Zimbabwe Safari - Complete Travel Guide
Zimbabwe is one of the most popular safari destinations in Southern Africa. While the country has had some past political struggles, things are looking up as the parks are well maintained and are not to be missed! With its expert guides, welcoming locals and abundance of big game, Zimbabwe is one of the best places for a safari. While the country is bordered on either side by the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, the land in between is filled with multiple different habitats for animals to thrive in. From lush, green forests to mountains and rugged, granite outcrops, Zimbabwe provides many unique sights to see and wild experiences to be had. Travel to Zimbabwe and experience an unforgettable safari adventure!
Best Time To Go
May - September
Average Safari Cost
From $200 to $700 pp/day
The spectacular Victoria Falls, bungee jumping , game drives, the Big Five, boat and canoe down the Zambezi River, walking safaris, rock art in Matobo Hills, the culture and history of the locals, beautiful scenery
Why Go on a Zimbabwe's Safari?
As Zimbabwe is getting back on track after political difficulty, the tourists are fewer than you would find in other safari destinations. Enjoy the peace and quiet of the parks without crowds of bustling travellers. The locals are well known for being friendly and will give you a warm welcome into the country.
There are a multitude of things to do and see in Zimbabwe. Canoe through the waters of Mana Pools National Park, walking safaris through the wilderness, travel to see the majestic Victoria Falls and game drives with expert guides and superb wildlife sighting opportunities.
Game drives in Zimbabwe offer intimate views of the big game as they are used to the vehicles and do not shy away. Be sure to pack your camera for some incredible animal photographs! From big cats like lions and leopards, to impressive herds of elephant, zebra and buffalo, Zimbabwe boasts a plethora of wildlife to see.
Pros And Cons
- See the magnificent Victoria Falls
- Excellent walking safaris
- Very knowledgeable and notoriously friendly guides
- Home to the Big Five
- Smaller concentrations of tourists than in other safari countries
- Politically unstable
- Potential health risks - vaccinations are required
Best Time To Go
Start your African Adventure
Guided Tour of Zimbabwe Featuring Chobe
This tour will take you to most of Zimbabwe's tourist attraction which will give you the opportunity to explore the diverse landscape and culture of the country. A must do tour as it takes you to two countries in one trip.
Wildlife Galore and The Falls
This tour gives you the opportunity to see abundant wildlife as well as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, The might Victoria Falls.
9 Days Brilliant Zimbabwe Safari Honeymoon
Amorous Safari in Zimbabwe! A honeymoon is the celebration of one of the most special milestones in your life, and planning that perfect honeymoon can be a daunting task. Intricate Africa Safaris will organize your dream honeymoon with the carefully selected lodges in locations that will do justice to your special occasion. Come and celebrate your endless romance in Zimbabwe with Intricate Africa Safaris Accommodation. This safari honeymoon includes 8 nights' accommodation in Somalisa, Ruckomechi Camp, and Victoria Falls Hotel.
Shaded by a large grove of acacia and mahogany trees, the camp accommodates guests in ten spacious and beautifully decorated en-suite tents, including two family rooms, all of which overlook the river. The central dining, bar and lounge areas face the escarpment, and there is a separate pool deck swimming and sunbathing, and an inviting fire deck for convivial evenings under the African skies. A romantic star-bed situated nearby overlooking a productive waterhole completes the Ruckomechi experience.
Victoria Falls Hotel
Victoria Falls Hotel is a grand 111 year old 5 Star hotel that boasts epic views of the Victoria Falls Bridge and the magnificent Victoria Falls themselves. On arrival at the Victoria Falls Hotel you are greeted by the friendly staff. As you enter the building your senses are splashed with grand splendor as rich teak furnishings and century old picture frames take you back in time to the early 19th Century. The Hotel is steeped in history as it was originally built in 1904. Enjoy a Gin and Tonic or the famous Victoria Falls Hotel High Tea on the wide veranda as you take in the epic views of the bridge and the magnificent Victoria Falls themselves. Standing on the terrace you look straight down the Batoka Gorge at the bridge with the spray of the falls in the background. The Victoria Falls Hotel has a private pathway that leads to the Victoria Falls which is an easy 10-minute walk away
3 Days Amazing Victoria Falls Safari in Zambia
This safari will take you to Victoria Falls, the largest sheet of falling water in the world, roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls. In the 1800s, it was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area as "Mosi-oa-Tunya" or "the smoke that thunders." It presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Wildlife And Birds
From green forests and flowing rivers to rocky mountains and open plains, there are many different ecological areas in Zimbabwe where animals can live and thrive in. There is plenty of wildlife and bird species to see all year round as you travel through the parks.
Home to the Big Five, Zimbabwe offers an incredible opportunity to see big game up close and in their natural habitats. Many of the main parks are excellent for game viewing whether you are adventuring off the tracks in a 4x4, canoeing through the waters or exploring the land on walking safaris. If you plan your visit during the dry season, you are bound to see many different species of wildlife gathering at the rivers and waterholes to drink.
- Black Rhino
- Black rhino, cheetah, wild dog
Infrequently Seen Animals
Frequently Seen Animals
- Elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, hippo, lion, hyena
The big cats are always an exciting safari highlight. Lions, leopards and sometimes even cheetah can be spotted stalking through the land or dozing in the shady forest areas. While the big cats are incredible to see, smaller cats, like the African wildcat and servals, are also very lucky sightings.
Herds of gentle elephants and buffalo can be found at the river banks during the dry months, while partially submerged hippos and crocodiles are seen peaking through the water's surface.
