The 5 Best Places to Visit in Zimbabwe
For many years, Zimbabwe's reputation as a travel destination was clouded by the specter of political unrest.
However, the country is more stable now than decades ago, and tourism is slowly making a comeback.
Most of Zimbabwe's top attractions are located outside of major cities and are therefore considered relatively safe.
Those who decide to visit can look forward to stunning natural areas, exotic wildlife, and ancient sites that offer a fascinating insight into the history of the continent.
Best of all, Zimbabwe's premier game reserves and UNESCO World Heritage sites remain incredibly deserted, giving you the truly exhilarating feeling of being off the map.
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Source: TOP 10 PLACES
Here are 5 of the best places to visit on your Zimbabwe adventure!
1. Hwange National Park
Located in the west of the country, on the border with Botswana, Hwange National Park is the largest and oldest game reserve in Zimbabwe.
It covers a vast expanse of approximately 5,655 square miles / 14,650 square kilometers and provides a refuge for more than 100 species of mammals, including the Big Five.
It is most famous for its elephants; in fact, Hwange's elephant population is considered one of the largest in the world.
The park is also home to some of the rarest safari animals in Africa, such as the African wild dog, the brown hyena, and the endangered black rhino.
Birdlife is abundant here, with more than 400 species recorded in the park.
Accommodations in Hwange National Park range from luxurious lodges located in their own private concessions to rustic campgrounds that offer the opportunity to spend a night under cloth in the heart of the African jungle.
2. Victoria Falls
In the extreme west of Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River marks the border with Zambia.
At Victoria Falls, drop off a cliff that is 354 feet / 108 meters high and 5,604 feet / 1,708 meters wide.
This is the largest waterfall on the planet and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
At the height of the flood season (February to May), the spray thrown by the water can be seen from 30 miles/48 kilometers away.
This magnificent spectacle gives the falls their indigenous name: Mosi-oa-Tunya, or "The smoke that thunders."
On the Zimbabwean side, a road winds along the rim of the canyon. The lookouts offer impressive views of the waterfall and the rainbows suspended over the chasm.
The sound is deafening and the spray penetrates the skin, but the spectacle can never be forgotten.
3. Kariba Lake
Northeast of Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River empties into Lake Kariba, another superlative body of water located on the Zambian border.
Created after the construction of the Kariba Dam in 1959, Lake Kariba is the largest man-made lake in the world in terms of volume.
It spans over 140 miles / 220 kilometers long and is 25 miles/40 kilometers wide at its widest point.
There are several inns located along the shores of the lake, but the traditional way to explore is on a houseboat.
Kariba is known as one of the best places in the world to fish for tigerfish, a ferocious freshwater species prized by sport fishermen for its strength and tenacity.
The islands in the lake also offer ample wildlife viewing opportunities. Perhaps the most rewarding wildlife area is Matusadona National Park, located on the southern coast of Kariba.
4. Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park is located in the far north of the country and is known as one of the most pristine natural areas in Zimbabwe.
It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its incredible concentrations of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, leopards, and cheetahs.
Mana Pools is also a haven for aquatic wildlife, with large populations of hippos and Nile crocodiles.
They live in the four pools that give the park its name, each created by the Zambezi River before changing its course to flow north.
The largest of them is about 6 kilometers long and provides a valuable source of water even at the height of the dry season.
The abundance of water makes this park a privileged place for bird watchers.
It is also the best destination in the country for walking safaris and self-sufficient camping.
If you crave urban culture, visit Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city (after the capital, Harare).
Founded in the mid-19th century by King Ndebele Lobhengula, the city came under the rule of the British South African Company during the Matebele War.
As a result, much of the city's current architecture dates back to colonial times, and walking the wide, jacaranda-lined streets is like stepping back in time.
Top attractions in Bulawayo include the Natural History Museum, home to taxidermied safari animals and rarities including a dodo egg and a prehistoric coelacanth fish.
Live African animals can be found at the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, located a short drive southeast of the city.
The medieval replica of Nesbitt Castle adds to Bulawayo's eccentric historic atmosphere and functions as a boutique hotel.
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