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Forget What You’ve Heard, And Travel To Zimbabwe


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Mara Recinos



Welcome to Zimbabwe, a country that is often overshadowed by its tumultuous past but is now emerging as a must-visit destination for adventurous travelers. Located in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe is a landlocked country known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, rich history, and warm hospitality. Despite its challenges, Zimbabwe has managed to preserve its natural and cultural treasures, offering a unique and captivating experience for visitors.


As you embark on your journey to Zimbabwe, leave behind any preconceived notions and embrace the extraordinary beauty and authenticity that this country has to offer. From the majestic Victoria Falls to the remote wilderness of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe boasts a myriad of natural wonders that will truly take your breath away.


But Zimbabwe is not just about picturesque landscapes; it is also a land teeming with wildlife. Embark on thrilling safaris and witness the “Big Five” in their natural habitat. From elephants and lions to cheetahs and rhinos, Zimbabwe provides ample opportunities to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures.


No visit to Zimbabwe is complete without experiencing the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. Known as the “Smoke that Thunders,” this majestic wonder of the natural world will leave you in awe of its sheer power and beauty. Feel the mist on your face as you gaze upon the cascading waters, and be prepared to be mesmerized by its grandeur.


But Zimbabwe is not just about breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary wildlife. It is a country rich in history and culture. Discover ancient ruins such as the Great Zimbabwe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the fascinating history of this once-great civilization. Engage with the local communities and immerse yourself in their traditions and customs, gaining a deeper understanding of the Zimbabwean way of life.


And let’s not forget about the cuisine. Zimbabwean food is a blend of influences from various cultures, and their traditional dishes are a delight for the taste buds. From the hearty maize-based staple called sadza to the flavorful game meats and fresh produce, you’ll embark on a culinary journey that will tantalize your senses.


Before you embark on your Zimbabwean adventure, it’s important to be prepared. Familiarize yourself with the local customs and traditions, ensure you have the necessary travel documents, and be aware of any safety precautions. By taking these practical steps, you can fully embrace the wonders that Zimbabwe has to offer and create memories that will last a lifetime.


So forget what you’ve heard about Zimbabwe and open your heart and mind to the incredible experiences that await you. From the stunning landscapes to the vibrant culture, Zimbabwe is a destination that will leave an indelible mark on your soul. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure!


The Beauty of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a country blessed with unrivaled natural beauty. From rolling savannahs and lush forests to expansive lakes and majestic mountains, the landscapes of Zimbabwe are truly a sight to behold. One of the most iconic natural wonders in Zimbabwe is the breathtaking Victoria Falls. Located on the Zambezi River, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the largest waterfalls in the world, spanning nearly a mile in width and plunging over 350 feet into the gorge below. The sheer power and beauty of this majestic waterfall will leave you in awe.


But Victoria Falls is just the beginning. Zimbabwe is also home to a wealth of national parks and game reserves, offering unparalleled opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts. Hwange National Park, the largest national park in Zimbabwe, is renowned for its vast elephant herds, as well as a diverse array of other animals, including lions, leopards, giraffes, and zebras. Mana Pools National Park, on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, is a haven for hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species.


Not only does Zimbabwe boast incredible wildlife, but it is also a bird-watcher’s paradise. With over 670 bird species recorded in the country, including the colorful Lilian’s Lovebird and the regal African Fish Eagle, Zimbabwe offers a rich and diverse birding experience.


For those seeking outdoor adventures, Zimbabwe offers a myriad of possibilities. From hiking the lush mountains of the Eastern Highlands to canoeing along the calm waters of Lake Kariba, there are activities to suit every interest. The Matopos Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provide a unique backdrop for rock climbing and exploring ancient caves adorned with rock paintings.


But perhaps one of the greatest attractions of Zimbabwe is the warm and friendly nature of its people. Zimbabweans are known for their hospitality and genuine smiles, making visitors feel welcome and at ease. Engaging with the local communities allows travelers to gain a deeper understanding of the Zimbabwean way of life, traditions, and customs.


Whether you are an adventure seeker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, Zimbabwe offers a wealth of experiences that will captivate your senses and leave you longing for more.


Experiencing the Wildlife

Zimbabwe is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering incredible opportunities to witness some of the world’s most iconic and endangered species in their natural habitats. With numerous national parks and game reserves, visitors can embark on thrilling safaris and get up close and personal with the “Big Five” – elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalos.


