User Reviews – Zimbabwe
Email Jeni | 20-35 years of age
Zimbabwe was a fantastic wilderness experience with a great cultural vibe.
Our trip was absolutely fabulous - a trip of a lifetime! The scenery was gorgeous; the weather was perfect while we were there. Our accommodations in the bush were way better than expected, but still provided the rustic feel we were going for. I don't know who cooked our food, but if it was over an open fire, that chef was brilliant and way better at cooking in the bush than I would ever be. Our trip incorporated land rovers, station wagons, canoes and more. All worked out well for each situation. The wildlife was incredible and our walking safari guide, Gary, from Sengwa Safari's was top notch. I had a very up close encounter with an elephant that was just amazing and we saw several lions with their cubs while out for a drive. There were too many other animal sightings to mention, but that was a good thing! We ended our trip in Victoria Falls where we had a great white water rafting and bungee jumping experience. Seriously, this was the best vacation I've ever been on. I hope to repeat it some day with my husband.
Adventurous Self Traveller? Get off the beaten track in Zim.
Zimbabwe? Are you mad?! You'll get killed!
That was pretty much the standard answer when we told people that we were spending our summer holiday in Zim. We being me, my wife, my Father in Law and two children, 8 and 10. My wife had been born there "back in the day" and so we were making a trip down memory lane as well as spending some time in South Africa and Botswana.
Our first exposure to Zim was the border crossing at Beitbridge. We had been warned it would be difficult and would take a while to get through. Three and a half torturous hours later (including the time and cash it took to temporarily import our hire car and write down the serial numbers of the money we paid our visa fees with) and we were in country.
We spent some time visiting old haunts and so it was a few days before our first trip to a national park proper, Matopas (also known as Matobo). As always with national parks in Zim we were met at a guarded gate by a pair of uniformed officials. And as always they were friendly, polite and honest - one enthused about how wonderful it was that we had come all the way from Ireland to his country and the other listing all the Irish soccer players he knew! Once we had found out that we supported the same team we were friends for life!
We made the well worn trek up to the heights to visit Rhodes grave and were rewarded with some of the most spectacular views across raw bush that looked like it hadn't changed in thousands of years and from there we followed the route through the park recommended by my new best buddies at the gate. The viewing was partly restricted by the time of day but we saw the usual small game - impala in particular are very common in the area. Other than that we had some close encounters with giraffe and several large herds of elephants, including at least two nursing mothers. The scenery in the park itself was also outstanding - the trip down around the dam is a must. One warning though - many of the roads are tar but we branched off onto the "Scenic Route" which was a dirt track and it quickly deteriorated to the point where our standard jeep couldn't go on and we had to turn in the bush - a larger 4x4 such as a Land Cruiser could have coped but do be wary if you are in anything smaller (we were in an X-Trail). I have been told by several people that the largest concentration of wild leopard in the world are in the park but we didn't see any.
We then carried on to Antelope Park, a lion rehabilitation centre near Gweru. It's not a safari experience in the truest sense but it is well worth a detour for the experience.
Our next proper camp experience was at Miombo Lodge on the edge of Hwange National Park. This is a Lodge that has recently changed hands and the treehouses were undergoing renovation during our trip. That said I have rarely had a friendlier welcome and I would recommend this camp without hesitation - great food and atmosphere. One of it's best features is the waterhole just on the edge of the property and early in the morning we had a knock on the door from the owner to tell us that water buffalo were on their way to drink barely 200 yards from our room door - a very nice way to start the day!
Hwange itself we barely scratched the surface of as we were on a pretty tight schedule to see friends but it was much the same as Matopas - zebra, giraffe, lots of small game and herds of elephants. I should point out that we were self driving and self guiding and someone who knew the area better may well have seen more.
We rounded off the Zim leg with a short stay at the superb Elephant Camp in Victoria Falls - probably the highlight of the entire trip. It's an astoundingly high quality camp with fantastic lodging and world class food. Best of all was using the "bush shower" on our private veranda (complete with plunge pool) as the sun rose over the Zambezi and with the spray of the falls in the distance while a herd of wild Water Buffalo wandered through the bush just a few hundred meters away. And we did have a close encounter with a cheetah that most of our friends refuse to believe...!
