Bushbaby Travel: Inspiring travel for life
Courtesy Imvelo

Zimbabwe, Africa

Tucked between the mighty Zambezi and the rolling Limpopo River, Zimbabwe is best known for the magnificent spectacle of the Victoria Falls - discovered by David Livingstone in 1855.

Zimbabwe derives its name from the spectacular stone structures of the Great Zimbabwe ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with mysterious origins. The country is home to another four World Heritage sites, including the rugged granite outcrops of the Matobo Hills, the spectacular conservation area of Mana Pools and the magnificent Victoria Falls.

Courtesy Imvelo

Victoria Falls Town, situated along the Zambezi River, next to the mighty Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya aka ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ - superlatives abound – offers a plethora of activities to keep even the most ardent adventurer entertained. Take your pick from helicopter flights, river-rafting (seasonal), bungee-jumping, fishing, river cruises, hiking and canoeing.

Of course as well as the Falls, Zimbabwe’s big appeal is the amazing wildlife- viewing on offer. We think it offers fantastic, good value safari and wildlife experience within Hwange National Park, Lake Kariba and Mana Pools. What’s more, we’re impressed by the high level of guiding and love the fact that walking and riding safaris feature prominently alongside the traditional game-drive – extra teens appeal certainly!

As the largest national park in Zimbabwe (and the third largest in Africa), Hwange National Park, is an obvious go-to for nature lovers. The birthplace of Cecil the Lion, its dry season provides the highest density of elephants in Africa, whilst its mammal diversity is considered amongst the highest in the world so if elephants are a favourite, this is the place to see them. This area is also good for Sable antelope and Eland which are a fairly rare species to see. Hwange’s southern region has the Ngamo Plains which is a magnificent open area home to an array of animals and bird species.

The world’s largest man-made reservoir, the vast waters of Lake Kariba are home to the fierce tiger fish, renowned among avid anglers, while herds of wildlife wander its shores.

Once a leading safari destination in Africa, Zimbabwe is emerging afresh to reclaim its position on the tourist map after years of political turmoil. It’s undoubtedly the perfect destination if you’re looking for a mecca of activities, exciting and good value wildlife-viewing, fun on the Zambezi, a near-perfect climate and of course, plenty of sundowners as you soak up those jaw-dropping African sunsets. Notable for us is the genuinely warm welcome guests receive from the locals – there is a very real enthusiasm for the fact you've made it to their beloved country and an earnest affection for the wildlife that fills it…

We'll be adding our portfolio of lodges to this page shortly, to include Bomani Tented Camp, Camelthorn Lodge, Jozibanini and Nehimba in Hwange National Park as well as Gorges Lodge, Llala Lodge and Zambezi Sands in Victoral Falls. In the meantime, if you'd like more information about itineraries and the lodges we work with please call Amy on 0845 124 4455 - having just returned from Zimbabwe she is a fountain of knowledge and will help you put together the perfect safari trip.

When to go

Zimbabwe has two main seasons; the wet season and the dry season. It’s worth bearing in mind that they reflect the volume of flow of the Zambezi River, rather than the quantity of rain.
April to October is considered the best time to visit, with warm, sunny days and cold, clear nights.

Mana Pools, a World Heritage National Park, famous for walking safaris opens in April, just when the days are starting to feel fresher and brighter. You can expect everywhere to be lush and green following the end of the seasonal rains.

Victoria Falls are at their most dramatic from April through to August as the river fills with rainfall from Angola and Zambia. The cloud of spray can be seen high above the gorge.
Wildlife returns to pumped waterholes in Hwange from June, making it the perfect time for wildlife viewing although expect the weather to start turning colder at night as winter sets in – extra layers are essential for bush walks and safaris.

July – August is holiday season so the parks are at their busiest, especially with prime wildlife-viewing, optimal white-water rafting and canoeing on the Zambezi at this time of year. Even though the camps are likely to be full, the majority are on private concessions so you still get exclusivity and it feels quiet.

September sees the annual game count in Hwange National Park when you can join the park rangers as they stake out the waterholes.

By October temperatures are rising into the late 30°Cs and early 40°Cs. Wildlife sightings are also at their peak as the dry season ends.

The rainy season, from November to March is beautiful, with generally sporadic rain and dramatic afternoon electrical storms although this time of year can be very hot and humid and some camps do close. From September to January, water levels drop at Victoria Falls and the formation of the gorge can be seen as the powerful flow slows down by approx. 90%. Towards the end of the rainy season look out for the famous spray rainbows at Vic Falls.

 

climate

travel essentials

Flights: Fly with Kenya Airways via Nairobi to Victoria Falls (10 hours), or you can travel via Johannesburg with South African Airways, British Airways or Virgin and then up to Victoria Falls (around 12.5 hours).

Time Zone: GMT + 2

Health: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/zimbabwe/health

FCO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/zimbabwe

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