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A country of great beauty and wild landscapes, and home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Zimbabwe is an extremely high ranking African safari destination that has the advantage of being safe, open, and ideal for tourism. With world-renowned hospitality, and an incredible abundance of wildlife, it is a foregone conclusion that a safari expedition to this land of adventure will be simply unforgettable.
Chances are you may already know someone who has been on safari to Zimbabwe. From its iconic and dazzling Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world, to its resplendent and wildlife-stocked national parks, Zimbabwe is an extremely popular luxury safari and adventure holiday destination. With plenty of possibilities on the to-do list, Zimbabwe’s list of nature activities is almost too long to count. As well as top-tier safari drives, our Zimbabwe tours offer jet boating, bungee jumping, scenic helicopter rides, and exotic fishing expeditions, just to name a few!
Zimbabwe also has some truly breathtaking accommodation options, from some of the grandest and most accommodating safari lodges in Africa, to mind-blowing mountain retreats, to busy deluxe urban hotels. Zimbabwe itself is considered an extremely safe and tourist-friendly nation, with its cities and general society ranking higher on the development index than those of many other African countries.
With camps catering to all budgets, and a culture and lifestyle renowned for its commitment to quality, service, and warm hospitality, we are frankly wondering why you haven’t booked your holiday to Zimbabwe already.
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Providing 5-star luxury accommodation in the eponymous small town of Victoria Falls, this is Zimbabwe’s grandest and oldest hotel. With a spectacular vista of the falls from the hotel’s ideal location, guests will enjoy the finest service and amenities on offer, including a connoisseur’s delight of dining options from the hotel’s internationally-trained chefs.
Only an eight-minute walk away from the spectacular Victoria Falls, Ilala Lodge is a family-run hotel full of old-world charm and genuine African hospitality. Geographically closer to the falls than any other hotel, Ilala Lodge offers luxury and comfort nestled in attractive gardens, and is the perfect location from which to access Africa’s “Adventure Capital”.
More than just a hotel, Leopard Rock is a golfing and mountain holiday retreat for travellers of all ages and backgrounds, set in a stunning corner of the Bvumba Mountains.
Overlooking its very own game sanctuary, the queen mother herself even once said of the hotel and its surroundings, “There is nowhere more beautiful in Africa.”
Overlooking a trout lake near the foot of Zimbabwe’s highest peak, Troutbeck Inn is luxurious but affordable accommodation in Nyanga, a location you’d be forgiven for thinking was in the Scottish Highlands. Possessing a gentrified “country club” atmosphere, the grounds of Troutbeck Inn offers trout fishing and golf, plus squash courts, tennis courts, bowling, volleyball and a swimming pool.
Overlooking Africa Unity Square in the centre of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, Meikles is often acclaimed as the nation’s premier 5-star luxury hotel. Filled with gracious charm and vibrant culture, and offering award-winning, world-standard cuisine and impeccable amenities, Meikles has earned a place on the list of “Leading Hotels of the World”.
Consistently voted as one of the “Best Safari Lodges” in Zimbabwe, The Hide is located in a prime position of Hwange National Park, and offers superb game viewing right on the lodge’s doorstep in its own private concession. With the frequency and type of their safari activities fully catered to your personal preferences, The Hide’s activity schedule is all about you and your individual connection to nature.
Elegantly situated on a flood plain in Hwange National Park, Somalisa is an award-winning camp consisting of seven tastefully furnished sail tents, overlooking a natural waterhole where wildlife congregate to drink. With game in abundance, visitors will have opportunities to spot not only the “Big 5”, but also white rhino, zebra, giraffe, and the endangered roan antelope.
Secluded in the lush greenery on a raised bank of the Save River, Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is more of an epic wilderness luxury hotel than a mere safari camp. Located near the boundary of Gonarezhou National Park’s pristine wilderness, guests will view beautiful red sandstone landscapes in abundance, and will have access to a large range of wildlife, including over eight thousand elephants.
