Being the adventure capital of Africa, there is no shortage of items to tick off your bucket list while travelling around Zimbabwe, but not all of these require nerves of steel or physical exertion.
After all, Zimbabwe Tourism prides itself on offering something for everyone who visits this exciting country. To simplify your travel plans, we’ve gone ahead and mapped out a bucket list for this beautiful country; a list of destinations that you should check off when travelling to Zim.
1) Visit Victoria Falls
Starting with Victoria Falls, this international icon is a delight to gaze upon and has even been ticked off the to-do list of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Rainforest walks and tasty lunches overlooking the rushing water certainly deserve a mention here, and are a low-risk route to ‘been-there-done-that’ at Victoria Falls.
On the other end of the scale, adrenaline-inducing activities such as bungee jumping, white-water rafting on the Zambezi, kayaking and bridge-swinging are a must for adventure seekers looking for things to do in Zimbabwe.
For a more middle-of-the-road thrill, you can try an elephant back ride, or a helicopter flip over the falls.
If you would like to enjoy all these options, an important part of your Zimbabwe travel arrangements is booking yourself into a suitable hotel close to the action. Ilala Lodge, located only minutes from the Falls themselves, is a luxurious, exceptional option.
2) Go wild
Nature lovers will surely get a kick out of Zimbabwe’s magnificent wilderness areas – home to the Big Five and the scene of game drives, game walks and horseback adventures among these unique wild creatures.
Explore any one of these incredible areas to get your wildlife fix:
Hwange National Park
Located close to Victoria Falls, Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest national park and all of Zimbabwe’s game species are represented here. Sightings of lion, elephant, leopard, cheetah, a thriving population of herbivores and one of Africa’s largest wild dog populations can all be achieved in this park, and you can also visit ancient ruins and rock carvings at Bumbusi National Monument, near the northern rim of the park.
At the very edge of the lower Zambezi River Valley, as the river starts its journey to the Indian Ocean, an expanse of wilderness is systematically being eroded into a series of ox-bow lakes and pools. This is Mana Pools National Park, a haven for birds, big game and adventure seekers alike.
At Mana Pools, exciting canoe excursions unveil pristine natural beauty against a backdrop of the escarpment, dotted with vast herds of buffalo and elephant.
The houseboat is the most famous mode of transport and accommodation at Kariba and a tiger-fishing jaunt on one of these floating dwellings is not to be missed.
One of the most difficult species to fight and land, the tiger-fish is a sought-after trophy amongst anglers and catches of up to 15kg have been recorded. At Kariba anyone can attempt this exciting pastime, and fishing on Kariba is a rewarding pastime surrounded by peaceful scenes and wildlife, even without a record-breaking catch.
Matobo National Park
The world’s densest population of leopard can be found in the scenic Matobo National Park, along with rhinoceros and the handsome sable antelope. The park is most well-known for its dramatic granite rock formations, such as Mother and child kopjes, and as the site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave.
There are over 3000 registered rock art sites within the park and one of the best ways to enjoy these scenes is on the horse riding safaris offered here.
3) Get a taste of Africa
A trip to Africa simply must include al fresco boma-style dining, with local dancers and drummers setting the ambience, and you simply haven’t lived unless you’ve eaten mopani worms, biltong, crocodile, ostrich and sadza ne nyama.
All of these delicacies may be enjoyed in the hotels, bush lodges, taverns and roadside diners of Zimbabwe.
4) Travel Back in Time
While you are in the country, take a trip to the Zimbabwe ruins, one of the oldest ruins in Southern Africa, dating back to the 11th century, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The ruins operated as an important trading centre from the Middle Ages onward and, according to local legend, were the headquarters of the Queen of Sheba.
The complex consists of three outstanding sites of archaeological importance, namely the Hill Ruins, the Great Enclosure and the Valley Ruins. These have been remarkably preserved and are outstanding examples of ancient workmanship, assisting historians to document the early history of the Shona people and Zimbabwe itself.
Zimbabwe accommodation varies widely in standards and location, from five star options to camping in the wild, but wherever you travel you are sure to come across the gracious and friendly folk who make up the Zimbabwean local population, who are well-known for their hospitality and attentive service.
Is travelling to Zimbabwe on your bucket list, yet? If not, it should be!