See elephant at The Hide in Hwange

Ultimate Zimbabwe Safari Itinerary

Explore some of Zimbabwe's well known gems and best kept secrets on this fantastic safari. Experience dramatic scenery, captivating wildlife and visit warm-hearted local communities.

16 days from £12,230pp plus international flights.

Full itinerary

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Chilojo Cliffs – Gonarezhou © Shutterstock

Day 1

To Gonerazhou

Your Zimbabwe adventure starts with a flight from South Africa's OR Tambo International Airport to Buffalo Range Airport in Zimbabwe. From here you will travel by road to the wild and exciting Gonerazhou National Park where you will spend three nights at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge. Gonerazhou is quite unlike anywhere else, this is Zimbabwe less-travelled, it feels untouched and remote, a pristine wilderness area.

Dinner

Gonarezhou © Shutterstock

Day 2

Gonerazhou

While at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge you will have ample opportunity to explore the park both in a 4x4 and on foot. A walking safari is the perfect opportunity to slow down and immerse yourself in nature. With every step you will connect more deeply with your surroundings as you walk with your guide looking out for spoor and tracks of the animals that trod the path before you. The birdsong will be more apparent and you will be able to appreciate the rich biodiversity of the special park.

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shutterstock_87015308-Villiers Steyn-Runde-river

Day 3

Gonerazhou

Gonarezhou is not just about safari, it also presents an opportunity to get to know members of the local community. Take a visit to Enoch's home in Mahenye Village. Enoch is the lodge's head gardener. Meet members of his family and join them as they go about their daily life, pumping water, cooking or grinding seeds. You may want to learn about the tradition of palm-wine tapping. This unique experience starts with a drive through the village, heading towards the Mozambique border. Your expert wine-tapper will show you how they collect the sap from the palm into a clay pot where it is left to ferment and develop into palm wine. These experiences are authentic and incredibly worthwhile.

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Waterbuck - Zimbabwe © Shutterstock

Day 4

Fly To Mana Pools

After breakfast you'll be driven to Mahenye airstrip where you board the flight to Mana Pools. Soon after landing you are settling in at Nyamatusi 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).

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Mana Pools – walking safari © AfricanBushCamps

Day 5

Mana Pools National Park

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.

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Mana Pools Canoe © AfricanBushCamps

Day 6

Mana Pools National Park

Today you could try something a little different. As you're staying close to the water, it makes perfect sense to try a canoe safari, together with your guide. There is something quite relaxing about a gentle paddle along the tranquil waters of the river. You'll see the animals as they come to the river banks to quench their thirst or maybe take a cooling dip. This is a wonderful way to experience nature and the beautiful panoramic views. Later, back at camp you could try your hand at catch and release fishing from the river bank.

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WILD HORIZONS TOUR OF THE FALLS ZAMBIA © WildHorizons

Day 7

Fly to Victoria Falls

Leaving Mana Pools by light aircraft, your flight lands at Victoria Falls where you are collected and driven to Old Drift Lodge. The lodge has a riverside location, upstream from the mighty falls and away from the hustle and bustle of town. You're in the Zambezi National Park so there is ample opportunity for more wildlife viewing, or if you prefer you can spend the afternoon in the privacy and seclusion of your luxurious tented suite, complete with plunge pool overlooking the Zambezi.

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The Lookout Cafe © SarahKerr

Day 8

Victoria Falls

Of course no trip to this area would be complete without a Tour of the Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya as they are known locally - this translates as 'the smoke that thunders'. The immense size and beauty of the falls is breathtaking, it's easy to see why this is one of the wonders of the world. There are strategic viewing platforms along the trail where you can take stunning photographs and take in the panoramic views. While you are in town, it's well worth popping in at the Lookout Cafe perched above the Batoka Gorge, so we have arranged lunch for you here. Afterwards you'll be taken back to Old Drift Lodge where you could enjoy an afternoon game drive.

Breakfast

Old Drift Lodge Game Drive © OldDriftLodge

Day 9

Zambezi National Park

This is your last day in the Zambezi National Park. You could opt for a morning game drive followed by relaxation at the lodge. Top off your stay with a river safari along this peaceful stretch of the Zambezi, upstream from the falls. It's a wonderful way to observe hippos and elephants in comfort. If you opt for a late afternoon safari you can enjoy sundowners. There's something magical about watching the sun set on another day with a drink in hand. The sky casting golden hues onto the glistening waters. Return to the lodge for dinner and a good night's sleep.

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Wild Dogs Hwange © ARowley

Day 10

Fly to Hwange

Following breakfast, you are driven to the airport for the flight to Hwange National Park and Somalisa, your home for the next three nights. Enjoy the views from the air. Once you've landed at the airstrip, your safari begins with a game drive to camp. Having settled in it's time for lunch or a welcome snack depending on your arrival time. Later you set off on a game drive to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and spot game. You return to Somalisa for a shower and change of clothes before pre-prandial drinks and dinner.

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Somalisa Camp – Hwange © AfricanBushCamps

Day 11

Hwange National Park

You have a choice of activities at Somalisa, all included in your stay. 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.

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Ultimate Zimbabwe Safari

Day 12

Hwange National Park

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, and watch as giraffe, zebra, impala and elephant drink their fill.

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Classic Zimbabwe

Day 13

Fly to Bulawayo & Motobo National Park

You leave Somalisa for the nearby airstrip and fly to Bulawayo. You're met at the airport and driven to Matobo National Park where you will be staying at Amalinda Lodge, a unique and special place nestled amongst striking boulders, built in what was once an ancient Bushman's shelter. The views here are amazing and there are many treats in store for you during your stay, not least the chance to see the endangered rhino, Maboto is home to both black and white rhino.

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Infinity Rock Pool © AmalindaCollection

Day 14

Matobo National Park

Whilst staying at Amalinda you must take a swim in the unique rock pool, this huge swimming pool is most definitely one-of-a-kind. Other activities on offer, apart from the popular rhino tracking is a visit to 'View of the World', Cecil Rhodes' resting place. This is also a spiritual place for the local people, it is said that the spirits of soldiers who fell in battle against the Matabele gather here. The views are quite breathtaking. There are over 2000 sites of historic cave paintings in Matobo. These date back thousands of years, you can opt to visit those an easy walk away or go for a strenuous hike.

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Rhino Tracking © AmalindaCollection

Day 15

Matobo National Park

Guests at Amalinda Lodge have the wonderful opportunity of exploring by bicycle and on foot. There are some fabulous walks and hikes around the lodge that are safe for you to check out. You may come across zebra, kudu, klipspringer, warthogs, hyraxes and a variety of birdlife too. An 11 or 24km bike ride will take you where a vehicle cannot. You'll learn about the remarkable local people and discover their craftmanship and artistry. Cultural and village tours area great way to experience the warmth of the local people, visit a traditional Matabele homestead, meet a traditional healer. The trip culminates with a visit to the local primary school where you can see education in action.

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Mother Child Rock Formation © AmalindaCollection

16

Departure

Your holiday in Zimbabwe is drawing to a close. You might want to wake early to witness the glorious sunrise for the last time. Then it's time to pack your bags and say your goodbyes to the staff before you set off for Bulawayo Airport, to connect with your onward travel arrangements.

Breakfast

Chris-3
Talk to Christine - Travel Consultant

Call:  01473 890499

Start planning your tailor-made holiday now. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.

Enquire

Client Rating for Zimbabwe 5/5 from 3 reviews