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Zimbabwe

Hot Destination: Zimbabwe

Zim, as it’s known to locals and visitors alike, is often passed over by safari-goers for Kenya, Botswana or South Africa. But Zimbabwe’s infinite wilderness paired with the friendliness and resilience of its people make it a good-value option for a standout safari holiday.

The lowdown

  • When To Go:

    Mild temperatures, virtually no rain and a low malaria risk, the dry May to October winter season is generally seen as the best time to visit Zimbabwe for game viewing.

  • How To Get There:

    Fly directly into Johannesburg before a connecting flight to either Bulawayo Airport or Victoria Falls.

  • Insider Tip:

    Tracking black rhino and white rhino in the Matobo Hills is a very special experience.

Zimbabwe is also known for its excellent guiding and has its fair share of spectacular World Heritage Sites, the highest concentrations of lion anywhere, huge herds of elephants in Hwange National Park and is also one of the few remaining places where you can see both white rhino and black rhino in the wild. Read on for five of our favourite places to stay in Zimbabwe, which can be curated into one itinerary linked by land and light aircraft transfers.

“What I love about Zimbabwe is it’s amazingly diverse, with the landscape so varied, from waterfalls to big wildlife and World Heritage Sites. Lake Kariba is simply beautiful, I loved watching the elephants bask in the lake. It was here that I saw my best-ever sunset.” Sam, Travel Planner

 

AMALINDA LODGE

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MATOBO HILLS

Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Matobo Hills, the oldest national park in Zimbabwe, Amalinda Lodge is carved into the ancient rocks, the granite domes forming a natural shelter, once the home of the ancient bushman. A dramatic and wild location, feel the presence of ancestors who daubed art on the rocks thousands of years ago and learn about the history of the hunter-gatherer San bushmen through their expressive art. Surrounding the camp is an arresting landscape of rock formations and kopjes, and rare wildlife including leopard, as well as sable antelope, birdlife and an unparalleled opportunity to see both black and white rhino.

"At one with the atmospheric UNESCO World Heritage Site that surrounds it, Amalinda Lodge is an exceptional place to immerse yourself in San Bushman history."

BUMI HILLS SAFARI LODGE

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LAKE KARIBA

Set high on the hills looking down over the shimmering waters of Lake Kariba, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge has ten spacious suites, each decorated in a modern safari style. A long wooden deck stretches the length of the property offering dining, an outdoor boma firepit and breathtaking views of the lake. The wildlife-rich shoreline allows for easy animal sightings, and you can also enjoy game drives to spot the Big Five which roam freely between Matusadona National Park and Bumi Hills. The highlight is a sunset cruise on Lake Kariba; as the heat of the day recedes watch elephants come to the water’s edge to bathe, hippos yawn and crocodiles lie in wait.

"Located on the shimmering shores of Lake Kariba, enjoy sensational sunsets while hippo and elephant splash at the water's edge."

SOMALISA CAMP

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HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

Be immersed in the beautiful wilderness of Somalisa Camp. Its stylish tents are the perfect base to explore Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. It is Zim’s largest, with prolific wildlife including a 40,000-strong population of elephants that stroll between teak and acacia forests and the savannah. Set up in a private concession in the heart of Hwange, Somalisa Camp is in close proximity to a watering hole, where elephants come for a drink and a bathe, while you cool off in the pool. Early mornings and late afternoons are for wildlife viewing including Hwange’s famed herds of elephants, tracking rare African wild dog, walking safaris and cultural visits to local communities.

"A classic tented safari camp meets the Big Five at Somalisa Camp, found in the heart of Hwange National Park."

RUCKOMECHI CAMP

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MANA POOLS

A superb lodge set on the banks of the majestic Zambezi River in a private concession bordering Mana Pools, the riverine location of Ruckomechi Camp is renowned for large numbers of elephant, buffalo, hippo and eland. It’s perfectly placed for some of the best walking and canoeing in Africa too. Cradled in a large grove of acacia and mahogany trees, Ruckomechi’s ten spacious tents, main camp, infinity pool and fire pit deck overlook the Zambezi and the mountains of the Great Rift Valley. The perk of Ruckomechi’s location means access to the river on motorised pontoon boats, allowing for river-based game viewing, sundowner cruises and catch-and-release fishing trips.

"A small intimate camp on the banks of the Zambezi River, Ruckomechi is a secluded spot for prolific wildlife viewing."

VICTORIA FALLS HOTEL

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VICTORIA FALLS

Steeped in history and one of Africa’s most iconic hotels, the Victoria Falls Hotel was built in 1904 and makes a very special finish to an itinerary in Zimbabwe. The tranquil setting of the hotel is in stark contrast to the thundering Victoria Falls which you can hear from the hotel itself. Afternoon tea at the hotel is an institution, sitting amid the stately colonnades of Stanley’s Terrace with misty views of the falls’ spray in the distance. Over tea and sandwiches, contemplate your visit to ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ or ‘Smoke That Thunders’, perhaps by helicopter tour, river cruise or a aboard a steam train that crosses the Victoria Falls Bridge in front of the waterfall.

"A classic and deeply evocative place to stay, the Victoria Falls Hotel exudes old-school glamour and is the perfect spot to take in the majesty of the Victoria Falls."