We chose to set our own itinerary and travel independently through Zim and it was a pleasure and surprisingly easy. We paid in advance using Paypal and Bank Transfers to minimise costs and cash/bank risks in country. Travel throughout the country was on fairly well maintained and clearly signposted roads and we had very few issues with navigation although I wouldn't recommend driving at night. Fuel was reasonable and plentiful and everyone we met, from petrol station attendants to street vendors and lodge or park staff were friendly and polite. The food was of a high standard and fresh.
We didn't do a standard tour at any point in Zim so I can't comment on how organised trips and tourists are treated or what they are like but I would highly rate and recommend it for an independent safari traveller who is looking for a destination that isn't overrun and where you have more chance of seeing animals than other peoples backs!
20-35 years of age
Great Wildlife and a Huge Range of Activities
A fantastic, under-appreciated destination. Great wildlife, incredibly friendly people, knowledgeable guides, good food, nice, clean accommodations and a wide range of activities that suited us well. We were fortunate in our wildlife viewing (4 of the Big 5) and birding (tons of Carmine Bee Eaters a major highlight), and had nothing but positive experiences with people, including guides. We used guides on walking and canoe safaris but stayed pretty low budget overall and found it easy to do so with a bit of help from outside sources. I would go back again in a heartbeat and recommended anyone to this wonderful country.
Email gellakat | 20-35 years of age
Pure excitement! One of the best places I've ever been in my life!
I was on an organised safari trip with a company called Absolute Africa when I visited Zimbabwe, so my visit was unfortunately only 4 days. Despite this, I had the best time in Zimbabwe and it left a real impression on me. There is so much to see and do here and it really is beautiful. The majority of my time in Zimbabwe was spent not too far from the border near Vic falls, on a camp site called Shoestrings (a fantastic place to stay, I highly recommend it to anyone thats camping and likes a bit of socialising!) Obviously here a big attraction is Victoria falls, which is fantastic on the Zimbabwe side (having visited the Zambian side as well I'd say that the view is better from Zimbabwe, even if it is a bit pricey!). I really wanted to go into the "devils pool" (a pool right on the edge of the Vic falls where the water goes over, a real adrenaline activity!) as I had read about it before visiting but infortunately as I was there in June the waters were too high for it to be safe, so if thats something you're interested in make sure to visit in the drier seasons!
I did get to do elephant riding in Zimbabwe. This was such a fantastic experience. It helped that I was with a large group of friends and we all had an amazing laugh, but the company was great. It was nice to see how much they cared for the elephants. After the ride we were required to watch a short film about the conservation work the company does and how the elephants are looked after and rehabilitated. (however the elephant riders were using the sharp sticks when the elephant misbehaved. They said it wasn't hurting them but if you're against this it would probably be best to avoid it!)
Lion walking was a real highlight to my safari. Once again a short video was shown about how the company works. Basically it tells you how the lions there were orphaned, unable to live in the wild or bread in captivity. At the point where you walk with the lions, they are getting used to the bush, and the walks help them get familiar with the surroundings, play, swim and learn. As they get older contact with people is limited and the aim is to eventually release them into a reserve and them possibly into the wild. Because of this you will only ever be walking with young lions, but that doesn't mean they will be small! The two I walked with were 14 months old, a shock to me because they were huge. It really was a once in a lifetime experience sitting with those lions, stroking them, walking with them and watching them play. It's quite pricey (£80 I think?) but its so worth it! How many people can say they walked with lions!?
Although I didn't take part in these activities, other available sports were bungee jumping (one of the best in the world, over the zambezi. On the bridge between zimbabwe and zambia, you need your passport to get on the bridge!), zip lining across the victoria falls gorge, flying fox (I think it was called?). There are so many adrenaline activities here it is hard to choose! Also one of my friends did the helicopter ride over the falls and she said it was one of the best things she did the whole time we were in africa. White water rafting was another activity that was unavailable because of the high waters.
Another thing arranged by Absolute Africa was a cruise along the zambezi. We were lead to believe this was a bit of a booze cruise, which we were all greatly looking forward to. It was a great boat and yes, the drink was unlimited. However the captain of the boat told us many times that we were drinking too much and being too noisey (which although yes we were drinking and having fun, I didn't feel was disruptive or out of hand. Just loudness and laughing really!) and eventually told us that we weren't allowed any more drinks, which seemed pretty bad to us considering unlimited drink was a part of the price we paid!!
Many people have heard a lot of horrible stories about zimbabwe. I can only speak for myself and the destination I visited of course. I was nowhere near central zimbabwe where all the problems have been, but I found that everyone I interacted with in Vic Falls town were very friendly and welcoming. We went out for a fantastic meal at a place called Bomas (all you can eat meat and fantastic entertainment!!!) and went to local bars and clubs and didn't feel at all in danger or unwelcome, however I would not recommend going anywhere at night alone, but that goes for pretty much everywhere!
The only thing that can get quite annoying are the people trying to sell you things on the streets. The will see you from a mile away and follow you, constantly pleading for you to buy or trade for their products, and no matter how many times you say no they will keep persisting! Although, back to the trading; this is fantastic! In the markets and stalls the locals will trade for almost anything, particuarly clothes, socks, pens/pencils, soap. Small things that seem like nothing to us. And you'd be surprised how much you get for these things, so if you have anything in your luggage that you feel like chucking away... DON'T!
The weather was nice and hot in the days, but as I was there in the colder seasons the nights were quite chilly, so if you're camping be prepared for a chill! Nothing too drastic though.
Generally it was just a fantastic 4 days. Go! Enjoy yourself, and get ready to meet a really fun interesting bunch of people! Whether they be other travellers or locals!
A beautiful country with so much to offer!
We found the scenery to be the most attractive feature of Zimbabwe in particular places like Lake Kariba with its fishing and wildlife and Victoria Falls, one sight not to be missed. The food is delicious and gives you a taste of Zimbabwe's rich culture! With lovely weather every day and temperatures well over 30 degrees throughout summer Zimbabwe is a holiday not to be missed!
Beautiful country, wildlife and culture
I didn't stay in Zimbabwe very long. We stayed right outside of Victoria Falls and the town was really interesting. It's completely different from anything you could ever imagine! The town was a poor area, but there was a lot of surrounding land that had incredible scenery and wildlife. The weather was hot, humid and rainy. We camped in tents, which was an adventure too with all the wildlife living around us (monkeys, bugs, etc). We went rafting down the Zambezi River which was a BLAST and also visited Victoria Falls of course. Our guide, named Pastor, was great. We had a blast with him. We traveled in a big passenger van, but there was only 4 of us including Pastor so we had a lot of room. The food was amazing. On our last night, we went a restaurant called The Boma. The food, dancing, and entertainment was incredible.
Email Francesca79 | 20-35 years of age
Heaven on earth
I've been to Africa many times, visited many countries, but my experience in Zimbabwe and Botswana was different. The scenic is amazing, you could drive for days without encountering any human being. If you travel by camping in a tent, then you really experience the beauty of that land. There are loads of animals, you smell the perfume of wildlife, you can enjoy a walking safari as you never did before. definetly one of the most beautiful places i've ever visited.
Stunning! A great place to get close to the wild!
Zimbabwe offered a great opportunity to get very close to wildlife. Most of all I was amazed by the huge numbers of wild elephants roaming very near my Jeep. this offered a wonderful chance to observe these majestic animals and take great photographs of them. Victoria falls are absolutely stunning!
Email pranavten | 20-35 years of age
Zimbabwe offers a balanced destination with great sites and low costs. A must do for everyone
The Safari's at Zimbabwe are recommended as the hotels/ lodges are all well maintained, offer a wide variety of rooms/ accomodation types. The safaris give you great chance to view a variety of game (animals and birds) and also experience nature in its original form. The other advantage is also that the costs are not very high and there are options to suit all budgets. Zimbabwe also has the advantage of being English spoken with all people extremely polite and service oriented. All in all its a great place to visit for safaris and an experience closer to nature.
I loved it there. Everything about it.