Hwange National Park, situated in western Zimbabwe, is the largest national park in the country and is renowned for its vast elephant herds. With over 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds, Hwange provides an unforgettable wildlife experience. Visitors can embark on guided game drives or even opt for walking safaris, allowing for a more intimate and immersive encounter with the wildlife.


Mana Pools National Park, located on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, is another wildlife gem in Zimbabwe. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its beautiful floodplains, woodlands, and riverine forests. Here, visitors can spot elephants bathing, hippos basking in the sun, and crocodiles camouflaged in the riverbanks. Canoeing along the Zambezi River offers a unique perspective, allowing for close encounters with wildlife and the chance to witness the incredible birdlife of the area.


Matusadona National Park, set along the shores of Lake Kariba, is a fantastic destination to spot African wildlife. With its diverse landscapes of mountains, valleys, and open plains, Matusadona provides opportunities to see lions, buffalos, zebras, antelopes, and a variety of bird species. Sunset cruises on Lake Kariba offer a peaceful and picturesque way to observe wildlife while enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.


In addition to these national parks, Zimbabwe is home to a number of private game reserves that offer exclusive and intimate wildlife experiences. Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation, located near Harare, is dedicated to the conservation of these magnificent creatures. Visitors can take part in rhino tracking expeditions, learn about conservation efforts, and even participate in hands-on experiences such as feeding and caring for orphaned elephants.


With its diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife, Zimbabwe is truly a paradise for animal lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Whether you choose to explore the national parks, join a guided safari, or experience a conservation project, the opportunity to witness the beauty and majesty of Zimbabwe’s wildlife is an experience that will leave a lasting impression.


Exploring Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is a magnificent spectacle that should not be missed when visiting Zimbabwe. Located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, this awe-inspiring waterfall is a must-see attraction that draws travelers from around the globe.


When visiting Victoria Falls, prepare to be amazed by the sheer size and power of this natural wonder. The falls span nearly a mile in width, and the plummeting waters create a deafening roar as they cascade into the gorge below. The mist generated by the falls can be seen from miles away, giving the area an ethereal appearance.


The best way to experience Victoria Falls is by taking a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides will lead you along well-maintained walking trails that offer stunning views of the falls from various vantage points. As you walk along the trails, you will feel the mist on your face and listen to the thundering sound of the water, immersing yourself in the grandeur of this natural wonder.


For the more adventurous, there are also opportunities for adrenaline-pumping activities near Victoria Falls. Bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge is a popular choice for thrill-seekers, as is white-water rafting on the Zambezi River. These activities provide an exhilarating way to experience the power of the falls and the surrounding landscape.


For a more relaxed experience, consider taking a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. This allows you to admire the falls from a different perspective while enjoying the spectacular African sunset. It’s not uncommon to spot wildlife such as elephants, hippos, and crocodiles along the riverbanks, adding to the overall enchantment of the experience.


While the main attraction of Victoria Falls is undoubtedly the waterfall itself, there are other attractions within the surrounding area to explore. The Victoria Falls Rainforest, located on the Zimbabwean side of the falls, is a lush and verdant environment that offers a respite from the heat and provides an opportunity to spot wildlife such as monkeys and various bird species.


If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, consider taking a helicopter or microlight flight over Victoria Falls. This aerial perspective offers a breathtaking view of the falls and allows you to fully grasp their grandeur and sheer magnitude. It’s an experience that will stay with you long after you’ve left Zimbabwe.


Exploring Victoria Falls is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness one of nature’s most incredible creations. Whether you prefer adrenaline-fueled activities or quiet walks through the rainforest, this extraordinary destination will leave you in awe of its beauty and power.


Discovering Historical Sites

When visiting Zimbabwe, it’s not just the natural wonders that will captivate you; the country is also rich in history and home to several fascinating historical sites. From ancient ruins to colonial architecture, Zimbabwe offers a glimpse into its rich and diverse past.


One of the most iconic historical sites in Zimbabwe is the Great Zimbabwe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the southeastern part of the country, Great Zimbabwe is an ancient stone city that was built during the 11th to 15th centuries. The massive stone structures, including the famous Great Enclosure, provide a testament to the advanced civilization that once thrived in this area. Exploring the ruins and learning about the history and significance of Great Zimbabwe is an incredible experience that will transport you back in time.


Another historical gem in Zimbabwe is the city of Masvingo, which is home to several notable sites. The 19th-century Italianate-style Great Zimbabwe Hotel is a classic example of colonial architecture and offers a glimpse into the country’s colonial past. In the heart of Masvingo, you will find the ancient site of the Danamombe (formerly known as Dhlo-Dhlo) and the iconic Gonarezhou National Park, a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.


