For many years Zimbabwe was a very popular country for tourists as it is arguably one of Africas most beautiful countries. Events in the recent past caused a huge drop in the number of tourists willing to visit the country.
Those that have travelled to Zimbabwe in the past two years almost always report a very different image of the country than that which has been portrayed in the media. Despite being forced to sacrifice so much, Zimbabweans have not lost their humour or resolve and it often the interaction with the locals which makes the holidays so special.
With one of the worlds best climates; wonderful scenery and diverse habitats; excellent game densities in the national parks and safari guides who are some of the most qualified in Africa, Zimbabwe has so much to offer tourists. And with so few visiting the country, those who do can expect royal treatment!
Zimbabwe boasts several major tourist attractions. Probably the most well known is Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. The Falls are shared with Zambia and are located in the north west of Zimbabwe. During your stay at Victoria Falls you can choose to relax along the river or explore the local area known for offering high adrenalin activities such as helicopter or microlight over the falls, white water rafting and bungee-jumping.
Along the Zambezi lies Mana Pools National Park, located on the floodplains of Africa's Great Rift Valley and offering superb wildlife viewing as well as incredible fishing and fantastic birding. For some of Zimbabwes best wildlife viewing there is its most famous national park, Hwange, home to some southern Africa's last great elephant, buffalo and sable herds.
Zimbabwe is unusual in Africa in that there are a number of ancient ruined cities built in a unique dry stone style. The most famous of these are the Great Zimbabwe ruins in Masvingo.
The Matobo Hills are an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 22 miles south of Bulawayo. The Hills were formed over 2,000 million years ago with granite being forced to the surface, then being eroded to produce smooth "whaleback dwalas" and broken kopjes, strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation. They have become famous and a tourist attraction due to their ancient shapes and local wildlife. Cecil John Rhodes and other early pioneers like Leander Starr Jameson are buried in these hills at a site named World's View.
As such, there is much to attract the traveller, from wildlife viewing and adrenalin adventures to delving into the history of the Zimbabwean people going back thousands of years. Colonialism remains etched in all sorts of ways, but local traditions are visible.
Wilderness Safaris who operate 3 camps in Hwange National Park tell us that confirmed bookings for the 2011 season are almost treble those of 2010. Says Wilderness Manager of Sustainability, Chris Roche: “Hwange bookings are absolutely getting better. We have seen a 25% increase in occupancy in the last six months and even the UK market, which has fastidiously avoided Zimbabwe, is starting to return.” Roche says wildlife has even improved over the past decade and that the camps are largely frequented by American and French tourists. “Zimbabwe has just got something special,” says Roche. “The charm of the people, the quality of the guiding and the dedication for tourism are unbeatable.”
It is very easy to travel into Zimbabwe which is most instances will be via South Africa or another neighbouring country. Zimbabwe can also be combined with other countries to create a fun twin centre holiday, something like a beach break in Mozambique
or a city break in Cape Town
In terms of safety, with the right advice on areas to visit and means of travel Zimbabwe, visitors should have a trouble free holiday. If it were not the case the tourism figures would not be continuously increasing. Mahlatini are very excited to be able arrange tours in Zimbabwe and allow more visitors to discover the gems that this country has to offer.
Contact a specialist about a Safari in Zimbabwe