28 Best Places To Visit In Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, a southern African nation, is known for its striking landscapes, amiable residents, and lively urban centers. Notably, Victoria Falls, shared with Zambia, is among the world’s most stunning waterfalls. The country also boasts Africa’s largest elephant population.

The capital, Harare, is a bustling city, housing numerous art galleries, museums, and a lively nightlife scene. Annually, between April and May, it hosts the Harare International Festival of the Arts.

Zimbabwe‘s renowned wildlife and striking landscapes are primarily found in parks, reserves, and safari areas, offering top-tier safari experiences globally. The country caters to diverse tourist types, including solo travelers, families, bird-watchers, and safari enthusiasts. Exploring its top destinations is recommended.

Harare

Harare - Zimbabwe
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Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, is inhabited by over a million people. Although it lacks the glamour of Victoria Falls, it provides numerous natural attractions and enjoyable activities. Begin your journey with a city center tour, which contains many attractions. Proceed further to explore more of Zimbabwe.

Sights in the city include the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, near Harare Gardens, featuring traditional and contemporary African art. The Epworth Balancing Rocks, a granite formation southeast of Harare, and Mukuvisi Woodlands’ bird park are also worth visiting.

Harare itself is an intriguing city to discover, with historical landmarks and shopping centers. Stroll along the pavements, among shops and well-maintained lawns. For budget-friendly clothing and local crafts, visit the Avondale flea market.

Great Zimbabwe National Monument

Great Zimbabwe National Monument - Zimbabwe
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Great Zimbabwe, a medieval city near Masvingo and Lake Mutirikwi in Zimbabwe, is believed to have been a late iron age kingdom’s capital. This ancient empire thrived from 1100 to 1500 C.E., and its ruins now serve as a national monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city was the Kingdom of Zimbabwe’s capital during the Late Iron Age, functioning as a royal palace and political power center. The mortarless walls, over five meters high, are among the largest and most well-preserved in southern Africa.

The Great Zimbabwe National Monument consists of several sections, including the Hill Complex with structural ruins dating back to 900 C.E. Other notable areas include the Great Enclosure and the Great Court.

Visitors to Great Zimbabwe will encounter ancient stone constructions and walls across three areas: the Great Enclosure, the Hill Ruins, and the Valley Ruins. The Hill Ruins, nearly 80 meters high, are the oldest and best-preserved, while the Great Enclosure, at 250 meters long and 38 meters high, is the most impressive.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe
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Victoria Falls, spanning the Zambezi River’s entire width, is the world’s largest sheet of falling water, with visible spray up to 50 kilometers away during the wet season. The surrounding National Park offers well-paved hiking trails and waterfall viewing areas, making a visit last a couple of hours.

Standing over 100 meters high and more than a kilometer wide, Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River and is considered the world’s largest waterfall. To experience it up close, travel to Zimbabwe or Zambia.

Visiting between June and September is ideal for viewing the falls. Explore the nearby Victoria Falls National Park, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. For additional activities, consider spending time in Hwange National Park or Mana Pools National Park.

Devil’s Pool

Devil's Pool - Zimbabwe
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Devil’s Pool, a natural rock pool, is located on Victoria Falls’ edge, near Livingstone Island. During the dry season, the shallow water and submerged rock offer protection from the 330-foot drop. Guided tours, provided by local companies, offer the closest and safest experience to Victoria Falls.

To reach Devil’s Pool, cross the Zambezi River by booking a tour with a local operator. Two guides will accompany you; one will enter the water with you, while the other will stand on a rock ledge at the edge of the Falls to take photos, which are included in the tour cost. Tipping the guide for satisfactory work is optional.

Victoria Falls Snake Park

When visiting Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, don’t miss Snake Park. This attraction houses many of the world’s largest and most dangerous snakes in enclosures mimicking their natural habitats. Guided tours offer educational experiences, and visitors can touch and handle live snakes. The park also features rainforests, home to various wildlife species.

Popular activities near the Falls include white water rafting, available from Zambia or Zimbabwe for approximately $120 per person. Ensure safety precautions are followed to avoid potential risks.

Visit Victoria Falls Snake Park anytime, but the best months are November to April. The rainy season lasts five months, while the dry season, from August to November, offers the driest weather and opportunities to swim in Devil’s Pool.

Victoria Falls Bridge

Victoria Falls Bridge - Zimbabwe (2)
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The Victoria Falls Bridge, an iconic Zimbabwean structure, spans the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls. Built over the Second Gorge, it offers breathtaking views and is a must-see attraction. The bridge connects Zambia and Zimbabwe, allowing visitors to view Victoria Falls from both countries.

Tourists can walk along the paved paths near the falls to experience the spray. After the bridge, enjoy views of the Zambezi River and Batoka Gorge. As a border crossing and one of the world’s natural wonders, the Victoria Falls Bridge provides a memorable experience.

Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park - Zimbabwe (2)
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Hwange National Park, in western Zimbabwe, is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, featuring lions, African wild dogs, and large elephant herds. Nearby attractions include Mandavu Dam, Masuma Dam, and the Bumbusi National Monument with pre-colonial rock carvings and ruins.

Hwange’s man-made waterholes are popular, providing essential water sources for various animals. The waterholes, supplied by borehole water, blend naturally into the bushveld. Visit Hwange between November and April for the best experience.

As Zimbabwe’s largest national park, Hwange spans 14,600 km², with diverse landscapes ranging from granite hills in the south to woodlands in the north. The park supports a vast array of animals, including all five of Africa’s big cats: lion, leopard, and cheetah.

Bulawayo

Bulawayo - Zimbabwe
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Bulawayo offers a unique cultural heritage and wildlife experiences. The Matobo National Park is home to various wild animals, such as kudu, leopards, black eagles, and white and black rhinos.

The city features multiple museums, including the Bulawayo Museum of Natural History, which houses 75,000 specimens and exhibits on prehistoric man, African, and European cultures.

As Zimbabwe’s second-largest city and Matabeleland province’s capital, Bulawayo remains a clean and pleasant destination despite past challenges. Its proximity to Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park makes it an ideal base for exploring nearby attractions.

Mutare

Mutare - Source wikipedia - Zimbabwe
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Mutare, located in the Manicaland region, is Zimbabwe’s third-most populous city, with a population exceeding 220,000 in 2012.

It serves as the provincial capital and is surrounded by hills and mountains, offering a picturesque setting. The city is an ideal base for exploring the Eastern Highlands, Mozambique, and Nyanga National Park.

Mutare boasts good road connectivity, with asphalted roads leading to Harare via the A3 motorway, the Southern Eastern Highlands and Chimanimani via the A9 road, and Chimoio and Beira via the EN9 road. However, be aware of potholes.

Kuimba Shiri Bird Sanctuary

Kuimba Shiri Bird Sanctuary in Zimbabwe offers a tranquil environment with a diverse range of bird species, including rare and endangered ones.

The sanctuary provides educational opportunities and is recognized internationally for its wildlife preservation efforts, being declared a Sri Chinmoy International Peace Park in 2014.

Situated on Lake Chivero’s shores, the sanctuary hosts over 400 bird species, some indigenous to Zimbabwe, such as several African eagle species. A restaurant and lush gardens surround the park, enhancing the scenic beauty.

The World Wildlife Fund collaborates with local communities to establish a bird park and education center at the site, which is home to over 400 bird species, including migratory birds.

Matusadona National Park

Matusadona National Park - Zimbabwe
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Matusadona National Park, located in northern Zimbabwe on Lake Kariba’s southern shore, offers various attractions.

The park provides an authentic African safari experience, with boat safaris, fishing excursions, and game drives. Visitors may spot tigerfish, an endangered species exclusive to the Zambezi River, and enjoy birdwatching amidst a large bird population.

The park is divided into two regions: the northern area, bordered by the Ume River, and the southern part, bounded by Lake Kariba. The eastern section features the Matuzviadonha Hills, reaching approximately 1968 feet in height.

Chinhoyi Caves

Chinhoyi Caves - Zimbabwe (2)
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Chinhoyi Caves, a group of limestone and dolomite caves in Zimbabwe, were established as a National Park in 1955 and are managed by the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority.

The caves, featuring stunning blue pools, are well-lit by roof holes and offer a cool, damp atmosphere. Located near the small town of Chinhoyi, 128 km south of Harare, the caves are a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

The name Chinhoyi was given by a local chief who used the caves as refuge from Ndebele raiders. The area has a rich history, with human remains and pottery dating back to around AD650.

Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba - Zimbabwe
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Lake Kariba, situated on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border, boasts wide shorelines, diverse wildlife, and scenic islands surrounded by high escarpment mountains.

The local legend of Nyaminyami inspires art and crafts, such as Nyaminyami walking sticks and traditional basket weaving and wood carving.

The ideal time to visit Lake Kariba is during the dry season, from April to October, when temperatures average 82°F (28°C) during the day and slightly cooler at night.

The lake offers excellent game viewing opportunities, with abundant wildlife including Nile crocodiles, elephants, the Big Five, and fish eagles.

Chiremba Balancing Rocks

Chiremba Balancing Rocks, a natural wonder, are located 13 kilometers from Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. The famous balancing rocks serve as a metaphor for development in Zimbabwe. A tour of the site takes approximately an hour.

To reach Chiremba, travel a 7.4-kilometer road through the suburbs of Queensdale, Chadcombe, Hatfield, and Park Meadowlands. The Balancing Rocks, also known as Domboramwarwi (“rock of God”), will be visible on the left side of the road.

While not as large as Ngomakurira or Domboshava balancing rocks, Chiremba’s formations are still impressive. One of the unique granite structures appears on old Zimbabwean dollar notes issued during hyperinflation.

Gweru

Gweru - Zimbabwe
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Gweru, a small city in Zimbabwe’s Midlands Province, offers a high quality of life and a low cost of living. The city provides various activities, such as relaxing by the rivers or engaging in thrilling outdoor pursuits in private game reserves.

Founded in 1894, Gweru serves as the capital of the Midlands Province and hosts Thornhill Air Base, the Military Museum, and Antelope Game Park. Visitors can enjoy beautiful flowers year-round and explore the nearby 17th-century Naletale ruins, which offer stunning views of the Somabula flats.

Gweru’s recreational park, located near the city center, is a popular attraction featuring diverse wildlife. Visitors can participate in bush walks, sundowner carriage rides, or horseback safaris to observe the animals.

Matobo National Park

Matobo National Park - Zimbabwe
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Matobo National Park, located in southwest Zimbabwe, is known for its Matobo Hills, a series of balancing rock formations, and the Nswatugi Cave featuring Stone Age rock art.

The park hosts significant populations of white rhinos and black eagles, as well as Cecil Rhodes’ grave carved into one of the hills.

The park’s landscape boasts stunning granite whaleback hills, angular-shaped boulders, and a diverse range of flora, including over 200 tree species, various aloes, and over 100 grass species.

Matobo National Park is home to one of the highest concentrations of raptors and the world’s highest concentration of Black Eagles.

The ideal time to visit the park is between April and October, when wildlife viewing is optimal due to animals migrating to waterholes. However, the park remains beautiful throughout the year.

Chirinda Forest Reserve

Chirinda Forest Reserve - Source wikipedia - Zimbabwe
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Chirinda Forest Reserve, located in Zimbabwe, is the southernmost tropical rainforest globally. Spread across Mount Selinda’s two rounded hills, the reserve is managed by the Forestry Commission and is accessible via tar road, 30 kilometers south of Chipinge town. Extensively studied, the forest’s biodiversity records date back to 1900.

Chirinda Forest Reserve is home to many rare trees, including the Big Tree, a 65-meter-high mahogany tree that is at least 1,000 years old and considered Zimbabwe’s tallest and largest indigenous tree.

The reserve showcases eco-tourism, featuring a unique blend of tropical and subtropical vegetation and serving as one of the country’s largest protected forest areas. It is a remnant of a once-expansive and more humid forest.

Sapi Concession

The Sapi Concession, a 300,000-acre premier game location in Zimbabwe, offers diverse wildlife and activities for visitors. Spot lions, elephants, and hyenas up close, or enjoy a canoe safari along the Zambezi River.

Adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mana Pools, the region is a wildlife sanctuary with abundant birdlife.

The Sapi Concession features three distinct ecosystems, including an extensive floodplain formed by the lower Zambezi River, a series of lakes, and diverse landscapes with rivers, islands, and sandbanks. The area also boasts a vast mahogany forest.

Gonarezhou National Park

Gonarezhou National Park - Zimbabwe
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Gonarezhou National Park, a large national park in southeastern Zimbabwe, is home to diverse wildlife, including the rare Gonarezhou eland, crocodiles, elephants, rhinos, buffalos, zebras, giraffes, various antelopes, over 400 bird species, and dozens of fish species.

The park is well-managed, with increasing wildlife populations, but faces challenges such as growing tourism. Community outreach and education programs aim to protect the park and its wildlife.

For the best wildlife viewing, visit Gonarezhou during the dry season (May to August) when vegetation is sparse, and temperatures are mild. The park closes during summer rains due to rising water levels and poor track conditions.

Lion and Cheetah Park

Lion and Cheetah Park - Zimbabwe
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Lion and Cheetah Park, located 40 minutes from Harare’s town center and 50 minutes from the airport, is one of Zimbabwe’s top wildlife attractions.

The park offers a unique, close-up experience with various animals such as lions, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, tortoises, eland, and wildebeest.

The park, an ideal family destination, features a café for snacks and light meals, as well as several enclosures for white lions, leopard tortoises, and other animals.

A drive-through lion enclosure allows visitors to observe the lions lounging in the shade or basking on rocks. Although the park no longer has cheetahs, the lions remain a significant attraction.

Lake Chivero Recreational Park

Lake Chivero Recreational Park - Source wikipedia - Zimbabwe
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Lake Chivero Recreational Park, a protected area within the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Estate, features a beautiful lake and unique ecosystem. The park hosts various animals, including hippos, crocodiles, and white rhinos, which have been dehorned as an anti-poaching measure.

