Few African destinations can compete with Victoria Falls for sheer visual drama. At its full, roaring peak, the ‘Smoke that Thunders' is one of the continent's most mesmerising sights, leaving visitors lightly soaked and absolutely exhilarated at the same time. The falls are on the mighty Zambezi river, which means you can see them from either Zambia or Zimbabwe. Arguably, the best on-foot views are from Zimbabwe’s side - so lovely, in fact, that explorer David Livingstone declared they must have been gazed on by angels.
But while these views have won it international fame, Zimbabwe is so much more than Victoria Falls: it is one of Southern Africa’s most rewarding big game safari destinations.
Zimbabwe is an authentic, rugged destination that we especially recommend to travellers returning to Africa for an off-the-beaten track experience. In addition to delivering superb game viewing in the care of some of the most respected guides in the business, a Zimbabwe vacation offers classic tented camps that are comfortable without being ostentatious, fresh, wholesome cuisine, and one of the warmest welcomes in the world wherever you go.
Zimbabwe’s flagship reserve is Hwange National Park, a short drive from Victoria Falls and home to a full cast of your favourite mammals, from lions, leopards and hyenas to big herds of elephant and buffalo, elegant antelope, giraffe and zebra. Add to these characters the wildlife of the Zambezi River – hippos, crocodiles and shy water buck and you're on safari in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, where activities include game drives and river cruises as well as canoe adventures and walking safaris.
Zimbabwe’s less well-known destinations offer some unique experiences that make them well worth the effort of getting there. Fly in to Matusadona National Park, set on the shores of Lake Kariba, a haven for rhinos and elephants and home to a thriving lion population. The far flung wilderness of neighbouring Gonarezhou National Park and Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is hard to beat. Its remote setting makes this fly-in destination romantically adventurous and immensely rewarding, featuring big-tusker elephants, all the big cats and nearly 400 bird species. You may not see much wildlife at Matobo National Park, but it's a lovely reserve of tumbled rocks sheltering ancient San (Bushman) paintings, ideal for short hikes and comfortable walks.