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

  • Highlights

    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

The best time for viewing the wildlife in Zimbabwe is during the drier months - from May to October. This is when the animals gather by the rivers and around other permanent water sources so they can easily be seen. It is also easier to plan your days during the dry months as there is no threat of spontaneous rain showers to disrupt any activities and travel plans.
These months are during Zimbabwe's wet season and have the most rainfall. Heavy afternoon showers and rains that fall continuously for multiple days are quite common. Days are hot and humid, averaging temperatures of about 86˚F (30˚C), while nights are pleasant and not too cold at about 64˚F (18˚C).
The rains cease and the dry winter approaches bringing cooler temperatures. The days are still sunny and warm with temperatures of 82˚F (28˚C) but the nights get very cold with temperatures averaging 50˚F (10˚C) and still getting colder throughout June.
Be prepared and pack lots of layers for very cold nights in July and August with temperatures dropping to 43˚F (6˚C). The days become warmer toward September and October as winter ends and the wet season gradually begins. October temperatures rise to 90˚F (32˚C) and, in addition to bringing the heat, some rainfall may occur toward the end of the month.
The weather in November is more difficult to determine as it is the beginning of the wet season and the rains are unpredictable. The days during these months are hot and humid, with temperatures in the low-lying areas reaching, and exceeding, 104˚F (40˚C). Rainfall becomes more frequent during December.
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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.

List Of Animals
  • Lion
  • Elephant
  • Cheetah
  • Leopard
  • Hippo
  • Hyena
  • Giraffe
  • Black Rhino

Rare Animals

  • Black rhino, cheetah, wild dog

Infrequently Seen Animals

  • Leopard

Frequently Seen Animals

  • Elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, hippo, lion, hyena
Best of Wildlife in Zimbabwe

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.

Best Time to See More Animals
Wildlife sightings are better during the dry months, from May to October. Animals can easily be found gathering at the waterholes and rivers within the parks. Hwange National Park even has waterholes into which water is pumped to attract more wildlife so that the viewing opportunities are better. Animals can be seen all year round, however, rains during the wet months can make it difficult to travel through the parks and animals are more dispersed.

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 Areas for Birdwatching
Most places in Zimbabwe are excellent spots for bird watching including the Eastern Highlands, the central plateau, the Zambezi River valley, the Western Kalahari and Victoria Falls area.

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.

While Zimbabwe has had some political struggles in the past, it is a safe place to travel to. Muggings and theft does occur within the major cities and it is advised not to wander around the city alone at night. The parks are very safe and the guides will generally brief you on any safety precautions regarding the wildlife.
Travel Insurance

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.

Drinking Water
Tap water is not considered safe in Zimbabwe, so it is advised to always use bottled water.

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: