Back on the safari menu and thankfully over the years Zimbabwe has continued to nurture its magical safari recipe of brilliant guides and superb wildlife in some of the best wilderness spots in Southern Africa.
It’s easy to forget the Zimbabwe was once the bread basket of Africa, not to mention the country that set the bar on guiding standards for the rest of Africa. Amazingly, despite years of economic hardship it’s still blessed with some of the most rewarding parks on the continent.
In celebration of this we have put together the ultimate Zimbabwe safari adventure that takes you off the beaten track away from other tourists in three of the most game-rich wilderness areas on the continent combining stunning wildlife and exceptional walking.
They say an elephant never forgets. What they don't tell you is, you never forget an elephant.”
Day 1 & 2
Fly in to the iconic Vic Falls spending two nights at a quaint guest lodge - the perfect base to explore the natural wonder of Victoria Falls. A couple of days here should be sufficient to explore the falls but there is also the extreme possibility of riding the rapids or bungee from the bridge which can be built in to the adventure shoud you so wish.
Day 3 - 5
OFF RADAR IN HWANGE
Strike out to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest national park is arguably the best location if you want to see the Big 5. Only two hours’ drive from Vic Falls means Hwange is a smooth dovetail into any Zimbabwe itinerary. Known for its expansive plains and wide horizons, Hwange carries a sizeable reputation that it wholeheartedly deserves.
Day 3 - 5
DEEP IN THE BUSH
Staying at Hwange Bush Camp, an authentic six tent bush camp in a remote area of the park will offer a huge diversity of open grasslands, natural springs and water points and the best bit, you will have it pretty much to yourself.
DAY 6 - 8
WALKING IN MANA POOLS
Mana Pools is one of the few true wildernesses in the world where you can encounter elephant, lion and wild dog in such close proximity, and on foot. The high canopy Acacia Albida trees and wide floodplains of the Zambezi make this prime walking territory.
Staying at the ultimate tented camp, you can expect to find the wildlife gathering en-masse at the rich alluvial feat on the banks of the Zambezi.
DAY 6 - 8
John's Camp is run by the enormously experienced safari-outfitter Robin Pope Safaris and named after the inspirational guide and all-round bush-legend John Stevens who has spent much of his careerr in the Mana Pools, generally undertaking foot safaris.
DAY 9 - 11
FINISH DOWN SOUTH
In the far south of the country, Gonarezhou offers probably the wildest and least visited national park in Zimbabwe. Auspiciously named ‘place of elephants’ in Shona, the park is true to the word in this respect with incredible scenes of frolicking elephants a regular occurrence.
The park is relatively inaccessible with only a few roads and the best way to see it is on foot along the many ancient elephant tracks. So, if what you are looking for is a great big chunk of wild Africa to yourself, this is your place.
A NOTE FROM ROD
Inspiration for this trip
With the dramatic standing-down of long-time President Mugabe earlier in the year the spotlight is certainly back on Zimbabwe as a safari destination and there are fresh hopes that the logistics and internal infrastructure will improve.
Truth be told, among the cognoscenti safaris in 'Zim' have never gone away and it's been possible to successfully visit all the major parks and enjoy a first-class safari experience even during the darkest days of hyper-inflation and fuel shortages. It did however undoubtedly put a lot of people off - either because they were uncomfortable holidaying in such an environment (the ethics of which can be debated endlessly), or because the unstable situtation would deteriorate further and they'd be left stranded (an understable concern).
As a combination of show-case of Africa's large mamals and first-class guiding, in contrasting habitats relatively close together - Zimbabwe is very hard to beat.
Hwange, Mana Pools and Gonarezhou are incredibly dissimilar from one another other, despite the fact that there are obvious contsants - lion, buffalo, elephant occus in good numbers in all three and the guiding is excellent in each localion. Hwange is in large part heavily wooded, Mana Pools dominated by the mighty Zambezi and Gonarezhou much drier with dramatic undulating hills bisected by sand rivers. Get there soon, ahead of the crowds.
Our experienced travellers include:
It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.
All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.