Holidays in Zimbabwe
Traveling to exotic countries is always very exciting. They provide the opportunity to get acquainted not only with the sights of a foreign country, but also with its history, culture, cuisine, national characteristics and beauty. Not an exception – and the distant African country of Zimbabwe. We suggest you find out what exactly it attracts foreign tourists, and what entertainment is available there.
Why go to Zimbabwe?
The main value of this state as a tourist destination is, of course, the stunning nature of Zimbabwe. People come here to:
- To enjoy the beautiful African landscapes;
- Hiking, safari and hunting in national parks and reserves;
- Go rafting and other water activities;
- Visit semi-wild tribes still living in Zimbabwe;
- Have fun at one of the colorful festivals;
- Have an unforgettable and very original shopping experience.
Due to lack of access to the sea there are no beaches and resorts, so water recreation in Zimbabwe – only rivers, lakes, waterfalls and artificial reservoirs. Not so little!
All records of popularity is breaking a visit to the famous Victoria Falls – the main pearl of the continent, “African Niagara. During a vacation in Zimbabwe you can capture this magnificent cascade in the photo and in your memory, and go on a cruise on the Zambezi River, where it is located, see the waterfall from the air, bungee jumping, etc. Other interesting places to have a great time in Zimbabwe are its magnificent national parks and reserves. The most visited are:
- Victoria Falls; ; ; ; ; .
During a tour of one of these places you can see many wild animals: lions, elephants, zebras, leopards, hippos, rhinoceroses and many more. You can see them best during a safari – a trip through the savannah in a jeep, where the safety of tourists is responsible for the guide, and the animals can be seen from the closest possible distance. Safari differs favorably from visiting all kinds of zoos, where the animals live in captivity. Here they are in their natural environment, free to hunt, migrate and breed as nature intended.
Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world where hunting is officially allowed. Lovers of this entertainment can get noble trophies in the form of the “big African five”, but for a license will have to pay an impressive amount of money. In addition to national parks, it is also interesting to visit places such as the Chinhoyi Caves, Inyangani Mountain, Lake Kariba, Muturazi Waterfall.
The cultural and historical aspect
Natural sightseeing can be combined with visiting places of great importance to the people of Zimbabwe. Be sure to put the following sites on your must-see list:
- Ruins of Greater Zimbabwe . It is the ancient sacred center of the country, where the ancient Shona people lived and worshipped their gods. The city, which existed for three centuries, gave a lot to Zimbabweans in terms of culture. The archaeological complex shows visitors the surviving ruins, which consist of granite slabs stacked on top of each other without the use of any fixing mortars. For the locals, the site still holds sacred significance.
- National Gallery . It is a unique collection of Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage located in the capital, Harare. The museum exhibits paintings and sculptures, ritual masks, statuettes carved in stone and wood, art books and indigenous crafts.
- Balancing Stones . Unusual geological objects can be seen in the capital’s suburb of Epworth. Here are dozens of natural formations – giant boulders, which “balance” in this way for thousands of years.
- Khami Ruins . These are the ruins of a city that existed on the territory of Zimbabwe in the fifteenth century. There are ruins of the palace of the kings and other buildings, a Christian cross, erected later by missionaries from Europe.
What is worth knowing going on holiday to Zimbabwe?
Going to a distant trip, it is important to properly assess the risks and take care of their health and welfare. To do this in advance, make the necessary vaccinations (although the certificates at the customs in 2016 and are not required, but for your own safety is worth getting vaccinated).
In addition, be sure to take out insurance and follow the safety rules:
When to go?
It is impossible to say definitively what is the best season for a holiday in Zimbabwe. It is largely determined by the purpose of the trip. Tourists who want to visit waterfalls (first of all – Victoria and Muturazi), usually come in the rainy season, from November to March, when the river is most full and the cascades are most beautiful. Those who choose rafting on the Zambezi River or swimming in the famous “Devil’s Pool” as their main entertainment should buy tickets for the period from August to December. From May to October tourists come to Zimbabwe to watch the animals in the national parks.
Zimbabwe is a hospitable country, but the unusual climatic conditions and the prevalence of dangerous diseases make it unsafe to visit. To reduce the risks, travelers are advised to get vaccinations in advance. Find out what vaccinations you need to travel to Zimbabwe.
Interesting facts about Zimbabwe are really curious. They will tell about the past of the country, its difficult path from a colony to an independent state, from a booming economy to a deep crisis, about the natural and cultural attractions of this distinctive place.
Zimbabwe is a country with unique nature. With a developed river system and ample humidity, it is not as arid as in other parts of Africa, and therefore the national parks of Zimbabwe abound with lush greenery and exotic animals.