Other special wildlife sightings include the striking sable antelope as well as cute bat-eared foxes, civets and honey badgers.
With over 650 recorded species of bird, Zimbabwe is a top safari destination for bird watching. The expert guides and walking safaris make Zimbabwe an excellent place for avid bird watchers to visit as there are many opportunities for great sightings. Migrant bird species can be found from November to April which increases the number of birds present to impressive numbers.
Critically Endangered Birds
- White-winged flufftail, white-headed vulture, hooded vulture, white-backed vulture, Rüppell's vulture, grey-crowned crane, Ludwig's bustard
Near Endemic and Endemic Birds
- Roberts's warbler, Chirinda apalis, Gurney's sugarbird, lemon-breasted canary, melodious lark, swee waxbill, Swynnerton's robin, Woodward's batis
Best Parks and Reserves for Wildlife Spotting in Zimbabwe
- Hwange National Park has excellent wildlife diversity and is a place where lions and leopards can be seen prowling through the land.
- Mana Pools National Park also offers amazing animal sightings as it is an untouched wilderness where hippos and crocodiles can be seen lazing in the waters.
- Matusadona National Park is home to the Big Five as well as many other species of wildlife. Clawless otters, which are quite difficult to find, can sometimes be spotted in the lake.
- Zambezi National Park has an abundance of hippos and crocodiles that can be found in the river waters. Elephants and buffalo are also common sightings near the river banks. You can sometimes see lion as their numbers are rising within the park. The striking sable antelope is something to look out for in the southern areas of the park.
Best Parks for Birdwatching
- Nyanga National Park, Hwange National Park and the Zambezi National Park are all excellent destinations for bird watching.
Hwange National Park is the biggest park in Zimbabwe and is home to one of the biggest elephant populations on the planet! Animals can easily be spotted at artificially pumped waterholes which makes Hwange one of the best parks in Zimbabwe for game viewing. From thick forest and open grassy plains to the sands of the Kalahari Desert, Hwange National Park has a variety of different landscapes where animals can be found and beautiful panoramas can be seen. The park is well known for its amazing wildlife diversity and whether you go out on game drives or simply sit at one of the waterholes all day, you will experience incredible wildlife encounters. Travel to Hwange National Park for a genuine safari experience where you can spot the Big Five and more! </p>
Matusadona National Park is situated on the beautiful banks of Lake Kariba. Home to the Big Five, this park boasts some incredible wildlife viewing against the stunning lake scenery. Old, bare trees emerge from the waters in an eerie forest where fish eagles perch to watch over the lake. This is a place where you can find the rare and endangered black rhino as you journey on foot through the wilderness. From the lake shore and grassy plains to dense Mopane forests, the landscape of Matusadona is picturesque, diverse and definitely worth seeing!
As the second largest park in Zimbabwe, Gonarezhou is an absolute wilderness filled with an abundance of animals, birds and breathtaking scenery. It forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which is devoted to conservation and sustaining the biodiversity of the land. This results in the massive expanses of pure, unspoiled land where rivers flow strong and wildlife can thrive. Gonarezhou has some of the most spectacular landscape views you will ever see. From the beautiful red sandstone ridges of the Chilojo Cliffs to the many pools formed by the rivers running through the land, it is one of the most scenic parks in Zimbabwe!
Mana Pools National Park is a World Heritage Site and one of the only parks in the world where you can walk through the wilderness without a guide! Explore this beautiful land and come across hippos, crocodiles, elephants as well as exciting predators such as lions and leopards. The waters of the Zambezi River overflow and fill the four main pools, which creates beautiful scenic spots where animals can graze. This wonderful, untouched wilderness is a unique place to visit for a very special African safari experience.
Victoria Falls is not only a World Heritage Site, but also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. The majestic falls are also known as the "smoke that thunders" or "Mosi-Oa-Tunya" by the locals. This massive waterfall lives up to its name as you can hear the roaring water and see the mist from miles away. Victoria Falls is a truly spectacular site to behold and is definitely worth the visit.
The Zambezi National Park is situated along the mighty Zambezi River and is only a short distance away from Victoria Falls. Travel by canoe on the river for a half-day excursion and see lots of wildlife and birdlife congregating along the shoreline. Four of the Big Five can be found in the Zambezi National park along with many hippos, crocodiles and striking antelope. Zambezi National Park makes an excellent day trip from Victoria Falls where you can enjoy canoeing, game drives and stunning riverside scenery.
Lake Kariba is one of the world's biggest artificial lakes and is known as Zimbabwe's inland sea. With Matusadona National Park situated on its banks, there is plenty of wildlife to see, including the Big Five. An eerie drowned forest sprouts up from the lake waters, providing perches for magnificent fish eagles. Cruise around the beautiful lake and see stunning panoramas, breathtaking sunsets and a diverse array of wildlife and birdlife.
Getting There And Safety
Many tourists will book flights from Johannesburg to the Victoria Falls Airport and then travel to the parks by driving or by charter plane. Transport to and from the airport is often provided by the organised safari packages so check with your tour operator for this information.
If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Zimbabwe
If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Zimbabwe
All foreign visitors must have a passport, with a minimum of 3 blank pages, that is valid for at least 6 months after their visit. Foreign visitors of most nationalities may obtain a visa upon arriving in the country. You can check whether you can obtain a visa upon arrival or if you need to apply for one in advance here.
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Zimbabwe. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of the safari trip cover.
The vaccinations recommended for Zimbabwe are cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. There is also a risk for malaria, especially from October - May, so anti-malarial drugs are advised as well as bringing insect repellent.
Check your local travel health authority for more information: