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Self-drive in Zimbabwe

12 days from £5380pp plus international flights.

A nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture. Victoria Falls - known to locals as 'The Smoke That Thunders' - is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot featuring mind-blowing sunsets; Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants; and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through the Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.

On this self-drive holiday, discover a true African wilderness unspoiled by mass tourism in Gonarezhou National Park, the endless scenic landscapes and towering cliffs; step back in time at the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and admire the ingenuity of the artisans who built this ancient city; enjoy Matobo Hills National Park, a spiritual place of impressive giant balancing boulders together with a healthy rhino population; and the stunning Hwange National Park, teaming with wildlife and a huge elephant population.

A truly great experience!

The pool at Bronte Garden Hotel


On arrival at Harare airport, collect your rental car and make your way to your hotel. This afternoon you will have the perfect oppourtunity to relax after your flight, there's a refreshing pool, or you could just choose to enjoy the peaceful gardens.  Alternatively you may decide to spend the afternoon exploring the sights of Harare, some of which are within easy walking distance. Harare has an excellent array of restaurants too so if you want to venture beyond the hotel there will definitely be something to suit your tastes and pocket.

The dining deck at Chilo Gorge


After a good breakfast, it's time to start your roadtrip and head to Gonarezhou. Todays drive to Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is about 6 to 7 hours (525km). Enjoy the changing scenery as you travel the road south. The bulk of the driving today will be on fairly decent tar roads and when you cross the Save River at the Jack Quentin Bridge, you will be on gravel. Once you reach the gravel road, you are on the home stretch to Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge where cold drinks, and delicious food await you. Breakfast, dinner.

Birdwatching in Gonarezhou


Gonarezhou is a beautiful corner of Zimbabwe, it's not just about wildlife here, it's also about the stunning scenery in this amazing wilderness area. The park has an undiscovered feel about it and is less visited than Hwange and Mana Pools, so you will not come across many other travellers during your stay here. While at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, you can enjoy walking, game drives, birdwatching and a visit to the local Shangaan community in Mahenye village would be both rewarding and educational. It's also worth an excursion to the Chilojo cliffs that riise from the landscape and overlook the river. Gonarezhou is home to a variety of wildlife including lions, cheetah, wild dog and buffalo, but it is the huge number of elephants that the park is known for. Not only do they give their name to the park but they are said to number in their thousands. Fully inclusive.

See the ruins at Great Zimbabwe


After a delicious breakfast, it's time to continue the adventure as you drive about 4 hours today to the Lodge at the Ancient City.  Here you will have the opportunity to explore the amazing Great Zimbabwe Ruins, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. We recommend you take a guided tour at the ruins to get a real feel for the rich history. The ruins are vast and stretch from the hilltop above the site, to the plains below where you will find the Great Enclosure. The light and views are at their best in the later afternoon. Having explored the ruins you return to spend the evening at your lodge where dinner awaits. Breakfast, dinner.

Relax with a massage at Camp Amalinda


After breakfast you will continue your journey via Bulawayo to Matobo Hills. Camp Amalinda will be your home for the next two nights and you will have ample opportunity to explore this area which has deep spiritual meaning for the local people. The drive is about 4 hours, so you'll arrive in good time to enjoy a dip in the pool or relaxing massage followed by a sundowner drink. The scenery is beautiful and combine this with the wildlife and history of the area, with fantastic bushman paintings, the burial place of Cecil Rhodes, and interesting conservation projects, this really is a superb place to spend a couple of days. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Track rhinos in Matobo Hills National Park


After a good night's rest, it is worth getting up early to make the most of the day. One of the most exciting activities you can do here is rhino tracking either on foot or by vehicle. It's quite humbling to observe these magnificent and highly endangered animals in their natural habitat. Other animals that you may come across here are warthog, klipspringer, kudu, zebra, impala, wildebeest, duiker, and steenbok.  The birdlife in these hills is vast and varied too.  It is known for the highest concentration of black eagles in the world.  A visit to the local community is also very worthwhile.  You will have the opportunity to experience the warm Matabele hospitality first hand with a visit to a homestead, a clinic, traditional healer and a local primary school. Return to the lodge to freshen up, relax and enjoy a delicious meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Lion on a game drive in Hwange National Park


