13 days from £6430pp plus international flights.
Zimbabwe is one of Southern Africa’s premier destinations on the safari circuit and it is gaining in popularity. With excellent game densities and guides who are some of the most qualified in Africa, it's a must on may safari enthusiasts list of destinations. This itinerary will give you the opportunity to see some of the premier sights in the country and enjoy your stay in considerable comfort. Zimbabwe has some excellent luxury accommodation on where you can enjoy a superb safari experience.
On this trip you will start in Harare before heading north to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mana Pools. Rather than rush to see as much as possible, you have three nights here before moving on and changing the pace with a luxury houseboat on Lake Kariba. There's nothing quite like going with the flow and experiencing life on the water. Hwange is the next destination, this game rich park never fails to impress, large herds of elephant are quite a spectacle. The last two nights will be spent in the quaint town of Victoria Falls and where else to stay but the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel where service is excellent and you can relax in beautifully manicured gardens close to the beautiful falls as you reflect on your time in Zimbabwe.
Once you have cleared customs and collected your luggage, you will be met and transferred the short distance from Harare Airport to your accommodation. The journey will only take about 30 minutes then you will have time to freshen up and recover from your long haul flight. Your afternoon and evening are your own, and you can explore at leisure or relax at your B&B. Your hosts will be able to recommend a suitable spot for dinner, Harare has plenty of options.
After a delicious breakfast you will be collected once again and your safari begins as you step aboard your light aircraft to be flown to Mana Pools, a beautiful area of Zimbabwe and not surprisingly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The flight takes about an hour and a half, it's worth keeping your camera to hand for some great aerial shots. Once the aircraft touches down at the airstrip, your guide will be there to meet you and your drive to the lodge will be a game drive and introduction to Zimbabwe's varied wildlife. There will be time to freshen up and unpack and settle in before embarking on your activities. All inclusive.
For the next two days you can explore the riches of Mana Pools NP and the private concession surrounding your luxurious lodge. You don't have to go far for wildlife sightings as the elephants seem to enjoy the nutritious seeds on the ana trees surrounding the tents and main building. There are a host of activities on offer here that will keep you busy. Being close to the Zambezi river makes boating and canoeing on the water an irresistible option and you can also try your hand at fishing (catch and release), it's addictive. Your expert guides will be on hand to help you negotiate the waters. Water activities can be interspersed with game drives, bird watching and of course walking safaris, which Mana Pools is renowned for, an exhilarating way to explore this game rich area. Fully inclusive.
Today you will travel by light aircraft to Lake Kariba and the Matusadona area. This flight will take about 45 minutes and you may see some sights from the air so keep your camera handy. You will then board the Matusadona, an intimate luxury houseboat on the waters of Lake Kariba. Having experienced a land-based safari, now it's time to try game viewing from the water. You will get excellent views of elephants and other wildlife as animals come to the water's edge to drink, watch the family dynamics of an elephant herd as the little ones frolic in the water. Fully inclusive.
Each day you will travel to a different, secluded mooring allowing you to see the different faces of Kariba and Matusadona, so each day is a new experience, you could explore one of the numerous islands or traverse the rivers, this is a floating paradise. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail on a balmy summers evening and watch the stars or if it's chilly there's a warm and cosy lounge with windows offering views of the exceptional sunsets, just one element of the natural beauty of the lake. Fully inclusive.
Keeping things varied, after your last breakfast aboard the houseboat you will be collected and taken on another light aircraft adventure to the famous Hwange National Park. This flight is about 1hr 45. Savour the views from the air as you fly over the landscape. On arrival at the airstrip in Hwange it's a game drive to your next home. A refreshing welcome drink awaits you and then you can unpack and relax while you familiarise yourself with the lodge and your surroundings. Fully inclusive.
Hwange is rich in game and known particularly for the huge herds of elephants that roam the land between here and Chobe in Botswana. There is also a healthy wild dog population here too though they are in decline elsewhere in Africa. Game drives in both the lodge's private concession and the main part of the park will allow you to cover more ground and see the varying landscapes of Hwange and the animals they sustain. But that's not all, walking safaris are offered here too. This is an exhilarating way to get up close and personal to nature, and see the smaller inhabitants of the park. Your senses will be heightened and your heart will beat faster as you draw close to the wildlife. Night drives give you the opportunity to see spot some of the animals that might not be out and about during the daytime, adding a new dimension to your safari experience. Fully inclusive.
The safari part of your holiday is over but there is still much more to experience. A road transfer takes you out of the park and to the world famous town of Victoria Falls. The journey will take about 3.5 hours, first through the park and then via the main road past village, offering you a glimpse into Zimbabwean life. Depending on the time of year, the spray from the water cascading over the edge of the falls may be seen from miles away, and as you get closer you may hear why the locals call it Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders)! Next stop, the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel. This evening, at the hotel, you can enjoy a delicious 7 course tasting menu in the Livingstone Room. Breakfast, dinner.
There's plenty organised for you today. A visit to Victoria Falls would not be complete without a trip to the falls themselves and today you can enjoy a private guided tour of the park and see this iconic wonder for yourself. Be prepared, you might get a little damp if the spray is high. This will be followed by an opportunity to see the falls from a different perspective, a 25 minute helicopter flight. The water looks spectacular from the air and you will be able to see them in their entirety. What better way to finish off than a cruise on the Zambezi, aboard a catamaran. Then you can go home safely saying you have seen Victoria Falls. Breakfast.
After breakfast, it is time to bid farewell to Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport in time to catch your onward flight. Hopefully you will have a head full of amazing memories and a memory card full of photographs to remind you of your holiday in Zimbabwe. Breakfast.
Guide price from (pp sharing): £6430 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2017 guide price pp sharing: July to October £7550. April-June and November £6430. (Not available Jan-March and December).
Armadale Lodge and the Victoria Falls Hotel are on a BB basis, Ruckomechi, Matusadona houseboat and Somalisa Acacia are all fully inclusive. At Victoria Falls you will have a private tour of the falls, a boat cruise, a helicopter flight over the falls, a 7 course tasting menu at the Victoria Falls Hotel. Road transfers to and from airports, internal flights, park fees and activities as mentioned.
International flights and taxes; meals not mentioned; premium drinks at lodges; park fee increases; insurance; visas; vaccinations; personal expenses and tips.
Getting there: This trip starts in Harare and ends in Victoria Falls. It is possible to start and end the trip in Victoria Falls for an additional cost.
This upmarket B&B is located in a quiet residential suburb of Harare.
Ruckomechi Camp lies in a private concession in Mana Pools National Park, facing the fast flowing Zambezi River and the Zambezi escarpment.
A small, intimate camp nestled in the shade of acacia trees in the heart of Hwange National Park.
An elegant Edwardian era hotel, the first to be built at the Falls, providing modern creature comforts and old world charm.
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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.