Landlocked plateau country with diverse wildlife, magnificent landscapes, exotic birdlife, flora and fauna, highland mountains and flowing rivers.
Zimbabwe derives its name from historical stone structures called “Great Zimbabwe” (houses of stone), the largest in Africa after the pyramids of Egypt. The stone sculptures were built in stages between 800 and 1500 A.D. Great Zimbabwe became a citadel, a regional Mecca and famous for world trade centre. Throughout the centuries, Southern Africa was also inhabited by people with a different life style. The San (Bushmen) people did not live in cities or villages, nor did they cultivate the fields or keep domesticated animals. They were hunters and fruits gatherers. Their history is immortalized on thousands of rock paintings, some of which are more than 30 000 years old. Few San people still remain in Zimbabwe
By the 19th century, from cave drawings the great Shona speaking empires had disintegrated into numerous principalities and chiefdoms. At the same time, a powerful kingdom emerged in KwaZulu-Natal under King Shaka. Upheavals in that region drove one of Shaka’s generals, Mzilikazi, and his soldiers northwards until they settled in the western part of Zimbabwe about 1838 after subduing the local Shona chiefs. In 1870, his son, Lobengula, became the second and last Ndebele king. He was deposed by British troops in 1893.
European penetration into Zimbabwe began through Christian missionaries who befriended King Mzilikazi in 1858. They were followed by fortune hunters, and process of colonialization Cecil John Rhodes and his British South African Company bought the Rudd Concession from King Lobengula ostensibly for mining purposes, but he brought an army and settled at present day Harare in 1890. Thereafter, Rhodes declared war on Lobengula and overthrew him and the territory became a British colony and was named Rhodesia.
Africans resisted British rule from the beginning of European settlement. Although King Lobengula was defeated in 1893, Africans in both Mashonaland and Matabeleland took up arms in the first war of 1896-97, which was led by the famous spirit mediums Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi. The uprising was suppressed. For the following 60 years there was no armed opposition to British rule.
Following the UDI, the Africans launched the second war with the Chinhoyi Battle in 1966. Up to 1970, African nationalists’ armies fought sporadic battles with Rhodesian security forces. The Rhodesian security forces were largely supported by South African Army. This period was followed by sustained war led by the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) supported by the independent African states, especially Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana, and also by China and the Soviet Union. The liberation war ended in December 1979, following the Lancaster House Conference, independence was granted under a democratic constitution. Zimbabwe emerged as an independent state on 18th April 1980 with Robert Mugabe as Prime Minister and Canaan Banana as ceremonial President.
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers that covers an area 390,580 km². It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east.
Population Size : 13,771,721
Capital City : Harare (Population 1.542, 000)
The country has 16 official languages: Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, “Koisan” (presumably Tsoa), Nambya, Ndau, IsiNdebele, Shangani, Shona, “sign language” (Zimbabwean sign languages), SeSotho, Tonga, Tswana, TshiVenda and IsiXhosa.
Time : Zimbabwe is GMT/UTC + 2h Standard Time
Country Calling Code : +263
Literacy Rate : Zimbabwe leads Africa in having an adult literacy rate of over 90%.
The country abandoned its currency and has been using the U.S. Dollar, the South African Rand, Pound Sterling and the Botswana Pula since April 12, 2009.
Internet domain : .zw
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, this is the world’s greatest mass of falling water. The Victoria Falls are as impressive today as when David Livingstone wrote that “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.
The Hwange National Park is huge and but also boasts a wider variety of wildlife than anywhere else in Africa. As well as an estimated 50,000 elephants, in herds as large as 400, it is home to more than 100 species of mammal and 400 types of bird. Lake Kariba is a place where there is little to do but take in the big skies, the spectacular escarpment that stretches all the way to the Rift Valley, large expanses of water and the rich diversity of wildlife on its shores.
Mana Pools is said to host Africa’s largest concentration of wildlife during the dry season. It also boasts abundant birdlife and great fishing. The unique combination of beautiful trees, wildlife and unspoiled river is set against the backdrop of distant mountains making it a dream for wildlife-lovers, birders, fishermen and photographers. Uniquely, visitors are allowed to walk unaccompanied in this spectacular environment at their own risk.
Zimbabwe is one of the most beautiful places on earth located in the south eastern Africa boasting untamed wilderness, great natural wonders and exciting safari adventures. If you are looking for adventure or a peaceful honeymoon destination, Zimbabwe Africa has much to offer. Below are other interesting Zimbabwe tourist attractions to visit while touring this amazing country.
