“The best time of the year to visit Zimbabwe is from July to September. This is the middle and end of the Dry season, which is most favorable for wildlife viewing. As the water dries out in the bush, animals gather around waterholes and rivers, which makes them easier to spot. The lush vegetation shrivels as the Dry season progresses and this also makes viewing easier. Note though that the Dry season is the southern hemisphere winter, and it will be cold at night and in the mornings. Particularly so on early morning and later afternoon game drives. The optimum time to see Vic Falls is from June to August, when there is lots of water, but not so much that the spray obscures the view. ”

2

Is it safe to go on safari in Zimbabwe?

“Although the country has had a turbulent past, it is basically safe to visit. Especially on an organized tour. Your guide will take care of your well-being at all times. You’ll only stay at reputable hotels and lodges where safety isn’t a concern. The political situation has improved a lot since the resignation of President Robert Mugabe in late 2017, and while there is still a lot of poverty, you’re very unlikely to get into any trouble when visiting parks and other tourist hot spots.”

3

What is the typical cost of a safari in Zimbabwe?

“There are a lot of factors that determine the cost of a Zimbabwe safari. As a guideline, you can expect prices for a 7-day mid-range private tour to start at about US$2200 per person, while luxury packages start at around US$3300 per person. Most budget-friendly is a supported self-drive safari. You’ll be kitted out with a sturdy 4x4 and camping gear, and all bookings will be made for you. While this might be appealing to people wanting full independence, most visitors prefer a guided tour. There are plenty of different tours available in different price brackets. You have the choice of joining a group tour, where some costs are shared, or booking a private holiday. However, the biggest cost difference between tours is the level of accommodation. The cheapest option is a camping trip. Going up from camping are different kinds of lodgings ranging from budget no-frills parks accommodation to five-star luxury lodges in private concessions. Road safaris are great as they give you a chance to see the countryside away from the parks, but more costly fly-in safaris are more comfortable and time-efficient. I recommend getting a few quotations before booking a safari in Zimbabwe. ”

4

Which animals can I expect to see on a safari in Zimbabwe?

“Zimbabwe offers excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities. The country’s most popular and accessible Big Five destination is Hwange NP. The elephant numbers are phenomenal in the Dry season and predator sightings are usually good too. Lions are most easily seen. Hwange is home to one of Africa’s biggest wild dog populations and sightings of these endangered sociable animals are very special. The antelope diversity of the park is another drawing card. Aside from all the common species, such as impala, bushbuck and waterbuck, rarities such as roan and sable are regularly seen. The Zambezi River has incredible numbers of crocs and hippos, and the best place to see them is in Mana Pools NP. This exquisite wilderness is also known for big herds of elephants, buffalo, all three of the big cats and healthy numbers of wild dogs. Your best bet to see rhino in Zimbabwe is in Matobo NP. White rhino is quite easily spotted here, but black rhino is notoriously shy and tends to stick to the thickets.”

5

What is the accommodation like in Zimbabwe?

“Zimbabwe offers a wide range of accommodation styles suiting different budgets. The cheapest accommodation inside the parks (aside from camping) are the government national parks chalets and cottages. These are basic self-catering units, often in need of some maintenance. For better service and ambience, there are usually several privately owned lodges and camps available too. Top safari lodges tend to be fully inclusive of guided activities, meals and even drinks. There is plenty of accommodation in the towns too, especially in tourist hot spots, such as Vic Falls. There you’ll have the choice between owner-managed B&Bs, big luxury hotels, friendly guesthouses, safari lodges and backpacker hostels.”

6

Zimbabwe Safari Reviews

4.3/5 106 Reviews
Expert
Sue Watt  –  
United Kingdom UK

Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.

Zimbabwe: A country on the cusp…
5/5

If I had only one chance to go back to Africa and could choose only one country, it would be Zimbabwe. I first visited, going to Victoria Falls, in the height of the country’s toughest times back in 2004 when a trillion-dollar note...

Full Review

Expert
Anthony Ham  –  
Australia AU

Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.

Zimbabwe: The next big thing in safaris
4/5

Forget everything you’ve heard about Zimbabwe. This is one of my favorite safari destinations. Hwange National Park, in the country’s west, belongs among the elite of African safari parks. I especially love it for its elephant and lion...

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Michelle Welch  –  
New Zealand NZ
Reviewed: Dec 28, 2019
Wonderful experience - loved every moment
5/5

We had nervous expectations of travel in Zimbabwe. However, from our arrival in Victoria Falls to the day we departed we had nothing but positive experiences. This was largely based on the friendly, helpful and kind people we met along...

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Jessica Negrisoli  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Dec 13, 2019
One of the most beautiful experience I ever had
5/5

Like I just said, this was one of the most beautiful experience I had. Tongesai took care of our safari from the beginning to the end. We spent 3 days at Sable Sands in Hwange National Park. Everyone at Sable Sands is super kind, the...

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Colette *****  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Nov 21, 2019
WONDERFUL TRIP!
5/5

I really have loved this country. Each part has its interests and beauty. I had the chance to see many lions and cheetahs as well as other animals like elephants, zebras, and a lot of birds on Zambezi river where i canoed 4 days. Matopos...

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Diane Marsh  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Nov 8, 2019
Fantastic Trip
5/5

The safari experience in Zimbabwe was absolutely wonderful. I’ve been on three prior safaris in a different country and have to say this trip exceeded my expectations. The wildlife was plentiful, the scenery changed from place to place,...

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