Zimbabwe offers uncrowded safari exclusivity in landscapes of incredible natural beauty.

This beautiful country has sizeable game parks that soak up the roughly 2 million travellers visiting the country annually: consequently, it offers adventurous travellers an authentic wilderness experience.

Elephants are the celebrities of Zimbabwe’s safari landscape. Parks like the famous Mana Pools, expansive Hwange and remote Gonarezhou glory in thousands of the pachyderms. Game is strictly protected in the country’s 11 national parks. Hwange and Mana Pools are both home to the Big Five — lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo — and Big Cats are found in most parks. Four Intensive Protection Zones (IPZs) conserve black rhinos (under threat from poaching), with two IPZs located in Hwange and Matusadona National Parks.

Private ranches and conservancies, and communal lands extend the area in which wildlife can be viewed, or hunted. State Safari Areas allow hunting under tightly controlled conditions. Hunting and culling continue to be controversial issues in Zimbabwe. The country’s most famous Big Cat, Cecil the Lion, was shot just outside Hwange National Park by a trophy hunter on a legal hunting trip.

National parks cover 13% of Zimbabwe’s land mass, but the adventure does not stop there. Zimbabwe boasts no fewer than five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the superb natural wonders of the Victoria Falls and the Mana Pools and Matobo national parks, and the fascinating ruined cities of Great Zimbabwe and Khami.

The remarkable Great Zimbabwe, in the southeast, has given its name to the country and to the hundreds of smaller ancient sites scattered throughout the highveld, all of which feature dry-stone walls. Great Zimbabwe was constructed between the 11th and 15th centuries, most likely by the ancestors of the modern Shona people. The Zimbabwe Bird, which appears on the national flag, is based on the famous soapstone carvings that once topped walls and monoliths in the city.

The great Zambezi River carves its way along Zimbabwe’s northern border, sustaining stunning parks and creating the splendour of the Victoria Falls. The damming of the Zambezi in the Kariba Gorge created the largest manmade lake in the world, by volume. Lake Kariba may have been intended for hydro-electric power and irrigation, but it is an adventure playground like no other. A houseboat voyage, replete with thrilling fishing, excellent birding and encounters with the Big Five on the shores of the Matusadona National Park, puts this dam in a league of its own.

The mere sight of the magnificent Victoria Falls is enough to get the heart racing but committed adrenaline junkies have an extraordinary array of exciting activities to relish, from bungee jumping from the railway bridge over the falls to white-water rafting below them. More relaxed folk may opt for sundowner cruises on the Zambezi River or breathtaking helicopter flights.

A unique wilderness activity is the annual game count, which takes place at the end of September in Hwange and Mana Pools national parks. It is usually held during a full moon. Volunteers from far and wide act as ‘counters’, given checklists and posted at designated points in the parks. There they stay for 24 hours, observing the animals. The game count enables Wildlife & Environment Zimbabwe to estimate wildlife populations and changes that may indicate environmental stress.

Accommodation in Zimbabwe

Changa Safari Lodge

Set in mopane woodland on the shores of the lake, Changa Safari Camp is a place of secluded luxury – guests have nearly four kilometres of stunning shoreline to themselves. Changa has been designed to harmonise with its natural surroundings without stinting on style and luxurious comfort. Each of the six double or twin tents and two family tents has its own deck and hammock overlooking the lake, with the Matuzviadonha Mountains beyond. Guests can turn on small sprinklers in the trees in front of their tents and enjoy the birdlife attracted to the cooling spray. The family tents are…

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Accommodation in Zimbabwe

Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

The curves of the Save River form the northeastern boundary of the Gonarezhou National Park, and Chilo Gorge is spectacularly perched across the river from this pristine elephant haven. Designed to allow the outside to flow seamlessly into the lodge’s interiors, Chilo Gorge is the place to experience the remote wilderness in style. The thatched main lodge, perched on the highest cliff, welcomes guests with a beautifully appointed lounge, bar, dining room and library, and a shaded swimming pool surrounded by delightful gardens. The deck offers elevated views of crocodiles and hippos in the river below, as elephants and other…

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Accommodation in Zimbabwe

Elephant Camp

Nestled in teak woodland only 20 minutes from the adventure hub of Victoria Falls, this exclusive safari camp breathes tranquillity. The design of the buildings brings the wilderness indoors with an airy flow from outside to the tasteful interiors. Each of the 12 luxury suites of The Elephant Camp Main sports a viewing deck, outdoor shower and private plunge pool. The tented suites are designed to make the most of their location facing the falls, with views from the oval baths, four-poster beds and lounging areas. The warm colours of the elegant safari-style décor echo the sunset hues of the…

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Accommodation in Zimbabwe

Little Makalolo Camp

Little Makalolo Camp offers real privacy, remote from more touristed areas. Situated in a vast private concession area within the park, Little Makololo is sister to the Makololo Plains Camp. The varied ecosystems of the Makololo area, with open plains, teak forests and acacia woodlands, ensure a rich diversity of fauna and flora, with especially good game viewing at the concession’s numerous waterholes and pans during the winter months. In a teak forest overlooking a busy waterhole, Little Makalolo melds the natural style of the traditional bush camp with low-key elegance, indulgent comfort and excellent service. Six airy safari tents…

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Accommodation in Zimbabwe

Ruckomechi Camp

Ruckomechi, elegantly refurbished in 2016, is ideally located for an unforgettable safari experience, extending over a kilometre of river frontage with breathtaking views of the broad river and the Zambezi escarpment beyond. There are large concentrations of game along the river and on the wide floodplain behind the camp, which is located in the large, private Ruckomechi Concession in the north-west of Mana Pools, the only concession in the park. Ten spacious en-suite tented chalets overlook the river and offer all the amenities one could ask for – electricity, fans, hot and cold running water and indoor and outdoor showers…

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Accommodation in Zimbabwe

Somalisa Camp

Recently rebuilt and upgraded, the marquees and sails of award-winning Somalisa Camp evoke Arabian nights in the heart of the southern African bush. Two waterholes flanking the camp attract Hwange’s famous elephants as well as lion, buffalo, rhino, giraffe and a rich variety of smaller game. At Somalisa, every attention is paid to excellent hosting and guiding, contributing to an unforgettable safari experience. The camp’s focus on environmental sustainability is evident in its use of solar power and recycled building materials, and the recycling of 80% of its water. Seven sumptuous Sail Tents accommodate 14 guests in elegant style, with…

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Accommodation in Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls Hotel

The Victoria Falls Hotel is set in beautiful grounds with dramatic views of the Batoka Gorge, the Victoria Falls Bridge and the spray from the falls, with a private path leading directly to the falls. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, the hotel underwent a grand refurbishment in 2013. The luxurious rooms of the main building, with complimentary WiFi and 24-hour room service, retain the sophisticated elegance of a bygone era. The exclusive Stables Signature Wing offers excellent personalised service for small groups in its 42 lavish Deluxe Suites, with complimentary massages, afternoon teas and pastries. Guests…

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Accommodation in Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls River Lodge

Victoria Falls River Lodge is a luxury tented camp with 13 well-appointed tents perched on raised decks right on the banks of the river. Guests at the lodge are in the enviable position of being close enough to Victoria Falls to easily access the many activities on offer in the town while relishing the peace, wildlife and natural splendour of the Zambezi National Park. Elephant and other game often visit the unfenced camp, which also provides a range of tempting activities. Make the most of its location with game drives and walks led by expert guides in the park, sunrise…

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Itineraries in Zimbabwe

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