An eco-friendly lodge with treehouse chalets on a private concession of Hwange National Park, Elephant Eye is among the best lodges Zimbabwe has to offer. Found in an intimate setting overlooking a natural waterhole, the lodge’s activities include day and night-time game drives, guided bush walks, and horseback safaris.
Known in the local dialect as “the smoke that thunders”, Victoria Falls is over a kilometre of pure waterfall in the Zambezi River, and is over one hundred metres high. As the largest waterfall in the world, and with numerous accommodation options close at hand, Victoria Falls is a must on the itinerary of any luxury Zimbabwe safari.
A national treasure, Hwange National Park is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe. Full to the brim with wildlife of many varieties, Hwange has over 100 species of mammal, almost 400 bird species, and 40,000 elephants, typically congregating at the park’s convenient waterholes. Only an hour south of Victoria Falls, Hwange will keep even the most intrepid safari explorer’s itinerary overflowing with opportunities.
A word that means “place of many elephants”, Gonarezhou National Park is Zimbabwe’s second largest national park. At over 5000 square kilometres in size, Gonarezhou is at once both rugged and extremely scenic, with an impressive variety of landscapes to view. As well as the elephants, the wildlife here include giraffes, lions, leopards, buffalo, zebras, and more than 400 bird species.
Africa’s largest man-made reservoir, Lake Kariba is a beautiful holiday destination, offering glorious water views, excellent fishing, boating opportunities, and wondrous sunsets. Consider spending a few days relaxing on the lake in a houseboat, or take up residence in one of the many lodges or self-catering chalets on its banks.
Like an age-old monument to this people’s great architectural skill and fascinating culture, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins are the remains of a town of formidable stone buildings, second to only the Egyptian pyramids as a site of African archaeological significance. The largest structure of its kind in Africa, this location is perfect for anyone stirred by the history of ancient civilisations.
Known colloquially as the “Flight of Angels”, scenic helicopter flights over Victoria Falls are perhaps the most arresting way to enjoy the full scope of this massive landmark’s grandeur. With the local aerodrome only seconds away from the Zambezi River, you are sure to enjoy every moment of your stunning vantage point as you soar over one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Zimbabwe may just be a little bit of safari paradise. As well as being home to the “Big 5”, Zimbabwe features a patchwork of remarkable visual landscapes, superbly stocked national parks, advanced lodges and facilities, and a general sense of safety, security, exclusivity and quality. Though going on safari is by no means the only type of adventure you can have in Zimbabwe, it’s definitely one of the best.
A top tour provider in the Victoria Falls area, a pass with Wild Horizons will allow you to choose from exhilarating adventure options such as white water rafting, nocturnal game drives, canoeing on the Zambezi, bungee jumping, helicopter flights, and horse riding, among others. Your only problem will be choosing from the list of options.
Navigating a six-kilometre stretch of water above the Victoria Falls, sundowner cruises along the Zambezi River with dinner and drinks give you the chance to witness a magnificent African sunset in luxury and style, all the while flanked by local wildlife such as resident hippo and crocodile, and sometimes even elephant herds crossing the river’s islands.
The dry winter months (May to October) are the most comfortable for travelling, but if you visit at this time you’ll miss the green landscapes that characterise the hotter and wetter summer season (November to April).
In winter, night-time temperatures can fall below freezing, but the winter days are nevertheless best for wildlife viewing because animals tend to concentrate close to water holes and are therefore easily observed.
National parks are most crowded during South African school holidays, so to avoid the throngs, avoid mid-April to mid-May and mid-July to mid-September. There is also a secondary rush around the Namibian school holidays in December and early January.
Remarkably temperate conditions prevail all year round, moderated by the country’s altitude and its inland position, which keeps the humidity comfortably low.
Mean monthly temperatures during October (the hottest month) range from 22°C on the high central plateau to 30°C in the low-lying Zambezi Valley.
Midwinter temperatures (July) are around 13°C on the highveld and 20°C in the Zambezi Valley. Winter evenings can get very cold and the winters are dry.
