Why go to Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is an incredibly beautiful, land-locked nation in the center of Southern Africa. Despite its political and economic struggles, it remains a country of breathtaking beauty and lush landscapes. Famously bordering on the magnificent Victoria Falls and stunning Zambezi River, this country is by no means short of attractions and activities. Zimbabwe, previously known as Rhodesia during its colonial days, has been the focus of many explorers during the last few centuries. It was Rhodes that orchestrated the building of the first railway line through the country which stretches across the entire African continent, and David Livingstone was the explorer to hear the thunderous sound and see the spray of the world’s largest natural waterfall, the Victoria Falls; named after his sovereign Queen Victoria. Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park and Matopos rock formations are amongst the country’s most famous attractions. Just an hour outside of the town of Bulawayo, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins can be found. Zimbabwe received its independence in 1980 and has struggled to maintain a democratic state ever since. However, despite its unstable economy and the fragile political state, thousands of tourists make their way to the country every year.
Where to go in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most beautiful treasures. They border Zimbabwe and Zambia and are the region’s most visited tourist hotspot. The falls are by no means the world’s biggest waterfall, however their length and the vast volume of water which find its way to the falls via the Zambezi river makes them the world’s largest waterfall. Victoria Falls was named after Queen Victoria by the first European explorer who set their sights on them, David Livingston, however up until then, and still today locally, the falls were known to be The Smoke That Thunders, “Mosi-oa-Tunya”. The entire volume of water in the Zambezi river travels into Victoria Falls, flowing into its first gorge, creating a spectacle and a true sight to be seen. In fact, you don’t even have to be close by to the falls. Aptly getting its name as The Smoke That Thunders, the falls spray water into the air which can be seen for miles, including in the surrounding game reserves and national parks. Victoria Falls safaris are among the most popular activities to participate in when visiting the falls. Guests can embark on bush safaris – on foot, horseback or in a vehicle – and embark on a Zambezi cruise along the waters before the falls. While on these Victoria Falls safaris guests will have the chance to see crocodiles, hippos and other African wildlife. Travel to Victoria Falls for an unforgettable and inspiring vacation in Southern Africa. Not only will you be able to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a truly beautiful world heritage site, but you’ll be able to participate in exciting activities such as white water rafting, canoeing, bungee jumping, and an authentic Victoria Falls safari.
Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park, the largest park in Zimbabwe, is one of Africa’s finest havens for wildlife and is home to Africa’s Big 5 large concentrations of zebra and giraffe. Elephant make up the largest proportion of the biomass, and are so prolific that culling has been periodically considered. It is also home to many predators and endangered species – lion are sighted frequently, while leopard and rhino are seen less often. It is also the only protected area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in reasonable numbers. The population of wild dog to be found in Hwange is thought to be of one of the largest surviving groups in Africa today. The birdlife is varied and up to 400 species can be spotted, making the area a birder’s paradise, especially in the wet season. The park, covering just over 14 600 square km, is situated on the main road between Bulawayo and the world famous Victoria Falls. The landscape varies from sparse woodland to savannah grasslands and granite outcrops. An interesting feature of the area is its fossil dunes – ancient sand dunes held together by vegetation.
Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. It lies 1300 kilometres upstream from the Indian Ocean, along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam at its northeastern end, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River. 226 km long and in places up to 40km wide. Provides electric power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Great fishing and wonderful houseboats that can be taken up and down and along the great expanse of water. Incredible sunsets, wonderful birdlife and animals coming down to drink along the banks.
Masvingo (before 1982 known as Fort Victoria) is a city in south-eastern Zimbabwe and the capital of Masvingo Province. The city is close to Great Zimbabwe, the national monument from which the country takes its name. The home to the Zimbabwe Ruins, which is Africa’s oldest stone monument after the Pyramids and was home to nearly 10 000 of the Shona peoples. The town lies near Lake Mutirikwe and is home to a golf course and a freight railway line. It lies on the Mucheke River, with Queen Victoria Gardens in the town centre and Shagashe Game Park and an Italian memorial church built during World War II nearby. It also has an airstrip. There are a variety of tourist attractions within a thirty mile radius of the town. Within 20 km of Masvingo are the Great Zimbabwe National Monument and the Lake Mutirikwe Recreational Park and Kyle game resort with 12 different species, including the white rhino.
The precarious balancing rocks of Matopos are unbelievable. The Park includes an Intensive Protection Zone where a large population of Black and White Rhinoceros are successfully breeding. The Park offers a diverse package of tourist attractions and activities. The Matopos park is situated in the magnificent Matobo Hills, a range of domes, spires and balancing rock formations which have been hewn out of the solid granite plateau through millions of years of erosion and weathering. The majestic and rugged terrain of the park is a hikers paradise and the diversity of the vegetation supports a wide range of wildlife. Matobo meaning ‘bald heads’ was the name chosen for the area by the great Ndebele King, Mzilikazi. He is buried in the Matobo Hills just a short distance from the park. Matobo National Park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes. He is buried at the summit of Malindidzimu -‘ hill of benevolent spirits’. He referred to this hill as having a ‘View of the World’. A short walk from the parking lot will lead the visitor to his grave, which is carved out of the solid granite hill and surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of massive boulders. The Matobo area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place. The Park is home to a wide variety of animal species including: black and white rhinoceros, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, eland, sable, klipspringer, leopard, hyena, cheetah, hippo, warthog, rock dassies, waterbuck, wildcat, springhare, common duiker, crocodiles, baboons and monkeys. There are so many exciting adventure activities on offer in Vic Falls no wonder its called the Adventure capital of Africa . You could spend a week here and it still won’t be enough time for you to partake in all of the incredible adventure activities on offer .
When to go to Zimbabwe
Rainy season is long and stretches from Late October through until April. Although the season is long, the rains are generally very short and heavy and the skies clear up again. May through to August are generally the cooler months and although the landscape is then very dry and bare, it is very conducive to excellent game viewing and the mosquitoes and tsetse flies are considerably less active. The Zambezi is at its fullest in April and May and the river rafting may be closed over this time as the river is too swollen and dangerous.
The falls are at their most spectacular at this time too, although the spray may be so dense that the bottom of the gorge cannot be seen. Although less water in the falls over the drier months, the view is no less spectacular. Victoria Falls is the adventure capital of Africa . There are so many exciting adventure activities on offer …from Elephant Back Safaris .. to flying in a Helicopter over the Falls or cruising on the mighty Zambezi river while you watch one of the most beautiful sunsets in Africa .
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