Ecologically diverse and unique, and varied in landscape and culture, a Zimbabwe safari will satisfy a wide range of bucket list experiences. Zimbabwe’s charm stretches from one side of the country to the other as its rich scenery offers an irresistible lure for safari seekers. Including wildlife havens like Hwange National Park and Mana Pools National Park and the astonishing sight of the mighty Victoria Falls in your Zimbabwe holiday itinerary are sure to create a memorable excursion. Both Mana Pools and Victoria Falls have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, together with the Great Zimbabwe Monument, the Khami Ruins and Matobo Hills.
The famed Zimbabwe national parks teem with a great variety of wildlife, including the Big 5 and with the mighty elephant herds claiming a popular spot on all the best-of-Zimbabwe lists. A Zimbabwe wildlife safari is truly unrivalled. Bordered by the Zambezi River to the north and the Limpopo River to the south, discovering Zimbabwe by water is a must. And there’s no place better for this than “The Smoke That Thunders”, as Victoria Falls are also known, with excursions like white-water rafting, sundowner cruises and even helicopter flights and bungee jumping to participate in.
Travellers to Zimbabwe can get their cultural fix in Matobo Hills, home to one of the highest concentrations of rock art in Southern Africa and evidence that the area has been occupied for more than 500 000 years. Other places of historical interest include the burial site of Ndebele king Mzilikazi and the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, a British mining magnate who served as prime minister of the Cape Colony in the late 1890s.
Highlights of a Safari to Zimbabwe
With a variety of natural and cultural wonders, iconic species and endless landscapes, a Zimbabwe safari offers endless opportunities for the most magical of experiences. From the wildlife paradises of Hwange and Mana Pools National Park to the impressive stature of the Victoria Falls and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins steeped in history and culture, a Zimbabwe holiday is inviting discovery.
The glorious phenomenon of Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a prime example of the best of Zimbabwe. Also known as “The Smoke That Thunders” it has a width of more than 1 700 metres and a height of more than 100 metres. Experience an unrivalled Zimbabwe wildlife safari in Hwange National Park, the largest wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe. It is mostly known for its 40 000-strong elephant population and also home to abundant birdlife, a twitchers paradise indeed.
Further north, the life-giving power of the Zambezi River makes Mana Pools National Park one of Zimbabwe’s best game-viewing areas. Canoe trips are offered year-round while guided walks are a memorable way to experience the area’s scenic beauty on the safari of a lifetime in Zimbabwe. Sandwiched in between, lies Lake Kariba, the largest man-made lake in the world at nearly 6 000 square kilometres, abundant with wildlife. Time on Kariba includes cruising its waters, islands and inlets, while tiger fishing has drawn fishermen from around the world.
For a cultural touch to your Zimbabwe holiday, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins is the country’s prime national monument. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to the 11th Century, houses important archaeological findings like ancient iron tools, ceramics, pottery, gold and carvings.
Best time to visit Zimbabwe
Dry season in Zimbabwe
The best time to book your Zimbabwe safari is during the dry season, between May and September. The temperatures are mild and pleasant with the sky clear and blue, and there are also fewer mosquitos, due to the lack of rain.
These cooler, drier months are the optimum time for a Zimbabwe wildlife safari. Animals congregate around available water sources and the vegetation is starting to thin out, making for easy spotting of species like elephants, buffalo, lions, wild dogs, and a myriad of plains game species.
If you intend to include Victoria Falls in your plans for a Zimbabwe holiday, aim to do so between May and September. Water levels are just right and the spray wouldn’t impede the view. August and September are also the best time for adrenaline activities and water sports, as the water levels are just right.
Summer in Zimbabwe
October to February is hot in Zimbabwe and daytime temperatures rarely dip below 30 degrees Celsius. Regular thunderstorms occur between November and March. The bush is very thick during this time, lush from the rain, making wildlife harder to find. This is however a good time to spot baby animals as well as ticking off countless migratory bird species from your must-see list.