Let’s go on Safari in Zimbabwe

June 15, 2024
Smaller Female kudu hiding in the bush

Going on safari in Zimbabwe is an extraordinary adventure, offering a rich tapestry of landscapes, wildlife, and cultural experiences. Zimbabwe has incredible national parks and a rich history of safari! Zimbabwe’s national parks and game reserves are teeming with wildlife.

You can expect to see the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros) along with numerous other species such as zebras, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, and a plethora of bird species. The country’s varied ecosystems support a wide range of animals, making each park a unique experience.

Here’s a detailed description of what you can expect:

Arrival and Preparation

Your journey typically begins with an arrival in Harare or Victoria Falls, two major gateways to Zimbabwe’s safari experiences. From there, you’ll either take a short flight or drive to your chosen safari destination. Popular safari regions include Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, Matobo National Park, and the Zambezi Valley.

Usually, these flights are scheduled charter flights, so you would need to pack light.  As they have luggage restrictions.  Check out what to pack when going on Safari.  It’s not a fashion show, it’s all about comfort, covering up, and responsibility. And warm!

Kudu drinking at the watering hole

Safari Lodges and Camps

Accommodation ranges from luxury lodges to rustic campsites, often located in or near the national parks. Many lodges offer stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, sometimes overlooking waterholes frequented by wildlife. Accommodations are designed to blend with the environment, providing comfort while maintaining an authentic safari feel. Zimbabwe is renowned for its diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, making it a prime destination for safaris

Here are some of the top safari places to visit in Zimbabwe:

Hwange National Park:

The largest national park in Zimbabwe, Hwange is home to a vast array of wildlife, including large elephant herds, lions, leopards, and African wild dogs. The park offers various accommodation options from luxury lodges to budget campsites.

Mana Pools National Park:

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mana Pools is famous for its beautiful scenery along the Zambezi River and its rich wildlife, including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species. It’s ideal for walking safaris and canoeing adventures.

Matusadona National Park:

Located along the shores of Lake Kariba, Matusadona offers stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. It’s an excellent place for game viewing by boat and offers a chance to see the Big Five.

Gonarezhou National Park:

Part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, Gonarezhou is a remote and pristine park known for its dramatic landscapes, including the red sandstone Chilojo Cliffs, and diverse wildlife, including elephants, buffaloes, and an array of birdlife.

Matobo National Park:

Known for its unique granite rock formations and cultural significance, Matobo is home to a large concentration of black eagles, rhinos, and other wildlife. The park also features numerous historical sites, including ancient rock paintings.

Victoria Falls National Park:

While the main attraction here is the spectacular Victoria Falls, the surrounding national park offers excellent game-viewing opportunities. Visitors can spot elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, and various antelope species.

Fish Eagle

Zambezi National Park:

Adjacent to Victoria Falls, this park offers excellent game drives and walking safaris along the Zambezi River. Wildlife sightings include elephants, lions, and diverse bird species.

Each of these destinations offers unique experiences and diverse ecosystems, making Zimbabwe a top choice for safari enthusiasts. Although each lodge is different, here you will find the daily safari daily routine:

Sun bubbles and views of sunset on a game vehicle

Morning Safari Drive:

Early mornings, just before sunrise, are the best times for game drives. You’ll set out in an open 4×4 vehicle, accompanied by a professional guide and tracker. The cool morning air and soft light provide excellent conditions for spotting wildlife, such as lions, elephants, and an array of bird species.

Breakfast:

After a few hours of game viewing, you’ll return to the lodge or stop at a scenic spot for a bush breakfast, enjoying fresh, locally sourced food while immersed in nature.

Midday:

During the hotter part of the day, wildlife tends to rest, so this is a good time for you to relax as well. Lodges often provide swimming pools, shaded lounges, and opportunities to learn about the local ecology and culture from guides.

Afternoon Safari Drive:

As temperatures cool, another game drive or a walking safari is scheduled. Walking safaris, a specialty in Zimbabwe, allow you to explore the bush on foot, led by armed guides. This offers a closer connection to nature and a different perspective on the environment and its inhabitants.

Sundowners:

As the sun sets, you’ll stop for sundowners—drinks and snacks served in a picturesque location. This is a quintessential safari tradition, providing a moment to reflect on the day’s adventures.

Evening:

Back at the lodge, a delicious dinner awaits. Meals often feature local flavors and are served under the stars or in a communal dining area. Evenings might include storytelling around a campfire, stargazing, or listening to the sounds of the African night. A safari in Zimbabwe will always bring you unbelievable and exciting unique experiences, here are a few:

Walking Safaris:

Zimbabwe is renowned for its walking safaris, particularly in Mana Pools National Park. Walking through the bush with a knowledgeable guide, you’ll learn about tracking animals, identifying plants, and understanding the ecosystem.

Canoe Safaris:

On the Zambezi River, you can embark on canoe safaris, paddling past hippos, crocodiles, and an array of birdlife, with the majestic backdrop of the river and surrounding wilderness.

Cultural Visits:

Some safari itineraries include visits to local villages, where you can learn about the traditions and daily life of Zimbabwean communities, enhancing your cultural understanding and appreciation.

Wildlife and Scenery

Zimbabwe’s national parks are home to an incredible diversity of wildlife. You might encounter the Big Five—lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino—as well as a host of other animals like zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, and various antelope species. Birdwatching is also exceptional, with over 600 species recorded in the country.

The landscapes are equally varied, from the vast savannahs and woodlands of Hwange, the riverine forests and floodplains of Mana Pools, to the dramatic rock formations of Matobo Hills.

game drives

 

Conservation and Sustainability

Many safari operators in Zimbabwe emphasize conservation and community involvement. By choosing responsible operators, you contribute to the preservation of wildlife and support local communities through eco-friendly practices and sustainable tourism.

A safari in Zimbabwe is more than just a wildlife adventure; it’s a journey into the heart of Africa’s natural beauty and cultural richness. Whether you’re watching a pride of lions on the prowl, paddling down the Zambezi River, or walking silently through the bush, the experiences are profound and unforgettable, offering a deep connection to one of the world’s most magnificent wilderness areas.

Safari in Zimbabwe

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