You won’t be blamed for knowing very little about Zimbabwe besides its rocky political history which doesn’t do this humble sub-Saharan African country any justice. But Zimbabwe is an extraordinary African safari destination, and in fact, it’s the country’s most prominent industry. If there was ever a commodity that has a positive effect on a developing country, it’s tourism.
We highly recommend that Zimbabwe should be at the top of your list of luxury African safari destinations to visit, here’s why:
The people are welcoming, friendly and real
The Zimbabwean locals are super friendly. They are very proud of their country and will happily tell you about their country or answer any questions. Whether you’re from a neighbouring country trekking through, or on an African safari from Iceland, they’ll greet you with a genuine smile and an unparalleled showcase of true African hospitality.
Zimbabwe is teeming with wildlife
If you want a guarantee that you’ll see the Big Five, the Small Five and animals you didn’t even know existed, a Zimbabwean safari is your best bet. You will find warthogs outside your hotel, spot hippos in the Zambezi River and crocodiles lazing on the river beds. But your best chance of getting up close and personal with all the creatures you have dreamt about, is booking in at a luxury safari lodge, which there are plenty of options to choose from in Zimbabwe. In the northern part of the country, the majestic Hwange National Park is home to no less than 50 000 elephants. So, if you love these gentle giants, this destination is a must. I can recommend the eco-friendly lodge Elephant’s Eye where these beautiful animals will often join guests for a nightcap at the lodge’s swimming pool. It is one of the few places where you can be guaranteed of getting within 5 metres of wild elephants.
Conservation is a top priority
Speak to any local ranger or pro-guide (who most likely used to be a park ranger) and you’ll not only hear but feel their passion for the bush and all its creatures. National and private parks have strict regulations to ensure the conservation of their beloved wildlife, but also for your own safety as a tourist. Many organisations like the renowned Painted Dog Conservation in Hwange,are conducting research and raising awareness to help protect endangered wildlife. Do yourself a favour and pay a visit to one of the many animal conservation centres. You will be warmly welcomed and be able to see the great work that is being done to protect Africa’s unique ecosystems.
Zimbabwe is not just about seeing animals
While most of the country consists of bushveld, there aren’t any indigenous people running around in loincloths across Zimbabwe – contrary to popular belief. There are many cities, towns, farms and rural villages you can visit too. Zimbabweans will gladly share their time and stories with you, making for a truly enriching African safari experience. Do beware that it’s not safe to go wondering around in the bush without an expert guide present – it is still the wild.
Written by guest writer Christine Greyvenstein