There’s something about southeastern Africa that highlights the best that culture and nature have to offer. No matter whether you are in search of a large cosmopolitan city or a retreat into the wilderness, there are numerous places to visit in Zimbabwe that will fit the bill. Long known as the untamed terrain made famous by the search Dr. David Livingstone in the late 19th century, much of the territory he raved about has been opened to the public for safari – areas are frequently only slightly more settled than when Livingstone passed away in the 1870s. If you are in the mood to experience the contrast of advancing civilization and breathtaking natural splendor, add Zimbabwe to your bucket list right this instant.
You might not expect a country with a reputation for preserving its historical landscape as much as possible to have one of Africa’s busiest commercial centers, but that’s exactly what you’ll find. The capital, once home to the British colonial government, is the gateway for the country’s agricultural produce – tobacco, maize, and cotton – to reach the wider world. As a result, it has developed into a cultural center filled with a number of great museums and tremendous restaurants. A trip through recently-opened Joina City, a modern shopping center, will quickly demonstrate the city’s transition into one of the most important business locations continents.
One of the wonders of the natural world, the Zambezi River divides Zimbabwe and Zambia with this massive mile-long waterfall. Far and away the most popular attraction in the country, a few minutes near the edge will leave you in stunned awe. As many as 145 million gallons of water spill over the edge every second, falling as much as 350 feet to the canyon floor below. Visitors often make this a day-long activity, taking in the heavily-treed land surrounding the falls before making a side trip to The Big Tree, a thousand-year-old baobab that measures 65 feet tall and 52 feet in diameter.
This mountainous national wildlife reserve spreads out across the Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe’s collection of dolerite and sandstone peaks. Spend a day hiking to the top of Mount Nyangani, the country’s highest point, then marvel at the gentle green valleys and thick rainforests below. As one of the only places fed by a steady stream of water – thanks to its rivers and streams – you will find a vast amount of avian life and the infamous samango monkey. Plus, the natural and manmade lakes are well known as havens for fishermen: the high trout populations make it a great spot to cast a line.
Black and White’s rhinos call this Intensive Protection Zone home. As endangered species, they are often visited in heavily-protected areas of the park, but well worth the trip when you lay eyes upon their hulking forms. One of the more scenic locations in the entire country, the surrounding granite mountains are a favorite for hikers from all over the world. Home to the ancient San tribes, cave paintings, and mud-brick grain bins remind us that humans once blended in amongst all the wildlife without much thought.
Have you ever wanted to see an elephant up close? Then come to Zimbabwe’s largest national park! Its size allows a wide variety of species to call it home – the transition from crusty salt pans into dry grassy plains supports tens of thousands of animals. Gemsbok antelopes, brown hyenas, monkeys, and wild boars roam through the scrub, preyed upon by the lions and other big cats. Feeling adventurous? Spend your trip sleeping under the stars in one of the park’s three campsites.
This “Place of Many Elephants” is the only park with a greater number of huge mammals than Hwange. Fed by three rivers, dozens of pools and oases draw all sorts of wildlife in for a drink or refreshing soak in the cool waters. Animal lovers will want to bring their binoculars, as the unique terrain makes it possible to see the pools from various places within the park’s boundaries, meaning you can see large buffalos and tiny birds (as well as everything in between) behaving exactly as Mother Nature intended. Be sure to stop in the Chilojo Hills region, a gorgeous stretch of red sandstone cliffs carved by the Runde River.
This expansive flood plain might be more than the best place to observe animals in Zimbabwe – it could be the top spot in Africa. Heavy rains soak the park during the spring months, leaving standing water throughout much of its topography. The summer sun then causes the lakes to evaporate into four primary pools, which attract more than 350 bird species and some of the continent’s largest residents: elephants, hippos, and waterbucks are often found looking for water – with hungry leopards and cheetahs close behind. Long known for nearly guaranteeing visitors a sight of these majestic animals, it attracts hundreds of thousands every year.
Zimbabwe experiences a subtropical climate. The summers are hot while the winters are cool and pleasant. The ideal time for making trips to the country is between the months of October and February. The weather in this part of the year is pleasant with less rainfall.
Air: Harare International Airport is the main airport in the country. It operates flights to and from various parts of the world. Air Zimbabwe is the national airport operator in the country.
Rail: Road network connects the country with the neighboring areas in South Africa, Botswana, and other places. Regular car and bus services are available to places like Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and other cities.
- Location: Africa
- Capital: Harare
- Currency: Dollar
- Language: English, Shona, and other regional languages
- Best time to Visit: October and February
- Time Zone: Central Africa Time
- Calling Code: 263
- Major Airports: Harare International Airport