Zimbabwe:Africa’s Most Spectacular Safari Destination

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Zimbabwe:Africa’s Most Spectacular Safari Destination

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Zimbabwe:Africa’s Most Spectacular Safari Destination

In the southern part of Africa between river Zambezi and the famous Limpopo, is Zimbabwe. The word Zimbabwe was coined from a Shona name that was given to a ruined city in the southeastern part of the country, whose remains are presently a protected but a major sightseeing attraction. Zimbabwe might have suffered the plight of hyperinflation, but this gem of Africa has bounced back and is even considered as one of the safest countries in Africa. A sightseeing safari to Zimbabwe will open doors for you to experience the natural beauty of the African jungle.

1. Victoria Falls National Park

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Victoria Falls National park lies in the western part of Zimbabwe. The park protects the famous Victorian Falls, one of the largest falls. Many travelers compare it to the Niagara Falls. You will hear most of the locals referring to is as ‘Mosi oa Tunya,’ meaning, the smoke that thunders. The park also encloses part of the Zambezi river and an extensive rainforest. The park is also a home to elephants, Cape Buffalos, the endangered Southern white rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and antelopes. Though during the rainy season, the water levels rise and the falls become more powerful, the wildlife moves to the inland. Therefore, the drier period in November and December is the best for sightseeing, when the animals mainly congregate by the river.

2. Wild Is Life Trust and ZEN (Harare)

Wild Is Life Trust and ZEN was formed in 2013 to rescue, care for the injured animals and to reunite them back with the wild. The trust has over thirty thousand hectares of land that joins Zambezi National Park and Kazuma Pan National Park to allow free but protected passage of animals. Currently, the trust houses animals like elephants, lions, cheetah, tortoise, wildebeest, and impala while the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery has cared for a number of baby elephants. The sanctuary is accessible for sightseeing throughout the year, though it is limited to afternoons only, and making a reservation is crucial.

3. Hwange National Park

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Hwange National Park is the largest park in Zimbabwe and the third largest in Africa, with 14000 square kilometeres of land. It is a natural habitat for over 100 mammals and about 400 bird species. The park has most of the animals that you can find in Zimbabwe, and it is the place to get the wildlife in huge numbers. April to October is the best time to go for sightseeing at the park as that is when the animals cluster around water points, so it will be easy to view most of them.

4. Great Zimbabwe (Masvingo)

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Great Zimbabwe is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre which was once a capital of the Queen of Sheba, according to a legend passed down by the people of Zimbabwe. It was once a powerful trading center in the middle age and archeological studies have found gold, Arab coins and porcelain from that period. Great Zimbabwe covers over 800ha of land, which is divided into Hill Ruins, Valley Ruins, and the Great Enclosure. At the site, there are artifacts like the eight large Zimbabwe birds carved from sandstone. The image of the bird on the flag of Zimbabwe is the same as those at the ruins.

5. Matobo National Park (Bulawayo)

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On the southern part of Zimbabwe in the core of Matobo hills, is the Matobo National Park. The hills area is a place of high botanic diversity with more than 200 species of plants and more than 300 types of animals. Notable game includes the treasured white and black rhinos, leopards, black eagles and impala. There is also a Mother and Child Kopje, formed by a fascinating balance of rocks. Other notable structures in the park worth sightseeing include the tomb of Cecil Rhodes and Shangani Patrol Memorial. March is a busy month for the park as it is the time of the year that the Matobo Heritage Mountain Bike Challenge. Therefore, if you are a keen cyclist, it would be the best time for your sightseeing tour.

6. Kuimba Shiri Bird Sanctuary (Harare)

Kuimba Shiri Bird Sanctuary boasts of over 460 birds of species, and is the only bird park in Zimbabwe that cares for orphaned, sick and injured birds. Being on the shore of Lake Chivero, the park offers cruise boating, fishing and marina services. On a lucky day especially at sunrise, you may spot a giraffe, zebra, waterbuck or crocodile at the lake shore. If you would like to spend a night, the park has a campground and frame thatched chalets. In order to give the best sightseeing experience, the park has an educational place with explanations of all the birds that you can possibly find in Zimbabwe.

7. Victoria Falls Snake Park (Victoria Falls)

Safari tourists tend to focus so much on Africa’s Big Five and may miss out on other sightseeing gems of this continent. Zimbabwe has maintained the small and the large, at equal measures, from birds, snakes, to lions and leopards. Victoria Falls Snake Park is one of the attractions that are likely to be ignored yet it is very informative and captivating. The park has the majority of snake species in Zimbabwe. The park has about 107 snakes, most of which are from the area around Victoria Falls. The snake cages are large enough the mimic the natural habitat in the wild. Visitors are allowed to play with and feed the non-venomous snakes.

8. Matobo Hills (Matobo National Park - The Matopos)

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Matobo Hills is a natural collection of granite rock formations that were formed as a result of river erosions. The hills are in Rhodes Matopos National Park and stand about 1500 meters in height. They are the largest hills of Zimbabwe, the most notable ones being Bambata, Nswatugi, and Silozwane. The hills also have over 3000 distinctive rock paintings and carvings from the Stone and Iron Ages, making the area the one with the highest density of rock art. Due to its thick vegetation and plenty of permanent water, it is not uncommon to see giraffes, zebras or antelopes.

9. Natural History Museum (Bulawayo)

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The Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe ranks as the fourth best museum in Africa. The museum has nine display galleries, a lecture hall, cafeteria and a wealthy collection of research of about 9 disciplines. It is an ideal location to get an overview of the anthropological and geological history of Zimbabwe. There is also an impressive collection of gemstones, showcasing the diversity of the natural wealth of Zimbabwe. At the entrance is a stuffed elephant that went down in history as the second largest to be shot in Zimbabwe. The museum is open throughout except on Sundays and public holidays, but the mid-year period has the most pleasant weather for sightseeing.

10. World's View (Nyanga)

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A sightseeing visit to the World’s View on the eastern side of Zimbabwe is a must as it is the highest viewing point with a toposcope that offers a 270º outlook of 30 places of interest in Zimbabwe and beyond. The viewpoint is set on a hill that is about 2000m in altitude, which is not difficult to hike. The ground of the viewing point has picnic tables and lawns, a stone art gallery and a flower garden. On clear days, you may see as far as Harare, and to get such views do not go during the rainy season.

◎ Closing

Zimbabwe remains to be one of the best-game viewing destinations in Africa. In addition to the wildlife, Zimbabwe is rich in historical and cultural heritage. The Victorian Falls are another reason for sightseeing the untouched nature of Zimbabwe. Another fascinating thing about Zimbabwe is that there are no crowds to get in your way as you will have the tour guides to yourself most of the time.