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Zimbabwe

The wonders of the Zimbabwe landscape are matched by a variety and density of wildlife comparable with the worlds best. Here you will find four world heritage sites, the famous Victoria Falls, bountiful Mana Pools and the great medieval African cities of Khame and Great Zimbabwe. 

 

Zimbabwe

The history of this land, archeologists have determined to have began as early as the 3rd century AD with ruins that date from the 12th to 15th century. The Great Zimbabwe was the Shona trading empire which collapsed for unknown reasons. In 1890 Cecil Rhodes arrived with a private army of settlers and the European explorers came upon an impressive ruined city, which they believed to be the biblical city of Ophir--the site of King Solomon's mines. Here, in the Great Zimbabwe you can see the reminants of this vast empire.

The main points of interest in the country include Victoria Falls, The extensive National Parks and Reserves which include Hwange, Lake Kariba/Matusadona and Mana Pools with a wide variety of environments which contain an enormously diverse collection of species. Safaris and game viewing offer: open vehicles, night game drives, walking safaris and boat safaris are available, the latter including motor launch, canoe, kayak, and even houseboat. The Zambezi also offers some of the finest whitewater rafting in the world.

It is advisable that you read government travel advice before traveling to Zimbabwe and stay away from high density suburbs around Harare. Take suitable precautions by avoiding solo travel and ostentious displays of wealth as violent crime can also plague the countryside. Zimbabweans are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards each other and visitors alike. Although all Zimbabweans are very helpful, it is always advisable to be cautious when dealing with strangers. If you need help, be on the lookout for anyone wearing a ZIMHOST badge, as they are the best people to ask. Police officers can also be very helpful and are easily identified by their uniforms, although some may be plainclothes police.

Victoria Falls National Park and the Zambezi River Valley
The broad Zambezi plunges with a roar into a chasm 1700 meters wide in a series of cataracts which billowing spray can be seen miles away. The spray and roar from the falls have termed the local name "smoke that thunders". David Livingstone was the first European to visit the falls, in 1855, and he named them in honor of his queen, Victoria.

Many activities are offered at Victoria Falls, including bungee jumping, small plane flights over the falls, and raft trips to the Boiling Pot at their base. In addition to such thrill ride activities, Victoria Falls is also the center for some of the best safari and adventure opportunities in Africa. Above the falls, outstanding canoe and kayaking safaris are available, offering one of the most exciting and memorable ways to experience both the Zambezi and the abundant game of Zambezi National Park.

Below the falls, the Zambezi becomes a whitewater rafting paradise. The rafting trips that run through the river's gorges are internationally known as the most exciting, and least dangerous, to be found anywhere.

Lake Kariba/ Matusadona National Park
Zimbabwe's inland sea, the enormous man-made lake of Lake Kariba is east and downstream from the Falls. Formed in 1958 by the damming of the Zambezi, there are scattered islands, clear deep waters and the adjoining reserve, Matusadona National Park, originally begun as a refuge for animals saved from the rising waters of the lake itself. Today, abundant game reserves along the shore, small houseboat lodges are located here and the Lake also serves as the starting point for canoe safaris to Mana Pools National Park.

Mana Pools National Park
In the long hot African summer huge herds of buffalo and elephant wander across the old Zambezi floodplain at Mana Pools. The river has shifted course slightly, leaving thousands of pools and ponds that are perfect for big browsers. The abundance of life attracted in the dry season is spectacular. Canoe safaris and walking safaris are done here.

Gonarezhou National Park
Only recently opened to International visitors this massive park contains miles of open wilderness along most of the border with Mozambique. Gonarezhou means, "Refuge for elephants", and they are among the main attraction at the park. Much other game in great abundance can be seen such as king cheetah and nyala and suni antelope.

Hwange National Park
Hwange, located south of Victoria Falls and along the Botswana border, enjoys one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the country and is particularly renowned for its elephant. Hwange is connected to several private reserves that offer less restricted game viewing including walks and night.

Main Cities
Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls