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ZIMBABWE

ZIMBABWE

Compare Our Adventures

Click 'Select to Compare' to see a side-by-side comparison of up to adventures below—including
activity level, pricing, traveler excellence rating, trip highlights, and more

Trip Itinerary

See a detailed overview of the types of experiences you'll have while on this safari in southern Africa.

10:16 | 1699 views
37

17 DAYS FROM $5,195 • $ 306 / DAY
Small Group Adventure

Trip Itinerary

See a detailed overview of the adventures that await you on our Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa travel experience.

09:15 | 328 views
0

18 DAYS FROM $5,695 • $ 317 / DAY
Small Group Adventure

Trip Itinerary

Track your journey through five countries and see what awaits you, from Chobe to the Serengeti.

09:12 | 250 views
0

34 DAYS FROM $9,890 • $ 291 / DAY
Small Group Adventure

Compare Adventures

Find the Adventure That’s Right for You

Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

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Recommended Viewing

Watch this video showcasing what makes this country so unforgettable

Trip Experience

Trip Experience

Experience A Day in the Life of a village in Zimbabwe, where you’ll help the women with their daily chores and learn a lesson or two from the smiling students at their school. Plus, meet a village chief, and set out on up to 19 game-viewing drives.

09:14 |   43783 views   
158

Recommended Videos

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Zimbabwe: Month-by-Month

There are pros and cons to visiting a destination during any time of the year. Find out what you can expect during your ideal travel time, from weather and climate, to holidays, festivals, and more.

Zimbabwe in January - March

January to March in Zimbabwe is the peak rainy season, leading to thicker vegetation and lower temperatures. Almost daily, clear morning skies will close into afternoon thunderstorms. Higher humidity can make the afternoon high temperatures more uncomfortable. Though it's harder to spot big game, many animals give birth at this time, making it easier to spot newborns. Due to plentiful vegetation bird-watching is at its most bountiful. Also, as this is low season, the dollar will go farther—yet certain parks and attractions might be closed.

Victoria Falls is also more closely accessible, as you can witness its might at mid-level without too much spray. 

Must See

With the rains and an increased food supply, many bird species—upwards of 600—migrate through Zimbabwe during the first three months of the year. For veteran bird-watchers, this is a great time for a birding holiday. Among the most highly-sought-after species during this time are the African Pitta and the Taita Falcon. 

Watch this film to discover more about Zimbabwe

Unscripted in Victoria Falls

Let Trip Experience Leader Nosipho Bhebhe show you more of Victoria Falls beyond the itinerary in this video as she leads you to a vulture park, snake park, and more.

08:19 | 1456 views
6

Zimbabwe in April - June

After the rainy season, Zimbabwe's climate becomes much more comfortable as humidity is lower, and temperatures begin to cool down through June. With clear blue skies almost daily, the time is ripe for spotting big game as they congregate around various watering holes and rivers. Though tourism has picked up, the parks are still not crowded due to their size. You can also enjoy fewer mosquitoes because of lower humidity. 

At this time, Victoria Falls is at full power, which can make its mighty flow harder to enjoy with increased spray. 

Holidays & Events

  • April 18: Independence Day
  • Late April-Early May: Harare International Festival of the Arts
  • May 25: Africa Day

Must See

Many big game species have given birth in the previous months, so many newborn animals are out and about exploring the world. The plentiful vegetation offers food and nutrition for the newborns, so it's not uncommon to see a herd of elephants with a little one in tow. 

Watch this film to discover more about Zimbabwe

Unscripted in Victoria Falls

Let Trip Experience Leader Nosipho Bhebhe show you more of Victoria Falls beyond the itinerary in this video as she leads you to a vulture park, snake park, and more.

08:19 | 1456 views
6

Zimbabwe in July - September

The busiest wildlife season of the year, the dry climate between July and September makes for the most bountiful game-viewing—the man-made watering holes in Hwange National Park create stunning concentrations of wildlife. Average temperatures climb to highs in September of around 90 degrees. Nights and mornings will also become cooler due to the more extreme temperatures, so it's advisable to pack warm clothing for sleeping. 

Victoria Falls is beginning to calm down—though still with a moderate flow. This is the best time to witness its power as the spray has partially subsided, making most of the waterfall visible. The Zambezi River also has perfect water levels for rafting, as they are not too high or too low. 

Holidays & Events

  • Late August/early September: Zimbabwe Fashion Week
  • Mid-August: Zimbabwe International Film Festival
  • All of August: Chibuku Neshamwari Dance Festival
  • Late September: Annual game count in Hwange National Park

Must See

During this time of year, Victoria Falls is at its most stunning. The spray, which comes from the typically thunderous water flow, is almost non-existent. This gives viewers the best opportunity to take in the fall's splendor. 

