This week we will be looking at the wonderful Zimbabwe. We have done quite a few posts on Zimbabwe, as our Associate Director Sophie has recently spent a bit of time in this wonderful country. It really blew her away actually, the landscape is utterly stunning, the wildlife phenomenal and the people and guides, some of the best throughout Africa. This wonderful country has more variety than almost any other African destination. Safari camps here are luxurious and set in wild locations with exceptional game viewing and no people. It is perfectly safe, and the Zimbabweans are some of the friendliest warm people you could hope to meet – as witnessed by Sophie herself! Zimbabwe has recently seen the opening of some new extremely luxurious camps by respected brands such as Great Plains Conservation and Singita, which only goes to emphasise that this small jewel, once part of the larger Rhodesia (included Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi until the 1960’s), is very much on the rise.
Locations throughout Zimbabwe are remarkably varied. We will begin with Victoria Falls. Which certainly lives up to every reputation and rumour it currently has. It is awe inspiring and dramatic when encountered first-hand and an absolute must during any tailor made Southern Africa Safari. The two National Parks surrounding the falls are relatively small – Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is just 66 sqkm on the Zambian side, and Victoria Falls National Park on the Zimbabwean side is just 23 sqkm, however both have an abundance of wildlife and birdlife which offer exciting game drives.
Hwange National Park, on the Western side of Zimbabwe, is the largest National Park in Zimbabwe and lies on the main road between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. It was founded in the 1920’s by a 22-year-old ranger Ted Davison. The Park covers 14,600 sqkm nad is close to the edge of the mighty Kalahari Desert. It is the only protected area in Zimbabwe where brown hyena are in high numbers. Elephant numbers in Hwange are incredible, especially around Somalisa and Little Makalolo. It is fantastic to see these wild giants thriving.
(Somalisa’s spacious bedrooms)
(Views from Little Mak’s waterhole hide)
Mana Pools in Northern Zimbabwe is perhaps Zimbabwe’s most famous wildlife conservation area and borders the Lower Zambezi in Zambia. There are several mind-blowing lodges including Chikwenya, Rukomenchi and Sapi Springs Camp to name a few. All these lodge’s benefit from fantastic game viewing and on top of this, not another soul in sight! The floodplain in Mana Pools turns into a broad expanse of lakes after every rainy season, and as they gradually dry up and recede the region attracts many large animals in search of water. Mana Pools is also famous for its packs of Wild Dog, which are one of our favourite animals throughout Africa here at TLSC! Mana Pools is one of Africa’s most renowned game viewing regions.
(Bathroom views from Chikwenya)
(Deck views from Rukomenchi)
(The star bed experience at Sapi Springs is one not to turn down)
Now for a wild location – Malilangwe, located on the South-Eastern side of Zimbabwe. Gonarezhou is situated in a remote corner of Zimbabwe on the Mozambique border. It is Zimbabwe’s second largest game reserve after Hwange and links with the Kruger National Park in South Africa, and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, because of this, animals can move between the two freely, and so the wildlife viewing here is sensational. One of our top places to stay here is the incredibly luxurious Singita Pamushana – just take a look, it will explain everything as to why this is our favourite place!
(Views from Singita Pamushana)
Finally, we would just like to mention Lake Kariba in Northern Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba, where the stunning Bumi Hills is located, is the largest artificial lake and reservoir in the world and is located on the Zambezi River. Lake Kariba was filled in between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba Dam, flooding the Kariba Gorge on the Zambezi River.
(Views of Lake Kariba from the main deck at Bumi Hills)
We cannot stress enough how incredible this country in Africa is, having been there recently and seeing it for ourselves, the fuss is not shouted out about enough. If you would like to visit Zimbabwe, then please do get in contact, so we can share the love we have for this special corner of Africa.