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Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe travel guide

With Zambia, South Africa and Botswana among its neighbours, landlocked Zimbabwe occupies a prime position in southern Africa’s safari zone

Zimbabwe was once one of Africa’s most popular destinations. With Zambia, South Africa and Botswana among its neighbours, landlocked Zimbabwe occupies a prime position in southern Africa’s safari zone, and travellers flocked to this former British colony to see its big game, even bigger landscapes and cultural history.

Sadly, at the turn of the 21st century, Zimbabwe’s fortunes changed: Robert Mugabe’s policy of land invasions triggered a decade of violence, mass unemployment and hyperinflation.

But times are a’changing again in Zimbabwe. Political stability is returning and Zimbabwe is returning to the travel map.

Its parks are still full of elephants, rhinos, lions and heaps of other game; its rocky hills and deep ravines are still some of the continent’s most stunning; its ancient stone city ruins, unique in Africa, are open to visitors; and the timeless plunge of Victoria Falls is still roaring.

Wanderlust recommends

  • Stalk rare white rhinos – Peek at these elusive beasts with an expert guide in Whovi Game Park
  • Wonder at the ’smoke that thunders’ – See Victoria Falls, one of the planet’s most impressive waterfalls
  • Raft the Zambezi River – Negotiate rapids and watch out for the hippos, too
  • Drive through Hwange National Park – Packed with huge herds of elephants and game galore, Hwange National Park will not disappoint
  • Travel back in time – Lunch in the colonial confines of the Bulawayo Club, Bulawayo
  • Rock art – Seek out magnificent rock art in the Matobo Hills
  • Explore truly grand canyons – Gonarezhou National Park
  • Canoe at Mana Pools – Paddle through the densest concentrations of hippos in Africa

Wanderlust tips

If you plan to self-drive through a game park, be very careful not to get close to the wildlife and learn to recognise signs of a distressed animal so you can back away. Don't leave your car.

Look up Ian Harmer (www.african-wanderer.com, wanderer@yoafrica.com), an excellent guide, shortlisted in the Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2009.

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