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Zimbabwe Budget Safari Tours

Zimbabwe flies a little under the radar when it comes to the safari circuit. It has an extraordinary array of parks and other attractions, but they’re nowhere near as well-known nor as crowded as similar places in the region. Hwange, Mana Pools, Matobo and Gonarezhou National Parks are just the start when it comes to Zimbabwe’s world-class parks. And despite not seeing the same numbers of safari visitors as in other countries, Zimbabwe has excellent tourist infrastructure and plenty of opportunities for a cheaper or budget safari. In particular, it has lots of campsites spread across the country and inside many of the national parks.

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1-20 of 29 cheap tours, packages and holidays to Zimbabwe

5 Questions About Zimbabwe Budget Safaris


5 Questions About Zimbabwe Budget Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

Is Zimbabwe a good choice for a budget safari?

“Zimbabwe is one of the best places in southern Africa for your budget safari holiday. That’s partly because of the sheer magnificence of Zimbabwe’s national parks. Hwange National Park, in the country’s west, is one of the best places anywhere to see lions and elephants, with plenty of other wildlife to see as well. Matobo is brilliant for hiking. Gonarezhou has spectacular landscapes and wildlife that wanders in across the border from South Africa’s Kruger National Park. And Mana Pools, where the wildlife is extraordinary but you can also get out and explore on foot – it’s one of few such places on the continent. Whether you’re hiking the hills or on a foot safari in search of wildlife, you’re already cutting out the significant cost of transport, which helps keep costs down in ways that simply aren’t possible in many other countries.”


Where should I go on an affordable budget safari in Zimbabwe?

“It depends a little on how much time you have to spend in Zimbabwe on your safari holiday, but Hwange National Park in the west and Mana Pools National Park in the north should definitely be on your list of places to spend some time. Hwange National Park is best known as one of few places in Africa where lions and elephants do battle, and it’s an epic encounter if you’re lucky enough to see it. The park is also good for leopards, African wild dogs, and so much more. The park also has some well-positioned campsites. Mana Pools is best known for offering the rare opportunity to go on a walking safari. As with Hwange, the wildlife viewing is exceptional, and the camping facilities are varied. Matobo and Gonarezhou National Parks should also be on your itinerary, as should Victoria Falls and the storied ruins of Great Zimbabwe, but these would need careful consideration as they would add time and transport costs to the overall cost of your trip.”


What is the typical cost of cheap budget safari packages in Zimbabwe?

“The cost of going on a cheap budget safari in Zimbabwe starts at around US$350 per person per day and can rise as high as US$450. These prices are often not a whole lot less than the quoted prices for mid-range safaris, so it’s always worth checking to see what’s included in terms of accommodation and transport. At the lower end of the price range, you can expect simple accommodation (either in a camping tent or simple room), and you’ll almost certainly be sharing your vehicles with a number of other travelers. Budget safaris also tend to involve fewer staff. But it can also mean that, with everyone pitching in, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet other travelers with whom you’ll share the journey and make friendships that may well last long after you’ve returned home.”


What are the accommodation options on a Zimbabwe budget tour?

“Most of Zimbabwe’s parks have extensive camping areas. Where these exist, they’re sometimes close to the park’s headquarters, and have facilities that include shared ablution blocks (with showers, sometimes with hot water, and toilets) and even a small grocery store. At these sites there are often also other forms of accommodation, such as simple and/or more comfortable bungalows. When you’re camping, your accommodation will be in simple canvas tents. Other possibilities include budget hotels and lodges that you can usually find in or just outside most of Zimbabwe’s national parks. Some of these will have individual rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities, while others will offer a communal bathroom. In a small number of places, you may also find shared dormitory-style accommodation, which is a good way of keeping costs down.”


What type of vehicle can I expect on a Zimbabwe budget safari?

“Most operators of budget safari tours in Zimbabwe will take you around in 4WD vehicles. Sometimes these are large, high-off-the-ground buses with massive wheels. Apart from helping to keep costs down – the more travelers there are in a vehicle, the less each person pays for transport – these buses offer terrific views of the landscape and wildlife. Normal 4WD vehicles are also used. Another possibility is that your safari will include public game drives operated by the relevant park authorities. These will usually be in a large safari vehicle – usually a 4WD, with open sides, a roof and tiered seating. The advantage of doing it in this way is that you are only paying for your seat in the vehicle, rather than the whole vehicle, although if you do enough of these, it may work out to be a similar overall expense.”


Zimbabwe Reviews

4.3/5 105 Reviews
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…

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

Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for CNN Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

Once (and soon to be again) Africa’s most beautiful country

When I first visited the country in 2000 I was coming to the end of a 5-country safari from Kenya, and Zimbabwe had struck me as the most beautiful African country I had ever seen. The people (most of them anyway) are remarkably friendly...

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Judy Anderson  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Mar 22, 2023

Our safari experience was amazing! The 7 days were seamless; drivers arrived on time and were extremely knowledgable. The Elephant Eye Lodge was one of the best lodging experience. Our tent/chalet was well equipped, comfortable and the...

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

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

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

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...

Full Review