Formerly known as Lake McIlwaine, Lake Chivero is a reservoir on the Manyame River. It offers five picnic and fishing sites and boat rentals for recreational purposes, making it an ideal location for barbecues or family picnics.

Located 32 km from the capital and managed by national parks, Lake Chivero is home to diverse wildlife such as giraffes, ostriches, and crocodiles.

It is recommended to hire a ranger for exploring the park. The park, accessible by taxi or car, is a one-hour drive from Harare and provides a peaceful retreat with horseback riding trails and excellent picnic areas.

The Zambezi Riverfront

The Zambezi Riverfront - Zimbabwe
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The Zambezi Riverfront in Zimbabwe offers stunning wildlife views and various activities for tourists.

Enjoy a scenic boat cruise, take a small plane flight to photograph Victoria Falls from different angles, or engage in adventure sports like river rafting, jet boating, or river boarding.

During the rainy season, the river stretches up to 400m wide and flows rapidly at Chavuma Falls and Cholwezi rapids.

Chimanimani National Park

Chimanimani National Park - Source wikipedia - Zimbabwe
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Chimanimani National Park, located on Zimbabwe’s eastern border, features the stunning Bridal Veil Falls near the Bundi River.

The park offers a natural cliff jump, Nyamzune Mountain (also known as Pork Pie), and diverse flora and fauna. Ideal for hiking, the park boasts highland peaks like Mt Binga (2437 meters) and attractions such as Tessa’s Pool, San rock art, and hiking trails.

Chimanimani is also home to unique bird species and wildlife, including the Blue Duiker, eland, bushbuck, leopard, and Yellow-rumped tinkerbird.

Shona Sculpture Gallery

Shona sculpture, a traditional African art form, has evolved over time to become a world-renowned artistic movement. Originating as an expression of the Shona people’s spiritual and cultural values, the modern Shona sculpture movement emerged in the mid-20th century.

These unique sculptures, crafted from Zimbabwe’s distinct, colorful, and sculptable rocks, are now considered one of Africa’s greatest art exports and contribute to the country’s economy. The Great Dyke, a massive geological formation, is also a notable feature in Zimbabwe.

Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools National Park - Zimbabwe
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Mana Pools National Park, situated in northern Zimbabwe, offers an excellent opportunity to observe African wildlife.

The park covers the south bank and islands of the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia. Wildlife, such as large elephant and hippo herds, is easily visible, particularly at the Long Pool during sunrise and Chitake Spring.

The dry season, from August to September, is the best time for game viewing, as animals migrate to the river and natural pools due to inland dryness.

Canoe safaris provide a unique experience, allowing close encounters with various wildlife species along the Zambezi River and the chance to camp on an isolated island.

Malilangwe

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, a remote and exclusive destination in southern Africa, spans 130,000 acres and boasts an impressive variety of plant and animal species.

This reserve is one of the few places where endangered black rhinos can be observed in the wild, and it is home to over 400 bird species.

Guests can participate in guided bush walks, enjoy sundowner cruises, and explore numerous ancient San Bushmen rock art sites.

The reserve features diverse geology, including sandstone outcrops, towering Baobab trees, and Mopane forests. With over 100 rock art sites, Malilangwe is a unique and remarkable destination.

The reserve has also implemented an energy efficiency program to reduce harmful carbon emissions in the region.

Thetford Game Reserve

Thetford Game Reserve, a 3,300-hectare park located 30 kilometers from Harare, offers wildlife sightings, including zebras, buffalo, impala, and blesbok.

Nearby, the National Heroes Acre honors liberation war fighters and serves as the annual independence celebrations’ focal point, featuring a museum, shrines, and a tomb of an unknown soldier.

For a closer encounter with wildlife, visit Lion Park, where visitors can get close to lions and even walk among them.

Kwekwe

Kwekwe - Source wikipedia - Zimbabwe
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Kwekwe, a small town in Zimbabwe’s Midlands Province, was initially settled as a gold mining camp in 1898. Today, it hosts several large mines producing gold, iron ore, and chrome, which are used in steelmaking.

The town offers various recreational activities, including fishing, photography, water sports, and swimming in the public pool during summer.

It is also home to Zimbabwe’s National Mining Museum, the headquarters of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, the Islamic Mission of Zimbabwe, and one of the country’s largest power-generating plants. Additionally, Kwekwe hosts one of Zimbabwe’s provincial cricket teams.

Conclusion

Zimbabwe boasts an abundance of wildlife, including thousands of elephants, hippos, lions, and zebras, as well as diverse bird species like ostriches and storks. The country also features modern cities like Harare and ancient ruins dating back to the Stone Age.

Zimbabwe offers a wide range of activities, such as safaris, hiking, visiting ruins, and relaxing on beaches. With its pleasant weather and stunning scenery, Zimbabwe is an excellent destination for travelers.

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