elephant-family-hwange-zimbabwe

Where to stay in Zimbabwe: 7 Best Safari Camps and Lodges

Written by
Jody van Merode, Tor Saner, James Harris & Amie Larsen

Published on: March 2nd, 2023

Last modified: December 28th, 2023

Zimbabwe is bursting with extraordinary experiences, breathtaking landscapes and rare wildlife. From the banks of the Zambezi River and the plains of Hwange to the vast Malilangwe Reserve and the remote Mana Pools, this stunning country in southern Africa is the ideal destination for a thrilling safari adventure.

With so much on offer, choosing where to stay in Zimbabwe can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the country’s best safari lodges. All of these spots promise unbeatable luxury, exclusive service and personal touches for a truly unforgettable stay.

Best Places to Stay in Victoria Falls

 

The World’s third largest waterfalls, spanning two countries and fed by the mighty Zambezi river, Victoria Falls have to be seen to be fully appreciated. Epic cascading waterfalls crash into the pools below sending massive clouds of spray into the air where rainbows form in the bright African sunshine.

1. Matetsi Victoria Falls

All 18 suites at Matetsi Victoria Falls overlook the magnificent Zambezi River, making it one of the country’s most captivating places to wake up. It’s a fantastic safari lodge for any type of traveller, from families and couples to thrill seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.

This lodge is set within the immense Matetsi Private Game Reserve, providing privileged access to wildlife. A day here might start with a morning game drive to see elephants, giraffes and lions, and end with a sunset river cruise to spot crocodiles and hippos. 

Back at camp, settle into a suite that blends seamlessly into the surroundings. Matetsi is designed with bamboo, stone and wood and adorned with locally made furniture and art. Enjoy a meal at the exceptional restaurant, where two of Africa’s best chefs prepare delicious cuisine from regional ingredients.

2. Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel

Just 15 minutes from the iconic Victoria Falls, you’ll find the peaceful hideaway of Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel. It’s the ideal place to unwind, with 16 thatch-roofed suites featuring plush furnishings and modern design. Relax in the elegant gardens or have a glass of wine on the patio overlooking a watering hole.

Stanley & Livingstone is set in the Victoria Falls Private Reserve, which is home to more than 200 species of birds. You can spot the big five on a morning or evening game drive, take a walking safari and even go ziplining or horse riding. This kid-friendly lodge is perfect for family adventures, but it’s also a wonderful spot for a one-of-a-kind honeymoon.

Best Places to Stay in Hwange National Park

 

The largest park in Zimbabwe, Hwange is one of Africa’s ultimate wildlife havens. Famous for its massive herds of elephants and home to over 100 mammals and 400 different bird species. The park takes part in conservation projects that protects a wide range of wildlife and now has what’s thought to be one of the largest wild dog populations.

3. Wilderness Little Makalolo

With just six tented suites and a prime location beside a busy watering hole, Wilderness Little Makalolo offers an incredibly intimate safari experience. Set in the Makalolo Concession within Hwange National Park, this camp is an oasis of comfort and privacy, making it one of the best safari lodges in Zimbabwe for couples.

Here you can sip your morning coffee as you watch elephants drink from the watering hole, then set out on a game drive to see giraffes, leopards, zebras, hyenas, wildebeests and more. Return to camp for a scenic sundowner and a lantern-lit dinner, or huddle around the fire pit to share stories of the day’s adventures.

4. Somalisa Camp

On an average day at Somalisa Camp, you might wake up to the sound of a distant lion’s roar, stumble upon elephants quenching their thirst and enjoy a surprise lunch in the bush. Located on an acacia island in the heart of Hwange, it’s an exclusive place to enjoy the majestic wildlife of Zimbabwe.

After returning from a game drive or walking safari, you can relax in your luxury canvas tent with sweeping views of the savannah, then head to the elegant dining space. Set under a verdant tree canopy, it’s the perfect place to indulge in a cocktail and gourmet cuisine.

Somalisa Camp is solar powered and recycles 80% of its water through a purifying system, making it one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly safari camps in Zimbabwe.

5. Wilderness Linkwasha Camp

Close to the legendary Ngambo Plains, Wilderness Linkwasha Camp boasts nine luxury tents and lovely common areas including a swimming pool, winter lounge and library. Its prime location provides an outstanding safari experience, complete with cheetahs, buffalos, hippos, elephants and antelope.

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This classic African safari camp blends traditional style with contemporary flair, creating the perfect combination of old and new. In addition to game drives and walking safaris, you can visit a nearby village to learn about the local culture. Sleep out on the Star Bed, an elevated platform overlooking a famous watering hole, for a truly memorable night.

Best Place to Stay in Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve

 

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is a remote and hugely important wildlife reserve. The reserve spans massive areas of land that stretches from South Africa’s Kruger all the way along the border of Mozambique. Along with the incredible wildlife it’s possible to explore ancient San rock art which is over 2000 years old.

6. Singita Pamushana Lodge

Perched atop a sandstone hill in the private Malilangwe Reserve, Singita Pamushana Lodge is a haven of sustainability and respect for the environment – not to mention luxury. This lodge partners with the Malilangwe Trust to protect biodiversity and local communities, as well as endangered species like black and white rhinos.

Singita’s commitment to nature can be seen in its very design; tree trunks were left to sprout through the decks rather than being cut down during construction. The lodge is exquisitely modern while staying true to local roots.

Singita’s expert trackers will help you find lions, buffalo, zebras and more. Complement your safari with fishing, stargazing and cultural excursions. Singita can also be combined with a trip to Sabi Sands, one of Africa’s top game reserves, in neighbouring South Africa.

Best Place to Stay in Mana Pools

 

Mana Pools is an UNESCO-protected national park in the wilderness of northern Zimbabwe. Mana, meaning four, refers to the four pools that form in the flood plains of the Zambezi river. These pools, along with the other pristine diverse landscapes within the park, attract masses of wildlife for incredible safari experiences.

7. Wilderness Chikwenya

At the place where the Sapi and Zambezi rivers meet, you’ll find the sumptuous Wilderness Chikwenya. Set in a private reserve on the edge of Mana Pools National Park, it’s surrounded by forests and floodplains where all kinds of wildlife congregate.

This lodge is renowned for its walking safaris, but its privileged riverfront location means you can also explore the area by boat and enjoy spectacular fishing. Expect to see lions, elephants, crocodiles, hippos, zebras, leopards and more.

Wilderness Chikwenya has seven spacious suites, two of which are ideal for families. It’s one of the best lodges in Zimbabwe for a romantic escape or luxurious honeymoon, promising exclusive access to this remarkable wilderness area. You can even arrange for a private picnic on the beautiful Chikwenya Island.

Whatever you want from your Zimbabwe tour, our team of expert travel designers are ready to help.