The 6 Best Things to Do in Zimbabwe

By on January 1, 2018 in Africa, Off the Beaten Track, ZIMBABWE with 0 Comments

The 6 Best Things to Do in Zimbabwe

Not known for its tourist trail, Zimbabwe is however an amazing destination to explore in Southern Africa.

From ancient Medieval ruins to stunning national parks and even dam cruises, it’s a land that offers many surprises for those who venture into her midst.

I visited Zimbabwe as part of my Absolute Africa overland trip and absolutely loved my time there!

As a country that few people know much about, I wanted encourage others to head to this beautiful land by showcasing some of her highlights.

So here they are, the 6 best things to do in Zimbabwe…


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 #1 Get Your Adventure Fix at Victoria Falls

One of 7 natural wonders of the world, who doesn’t want to tick Victoria Falls off their bucket list?

While I certainly did and was delighted to do just that on my visit to Zimbabwe.

Straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls is not that far from Botswana either – making it the perfect spot for a stopover on any Southern Africa trip.

If you are planning on crossing any land borders in Africa, don’t forget to check out my post about the 10 common mistakes to avoid!

We stayed at Shoestring Backpackers while we were there and loved it. With a pool, bar, café, communal kitchen and free wifi, it’s a basic backpackers, but has a great vibe and offers everything from camping to dorm beds and private room accommodation.

While there, you should definitely indulge in some of the activities on offer in this adventure capital of Southern Africa, which can be booked directly through the backpackers.

From bungee jumping to white water rafting and even peering over the edge of the falls from Devils Pools, there’s plenty of fun to choose from if you have the budget.

Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls, Sign

Otherwise, if you’re looking for a cheap alternative, spending an afternoon walking along the Zimbabwean side of the falls and snapping this spectacular and dramatic flow of water is well worth it for $30 USD. Just don’t forget a waterproof jacket if you’re heading there in the rainy season!

When it comes to eating, there’s some great choices for food, coffee and drinks in Victoria Falls town too and my favourite – Three Monkeys – has some delicious things on its menu. Word of warning: the portions are huge!

#2 Houseboat on Kariba Dam

Zimbabwe, Kariba Dam, Lady

Known for a long time as Zimbabwe’s playground, Kariba Dam is a super place to chill out with a bunch of friends.

Located about 5 hours from Harare, getting a group of mates together and renting a houseboat from Kariba Town is an awesome way to experience the Dam – one of the largest artificial lakes in the world – and definitely one of the best things to do in Zimbabwe.

As you sail along expect to see loads of game, including the Big 5 and some amazing sunsets.

There’s also fishing to do, as well as visiting some of the islands here, so definitely allow yourself at least 2 days to get the best from this destination.

Also be prepared for the heat here. Packing sun cream and at least 30% DEET insect repellent are a must!

#3 Spot Rhinos in Matopos National Park

Zimbabwe, Matopos NP, Boulders

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Matopos National Park is famous for the numerous boulders that rest on top of each other across the landscape. Much like Devils Marbles in Australia, there are some striking geological formations here that seem to defy gravity!

Located near the city of Buolwayo, Matopos National Park is broadly split between 2 sections – the recreational area, which showcases the rock art caves, including traditional works by San people and the game area, which is where you’ll spot your rhinos and your leopards.

Because if there’s one thing Matopos is famous for it’s rhinos!

These can actually be seen as part of a walking safari and African Wanderer will certainly help you arrange this, just ask for Ian!

You’ll want at least 2 days to explore Matopos National Park, especially as the nearest camping is 40km from entrance.

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#4 Discover the Great Zimbabwe Ruins

Zimbabwe, Great Ruins, Jungle

Fuelled by the Swahili gold trade and once the important capital of Rozwi culture, the Great Zimbabwean Ruins were part of a large operating civilisation settlement from the 11th to the 15th century.

As such, these are some of the largest and most ancient structures in sub-Saharan Africa and an important UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Allow yourself at least 4 hours to explore this Medieval city, which is actually very close to Mozambique and certainly one of the best things to do in Zimbabwe.

I was amazed I hadn’t heard of these ruins before I reached Zimbabwe, but that’s just an example of the treats that can be found here.

#5 Game Drive in Hwange National Park

Zimbabwe, Hwange NP, Safari Vehicle

Zimbabwe’s largest park and one of the 10th largest in Africa, no trip to Zimbabwe would be complete without a game drive in Hwange National Park, definitely one of the best things to do in Zimbabwe.

A short distance from Victoria Falls, I recommend 2 nights in this great national park so that you can enjoy both morning and evening game drives.

During just one of these we saw hippos, elephants, baboons, wildebeest, impala, zebra, kudos, janet cats, African kangaroos, bush babies and giraffe.

The Painted Dog Conservation Centre set just before the park is also well worth a visit.

Staying at Hwange Main Camp would be my choice here… just keep your eyes peeled for the hyenas!

DON’T FORGET THESE 3 SAFARI TRIP ESSENTIALS
#1 Good Mirrorless Camera and Zoom Lens, like the Sony A6000 and 210mm Lens
#2 Binoculars… but don’t think they have to cost the earth. My cheap Eurohike pair were perfect
#3 Insect Repllent30% DEET – and sun cream

#6 Enjoy a Walking Safari at Mana Pools National Park

Zambia, South Luangwa NP, Lionness

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mana Pools is famous for its raw and wild nature.

Rich in game, this park is unfenced so animals roam freely including elephants and lions!

And these includes into your campsite!

You can also walk freely in walk in Mana Pools National Park, but having a ranger / guide accompany you is probably a good idea for obvious safety reasons!

Mana Pool National Park is also a great place to cruise on the Zambezi River and snap some game from here too. With hippopotamus, crocodiles, elephants and a wide variety of aquatic birds all found here it makes for an unforgettable experience.

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So there you have it, the 6 best things to do in Zimbabwe… as decided by me!

If you have any other favourites not on this list, please get in touch and let me know about them.

I’d love to learn more about this beautiful country…

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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