Reasons to Visit
Great Zimbabwe, located southeast of the town of Masvingo is one of the best preserved stone cities in sub-Saharan Africa. Debate rages about when and why the buildings were constructed however it is thought that the first buildings here were errected around AD 1100.
The Victoria Falls is one of Africa's most iconic and awe-inspiring waterfalls prompting Livingstone's famous quotation: "...scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight". The Falls form the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and can be viewed from either side although Zimbabwe would argue they have the better view.
Zimbabwe has some truly superb game viewing in its National Parks. The lifeblood of Hwange National Park is its series of pumped waterholes which attract wildlife from plains game to the predators. The park has healthy populations of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, zebra, giraffe, hippo, elephant and more.
Zimbabwe's Mana Pools on the mighty Zambezi River is the place to experience a three day canoe safari, gentling paddling down the river, skirting hippo pods and spotting wildlife on the banks. If you want a shorter day or half-day canoe trip this can also be easily arranged on the Upper Zambezi while staying at the town of Victoria Falls.
There are over 670 bird species in Zimbabwe ranging from the tiny Common Waxbills with their bright blue bellies to impressive raptors including the Martial and Black Eagle. Particularly good areas for bird spotting include Hwange National Park, Mana Pools and Lake Kariba.
The guiding standards in Zimbabwe are some of the highest in Africa and this makes it an excellent place to try a walking safari. Experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the bush on foot is a completely different experience to being on a game vehicle, and a fascinating opportunity to see some of the smaller creatures, birdlife and fauna.
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Africa and The Indian Ocean
Our Zimbabwe specialists are experienced and passionate about the country - between them they have spent many weeks a year researching new experiences and ensuring everything is of the highest standard. They know Zimbabwe inside out.
KirstyZimbabwe Specialist01993 838 527
RozZimbabwe Specialist01993 838 519
The main languages spoken in Zimbabwe are Shona, Ndebele and English, with everyone in the tourism industry speaking good English. The largest language is Northern Ndebele which is spoken by roughly 1.5 million people. Ndebele has its roots in the Zulu culture and is a clicking language. It can be interesting to attempt to speak Ndebele, but in all honesty, even if you successfully enunciate a couple of words, chances are you would struggle to understand the response! That said, it is well worth learning a few key phrases as your efforts will be well received.
Tipping is always something we are asked about and it is always a difficult question to answer. We have come up with the following advice:
1) If you would like to tip your guide we would recommend around U$10- U$15 a day which is usually given at the end of the safari, do check with the management of your lodge if the protocol is not obvious.
2) If you would like to tip the general camp/lodge staff we would recommend around US$10 per guest per day. This should be placed in the communal tipping box.
3) It is useful to have a stack of U$1 to tip porters.
4) Where restaurant meals are involved, the tipping standard is usually 10% of the bill.
5) It is useful to have some blank envelopes for putting tips in.
Do ask locally though what is appropriate if you are unsure, and if you believe that the service has not been worthy of a tip then feel free not to, it is at your discretion.
The Zimbabwean dollar has been suspended indefinitely. The most widely used currencies are the US dollar and the South African rand. Credit and debit cards are useful although not everywhere has the technology to accept them, please check with your consultant regarding the properties you are visiting and whether they will accept payment by card. It is possible to withdraw cash from some ATMs, in particular with Visa cards from Barclays bank ATM’s. It is illegal to exchange foreign currency in Zimbabwe anywhere other than at officially licensed dealers (e.g. banks), who may not have sufficient currency to accommodate your request. The message to take from this is to have a fair amount of U$ cash stored as safely as possible, split into separate packages of smaller denomination notes if possible, to also have credit/ debit cards and to ask in each destination what payment they will accept so that you can plan accordingly.
Mugabe by Martin Meredith and Don’t lets go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller.
Drums, mbira and the marimba. Live music is well worth seeking out in this dance and music loving nation. Well known Zimbabwean musicians include Thomas Mapfumo, The Bhundu Boys and Leonard Zhakata.
Music by Prudence by Roger Ross Williams. This is an oscar-winning documentary charting the success of disabled Zimbabwean singer Prudence Mabhena and her band Liyana.
The staple carbohydrate for Zimbabweans is maize, which is made into Sadza. Sadza is a thick, cooked, porridge of maize flour and water which is consumed at virtually every mealtime. A flavour can be added to the Sadza, usually a small meat or vegetable stew. This simple meal is served on occasion in the camps and lodges for guests to try, and every local café will offer Sadza ne Nyama (with meat).
Some very good commercial beers such as Zambezi or Bollingers are fantastic to enjoy on a typically hot day after your safari.
The Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park.
You will find crafts, curios and arts all over the place in Zimbabwe, in stalls, shops and galleries. The Zimbabwean culture is artistic, skilful and very productive, with their range spanning from wood carvings, stone sculptures and jewellery to glorious painted and printed fabrics.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Zimbabwe by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in ZimbabweWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationCountry Guides
Other countries in Africa:BotswanaKenyaMadagascarMalawiMauritiusMozambiqueNamibiaRwandaSouth AfricaTanzaniaThe SeychellesUgandaZambiaZanzibar Archipelago
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