Some 420 kilometres downstream from Victoria Falls, the Kariba Dam is the largest man-made reservoir in the world. At a height of 128m and with a crest length of 617m, the dam has the capacity of holding 181 billion cubic metres of water. Designed as a double curvature concrete arc dam, the Kariba Dam was constructed across the Zambezi River between 1956 and 1959. Commissioned in 1960 and opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The Kariba dam creates Lake Kariba – which is some 280km long at full level, 32km across at its widest, 5,400 square kilometres surface area and has a catchment area of 663,000 square kilometres.
the Great Zimbabwe Ruins located in Masvingo are a national monument that are of cultural, archaeological and historical significance to the country and the African continent. The ruins are part of UNESCO World Heritage Protection and are the most extensive, best preserved remnants of an ancient kingdom and civilization in sub-Saharan Africa. The Great Zimbabwe monument, locally known as Dzimbabwe (Houses of Stones), in reference to other similar stone structures in the country, are a national symbol. It is also where the name Zimbabwe is derived from. Another national symbol, the bird, featured in Zimbabwe’s national flag, its previous currencies and other national monuments is symbolic of the carved soapstone bird effigies that were found in these Great Zimbabwe ruins.
MATOBO NATIONAL PARK
Matobo, a small district 35kms outside Bulawayo is home to UNESCO World Heritage protected sight of Matobo Hills which encompass the Matobo National Park. The Matobo Hills are a place of great archaeological, historical and cultural significance to Zimbabwe and Africa, but are also of spiritual significance to local communities. The area was named by the great Ndebele King Mzilikazi whose grave lie along with that of Cecil John Rhodes. It is home to the endangered white rhino and a variety of other animal species including ostrich, cheetah, leopard, hippo, zebra, kudu and more. Matobo National Park has a variety of fauna comprising 16 different types of fish, 88 mammal, 175 bird and 39 snake species. It has the highest concentration of bald eagles and breeding pairs in the world. When it comes to flora, the Park is a place of high botanical diversity boasting of over 200 species of trees, some of which include gum tree, fig and acacia. There are also many herbs, aloes and over 100 grass species.
The highlands are the beautiful mountainous range in the eastern part of Zimbabwe bordering Mozambique. It is home to three mountain regions: Bvumba (Vumba), Chimanimani and Nyanga which contains Mount Nyangani, Zimbabwe’s highest peak and Mtarazi Falls, Africa’s second highest waterfall. Nyanga is also home to Nyanga National Park, most of which was Cecil Rhodes’ private estate, which is also home to the Rhodes-Nyanga Hotel and Rhodes Museum. The Eastern Highlands are simply a paradise for nature and waterfalls lovers, In addition to Mtarazi Falls, this region is host to other spectacular and fantastic waterfalls such as Nyangombe Falls, Pungwe Falls, Chipungu Falls, Nyamuziwa Falls,Thomberutedza Falls and Bridal Falls in Chimanimani. Bracing fresh air make this sparsely populated highland country a favourite holiday destination for avid bikers, golfers, hikers, mountain climbers as well as those who enjoy bird-watching, trout-fishing, boating, game drives, horse riding, picnicking or simply relaxing in the crisp mountain air.
GONAREZHOU NATIONAL PARK
The name means “place of many elephants.” The scenery is wild, rugged and beautiful; and is located to the south east of the country. Gonarezhou covers a large area of over 5000 square kilometres. The park offers a good number of large mammals and even houses some rare species like the king cheetah. Dissected by three rivers, the Save, Mwenezi and Runde, the parks wildlife thrives greatly due to the abundance of water. Fish, birds and larger animals flock to the pools and oases that are created by the rivers. The park like most forests and mountains in Zimbabwe is sacred and demands immense respect from those who choose to visit its dusty laterites.
1. Exclusive Safaris
Zimbabwe is the ultimate place to be if you want to get away from the crowds and have the bush to yourself. It’s definitely one of the more private safari destinations and there will never be masses of tourists cramping your style. The hotels and lodges may not be considered ‘cheap’ by most standards, but they tend to be more affordable than the pricey palaces of Zambia and Botswana
2. Breath-taking Landscapes
Zimbabwe is home to some of the most exquisite landscapes in Africa. From the high mountains in the east, to the Mopane woodland in the low-veld, to the vibrant waterholes of Hwange and of course the majesty of the Victoria Falls – you are never at a loss for beauty.
Game-viewing in Zimbabwe is better than anywhere else on the continent. The Big Five is definitely doable and so is seeing all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures. It’s certainly a birder’s paradise, too. A fish eagle call over the Zambezi is one of the world’s most remarkable sounds.