Watch this film to discover more about Zimbabwe

Unscripted in Victoria Falls

Let Trip Experience Leader Nosipho Bhebhe show you more of Victoria Falls beyond the itinerary in this video as she leads you to a vulture park, snake park, and more.

08:19 | 1456 views
6

Zimbabwe in October

October is the month for elephants at Hwange National Park. As the dry season peaks, game is easily viewed as animals search for whatever water is left. The temperature is also highest, though as a dry heat it's easily manageable with good hydration. 

Must See

As the dry season is in full swing, the air is typically filled with dust—this makes the sunsets and sunrises in Zimbabwe especially beautiful, creating rich red and orange hues. 

Watch this film to discover more about Zimbabwe

Unscripted in Victoria Falls

Let Trip Experience Leader Nosipho Bhebhe show you more of Victoria Falls beyond the itinerary in this video as she leads you to a vulture park, snake park, and more.

08:19 | 1456 views
6

Zimbabwe in November & December

As the rainy season in Zimbabwe begins in November, the landscape comes alive with lush vegetation—thrilling thunderstorms bring downpours in the afternoon. Many animals give birth around this time, and migratory birds begin to flow in from other parts of the continent. 

Holidays & Events

  • Mid-November: Jikinya Traditional Dance Festival
  • December 25: Christmas

Must See

This is a great time to see newborn wildebeest as they learn to walk, bucking adorably on their new legs. Newborn impala are especially cute, with their over-sized ears flopping as they learn to walk and leap from their parents. 

Related Video:

Unscripted in Victoria Falls

Let Trip Experience Leader Nosipho Bhebhe show you more of Victoria Falls beyond the itinerary in this video as she leads you to a vulture park, snake park, and more.

08:19 | 1456 views
6

Average Monthly Temperatures

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Zimbabwe Interactive Map

Click on map markers below to view information about top Zimbabwe experiences

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*Destinations shown on this map are approximations of exact locations

Hwange National Park

Deep in the bush country of Zimbabwe’s western region, Hwange National Park is the country’s largest park. Just a short distance from small Zimbabwean settlements, a whole host of animals—including wildebeest, impala, eland, buffalo, lion, leopard, antelope, and more—thrive in the park’s diverse teak forest, savannah grassland, and palm forest habitats. Hwange also has one of the largest elephant populations—estimated at 40,000—and more than 400 bird species.

Explore Hwange National Park with O.A.T. on:

Tented Camp Experience

Your lodging serves as a home base between game-viewing excursions, so staying at a location that's actually in the wilderness maximizes wildlife spotting and gives you the true safari experience. Staying at a tented camp in the African bush, you can fully immerse yourself in nature. Imagine waking up to the roar of lions, watching the sun rise over the vast savannah plains, or perhaps enjoying unexpected encounters with animals passing through. Many tented camps feature open dining areas or fire pits where travelers can congregate, enjoy spectacular views, and listen to the sounds of nature.

Get the tented camp experience with O.A.T. on:

Victoria Falls

Its African name, Mosi-oa-Tunya means “the smoke that thunders,” and after just one visit to the thundering falls, you’ll see it’s no wonder why many consider it one of the world's Seven Natural Wonders. Victoria Falls is the world’s largest curtain of water by measure of combined height and width. The clouds of mist cast off during its peak floods—which can force 1.4 billion gallons of water per minute over its edge—can be seen from 50 miles away. Hikes through the area’s many walking trails, lined with a variety of flowering species, reveal beautiful surrounding ebony and fig trees; a helicopter ride above the falls provides breathtaking views; and, the sheer beauty of the falls themselves is simply unforgettable.

Victoria Falls

Soak in the beauty of Victoria Falls in this film illuminating the wildlife, scenery, and outdoor adventures that attract thrill-seeking visitors.

Courtesy of Tom Varley
05:01 | 919 views
3

Visit Victoria Falls with O.A.T. on:

Meet the People of Zimbabwe

Whether in Hwange or Victoria Falls, no trip to Zimbabwe is complete without getting a sense of what life is like in a small village. For a look forward into the country’s future, visit a local school to interact with students and teachers. To get a sense of Zimbabwean social customs, meet with a village leader and discuss the local resident’s customs, economy, and family life. If you really want to get your hands dirty—literally—join in and help out on the villagers’ farm, getting a true feel for how Zimbabweans tend to their animals, plant and harvest their crops, and go about their daily lives.

Meet the people of Zimbabwe with O.A.T. on:

Cruise Along the Zambezi River

Referred to as the "River of Good Omens" by Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, the Zambezi is Africa's fourth longest river, whose waters feed the spectacular Victoria Falls. Its banks attract animals in search of water—including zebra, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, and lion—and crocodiles and hippos can be seen navigating the waters or basking along the shores. Whether you take a scenic wildlife-spotting cruise, or enjoy dinner and drinks as you float down the river, exploring the waterways of the Zambezi is an experience many travelers prefer not to leave Zimbabwe without.