For history buffs, a visit to the city of Bulawayo is a must. Known as the “City of Kings,” Bulawayo is steeped in history and boasts an array of historical sites. The Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe showcases the country’s rich biodiversity and boasts an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits. The Railway Museum provides insights into the history of the country’s railway system, while the Khami Ruins offer a glimpse into the ancient civilization that once thrived in the region.


In addition to these larger historical sites, Zimbabwe is scattered with smaller but equally fascinating historical attractions. The Pioneer Cemetery in Harare is a poignant reminder of the country’s colonial past, while the Matobo Hills host an array of ancient rock paintings that offer a glimpse into the lives of the San people.


Exploring these historical sites not only provides a deeper understanding of Zimbabwe’s past but also offers a chance to appreciate the architectural achievements and cultural heritage of the country. With each site carrying its own unique story, you’ll embark on a journey of discovery through Zimbabwe’s captivating history.


Engaging with the Local Culture

Zimbabwe is a melting pot of diverse cultures, each with its own traditions, customs, and vibrant way of life. Engaging with the local culture allows visitors to gain a deeper understanding of Zimbabwe and its people, fostering connections and creating meaningful experiences.


One of the best ways to engage with the local culture is by attending traditional festivals and ceremonies. These celebrations provide an opportunity to witness traditional dances, music performances, and vibrant costumes. The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) is a popular annual event that showcases Zimbabwean and international arts and culture, featuring a wide range of performances, workshops, and exhibitions.


Exploring the local markets is another way to immerse yourself in Zimbabwean culture. The bustling Mbare Musika Market in Harare and the vibrant Victoria Falls Craft Market are just a few examples of places where you can interact with local artisans, purchase handicrafts, and even learn traditional crafting techniques. Engaging with these skilled artisans not only supports local communities but also provides insight into the rich artistic traditions of Zimbabwe.


Visiting rural villages offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of Zimbabweans. Many community-based tourism initiatives provide opportunities for travelers to spend time with local families, participate in traditional activities, and learn about their customs and traditions firsthand. From learning to cook traditional dishes to experiencing traditional dance and music, engaging with the locals in their villages is a humbling and eye-opening experience.


Language is an important part of culture, and making an effort to learn a few basic phrases in the local language, such as Shona or Ndebele, can go a long way in bridging cultural gaps and fostering connections. Locals will appreciate your efforts and it will enhance your overall experience in Zimbabwe.


Zimbabwean cuisine is also an integral part of the country’s culture. Trying local dishes, such as sadza (a maize-based staple), muriwo (cooked greens), and bota (a crunchy peanut butter snack), allows you to experience the flavors and culinary traditions of Zimbabwe. Don’t forget to also try the famous braaied (barbecued) meat and the refreshing maheu, a traditional fermented drink.


Engaging with the local culture in Zimbabwe is a transformative experience that allows you to not only appreciate the diversity of the country but also forge connections with the warm and welcoming Zimbabwean people. Whether it’s through participating in festivals, visiting markets, or learning about traditional customs, embracing the local culture will enrich your time in Zimbabwe and create lasting memories.


Cuisine and Delicacies in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean cuisine is a flavorful fusion of influences from various cultures, resulting in a unique and delectable culinary experience. From hearty staple dishes to savory meats and vibrant flavors, Zimbabwe offers a range of delicious delicacies that will tantalize your taste buds.


A staple in Zimbabwean cuisine is sadza, a thick porridge made from white maize meal. This versatile dish is often served with relishes, such as nyama (meat), muriwo (cooked greens), or dovi (peanut butter stew). The process of eating sadza is traditionally done by using your hands to roll small portions into a ball and dipping it into the accompanying relish.


Another popular dish in Zimbabwe is roasted or braaied meat, known as nyama ye nyama. From succulent beef and tender chicken to richly spiced game meats like kudu or impala, Zimbabwe offers a carnivore’s paradise. The meat is often marinated in a flavorful blend of spices and then grilled over an open fire, resulting in a smoky and juicy experience.


For the adventurous foodie, Zimbabwe offers unique delicacies such as mopane worms. These caterpillars are harvested, dried, and then rehydrated to be cooked and enjoyed as a crispy snack or added to stews for added protein and flavor. Although it may sound unusual, mopane worms are packed with nutrients and are considered a delicacy in many parts of Zimbabwe.