The rainy season is from November to April.
There is no longer an official Zimbabwean currency, however the USD is the most commonly used by the Reserve Bank and other Government bodies, and is accepted commercially.
Commercial banks in Zimbabwe include First National Bank, Zimbank Ltd., Standard Bank, and Bank of Credit and Commerce.
Major hotels have foreign currency facilities. Most shops, lodges and travel agencies will accept travellers cheques. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners Club credit cards are accepted in many places.
Dress in Zimbabwe is generally casual. One exception to this is that men are expected to wear collar, tie and jacket after 18:30 at specific hotels such as Victoria Falls Hotel. Note that most hotels do not expect this, with smart casual being the norm.
Sundresses and shorts are permissible, though scanty clothing should not be worn in public in the larger towns. In spring and summer, cool, comfortable clothing is recommended, with a lightweight jersey or jacket advisable for the evenings. Please also remember a raincoat for the summer season.
In winter, warmer clothing is required, particularly in the evenings when the temperatures can drop to zero. Always take precautions against the sun (even in winter), and take sunscreen, sunglasses and a sun hat.
No vaccinations are currently required for entry into Zimbabwe when arriving directly from North America or Europe. However, we recommend that tetanus boosters for children and adults are kept up to date, with courses or boosters usually advised for diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid.
A yellow fever certificate is required if the visitor is over one year old, and arriving in Zimbabwe from an infected area or a country where yellow fever is endemic (such as Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zaire). Similarly, if your route to Zimbabwe takes you through another country in the yellow fever zone, you will need to show a vaccination certificate on entry into Zimbabwe. In the case of yellow fever, the vaccine must be administered at least ten days before arrival.
Malaria precautions are essential in the Zambezi Valley (including Victoria Falls) throughout the year and in all other areas below 1200m from November to June. (Risk is small in areas above 1200m including Harare.) Fortunately, there are several safe and effective options for both adults and children. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers, especially after sunset. We also advise the use of insect repellents on exposed skin and, where necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. Prompt investigation of fever or flu-like symptoms anytime within six weeks of travel is essential.
As with all travel to remote places, we recommend bringing a small supply of any medicines you may need, including a course of emergency “standby” treatment for malaria.
As a precaution, boil and sterilise drinking water outside the main towns, or buy bottled water.
Typical languages spoken in Zimbabwe are English, Shona and Ndebele, with the official language being English.
All charter transfers on our luxury Zimbabwe safari tours are in light aircraft that carry between five and seven passengers. Please note that these planes are limited with regards to the weight that they can carry. It is therefore vital that all passengers adhere to the luggage restriction of fifteen (15) kilograms per person in a soft bag.
This excludes a reasonable amount of camera equipment and carry-on luggage (up to 5 kilograms – 20 kilograms in total). In addition, please let us know if you are over 188 cm (6’2”) tall or weigh over 100kg (220lbs), so that we can plan our trip appropriately.
Tickets are generally not issued for charter flights; you will however receive a voucher for your trip.
Passport requirements: Passports are required by all except for holders of United Nations Convention Travel documents. Otherwise, each visitor to Zimbabwe must be in possession of a valid, signed passport that is valid for at least six months beyond his/her scheduled departure date.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU HAVE AT LEAST FOUR BLANK PAGES IN YOUR PASSPORT FOR STAMPS/VISAS ETC. IF NOT, YOU MAY BE REFUSED ENTRY INTO ZIMBABWE. FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, WE SUGGEST THAT YOU CARRY A PHOTOCOPY OF THE RELEVANT PAGES OF YOUR PASSPORT AND ANY OTHER IMPORTANT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS WITH YOU. IN ADDITION, WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT YOU LEAVE COPIES OF YOUR DOCUMENTS WITH SOMEONE AT HOME.
VISAS: Citizens of Britain, the Commonwealth, and the USA require visas. These are obtainable at the point of entry.