In the last few years Zimbabwe has suffered the lack of tourism dollar due to its political situation, however the country itself offers some of the most diverse landscapes and experiences, including of course the magical Victoria Falls. For the tourist travelling on a pre-organised itinerary, Zimbabwe is easy and convenient to visit especially the Victoria Falls which should be considered for the beginning or ending of any itinerary to Chobe or the Okavango Delta.
• Victoria Falls
• Hwange National Park
• Lake Kariba
• Great Zimbabwe
• Eastern Highlands
In terms of travelling on safari to Zimbabwe, the dry season is best for game viewing – around July through October. From November the wet season begins and so does the heat however the climate is reasonably moderate and never extreme on either side. The falls are at the fullest generally in March and April and lowest in November and December.
Described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – “the Smoke that Thunders” and in more modern terms as “the greatest known curtain of falling water”, the Victoria Falls are a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Truly experiencing Victoria Falls means getting totally drenched by the volumes of mist it throws up as vast volumes of water thunder down into the canyon. Awesome! The mighty Zambezi River at Victoria Falls is home to wallowing hippos, and is surrounded in part by a National Park which hosts all manner of wildlife. I have experienced a range of hotels at Victoria Falls, and have narrowed my favourites down to four… the wonderfully colonial Out of Africa feel of The River Club, with its croquet lawn and Pimms in the afternoon; the vast Royal Livingstone Hotel for a bit of pampering, and zebra roaming the grounds; the stunning new Wilderness Safaris Toka Leya Camp – very stylish and comfortable; and lastly, the faded glory of the Victoria Falls Hotel on the Zimbabwe side, where the atmosphere and history more than makes up for the slightly threadbare carpet. I highly recommend adding Victoria Falls to the end of any safari. A sunset cruise along the Zambezi is a fitting farewell to the wonders of Africa. Caroline
Currency The US dollar is the highly recommended currency to use in Zimbabwe. You are strongly recommended to take US dollars cash with you for your visit, as credit cards and travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted.
Language The official language of Zimbabwe is English, though the main national languages are Ndebele and Shona.
Why we love it Zimbabwe is one of the most beautiful countries, with a diversity of landscape, scenery and rich culture. Political issues aside, though of course they have affected the country over the last decade, things seem to be improving and Zimbabwe tourism appears to be on the rise. Tour operators are adding more departures and scheduling more trips and safari lodges are opening up slowly but surely. The next year or two may be the very best time to visit – the country will still be gearing up for their re-entry into tourism (although Victoria Falls never lost its popularity) – you will be so well-treated. Victoria Falls is the most famous of sights in Zimbabwe and in fact, one of the most well known sights in all of Africa and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The story of David Livingstone arriving to “discover” these magnificent falls and name them after his Queen is one for the history books, and being there you feel part of this history. The falls differ from season to season; when water levels are lower in November/December you can appreciate the actual size of the gorges as opposed to March/April when the falls are high water which is just magnificent – however sometimes you can see the view for the spray! Any time of year we would highly recommend the “Flight of the Angels” helicopter for the amazing aerial views over the falls.
Other must-see areas of the country are Hwange National Park with its abundance of wildlife, the scenery of the Eastern Highlands, ancient ruins of Great Zimbabwe and more.
Weather In terms of travelling on safari to Zimbabwe, the dry season is best for game viewing – around July through October. From November the wet season begins and so does the heat however the climate is reasonably moderate and never extreme on either side. The falls are at the fullest generally in March and April and lowest in November and December.
Social customs & quirks Zimbabwe, being originally a republic has retained much of its colonial “English” history and although the vast majority of population are the native Ndebele and Shona groups, the European cultures and values have mostly shaped the urban and rural areas. In terms of economy the two different cultures of African and European couldn’t be further apart. About 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas, and Harare and Bulawayo account for most of the approximately 30 percent in urban areas. The largest ethnic group is collectively known as the Shona which makes up almost 80% percent of the population. The second largest ethnic group is the Ndebele which constitute about 18 percent. Only about 2% of the total population is European.
Health* Please contact your General Practitioner for advice regarding the recommended vaccination programme for travellers to this region. The only compulsory health requirement is a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if coming from, or travelling through, an infected area.
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.