How to do Zimbabwe
Recent recces have reaffirmed our belief that Zimbabwe is one of the best safari destinations in Africa, with Francis, one of the longest standing members of the Aardvark Safaris’ team pronouncing a safari there as ‘the best I’ve done’. Fresh investment in the national parks makes it a fabulous place in which to enjoy prolific wildlife – lion, elephant, giraffe, leopard, wild dog, rhino, and plenty of plains species – and a varied list of safari activities including walking, riding, canoeing and boating.
THE CLASSIC SAFARI
Combine Hwange and Mana Pools for a safari offering two very different landscapes and sets of wildlife. There are very few natural rivers or water sources in Hwange so wildlife tends to congregate around pumped waterholes spread across the park. You’ll find excellent wildlife viewing from the deck at your camp as many are built around waterholes, making for action filled siestas with plenty of animals coming to drink during the heat of the day. This contrasts beautifully with the magical riverine woodlands and floodplains of Mana Pools, where most camps overlook the Lower Zambezi River. Here you might see elephants stretching up to reach protein-rich winter-thorn pods balancing on their hind legs, or wild dog hunting impala. For a completely different perspective, you can also explore from the river, either by boat or canoe – a wonderfully tranquil way to appreciate the wilderness. Have a look at Somalisa Expeditions, Ruckomechi Camp, Camp Hwange and Davison’s Camp in Hwange and Vundu Camp, Zambezi Expeditions and Nyamatusi Mahogany in Mana Pools.
THE VICTORIA FALLS AND SAFARI
Hwange is the size of the Serengeti – truly enormous and with a mix of incredibly varied habitats. This means that you can happily spend six or seven nights across two camps and not run out of new areas to explore. You’ll find open grasslands, woodland, large trees, thickets, pans and waterholes here and great walking safaris in addition to day and night drives, horse riding, cycling and star beds. Have a look at Somalisa, Hwange Bush Camp and Little Makalolo (the hide here makes this an excellent choice for photographers). Start or finish at Victoria Falls where there is bungee jumping, white water rafting, walking with rhino, gorge walks, sundowner cruises, microlight flights and canoeing, and you won’t be short of things to do on a ten night holiday. Matetsi River Lodge or Mpala Jena are good choices here.
Take in all of the above destinations but add a stop in wild Matusadona. You’ll find plenty of Zimbabwe’s wonderful wildlife here, but only a fraction of Hwange and Mana Pool’s visitor numbers. If you love landscape as much as wildlife, then this should definitely be on your bucket list. Its stunning position on the banks of Lake Kariba means you can enjoy epic water filled views from your lodge. Large herds of buffalo graze the torpedo grass on the waterline, elephant can often be sighted and there are lion to see too. Places to consider are owner run Musango Safari Camp, wonderfully old-school in style (becoming a rarity in Africa now), or Bumi Hills for a more luxurious option.
THE RETURNING TRAVELLER
Spread across 100,000 acres of privately owned lowveld, Malilangwe is an especially rewarding place to encounter Africa’s wildlife and aid in its conservation. Steeped in history, with Bushman rock art dating back at least 2,000 years it is today home to elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino, many antelope species and varied bird life. You’ll find unspoilt wilderness and great scenery here and staying at Singita Pamushana you get the added bonus of knowing that every penny of profit from your stay goes back into conserving the wildlife. Combine this with Amalinda Lodge in Matobo Hills where you’ll find huge granite outcrops, Bushman rock art and Cecil Rhodes’ grave alongside the chance to track rhino on foot.
If this has inspired you to dream about future safaris, please do get in touch – we would be delighted to chat, no matter how early in the decision making process you might be. Email is probably the best way to contact us right now and we’ll respond as quickly as we can – usually on the same day. We very much look forward to talking to you.