The Best 8 Things to Do in Zimbabwe

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Written by
Jody van Merode

Published on: May 21st, 2024

Last modified: May 21st, 2024

Zimbabwe is one of the best places on earth for a quintessential safari. Home to 11 different national parks, it gives travellers plenty of chances to spot the Big Five and countless other majestic animals. Each park and part of the country has its own iconic landscapes, rare species and intriguing activities – not to mention some of the continent’s best safari lodges and guides.

Zimbabwe is in southern Africa, sharing borders with Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa, and its capital city is Harare. One of the most important landmarks of Zimbabwe is Victoria Falls, which boasts the world’s largest sheet of falling water and is situated at the country’s western tip on the Zambian border.

This country abounds with opportunities for adventure, whether you’re hoping to spot certain species, learn about ancient heritage or simply enjoy some of the most wild places in the world. Here are the top eight things to do in Zimbabwe, according to our expert travel designers.

Walking safaris - Explore Victoria Falls - Game drives - Canoeing - Motor boat trips - Ancient rock art tours - Sleep in a star bed - Track rhinos on foot

A walking safari in Zimbabwe

1. Go on a walking safari in Hwange National Park

There are so many spectacular places to see wildlife in Zimbabwe, but Hwange National Park is a destination that you simply can’t miss. This is the largest national park in the country and one of the best places on the planet to enjoy a classic walking safari.

Walking safaris not only leave a lighter footprint on the landscape, but also let you get to know the environment on a much deeper level. Here you’re likely to spot rare wild dogs, lions, leopards, hyena and many other animals, which often congregate at watering holes during the dry season (June to October).

A tour of the spectacular Victoria Falls

2. Venture into the mist of Victoria Falls

Visiting Victoria Falls is without question one of the best things to do in Zimbabwe. Known as the world’s largest waterfall, it straddles the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Both sides are worth seeing, but only the Zimbabwe side offers views of the thundering Devil’s Cataract. 

We recommend staying at Matetsi River Lodge, located on the Zambezi River within the Matetsi Private Game Reserve. It’s the perfect place to return to after a thrilling day at the falls. You can also embark on a relaxing river cruise complete with sunset views, refreshing drinks and plenty of chances to spot wildlife along the way.

A game drive in Zimbabwe

3. Embark on a remote game drive in Gonarezhou National Park

Game drives are possible throughout all of Zimbabwe, but Gonarezhou National Park is especially remote and wild – making the experience all the more impressive. It also happens to be both the second-largest and the least-visited national park in the country.

Gonarezhou is particularly famous for its large herds of elephants, though you can also spot lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, antelope and more as you cruise through the untouched wilderness with a knowledgeable naturalist guide and driver.

Canoeing at Wilderness Ruckomechi, Mana Pools

4. Glide down the waterways of Mana Pools

Mana Pools National Park is known not just for the four pools that inspired its name (mana means ‘four’ in the Shona language) but also for the mighty Zambezi River that flows through it. Hop into a canoe and paddle your way through the park for a one-of-a-kind safari experience.

Along the way you might be able to see elephants and wild dogs on shore, as well as semi-aquatic species like hippos and crocodiles in their natural habitat. Stay at Wilderness Ruckomechi Camp right on the riverbanks or at the nearby ‘Little Ruck for an even more intimate atmosphere.

Lake Kariba birdlife, Zimbabwe

5. Sail across Lake Kariba in Matusadona National Park

Located on the northwestern edge of Zimbabwe, Matusadona National Park is best known for Lake Kariba on its northern side. One of the largest man-made lakes on earth, it hosts a thriving population of Nile crocodiles and attracts plenty of vibrant birdlife, including fish eagles.

Exploring Lake Kariba by boat will give you privileged views of its seemingly endless shores, where magnificent animals like elephants and buffalo roam. For water-based activities, the best time to visit Zimbabwe is usually June to October, although Lake Kariba also has pleasant weather from May to July. The wet season from November to April is ideal for birding.

Ancient rock painting of human figures and antelopes, giraffe in Zimbabwe

6. See ancient rock art in Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

Wildlife may be the main draw for most travellers, but Zimbabwe also has a fascinating human history spanning thousands of years. One of the best places in Zimbabwe to discover this ancient heritage is Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in the southeastern region. 

Here you’ll find archaeological sites dating as far back as the Later Stone Age and Iron Age, and more than a hundred different sites featuring painted rock art. Seeing the depictions of animals, people and tools, which have endured here for millennia, is a mind-blowing experience.

Wilderness Linkwasha sleepout

7. Sleep in a star bed in Hwange National Park

Most of the top things to do in Zimbabwe are daytime activities, but this one can only be enjoyed after dark. Sleeping out in the wilderness removes all the barriers between you and nature, allowing you to fully hear, feel and see your surroundings – not to mention starry night skies. 

Wilderness Linkwasha Camp is among the best safari lodges in Zimbabwe for this kind of experience. Its stunning Star Bed overlooks Scott’s Pan, a popular watering hole just a short drive away from the camp, giving you front-row seats to your very own private wildlife show.

A black rhino in Matopos National Park

8. Track rhinos on foot in Matobo Hills

A walking safari is always an impactful experience, but in Matobo Hills it’s elevated by the excitement of rhino tracking. This is the oldest national park in Zimbabwe, and an entire section of it has been designated as a breeding ground for both black and white rhinos.

As there are no predators in the park, it’s the perfect place to explore on foot. Your expert guide will lead you to these magnificent creatures, which are thriving here despite decades of difficulty; black rhinos are critically endangered, and white rhinos are near threatened.

Whatever your want from your adventure in Zimbabwe, our travel designers are ready to help:

Luxury Accommodation

There are many incredible places to stay in Zimbabwe. Here are some of our favourites, handpicked by our travel designers: