When you think of Africa, the words adventure and safari come to mind. Southeast of the world’s second largest continent is Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, and there is enough to experience here.
Zimbabwe means “great houses of stone,” derived from the Shona language. This African nation is surrounded by Botswana, Zambia, South Africa and Mozambique. It finds itself between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world is Zimbabwe’s famed attraction and lies close to the Zambezi River.
Zimbabwe’s capital is Harare and it is the largest city, followed by Bulawayo. Three languages are spoken here, English, Shona or Bantu, and Ndebele. Three airports service Zimbabwe: Harare, Bulawayo, and Victoria Falls.
When to visit Zimbabwe
When planning a visit to Zimbabwe, in addition to your passport, you will need to obtain a Visa to enter the country. Best time of the year to visit Zimbabwe is April through May and August through September. You can expect hot and dry weather during the months of August through October, wet and rainy days from November through March. Some evenings, the temperature dips below freezing.
if you’re feeling adventurous and ready to throw caution to the wind, it’s worth considering this lost jewel of the African south for sure…
Lets explore the best places to visit in Zimbabwe:
1. Victoria Falls
There’s a clear reason why tersely-named Victoria Falls is one of Zimbabwe’s must-see places.
Like the eponymous towns of Niagara in the US and Canada, the settlement is just a stone’s throw from the roaring waterfalls that gave it its moniker.
Thousands of people flock here to see the awesome sight every year too.
They join the baboons in the jungles and delve into the Victoria Falls National Park just to the south of the center, gawping and gasping as the great curtain of water comes into view, cascading dramatically off its black-rock cliffs in plumes of steam and mist.
Nearly three million people call the metropolis of Harare their home, making it not only the capital but also the largest city of the nation.
Sat up on plateaus of Zimbabwe’s central highlands, it certainly looks the part.
Endless steel-clad skyscrapers shoot up from its CBD – the economic kingpin of the country – and First Street and the downtown buzz with purring traffic and shoppers from morning until night.
And there’s history too, poking out with the great preservation of the National Gallery, in the national archives, and the Queen Victoria Museum, not to mention the wealth of old colonial builds.
Apart from that, visitors here can wallow in the pretty parks and wander between the jacarandas that famously pepper the roadways.
3. Matobo National Park
The legendary Matobo National Park is a cross-shaped reserve found just south out of aforementioned Bulawayo.
Famed since time immemorial for its curious array of inselbergs and hoodoo rock formations, it’s a land of sculpted granite peaks and anthropomorphic bluffs.
These have been a shelter for man for millennia, and today it’s possible to spy out remnants of southern Africa’s pre-history carved into the stone at spots like the Nswatugi Cave.
Meanwhile, others come to stalk ungulates in the Hove Wild Area – the dedicated game park here; a land of sable antelope and wildebeest, baboon packs and leopards.
4. Nyanga National Park
The home of the Highveld is a wild and wonderful place.
Perched on the very roof of Zimbabwe, more than 1,800 meters above sea level, it’s formed by hulking hills of dolomite rock, and suspended boulders that creak in the cool breezes.
Dressed in groves of msasa trees and cypresses that are rare to these regions, the habitats here can host a truly otherworldly array of creatures.
Many are endemic, like the Old World Samango monkeys, with their white-brushed throats that can only be found in these parts.
You’ll also find a smattering of leopards and lions, just in case you wanted a taste of the quintessential African safari!
5. Hwange National Park
Bringing up the forefront of Zimbabwe’s ecotourism offering with its nigh on 15,000 square kilometers of protected landscape, the Hwange National Park rarely fails to impress safari goers making their way through this section of southern Africa.
Inside its boundaries is a mosaic of Kalahari woods and teak groves, grass plains and flood flats, all of which are peppered with bulbous termite mounds and the occasional pan – a watering hole that makes this one a perfect destination for lion stalkers.
And apart from the kings of the plains, it’s also possible to see hyenas and wild dogs, leopard and cheetah, all lurking amidst the fossil-spotted river banks and bubbling hot springs.
Zimbabwe has a lot to offer the visitor at large. Plan your trip to Zimbabwe, walk in the steps of David Livingstone.