13 days from £7450pp plus international flights.
Zimbabwe plays host to a multitude of fantastic places, wildlife, people and experiences. In the Ultimate Zimbabwe Safari we have cherry picked some of the best, and some of the lesser known treasures that this fabulous country has to offer.
Your trip will begin in Victoria Falls, you'll have one night here. There will be time to visit the magnificent Victoria Falls if you wish. You'll have the chance to get a good night's rest after your long haul flight and enjoy your first taste of friendly Zimbabwean hospitality.
From here you visit Hwange, the county's largest wildlife reserve and home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including one of the largest elephant populations in the world, around 44,000 at the last aerial count.
A light aircraft flight will take you to the magnificent Lake Kariba and Matusadona National Park where you'll have the opportunity to explore this remote area in the heart of Lake Kariba. Set the pace you want, either relaxing or joining exhilarating game drives, perhaps try your hand at tiger fishing, you'll be hooked (no pun intended)!
No trip to Zimbabwe would be complete without a visit to Mana Pools, a beautiful wildlife conservation area offering authentic safaris. Mana is known for wildlife as many animals come here in search of water. It's a wonderful place to take a walking safari too, in fact we recommend it.
Last, and by no means least you'll be transferred to Gonarezhou in southern Zimbabwe, a magical place, that receives fewer visitors than the other parks. This is wild Zimbabwe, pristine wilderness, superb wildlife and breathtaking scenery.
Gonarezhou is a conservation success story. You'll be staying at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, perched on granite rocks overlooking the river. Clive Stockhill, the founder of the lodge played a vital part in bringing the community round to understanding and benefitting from tourism in this area which spearheaded a remarkable reduction in wildlife poaching. You can visit Mahenye Village to get an insight into Shangaan society.
We believe, this safari will get you hooked on this wonderful country and have you returning for more fantastic experiences.
Your flight lands at Victoria Falls where you are greeted by a representative of our local partner, Robin Pope Safaris, and driven to your accommodation at Ilala Lodge. The rest of the day is free for you to visit the iconic falls and experience their might for yourself, making sure to get some impressive photos. Tonight's dinner at The Palm Restaurant at Ilala Lodge is included, so you are in for a treat: delicious food served on the terrace where you can hear the falls and see the spray. Dinner
Following breakfast, you are driven to Hwange National Park and The Hide, your home for the next three nights. The drive takes about three hours and gives you time to relax and enjoy the views, perhaps doing some wildlife viewing as you near the park. Having settled in it's time for lunch and later you set off on a game drive to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and spot game. You return to The Hide for a shower and change of clothes before pre-prandial drinks and dinner. Full board
You have a choice of activities at The Hide and can participate in up to four each day, all included in your stay, to make the most of your valuable time. You might like to opt for an early morning walking safari in the private concession which allows you to get close to nature, unencumbered by a vehicle. Your guide explains the significance of all you see, from plants with beneficial medicinal properties to spoor which betray the presence of wildlife. Later your 4x4 safari takes you further afield and includes sundowner drinks and a night drive back to camp. Full board
Another day dawns in Hwange and you choose how to spend your day. If you've not yet seen all the Big 5 you might want to take another game drive to improve your count. Keep an eye out for wild dogs, too, as Hwange has one of the world's largest populations of these rare creatures. You don't even have to leave camp to enjoy wildlife sightings. Position yourself facing the waterhole, the only permanent water source in this area, and watch as giraffe, zebra, impala and elephant drink their fill. Full board
You leave The Hide for the nearby airstrip and fly to your next destination, Lake Kariba. The flight takes about 90 minutes, so sit back and enjoy the bird's eye views. On arrival you are driven to Changa Safari Camp for a three night stay. The camp is located in a private concession beside Lake Kariba. It's a peaceful spot and you can plump for a restful afternoon perhaps seeing some the camp's regular visitors which include monkeys. squirrels, bushbabies and elephants as you unwind by the pool. Full board
All activities are included in your stay at Changa. Today you can get acquainted with the area on a bush walk in Matusadona National Park led by an expert guide. It's amazing how much you learn during a walk, with your guide pointing out signs and sights, to help you 'read' the bush. There's something special about being immersed in the natural world. If you want to venture on to the lake and attempt to catch your own lunch the camp offers the chance to join a fishing trip. If you succeed you can have your catch prepared by the chef! Full board
While at Changa you have the opportunity to take a boat ride across the lake to Sanyati Gorge. The cruise takes you past the steep cliffs which form this gorge. You are likely to see a variety of birds and possibly antelope, so you should take your camera. At camp you can take time out to rest, and in the late afternoon you may want to take another game walk to see what more you can learn about the bush or a 4x4 drive to spot big cats. Full board