The best way to explore the sunny country of Zimbabwe is through fascinating excursions. Tourists are offered many options, from 1 and 3-day short tours to long trips to the most interesting places, including the famous Victoria Falls and the best national parks in the country.
Zimbabwe’s top 20 attractions
A small state in southern Africa attracts tourists from all over the world. The sights of Zimbabwe are nature in all its splendor.
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Who should come to Zimbabwe and why
National parks invite adventure lovers and exotic animals for exciting walks. In the vast savannah you can see the big five, for which go to the Black Continent: buffalo, lion, leopard, rhinoceros and elephant.Ruins of ancient civilizations and museums will interest fans of antiquities and riddles. African architectural and historical sites are as important as European ones.
Rafting, hunting, safari, hang gliding, bungee jumping, and other activities await the extreme tourists in Zimbabwe for a vivid experience.
Hwange National Park is located in the western part of the country, south of Victoria Falls. It is considered the largest and richest in Zimbabwe. Hwange is home to more than 400 species of animals. They include giraffes, crocodiles, antelopes, zebras and lions.
Giant elephants and buffalo can be found here. The reserve is home to more than 100 species of birds. Ornithologists come here to study the behavior of birds in the wild.
The flora is as unique and diverse as the fauna. Colorful flowers, bizarre bushes and giant trees color the park with incredible colors and fill the air with intoxicating aromas.
The national park is located in close proximity to Victoria Falls. Despite its modest size, Mosi-oa-Tunya (“Rattling Smoke”) boasts a rich biodiversity. All the fauna typical of this part of Africa can be found here: zebras, antelopes and giraffes.
A distinctive feature of the reserve is a complete absence of predators, so animals are not timid and willingly come into contact with humans.
One of the most visited nature reserves in Zimbabwe offers a variety of recreational options. The most popular is a safari. There are several routes that allow you to get acquainted with the wildlife of Africa without leaving your car.
There is also the largest lion farm in the country. It has become home to abandoned cubs and adults who cannot survive in the wild for various reasons.
There are several guest houses operating within the park. Furnished in the national style and not devoid of the usual amenities, they invite you to enjoy silence punctuated by the sounds of nature and scenic views.
The area where the park is located was formed about 4 million years ago. The downpours, rains, and time have turned the granite rocks into bizarre shapes. Their outlines resemble formidable towers, giants, and beasts. The most famous natural statue looks like a mother, carefully leaning over her child. The gray-brown giants turn purple in the sunset rays.
There are many caves in the reserve covered with rock paintings with stunning detail. You can see scenes of hunting, everyday life and rituals. The people who inhabit Zimbabwe believe that these caves serve as entrances to the netherworld, and spirits meet in them.
The national park is located on the southern shore of Lake Kariba. It got its name from the nearby hills of Matuzviadona. The area of the reserve is 1,400 sq. km. It is home to numerous representatives of African fauna, including buffalo and elephants, as well as about 100 species of birds.
The peculiarity of the park is that its guests can observe wildlife both on land, going on safari, and on water, renting a boat. For tourists there are two comfortable campsites.
It is one of the most picturesque parks in the country. On one side it is surrounded by mountains and on the other side it adjoins Lake Mtirikwi. The main inhabitants of the reserve are giraffes, buffalo and rhinos. Visitors planning to stay longer in the wilderness are encouraged to stay at the campsite.
A national park in the northern part of the country lies along the banks of the Zambezi. It is famous for its abundance of wetlands, whose fresh water attracts animals. During the annual drought, Mana Pools becomes an oasis of refuge for lions, cheetahs and elephants. Crocodiles, antelopes, zebras and rhinos are also found here.
Rivers and waterfalls
A unique waterfall on the Zambezi River has three names. It got its name Victoria from the traveler Livingstone, a tribute to the British Queen. The locals call the rushing stream Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means “rumbling smoke,” or Chongue, “the place of the rainbow.
Victoria Falls holds many records. Its height is 120 m and width is almost 2 km. The roar of the water can be heard 40 km from the place of the fall, and the fog from the spray can be seen up to 50 km away. During the day there is a permanent rainbow – the result of interaction between the smallest particles of water and sunlight.
There are several sites for enjoying the water element. The largest is built on the shore and is called “Blade of the Knife”. Other popular vantage points are on the railroad bridge that goes over the waterfall.
Popular activities for the brave: base jumping, helicopter and paraglider tours. For those who prefer a quieter pastime, the Victoria Falls Museum awaits. It tells about the geological origins of this wonder of the world, and how it has changed the landscape of the area.