Vegetarians will find plenty to savor in Zimbabwean cuisine as well. Dishes like muriwo une dovi (cooked greens with peanut butter stew), isoko (butternut squash and peanut butter soup), and tsunga nechimhuru (okra and bell pepper stir-fry) showcase the vibrant flavors of the country’s fresh produce.


To quench your thirst, be sure to sample traditional beverages like maheu and mazoe. Maheu is a fermented drink made from maize, sugar, and water, often flavored with vanilla or fruity essences. Mazoe is a popular fruit drink made from crushed fruits, usually mango or orange. These refreshing drinks are perfect for hot days in Zimbabwe.


When it comes to dessert, Zimbabwe has delightful treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. One must-try delicacy is the creamy and rich mahewu pudding, made by cooking maheu with sugar and milk. Another popular option is mapopo candy, made from the pulp of the baobab fruit, which is dried and mixed with sugar, creating a tangy and sweet snack.


In Zimbabwe, food is not just nourishment; it is a reflection of culture, tradition, and hospitality. Exploring the rich and diverse flavors of Zimbabwean cuisine is a must during your visit, as it will provide a truly immersive and unforgettable culinary experience.


Practical Travel Tips

When planning your trip to Zimbabwe, it’s important to be well-prepared to ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. Here are some practical tips to consider before your journey:

  • Travel Documents: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date. Check the visa requirements for your nationality and apply for the necessary visas well in advance.
  • Health and Safety: Visit your healthcare provider to get up-to-date on vaccinations and to discuss any necessary medications for your trip. It’s also important to have comprehensive travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses or emergencies.
  • Money Matters: The official currency in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL), although US dollars are also widely accepted. It’s advisable to carry a mix of cash and debit/credit cards, and be aware that ATMs may not be widely available in remote areas.
  • Climate and Clothing: Zimbabwe has a varied climate, so pack clothes suitable for different weather conditions. Lightweight and breathable clothing is ideal for warm days, while a light jacket or sweater may be needed for cooler evenings. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent for outdoor activities.
  • Transportation: In Zimbabwe, public transportation options can be limited, particularly in rural areas. It’s recommended to arrange transportation in advance, either through a reputable tour operator or by hiring a private driver. If you plan to drive, remember to obtain an International Driving Permit.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Respect the local customs and traditions by dressing modestly, particularly in religious sites. Seek permission before photographing people, especially in rural areas. It’s also important to be aware of and sensitive to the political and social context of the country.
  • Communications: Access to internet and mobile networks may be limited in certain areas of Zimbabwe. Purchase a local SIM card for convenient local calls and internet access. Alternatively, consider using offline maps and guidebooks to navigate your way around.
  • Electricity: Zimbabwe uses plug types D and G, with a standard voltage of 220-240V. Make sure to bring the necessary adapters to charge your electronic devices.

Lastly, remember to embrace the slow-paced and laid-back nature of Zimbabwe. The term “African time” is often used to describe the more relaxed approach to punctuality and schedules in the country. Allow yourself to adjust to this mindset and be open to unexpected changes or delays during your journey.


By following these practical travel tips, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your time in Zimbabwe and create unforgettable memories in this fascinating destination.



Zimbabwe offers a wealth of beauty, history, culture, and culinary delights for travelers seeking an authentic and unforgettable experience. From the majestic Victoria Falls to the diverse wildlife in its national parks, Zimbabwe’s natural wonders will leave you in awe. Exploring the historical sites, such as the Great Zimbabwe ruins, provides a fascinating glimpse into the country’s rich past. Engaging with the local culture, tasting the flavors of Zimbabwean cuisine, and meeting the warm and friendly Zimbabwean people will leave a lasting impression.


While visiting Zimbabwe, it’s important to be prepared with the necessary travel documents and take precautions for health and safety. Familiarize yourself with the local customs and traditions to show respect to the Zimbabwean people. Consider arranging transportation in advance and remain flexible in your plans, embracing the slower pace of life and the unexpected twists that may come your way.


Zimbabwe is a country that, despite its challenges, has emerged as a must-visit destination. Its beauty, authenticity, and warm hospitality will capture your heart and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, forget any preconceived notions and leap into the extraordinary wonders that Zimbabwe has to offer. From the incredible wildlife encounters to the breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture, Zimbabwe is a destination that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.


Experience the roar of Victoria Falls, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, savor the flavors of Zimbabwean cuisine, and create connections with the local people. Embrace the unpredictability, the adventure, and the enchantment that awaits in this land of wonders. Now is the time to embark on your unforgettable journey to Zimbabwe.