Take a cruise along the Zambezi River with O.A.T. on:

Lake Kariba Cruise

The world’s largest man-made lake, Lake Kariba is home to tigerfish, Nile crocodiles, and hippos. While water birds like fish eagles and cormorants also line its shores, bigger game like elephants, lions, cheetahs, and buffalo come to the reservoir for a drink—making the lake an ideal location for game spotting during water safaris.

With its scenic views of surrounding mountains and legendary sunsets, Lake Kariba has become a popular center for boating, fishing, and game-viewing. The lake boats glide past islands and bays teeming with wildlife, the Zambezi escarpment mountains that rise up along the Zambezi River, and Matusadona National Park—a reserve protecting local wildlife, including several rhinoceros.

Cruise Lake Kariba with O.A.T. on:

Featured Reading

Immerse yourself in Zimbabwe with this selection of articles, recipes, and more

ARTICLE

A look back on what happened to Cecil, why he was such a celebrity, and memories of an encounter with the lion from an O.A.T. traveler.

Cecil the Lion

World outrage … and an O.A.T. traveler’s fond memories

by John Bregoli, from Dispatches

Most people know the story of “Cecil,” the famous lion who was killed outside of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Here it is again in a nutshell: This past June, American dentist Walter Palmer paid about $55,000 to professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst for the privilege of killing a lion. Hunting at night with a spotlight, they spotted a large lion in Hwange. To lure the lion outside the sanctuary, they tied a dead animal behind their vehicle. Once it was outside the park’s boundaries, they shot it with a bow and arrow—wounding but not killing it. They tracked the lion for about 40 hours and finished him off with a rifle. When the lion was later found by park authorities, it was beheaded, skinned, and its GPS tracking collar gone.

Once the media picked up the story, the incident sparked global outrage—most of it directed at Palmer. It also led to ongoing discussions about the ethics and business of big-game hunting. But while laws were apparently broken regarding permits and quotas on the land where the lion was killed, such “baiting” is legal in Zimbabwe, even on the edge of a protected reserve. And while Palmer is certainly the villain of the moment, he is just the latest in a long line of trophy-seeking lion hunters.

Cecil—the latest victim in a dwindling lion population

According to National Geographic, 2,000 years ago more than a million lions roamed the Earth. The current figure may be as low as 20,000—mostly in Africa. What happened? Like so many species, the decline of lions like Cecil is largely the result of loss of habitat due to human encroachment. But that’s not the only reason. In the 19th century—when there were still about a million lions in the world—pith-helmeted British colonials began slaughtering  lions and other exotic African wildlife by the tens of thousands (Theodore Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway did their part, too). By the 1940s, there were about 450,000 lions left in Africa, and by the 1990s, just 50,000. But the killing of an individual lion never before sparked such outrage.

What made Cecil so special?
First of all he had a name, which is unusual for lions in the wild (although the name “Cecil” was a curious choice, since most Zimbabweans do not wish to be reminded of British imperialist Cecil Rhodes). More importantly, Cecil was the “ultimate” lion. An enormous 13-year-old male with a long, shaggy black mane, he really did stand out in a crowd. And he was unafraid of humans. Becoming accustomed to people over the years, Cecil would allow vehicles to approach him (often within 30 feet) for photographs.

Memories of Cecil from an O.A.T. traveler
People always seem to remember their celebrity encounters with Cecil—including many O.A.T. travelers. Ronna Tom, a 20-time O.A.T. traveler from Aiea, Hawaii, recalls a memorable moment with one of the world’s best known big cats …

“It was my privilege to observe this magnificent lion for two days while on a safari in 2010. At the end of the day and finally reaching the border of our campsite we noticed a lone Land Rover parked on the side of the road. Getting closer we saw that it was Cecil in all his glory having a late afternoon nap. This huge black-maned lion was stretched out and ignoring all the hushed chatter coming from our vehicles. He would occasionally slip us a sideward glance, yawn, stretch his body, roll over, sleep, and wake up with a curious stare but never once attempting to challenge us. It was sunset and the amazing golden sun light would fall on his face and at times across his body. For over an hour I was privileged to watch Cecil relaxing and allowing us to see his ‘softer’ side.
It was truly a magical moment of time in his life that he shared with us.”

“My initial reaction upon hearing of his death was one of sadness that something like this could happen to such a beautiful animal … I will always cherish my encounter with Cecil the lion.”

World outrage … and an O.A.T. traveler’s fond memories

Traveler Photos & Videos

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