Zimbabwe is a small country and its diverse attractions are packed into short easy drives or even quicker, easier flights. Expect beautiful waterfalls and rivers, exceptional wildlife safaris and spectacular scenery from classic African plains to vast river valleys, mystical hills and misty mountains.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you probably associate Zimbabwe with great political and economic turmoil. We won't go there. We will instead tell you how it is now and we'll do it in a word: fantastic!
The Zimbabweans, known for their happy outlook on life, gentle ways and generous spirit have rallied around each other to save one of Africa's true gems from ruin. Now, fuel, food and general supplies are back in the shelves at the supermarkets; the banks dispense US dollars in manageable wallet-sized wads - replacing the shopping trolleys of trillion-dollar notes; and the magnificent natural attractions remain undisturbed as they have been for millennia.
Besides the world-famous attractions in Zimbabwe, there are many smaller and equally opportunities for specific activities such as birding, fishing, hunting, photography, adventure, golf, cultural and historical pursuits or just plain relaxing. These we call the secret attractions and as we explore them we will post our reports here. In the meantime, please talk to your Travel Expert for details of Zimbabwe's hidden gems - real ones that is, not diamonds.
The main attractions, however, are the main attractions for good reason. Zimbabwe is the ultimate all-in-one African holiday and safari destination. With World Heritage Sites galore - including Victoria Falls, Mana Pools, Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Matopos Hills and Khami Ruins - travelling through Zimbabwe is like traversing the highlights of an entire continent.
- Victoria Falls: seventh wonder of the natural world, UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site and adventure capital of Africa
- Hwange National Park: among seasoned safari-goers, many agree Hwange to be one of the best game reserves in the region
- Mana Pools National Park: pristine wilderness safari destination, UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site famous for its walking safaris and big game
- Lake Kariba and Matusadona: one of the world's largest man-made lakes and a great fishing/game viewing/birding/relaxing destination
- Eastern Highlands: slice of Scotland in Africa with mountains, rain-forests, rivers and waterfalls including the 5th highest in the world at 762m
- Great Zimbabwe and Midlands: UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and largest man-made structures in southern Africa
- Matobo National Park: a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site of great beauty crammed with history from the Stone Age to the present day
- Chizarira National Park: a large and untamed beast of a game reserve on the Zambezi escarpment where leopards are rife and walking safaris are your only means of transport
- Khami Ruins: the successor dynasty to Great Zimbabwe also a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site
- Ghona-re-zhou, Matestsi, Chete, Mavhuradona, Nyanga, Bunga Forest, Upper Zambezi, Charara, Kazuma Pan, Chimanimani...The many lesser-known wildlife parks and nature reserves offer beautiful scenery, fascinating flora and fauna and a refreshing break from over-developed tourist areas.
- The People: without doubt Zimbabwe's best asset and greatest attraction will be your abiding memory of its people; Zimbabweans are innately friendly, warm and welcoming and you will experience this warmth wherever you go.
Health, Safety and Ethics
Should you travel to Zimbabwe? Absolutely: you will be helping to revive the dictator-ravaged economy from the ground up; you will have a safe and enjoyable holiday and your health and personal safety are no more at risk than if you were to visit any other stable developing nation like South Africa, Botswana, Zambia or Namibia.
And the big bonus? Tourist numbers are relatively low so now is the time to visit this spectacularly beautiful country, discover a nation of warmth and pride and take home some award-winning photography and video - or at least some happy memories and some sun-given vitamin D.
Further reading: don't just take our word for it, here's a 58-page magazine special dedicated to an honest, unbiased review of the current state of tourist attractions in Zimbabwe and the general state of the nation from a visitor's point of view. And if you're still not sure, talk to your Travel Expert for the latest information.
More In Zimbabwe
Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park occupies a vast flood plain along the Zambezi River in northern Zimbabwe. The plains support a diversity of wildlife, the massive mahogany and acacia trees providing cover for all the plains species and the 2,000sq km of seasonally flooded river frontage, ox-bow lakes and pools providing permanent water for a large population of wildlife.
Elevated 1483 metres above sea level in the Northeast of Zimbabwe, this metropolitan city in the Mashonaland Region offers a subtropical highland climate, one of the most favourable year round, throughout the world. Perhaps one of the main reasons it’s the most populous city in Zimbabwe. Who doesn’t want to live in the ‘Sunshine City’?
Situated in a scenic area of granite outcrops, miombo woodland and right next to one of several recreational lakes in central Zimbabwe, the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe is a wonderful diversion between north, south, east and west. The Lake Muturikiwe features an excellent game reserve with scenic mountains framing images of rhino and antelope at the water's edge. Further afield is Antelope Park, a small private game reserve dedicated to restoring Africa's lion population to a happier state.
Gonarezhou National Park
At just short of half the size of Hwange National Park, this park of 5053sq km, is found in the south eastern corner of the Masvingo Province. Smaller but certainly not inferior. This park boasts about being further off the normal northern tourist route and of a rugged terrain, therefore offering an untouched wildlife and African bush experience.
More In Travel Guide
Look. There. Miles in the distance. What is that? It sure ain’t no fire burning. No smoke on the water. It’s mist. Deep, deep, misty mist. With the river running through it. But it’s no babbling brook. No siree. It’s so noisy the Kololo called it Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’. Sheesh, what a racket.
South Africa is the best of both worlds: it is Africa with its beautiful scenery, glorious weather and relaxed attitude, which manifests itself in the people who are friendly and easy-going; it also has a modern infrastructure making it an easy country to visit with plenty to see and do and plenty of ways to get around.
“I highly recommend you use Namibia Tours & Safaris if you're planning a visit to this country. Great logistics, great value, really personal service. Very fun to work with!”
“I feel that Edward is honest, extremely helpful, and a true professional. I will recommend this company and Edward's expertise to anyone heading to Africa. A perfect trip!!”
“We had an 18-day private guided tour (Namibia, Botswana and Vic Falls) organised by the NTS team. Our consultant Wilmari was amazing both in preparation to and during our travel. Responsive, personable and diligent she put together an excellent itinerary.”
“Our fly-in safari was a life experience we treasure. The scenery, people and arrangements were all outstanding. Bianca of Namibia Tours & Safaris put together the trip of our dreams. We highly recommend her!”
“Namibia Tours and Safaris and their consultants are the best. Ulrike, our consultant, helped us over a 2 year period to plan our 4x4 Safari details. She had the patience of a saint and the insight and knowledge of a true local.”
“Chantelle did a fantastic job in organizing our self-drive trip through Namibia. Nothing was too much hassle and Chantelle was so helpful and responsive throughout the whole process.”
“Having tried to organise this trip myself I was very appreciative of the knowledge and support given by Ashlee who could not have been more supportive.”
“The organisation and response from the initial contact was fast and flawless thanks to Bonique our tour consultant. Her recommendations were perfectly tailored to our needs with a lot of foresight and local knowledge.”
“The service and help we got from Tessa was fantastic, as a result we had a tremendous trip and loved everything in Namibia.”
“Janine from NTS proposed us a great trip that suited our needs and wishes finding the right accommodation and great places. We had a wonderful stay and it was nice to meet with her in Swakop. Definitely recommend!”
“I have no words to express my gratitude to Carmen Scott and all the NTS team for their excellent work. Keep it up and all the best!”
“I cannot find any hassle or negative point for the organisation of this trip. Outstanding material, good accommodation, simply perfect. What a great company!”