4. Pinnacle of Hospitality
There is nothing more magical than the warmth of the people in Zimbabwe—their friendly smiles, affectionate handshakes, and absolute love for their country is completely contagious. You will feel part of the greater Zimbabwean family from the minute you step off the plane.
Victoria Falls is a tourism-driven town on the western end of the famous Victoria Falls, with daily commercial flights scheduled between Johannesburg and the airport some 18km south of the town. Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe and the country’s political, financial and commercial heart. RG Mugabe International airport is the largest in the country, with daily direct flights to and from Johannesburg. It is the ideal access point for those traveling to Mana Pools, as it offers the nearest commercial airport to this beautiful wilderness.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
Zimbabwe offers a generally very pleasant year-round climate. Although located in the tropics, temperate conditions prevail all year round in Zimbabwe as the climate is moderated by altitude and the inland position of the country. The hot and dry season runs from August through to October, and the rainy season from November through to March. The best months to visit are April to May and August to September when it is drier and cooler, however nighttime temperatures can fall below freezing. Zimbabwe has a rainy season from November/December to March and during this time days are hot and sunny with possible afternoon thunderstorms. By April and May most of the rain is gone, skies are clear and days are sunny and warm. Night time temperatures drop dramatically between June and August although daytime temperatures remain pleasantly warm. Late August sees the start of the hot and dry season which continues until October.
Passport & Visa Info
Nationals of 45 countries including the following do not require visas: Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Singapore, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks, Caicos Island, Uganda and Zambia.
Nationals of 90 countries including the following may buy a visa on arrival (but check before you go as rules change): Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, State of Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, UK, USA.
Nationals of 80 countries including Guyana require a visa to be obtained before travel. This can be obtained by visiting a Zimbabwe consulate or you can now do it online by visiting www.evisa.gov.zw. Note that you can only buy a single entry visa.
Zimbabwe and Zambia have now introduced a trial KAZA tourist Univisa costing US$50 which allows visitors to cross between the two countries as often as they like during the 30-day validity. It also allows day visits to Botswana via Kazungula but not overnight stays.
Zimbabwe is a generally low risk in medical terms but of course with the proviso of malaria, which is endemic in large areas of the country that tourists are likely to visit. The country’s tourism sector has a long and enviable history of catering for ‘high end’ visitors, so hygiene requirements are well understood and standards in camps, lodges and hotels are generally on a par with first world countries. As such, anti-malarial medication should be acquired from your personal physician prior to your departure, regardless of which safari area you will be traveling to within the country. There is no risk of yellow fever in Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever.
Health & Safety
The economic meltdown in the decade of 2000 onwards had a dramatic effect on Zimbabwe’s health care system, resulting in chronic shortages of manpower, medical supplies and equipment, even in the capital, Harare. Many fully inclusive lodges and tourism facilities subscribe to MARS (Medical Air Rescue Service), a private Zimbabwe-based medical service provider offering emergency road or air evacuation to the nearest medical facility. Another relatively new entrant to the medevac scene is ACE Air and Ambulance which provides a similar service to MARS and with bases in several towns including in Victoria Falls. Prior to booking your trip you may wish to enquire whether the places you plan to stay at subscribe to the above services.
As the roads in the main tourism hubs – like the Victoria Falls – are relatively good, your transfers between accommodations, airports and to activities will typically take the form of either an air-conditioned minibus or coach, depending on the size of your group. These vehicles and their drivers adhere to all safety regulations and official requirements.
Should you be traveling further afield, a hardy 4×4 vehicle may be necessary to navigate poorly maintained or dirt roads en route to national parks and wilderness areas.
Unless otherwise indicated, your transfers will always be private. Your comfort and safety whilst traveling are paramount to us, and we only work with drivers and companies that comply with the same high standards.
VICTORIA FALLS ACTIVITIES
Victoria Falls is the capital of adventure tourism in Southern Africa. Besides the Victoria falls, activities found in this exciting scenery are white river rafting, Zambezi river cruises, microlight flight of angels, helicopter flight of angels, canoe trails, horse trails, Nile Crocodile Farm, walk with lions, bungy, village tours and Victoria Falls fishing trips.
With a birding list of more than 670 species and some of the most beautiful birding areas in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe is a wonderful birding destination. The main birding attraction is the Eastern Highlands consisting of the Nyanga Highlands, Honde Valley and Vumba Highlands and is home to some of the most south after specials in Southern Africa. Birding habitats in this country varies from Miombo Woodland, Montane Grassland, Forest, Riverine Woodland, Wetlands and Savannah. A birding trip to Zimbabwe can easily be combined with a Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique.