After breakfast you are on the road once more, heading for the game rich Hwange National Park.Today's drive will be about 5 hours. You will leave your hire car here as you won't need it in Hwange.  Your accommodation for the next two nights will be in a private concession in the remote northern part of Hwange.  After settling in, depending on the time you may be able to fit in a game drive or perhaps after dinner enjoy a night drive and see some of the nocturnal animals come to life and finish off with some chat around the fire. Fully inclusive.

See wildlife on game drives and walks at Nehimba Lodge


An early start is the order of the day to make the most of your time in Hwange. Game drives are very popular allowing you to see more of the diverse landscape in the park.  You could visit Mandavu Dam or Mtoa Ruins, staying out to enjoy an alresco picnic lunch or brunch. Hwange is another area good for walking and you could experience the thrill of getting close to wildlife on foot, always with your professional guide. He will be able to point out things of interest throughout the walk and can even teach you how to track wildlife. At the end of the day you will return to the lodge to freshen up and have a delicious dinner and perhaps a nightcap before turning in. Fully inclusive.

Ilala Lodge balcony view


Another early morning and a last game drive in Hwange before you are transferred by road to the bustling town of Victoria Falls. We've chosen Ilala Lodge which is the closest accommodation to the falls, one of the world's natural wonders. It's easy to walk to the falls from the hotel and the town centre is close by too, so you can explore at your leisure. Settle in to your hotel, taking in the views from your balcony, and then it's time for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, a wonderful experience. Afterwards you are free to choose a restaurant for dinner. Breakfast.

See the amazing Victoria Falls


Why not have a leisurely breakfast today and slow the pace down.  Afterwards take a guided tour of Victoria Falls (entry fee included), they really are spectactular.  The rest of your day is free to spend as you choose.  There is plenty to do in this small town from adrenalin activities like bungy jumping and whitewater rafting, to helicopter flights over Victoria Falls, a great way to see them from a different angle. There are plenty of shops and restaurants and art galleries for you to browse around and enjoy your time here. Breakfast.

Breakfast at Ilala Lodge


This morning after breakfast you will have time for a last minute wander around town to pick up any souvenirs or gifts for those back home. You will be collected from the hotel and driven to the airport in good time to catch your flight home, and your Zimbabwe adventure comes to an end. We are sure you will have made some excellent friends during your time here and enjoyed the warm hospitality that Zimbabwe is so well known for. Breakfast.

Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £5380 (ex. international flights)

Price notes: 2019 guide price pp based on 2 sharing: Jul - Oct and Dec from £5380. Care Hire is based on a Group H with Supercover for 10 days


10 days group H with supercover vehicle rental, accommodation and meals as shown; Bronte The Garden Hotel and Ilala Lodge are on a BB basis; Chilo Gorge, Camp Amalinda and Nehimba are fully inclusive; Ancient City Lodge is DBB. Activities are included at Chilo Gorge, Camp Amalinda and Nehimba. National parks fees are. A tour of the Falls and entrance fee, and a river cruise.


International flights, visas, tips, travel insurance, any increase in national parks fees, any additional activities not mentioned, additional driver fees, fuel, accident admin fee $70.

Getting there: 

It is also possible to have a driver/guide on this trip, let us know if you would prefer this option and we can provide a price.

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Find the best time to visit Zimbabwe

facts and information

Time: GMT + 2 hours

Flight time: Flights from UK to Harare or Victoria Falls are usually via Johannesburg and can take 12+ hours, although once the new Victoria Falls airport is fully operational there may be an option of direct flights – watch this space.

Language: English is the official language of Zimbabwe. Shona or Ndebele are also widely spoken by the majority of the population.

Visas: Visas are required for UK passport holders and can be obtained on entry into Zimbabwe.  

Health: Malaria is a risk in many areas of Zimbabwe.



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