Located at the very edge of Victoria Falls, this natural swimming pool is visited by around 300,000 tourists a year. You can swim in the pool during the dry season from September to December. During this time, the waters of the Zambezi River become shallow and the waterfall loses its power. Bathers have the opportunity to swim to the very edge and look into the abyss.
This is the largest man-made lake at about 5,400 square kilometers. It was created in 1959 after the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Zambezi River.
The picturesque shoreline attracts many tourists. They go to enjoy the beauty of nature, to admire the animals and birds in their natural habitat. This is best done from a boat or boat, which regularly ply the lake. Other popular Caribbean activities include fishing, kayaking, and water skiing.
People and animals depend on the mighty Zambezi River for their lives. It provides food, water, electricity and forms a unique ecosystem. The opportunity to cruise the river is not to be missed. The program includes contemplative relaxation on the deck of the ship and stops at points of interest.
Historical and Religious Sites
The ruins of an ancient city founded in 1130 are in Masvingo Province. Zimbabwe was once a major religious center for the Shona people. Its name, meaning “houses of worship,” gave its name to the whole country. The city covered an area of about 750 hectares and was once home to more than 15,000 people.
The settlement consisted of two parts separated by a massive wall. Poor people lived in thatched huts, while the rich lived in stone buildings. Their houses have been well preserved to this day. Greater Zimbabwe existed 200-300 years, then as a result of wars and drought, the city fell into decline.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
This Catholic church, located in Bulawayo, is the official residence of the Archbishop of Zimbabwe. The cathedral was founded in 1890 by the Jesuits.
The building, built in the neo-Gothic style, is distinguished by its ascetic decoration. The decor is dominated by pointed arches supporting a massive wooden ceiling. The only decoration is the stained glass windows above the altar.
In 2013, by decree of Pope Francis, the cathedral was designated a Minor Basilica.
This architectural complex in Greater Zimbabwe is unique. It consists of walls and a cone-shaped tower built by dry masonry.
The acropolis stands on a hill about 27 meters high. The way up here is by way of a narrow staircase that leads to a labyrinth of several structures. In one of them, archaeologists found seven statuettes of Hungwe birds made of talcochlorite. This feathered bird has become the emblem of Zimbabwe.
Sacred Heart Cathedral
The temple in Harare was built in 1910 on the foundations of a small church and adjoining chapel. The light brick cathedral has three entrances, and next to the main entrance is a statue of Jesus Christ crucified on a cross.
The dominant feature of the interior is a wooden altar decorated with portraits of clergymen who have made significant contributions to the spread of Christianity in Zimbabwe. Services are conducted in several languages: Shona, English, French and Portuguese.
The ruins of an ancient city lie about 20 km from the administrative center of Bulawayo. It is believed that Khami arose in the 15th century and was the capital of the state ruled by the Torva dynasty. The end of 200 years of prosperity brought the invaders from neighboring tribes.
The architecture of the settlement is well preserved. Tourists can see the remains of the walls and houses and walk down the small streets that are now a thing of the past.
The National Gallery in Harare is considered a cultural treasure house of Zimbabwe. It contains paintings, sculptures and decorative arts by local artisans. In total, the collection has more than 6000 exhibits. The gallery was founded in 1957 by Frank McEwan and opened with the support of the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
Museum of the Humanities.
Formerly known as the Queen Victoria Museum, the Museum of the Humanities is located in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. It was established in 1903 to disseminate progressive knowledge and preserve the distinctive culture of the local peoples.
The complex consists of an art gallery featuring works by African artists, a public library, and an exhibition of archaeological finds made in the country. Of particular note is a model of a Shona and Ngoma Lungundu hut, a likeness of a wooden ark.
Natural History Museum
Opened in 1964, this museum has a large library and several exhibitions:
- In the geology hall, tourists can learn about the country’s natural treasures.
- The Entomological displays a rich collection of insects found in Zimbabwe.
- Herpetological tells about snakes, and exhibited here stuffed reptilian giants are impressive.
- The ichthyology hall will be of interest not only to avid fishermen. Extravagant dried specimens from the depths of local reservoirs excite the imagination.
- Hall of Ornithology is dedicated to local and rare birds.
- Paleontological contains interesting archaeological finds.
There are several other public galleries where you can learn about important milestones in the country’s history.
Gold Mining Museum
Located in Kwekwe, the museum tells the story of gold mining. It displays important documents, photographs, and mechanisms for extracting the precious metal from the earliest times to the present day. On a separate stand one can see the very real gold ingots.
On the territory of the museum is the so-called Paper House. This is a structure made of papier-mache and wire, created in 1895.