Located between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, this landlocked country is one of Africa’s most stunning and borders with Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa. Plagued until recently by instability and unrest, Zimbabweans are warm and friendly people who openly welcome tourists to visit and become captivated by their beautiful country. The list of attractions remains undiminished and includes no less than two World Heritage sites - the majestic Victoria Falls and Mana Pools, located on the floodplains of Africa's Great Rift Valley - as well as countless other areas of natural beauty. Mostly blanketed with savannah grassland in its central and western parts, with some tropical evergreen forests around the eastern highlands and rock formations to the north, Zimbabwe has terrific variety which has seen it rank amongst the top 40 most beautiful habitats in the world.
The mighty Zambezi cuts along the northern frontier, starting its journey by plummeting over the Victoria Falls, before eventually flowing into Mozambique and the Indian Ocean. The mighty falls are a great base for adventure holidays, with adrenaline pumping activities available, from canoeing and rafting to abseiling, horse safaris, tiger fishing, elephant rides, bungee jumping and even walking with lions - the list is seemingly endless! The Falls are also a starting point for safaris into Hwange National Park, the country’s largest game reserve, but not only is it famous for its size. Home to over 100 mammals, you will find the world’s largest elephant population, all of the big cats, zebra, giraffe, hyena and, if you’re lucky, the elusive African wild dog.
The Great Zimbabwe is another of the area’s more secret gems, sometimes overlooked by the more avid wildlife fans. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, this ruined city is believed to have existed during the country’s Iron Age and it’s monument, the most famous stone building in Southern Africa, stands crumbling over 150 miles from Harare, 1,100km above sea level. Holding major archaeological interest, the site is swathed in history and inspires to imagination to work over time on the people who once ruled and lived here, a time when cattle production and gold were the countries major wealth.
The ancient, dramatic rocks and granite domes of Matobo Hills evoke images of untamed Africa, affording vistas of a crimson sun setting behind their jagged forms. Here, too, in this area of high botanic diversity, is the opportunity to experience encounters with native Zimbabweans and the Matabele tribe. Zimbabwe has a wealth of historical and architectural heritage, and has several tribes with the Shona making up 80 – 84% of the population and Ndebele making up 10 – 15%. English, Shona and Ndebele make up the three main languages spoken with a small minority speaking other local languages, making it a rich cultural tapestry. The Shona are known for their sculptures and carvings, with much of their artefacts receiving global recognition and influence.
The overall diversity of Zimbabwe creates a huge variety of wildlife and equally diverse safari types, including canoeing, walking and honeymoon options, as well as combinations with neighbouring countries. Infrastructure is of a good standard and generally road transfers are smooth and on time. Some areas are more remote and require a short light aircraft flight, but exciting and diverse itineraries without too many long journeys are more than possible.
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