Zimbabwe is a unique country with a lot to offer. Its rich culture and varied landscape has something to suit every traveler.
For a remote getaway, complete with exotic wildlife and breathtaking scenery, visit one of Zimbabwe’s breathtaking national parks. In the parks, you’ll find a mixture of rivers, waterfalls, savannah, forests, and endless greenery.
If you prefer an exciting city adventure, take a trip to one of Zimbabwe’s biggest cities – Harare or Bulawayo – where you can learn about culture and history through restaurants, museums, and more.
Here are the top 6 destinations to visit in Zimbabwe:
The Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Built between the 11th and 15th centuries, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins are a true piece of history and outstanding architecture. These ruins are the largest collection in Africa, south of the Sahara. They have granite walls, impressive turrets, and winding stairways, all surrounded by lush greenery. Take a day trip to the ruins and have lunch at the picturesque designated picnic area. Make sure to visit the local museum, where you can see remnants of ancient pottery and brass ornaments that were found at the site.
The Great Zimbabwe Ruins are a 4-hour-drive from Harare, and on the way to Johannesburg, South Africa. From the closest town, Masvingo, you can take a taxi or a combi to the ruins. Entry to the ruins costs around $25 and opening hours are usually from 8 AM until 5 PM Monday-Friday, and Saturdays until noon (although hours can vary). If you want to stay in the area, the nearby Great Zimbabwe Hotel is only a 20-minute walk away. The hotel boasts spacious rooms, manicured gardens, and delicious, traditional meals.
Hwange National Park
The largest park in Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park, offers over 14,000 square kilometers of diverse terrain. It is home to over 500 species of wildlife, and has one of the largest elephant populations in the world. The park is fabulous for game viewing, fishing, and walking along wilderness trails.
Hwange is split into different camps, each with their own amenities, including bars, grocery stores, and restaurants. In the Main Camp, there are chalets, lodges, cottages, and campsites, so you can stay close to the action.
To get to the park, take the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road, and turn off at the 264.5 kilometer peg. Then take the 15km tar road to the park boundary.
Previously known as Salisbury, Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe. It contains many old buildings and museums that preserve the city’s cultural heritage. Places to visit include the National Gallery, the Queen Victoria Museum, the National Botanic Gardens, and the Harare City Library. The city also has many green, open spaces and natural woodlands, which are home to birds and wild animals of all kinds.
There’s no shortage of entertainment in Harare. There is a vibrant nightlife, as well as many restaurants and outdoor cafes that specialize in both traditional and westernized foods. Visit the Avondale Flea Market to experience the local culture and buy souvenirs to take back home.
It’s possible to get a direct flight to Harare’s airport from Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and more. There are also trains and buses into the city. Once you have arrived in the city, it is highly recommended to get around by car. Alternatively, there are taxis and minibuses with frequent services between the city center and the suburbs. There is a five-star hotel inside the city, The Meikles Hotel, as well as a number of three and four-star hotels, all offering quality accommodation. You can also choose to stay in a guesthouse, such as the Malcolm Lodge or Kingsmead Guesthouse.
Mutarazi Falls, located in Rhodes Inyanga National Park, is one of the tallest waterfalls in world. Surrounded by forests and gorgeous open plains, the area is inhabited by a spectacular variety of animals, including: buffalos, reedbucks, kudus, and even rare samango monkeys. Take a breathtaking view of the falls from one of the established viewpoints at the site.
You can visit the falls all year round, thanks to the exceptionally pleasant temperatures. During the summer, which is Zimbabwe’s rainy season, the falls are even more magnificent. The best way to get to the falls is to drive from Pungwe Falls, which is 11.5 kilometers away. There is a car park just 600 meters from the main Mutarazi Falls viewpoint.
Mana Pools National Park
If you want to see the Zambezi River and its accompanying wildlife, Mana Pools National Park is the place to visit. This remote and peaceful location is home to both large mammals and aquatic wildlife. The area features four large pools separated from the Zamzebi River, products of the river’s change in course over thousands of years. The largest pool is known for hippos and crocodiles, as well as herds of elephants that converge to take a drink. Tourists can walk alone, without guides, along the old river terraces, due to good visibility.
To get to the park, you will need to drive down the main Harare/Chirundu road until the bottom of the Zambezi Escarpment, and then take a 70km dirt road into Mana Pools’ Nyamepi Camp. There are a number of lodges and campsites within the park.
The second largest city in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo isn’t short of attractions and experiences. The city has many historic features, including colonial architecture and Victorian buildings that are maintained as heritage sites. The streets are lined with trees and there are plenty of attractive parks.
The famous Railway Museum is sure to delight visitors of all ages. Visit the National Art Gallery and stop in at its small café, ‘Studio Nosh’, which serves great coffee and homemade cakes. For fine-dining, try the restaurant ‘26 on Park’. Here, the chefs create seasonal masterpieces including Nyanga trout and game venison pie. It also has a cocktail bar, making it the perfect location for a great night out.
Bulawayo is an ideal base for traveling to the Matopas National Park, which is less than an hour’s drive away. To get to the city, you can take a train or minibus from Victoria Falls or a bus from Johannesburg. There are luxury coach services from Harare, too. If decide to visit Victoria Falls make sure to stay the night at the Amadeus Garden Guesthouse to get the full experience. There is a small airport in Bulawayo, with flights to and from Johannesburg and Victoria Falls.
When planning a trip, it’s important to note that Zimbabwe’s national currency is U.S. dollars. Secure mobile payment methods, such as paying via ewallet, are particularly convenient while traveling, as they support multiple currencies, and transactions can be made using just your mobile phone, in a few easy steps.
Whether you are looking to book your next city adventure, or you are dreaming of a remote getaway, Zimbabwe should be your destination of choice. Use Direct Pay Online’s Market Place to book accommodation and transportation today, and enjoy your stay.