Victoria Falls canoeing above the Falls on the upper Zambezi is the perfect activity for those who not only want to see the abundant bird and animal life but also want to experience the peace, tranquillity and beauty of the Zambezi River. Mana Pools National Park canoeing offers guests a unique way of viewing game, you can glide up to elephants crossing the Zambezi and watch game coming down to the Rive to drink.
Zimbabwe offers good mobile camping safari experience however this does not measure up to the mobile safaris offered by the epic Serengeti in Tanzania and those offered in Botswana. Hwange and Mana Pools are the leading national parks that offer mobile safaris. The Hwange National Park is an hour drive from Victoria Falls and the Mana Pools is an hour direct flight from Victoria Falls.
An array of camps are on offer starting off with the camps where it is a prerequisite for you to participate in the mounting of tent and other camping burdens, to the lavish, and a crew of competent specialists mount the camp before arrival of visitors and splendid meals are arranged by chefs and camp is very attentive to your needs. Any choice you run with is guaranteed to be a genuine encounter with unique game viewing and being engrossed in the immeasurable African terrain of immaculate splendour.
With over 75 species in these waters, you can’t go wrong with a fishing excursion on the Zambezi River that extends into Kariba Lake. It offers one of the most exciting and challenging experiences for avid anglers: an opportunity to catch the Tiger Fish. Rated by many sports anglers as the finest freshwater fighting fish in the world, this powerful and swift predator is sure to give you a run for your money.
House boating on Lake Kariba is a truly memorable experience. There is nothing on this earth as relaxing as sitting on a deck at sunset sipping a sundowner and watching the African day go by. Rising each morning in your own time to the sound of a Fish Eagle and enjoying brunch on deck whilst viewing game. The choice of whether to book a self-catered and self-operated, or fully-catered and crewed houseboat, is yours. The best months for a house boating adventure are the winter and spring months from about May to September.
Can I go on Safari near the Victoria Falls?
Yes, the Victoria Falls is located in the Victoria Falls National Park and lies adjacent to the Zambezi National Park. Two parks cover an area of 56,000 hectares and a wide variety of larger mammals may be found within the parks including the Big Five: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and white rhinoceros. In addition, herds of sable antelope, eland, zebra, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck and impala. For more discerning safari enthusiasts you opt for the Hwange National Park for a night or two or alternatively you hope over into Botswana and take on a day trip to the Chobe National Park which just only 90 kilometres.
Is safe drinking water available?
Yes, and hotels and lodges readily offer bottled mineral water.
Is Zimbabwe a safe country to visit?
Yes, and notwithstanding political turmoil, Zimbabwe remains one the most tourism-friendly destination in the region.
Why is the Zimbabwean view of the Victoria Falls considered as superior?
Two-thirds of the falling water is on the Zimbabwean side and therefore more viewing positions of the water falls are experienced, and furthermore during the dry season the Zambian side in bone dry on most parts.
What was Zimbabwe known as before independence?
Zimbabwe was briefly known as Zimbabwe-Rhodesia just before independence in 1980 and prior to this period it was referred to as Rhodesia. From 1923 to 1965 to the country was known to as Southern Rhodesia.
Will I have access to internet connectivity and / or mobile reception?
Zimbabwe’s main urban centres, including Victoria Falls have good mobile network coverage. Mobile coverage does extend into some of more remote parts of Lake Kariba and the Zambezi Valley, however signal can be erratic. In the very remote parts of the Zambezi valley, there is no mobile network coverage at all, but some safari camps and operators have access via satellite phone links.
Can I enjoy a big five safari in Zimbabwe?
Yes, Zimbabwe is one of Africa’s premier conservation safari areas although sightings of rhinos has become a rare encounter due to poaching activities in the last five decades. Rhinos are still found in the Hwange, Gonarezhou and Mana Pools national parks.
What power points are used?
The power points are 220V, and standard 3-pin square plugs are used. Power grid cuts have significantly improved in recent years and most places have backup generators installed due to past constant problems in electricity supply.
Enjoy three serene nights and four delightful days discovering the area encompassing the mesmerizing Victoria Falls that is located inside the national park. Pursuits covered extend from a customary tour of the Falls on foot …
Pleasure in a week discovering two of Zambia’s supreme attractions – the Victoria Falls close to Livingstone and the drenched world of Lower Zambezi National Park. At these points you can revel in safari activities …
65 Casa Bella, 247 Sullivan Street, Centurion, Pretoria,South Africa, 0157
Mon – Fri 08.00 – 17.00
Sat – Sun 08h00 – 13h00
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