Zimbabwe has been a safari destination for the experienced safari traveller, more a hidden gem and not necessarily on top of the first time visitor’s safari bucket list. The country offers a more off the beaten track safari experience, has been loved by adventurous self-drive safari travellers, offers great safari activities on and off the might Zambezi River and an abundance of wildlife and stunning landscapes.
With the upgrade of Victoria Falls Airport, Zimbabwe will be more accessible as safari destinations due to direct international inbound flights. Zimbabwe safaris will move up the bucket lists and it can be expected, that it will be aspired by first time safari travellers as well and for good reasons.
This 9-dayZimbabwe safari itinerary incorporates the must see Victoria Falls, incredibly wildlife rich Hwange National Park and beautiful Lake Kariba.
The Victoria Falls are one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is the largest sheet of falling water on earth - a spellbinding and mesmerising spectacle. The sheer mass of water cascading down the 100m drop across nearly 2km makes a thunderous roar and creates a magnificent spray of water that can be seen for miles - hence the local name 'mosi oa tunya' meaning 'the smoke that thunders'.
The elephants of Hwange are world famous and the Park's elephant population is one of the largest in the world. The park is home to over 35 000 elephants who in the dry season dominate all the water points in the afternoons. Other animals that can be seen in the park are lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, impala, kudu, sable, eland, waterbuck, zebra, giraffe, baboon and warthog.
The Matusadona Park on the shores of Lake Kariba comprises some 1400 square kilometers of diverse flora and fauna. Before the lake was built, Matusadona was a vast, rugged wilderness with limited access. With the lake came ecological changes. One in particular, the lakeshore contributed greatly to the increase of large mammal populations in the area, especially elephant and buffalo. The grass found on the shoreline is Panicum reopens and is a rejuvenative grass - needing only fluctuating lake levels to replenish its nutrients. With this ready food source, buffalo, waterbuck, zebra, and even impala have thrived and with them the predators.
During the safari tour guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a great variety of safari activities including game drives in 4x4 safari vehicles, bush walks and waterborne safari activities. The tour is available from April to November and the starting price is USD 3,240 per person.
Mana Pools in Zimbabwe is possibly the most magical African safari destination. The majestic Zambezi River within a stunning landscape and cathedral like forests creates a dream safari destination.
There many good reasons to visit this top rated safari destination and some of the main reasons are listed below:
1. Mana Pools National Park is synonymous with the Zambezi River, elephants, lions, remoteness and safari wilderness. This unique park is a WORLD HERITAGE SITE, based on its wildness and beauty, together with the wide range of large mammals, over 350 bird species and aquatic wildlife. Mana Pools is one of Zimbabwe's most popular safari parks.
2. Mana Pools is the only game park in Zimbabwe to be granted World Heritage Status and encompasses some of Africa’s largest areas of Acacia and Mahogany woodland, combined with spectacular, full-canopy Mopane forest. Mana Pools is part of a 300 million year old rift valley supporting a large variety of mammals and over 400 bird species.
3. Mana Pools is 2,196 square kilometres in extent, runs along 80km of the Zambezi River, but is part of the 10,500 square kilometre Parks and Wildlife Estate that runs from the Kariba Dam in the west to the Mozambique border in the east.
4. This large protected wildlife area is without physical boundaries and the wildlife is free to move throughout the area - even northwards across the Zambezi River into Zambia, where there are also large wilderness areas set aside for wildlife conservation.
5. This national park has been set aside to be kept as wild as possible with only non-invasive, zero-impact tourism allowed. There are no safari lodges, generators, electric fences or other structures associated with safari camps as these are banned by law. All mobile camps must be taken down the day our clients depart to ensure minimal damage to the ecosystem.
The four large pools, the Zambezi River carved out thousands of years ago, gave the area the name “Mana Pools”, meaning 4 pools, a simple name standing symbol for magnificent African safari experiences.
Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa Source: safari destinations, image: wilderness safaris