The best time to travel to the national parks and natural areas of Zimbabwe is from July to October. During this period, there is almost no rain, the vegetation is less lush, so it is easier to see animals. During the rainy season (December to April), some places are closed to the public due to washed out roads.
Great Zimbabwe. The word “Zimbabwe” comes from the phrase “zimba ramabwe” and means “big stone house” or “sacred house”. The country received this name due to the first settlement located on this territory, which was entirely built of granite stones without the use of mortar. This is the largest ancient structure south of the Sahara, which is called the “Great Zimbabwe”, is included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The grandiose stone ruins are located in the southeast of the country, 20 km from Masvingo and represent three architectural complexes:
“Great Walls” – a massive stone structure ten meters high, forming an ellipse with a radius of about 245 m;
“Valley Complex” – the ruins where the engraving “Birds of Zimbabwe” was discovered, which later became a symbol of the country;
“Acropolis” – standing on a hill, the most ancient structure of the complex. From the hill, there is a breathtaking view of the valley below.
How to get there. By booking a ground transfer with a local tour operator from Harare or Balawayo.
Recommended hotels: Great Zimbabwe Hotel, Great Zimbabwe Lodges, The Lodge At The Ancient City, Inn On Great Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls. One of the world’s attractions is located in Zimbabwe – the grandiose Victoria Falls. So, in honor of the English Queen Victoria, he was named by the famous traveler David Livingston, amazed by the spectacle that opened before him. This is the most full-flowing waterfall in the world. The seething streams of water of the Zambezi River (545 million l / min.) Fall into a 106_meter abyss, forming thick water dust, resembling a smoke screen. For this feature, the locals call it “Mosi_oa Tunya” (“Thundering Smoke”). Victoria Falls, reaching 1.7 km wide, has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1989, and the surrounding areas have been declared national parks (Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls National Park).
Covering the area behind the Victoria Falls, Victoria Falls National Park offers stunning views of the lush rainforest. There are many rocky crevices here, which in the early centuries were part of the waterfall. In the Zambezi National Park, located a few kilometers up the Zambezi River from Victoria Falls, you can see elephants, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, exotic birds and herds of the rarest saber-horned antelope.
How to get there. Victoria Falls can be reached by almost any mode of transport: by land, by air, by water. The main tourist option is a flight from Johannesburg (South Africa) or from the capital of Zimbabwe – Harare.
To the south of Victoria Falls is Vange National Park – one of the best parks in Africa and the largest wildlife sanctuary in Zimbabwe, where, in addition to the “Big Five”, representatives of more than 100 African animals and 400 species of birds live. In the Namibian language, Vange means “peace, tranquility.” The area of the park is more than 14.5 thousand square meters. km. Since it borders the Kalahari Desert on one side, temperatures often change here, so tourists should stock up on warm clothes between May and July.
How to get there. By booking a transfer from the airport or hotel at Victoria Falls.
Chinhoyi Caves Recreation Park is located near Chinhoyi and is considered one of the most extraordinary places in Zimbabwe. Visitors can take advantage of camping, a picnic area, and there are interesting entertainments for the smallest tourists. The caves themselves are located about 130 km northwest of Harare on the way to Lake Kariba. It is established that people lived in these caves long before the Stone Age. There is a huge natural mine here (diameter – 30 m, depth – 45 m). You can go down to the bottom of the mine. There is a lake with the purest water, so clear that many meters deep you can see the fish living here.
How to get there. Ground transfer from Harare.
Air travel. There are no direct flights from Russia to Zimbabwe, you can get here with a transfer in Europe. Most tourists get to Zimbabwe through Johannesburg by combining visits to Zimbabwe and South Africa. From Harare, international flights are operated to most African capitals (Addis Ababa, Maputo, Lusaka, Gaborone, Windhoek, etc.). A short and inexpensive flight from Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) to Katima Mulilo (Namibia) is popular, freeing tourists from the need to obtain transit visas when traveling through the territory of Botswana or Zambia. In addition, when the plane is gaining altitude, an unforgettable sight opens from the windows right over the Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe has a developed domestic air service,
There are rail links with South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique. Twice a day there is a cross-border passenger diesel from Livingston in Zambia to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The train is convenient for travelers in the Victoria Falls area.
Bus and car communication. Buses run from Harare to all neighboring countries. Up to 10 international buses a day go to South Africa. When moving by land transport, it is better to use the services of host tour operators.
A boat or catamaran cruise on the Zambezi begins and ends at one of the many small piers a few kilometers above the falls. As a rule, cruises are held in the evening so that tourists can see animals – crocodiles, elephants, hippos, various birds and enjoy the colorful sunset. The flow of the Zambezi is calm here, the width of the river reaches a kilometer. Usually the cruise is preceded by a folklore performance by locals. Refreshments and snacks are offered during the swim.
A visit to a crocodile farm and elephant safari (elephant back safari) is best combined into one two-hour program. The farm and the elephant nursery are located almost on the banks of the Zambezi, 15 minutes. drive from Victoria. On the farm, you can see different types of crocodiles, lions, leopards, and even hold crocodiles in your arms. Elephant safari is very funny and unusual. Each elephant is accompanied by a driver-tamer. Elephants know the basic commands in English – “left”, “right”, “stand”, “faster”, etc.
Rafting on the Zambezi begins literally three hundred meters below the waterfall. The river in this section is very turbulent – this commercial rafting is considered one of the most difficult in the world. Even the names of the thresholds speak for themselves – “Stairway to Hell”, “Devil’s Cauldron”, “Paid Suicide”, “Washing Machine”, “Terminator”, “Doomsday”. Unforgettable impressions and adrenaline rush are guaranteed. Alloys are designed for one or two (overnight) days.
Flying over the waterfall in an airplane is an exciting but expensive adventure. Several companies offer them. For example, United Air Charter organizes air safaris on open British 1931 Tiger Moth biplanes. Bush Birds Flying Safaris will allow you to admire the beauty from the board of ultralight hydroplanes and, if you wish, fly in tandem on two aircraft. The cost of an air safari is usually calculated based on the rate of $100 for 15 minutes. flight.
Bungee jumping from the bridge below Victoria Falls (right on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia) is considered one of the most extreme and spectacular in the world. As they say in local advertising booklets, “111 meters of pure adrenaline and dizzying speed await you.” The Vic Falls Bungi agency claims that more than 60,000 jumps have been made during the entire existence of the attraction and not a single accident has occurred. “Jump into the abyss” can be booked directly on the bridge, you only need to have a passport with you.