You return to the airstrip for the 30 minute flight to Mana Pools. Soon after landing you are setting your new surroundings at John's Camp. The camp is on the banks of the famed Zambezi River, perfectly positioned for take in the views and for exploring Mana Pools National Park, with all your safari activities once again included. This afternoon you can take part in a game drive to get a feel for the park, a World Heritage Site and home to four of the Big 5 (only rhino are absent). Full board
Mana Pools is the only national park in the world where you are permitted to walk freely among the wildlife. With your experienced, armed guide, you set out into the park to appreciate the ecosystems and different habitats. It retains a feeling of true wilderness and you feel privileged to be sharing the land with the wildlife. Herds of elephant, buffalo and zebra are commonly seen with lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog among the predators. Mana means four in the Shona language and refers to the four large permanent water pools which attract game year round and make this such a wonderful safari destination. Full board
A typical day at John's Camp begins with a wake up call just before sunrise and a piping hot cup of tea or coffee and quick breakfast before you set out on a guided walk or 4x4 drive to enjoy the park's natural riches. On your return you are treated to brunch and time to relax, maybe catching up some sleep or chatting to other guests. Afternoon tea is followed by your second safari, enjoying sundowner drinks at a specially selected location before heading back to freshen up camp before dinner. Full board
Today you return to the airstrip and board a flight to Gonarezhou National Park, flying via Harare. Your new home is Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge at the edge of the national park. Once here you can rest as you sit on the viewing deck watching elephant, crocodile and hippo. There's a swimming pool where you can enjoy a refreshing dip and you can mix with other guests in the lounge and bar. Full board
Your stay here includes one full day or two half day activities daily to give you the chance to experience the 'place of the elephants', as the name translates, to the full. Wide rivers, waterholes, cliffs, gorges and woodlands provide scenic backdrops to your safaris. As well as elephant you can expect to see buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe and several species of antelope including nyala which are rarely seen elsewhere in Zimbabwe. You are now becoming a seasoned safari goer and know that each safari provides different sightings and its own exciting moments to cherish. Full board.
During your time at Chilo Gorge you can take a trip to the famous Chilojo Cliffs. These red sandstone cliffs are an impressive sight rising above the Runde River valley, combining this excursion with some game viewing. Tembwahata is another popular destination. This is the country's largest natural water pan and attracts large concentrations of game. There is prolific bird life at Gonarezhou which you can view on a special bird watching walk. The camp has strong links with the local Shangaan community and you are welcome to visit Mahenye village to learn about day to life and culture in this region of Zimbabwe. Full board
Your two week holiday in Zimbabwe is drawing to a close. You might want to wake early to witness the glorious sunrise at Chilo Gorge before breakfast. Then it's time to pack your bags and say your goodbyes to the staff before you set off for the airstrip where you board a flight to Johannesburg, to connect with your onward travel arrangements. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £7450 (ex. international flights)
2020 prices based on 2 people sharing (excluding international flights):
01 May – 30 Jun 2020 from £7450
13 nights accommodation based on twin share; breakfast and dinner at Ilala Lodge. full board and drinks at The Hide, Changa Safari camp, Johns Camp (local drinks included) and Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge; private transfers as per the itinerary; flights from Hwange to Lake Kariba, from Lake Kariba to Mana Pools, from Mana Pools to Gonarezhou and from Gonarezhou to Johannesburg; all activities at The Hide and Changa Safari Camp, game drives and guided walks at Johns Camp and one full day or two half day activities at Chilo Gorge; laundry service at The Hide, Changa Safari Camp and Johns Camp; Wi-Fi at The Hide and Changa Safari Camp
International flights other than Gonarezhou to Johannesburg; visas; vaccinations; travel insurance; lunch and drinks at Ilala Lodge; optional activities at Victoria Falls; personal spending; tips
This holiday begins at Victoria Falls and ends at Johannesburg. Return flights from the UK cost from around £900, according to season and availability. We usually book these for you.
Large safari tents, shaded relaxation areas, an infinity pool and firepit all arranged on the shore of Lake Kariba: Changa Safari Camp.
This luxury lodge commands pristine views from it's hilltop setting, looking out over the untamed wilderness and Save river below.
A charming, well equipped hotel with uninterrupted views of Victoria Falls and a choice of rooms and suites.
An authentic tented safari camp on the banks of the Zambezi River in Mana Pools
5/5 from 4 reviews
Find the best time to visit Zimbabwe
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.