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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, Matusadona and Gonarezhou National Parks are just the start when it comes to Zimbabwe’s world-class wildlife destinations. And despite attracting fewer visitors than most other safari countries, Zimbabwe has an excellent tourist infrastructure and offers plenty of opportunities for a cheaper or budget safari. In particular, a lot of campsites are spread across the country and can be found inside many national parks.

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1-20 of 38 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, and it has plenty of other wildlife as well. Scenic Matobo is brilliant for hiking. Gonarezhou has spectacular landscapes and dense populations of elephants, hippos and other animals. Then there’s Mana Pools, which has extraordinary wildlife, and you can also get out of your car and explore on foot, one of few such places on the continent where you can do so.”


Where should I go on a budget safari in Zimbabwe?

“It depends a little on how much time you have to spend in Zimbabwe on your safari holiday. The most normal point of entry for fly-in visitors (or those coming overland from the north) is Victoria Falls, and it is definitely worth spending a few days enjoying the magnificent views and other activities on offer here. Coming from Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s most accessible major safari destination (about three hours’ drive in either direction) and easily visited on a standalone group or self-drive safari. The country’s largest national park, Hwange is renowned for its high densities of elephants, which often congregate in their hundreds around waterholes toward the end of the Dry season. Hwange is also good for lion, cheetah, African wild dog, giraffe, zebra and so much more. For budget travelers, an added attraction of this park is that the official rest camps have affordable chalets and well-positioned campsites. Mana Pools National Park in the northeast is best known for offering the opportunity to go on a walking safari. As with Hwange, the wildlife viewing in Mana Pools is exceptional, and the camping facilities are varied. Matobo, Matusadona and Gonarezhou National Parks are also worth thinking about including on your itinerary, as is the unique ruined city of Great Zimbabwe, but these would need careful consideration as they would add to the overall cost of your trip due to additional time and transport costs.”


How much will this safari cost?

“The cost of going on a budget safari taking in Victoria Falls and Hwange starts at around US$200 per person per day but can rise as high as US$400 to US$500. 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?

“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, which you can usually find inside (or just outside) many 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 down costs.”


What type of vehicle can I expect?

“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

4.3/5 110 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, at the height of the country’s toughest times back in 2004, when a trillion-dollar note...

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Tracey Geyser  –  
Spain ES
Reviewed: Feb 9, 2024
It has a natural beauty, the local people are friendly, the wildlife good but the roads terrible.

We used Serious fun tours for our 4 days in Zim. we wanted to do Victoria falls and a game drive. We got so much more. What a pleasant experience! They communicated well from the start. They offered the biggest variation of things to do...

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Caroline Page  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Jan 17, 2024
Zimbabwe is a beautiful country with amazing scenery, great animal sightings, & friendly people!

Our family (four adults) had an amazing time on our trip to Zimbabwe. We loved the scenery on our drive from the Vic Falls airport to our first accommodation stop (Robins Camp). We saw so many wild animals just on that drive alone including...

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Eunice Sameke  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Nov 19, 2023
Fantastic place to visit and knowledgeable guides

Zimbabwe is a beautiful and peaceful country. We had an amazing time visiting Victoria falls and Chobe. All guides were very knowledgeable. I would recommend anyone wanting to visit Zimbabwe not to hesitate.

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Mary  –  
New Zealand NZ
Reviewed: Jul 26, 2023
Wonderful wildlife, but poor conditions for its people

Victoria Falls was amazing - the sound and power of the water was incredible. Hwange National Park was a wonderful experience, numbers and variety of animals was fantastic. Elephants, giraffes, impalas, baboons, zebras, lions, spider...

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Anthony Kim  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Jun 29, 2023
June is perfect for Victoria Falls. For safari, Hwange was good but definitely try out Chobe

We did one full day in Hwange and 1 full day in Chobe safari (all within driving distance of Victoria Falls by 1-2 hrs). The Zambezi sunset cruise and Victoria Falls are clearly the highlights. If I were to choose safari again, I would...

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