Matobo, Matobo National Park


Best time to travel: June-Oct
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$$

  • Area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing 22 miles
  • The hills were formed over 2 billion years ago with granite being forced to the surface, this has eroded to produce smooth “whaleback dwalas” and broken kopjes, strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation
  • Largely communal land and a small proportion of commercial farmland
  • Part of the national park is set aside as a game park, which has been stocked with game including the white rhinoceros

Great Zimbabwe, Masvingo Province


Best time to travel: July-Oct
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$$

  • Ruined city which was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country’s Late Iron Age
  • Construction on the city began in the 11th century and continued until it was abandoned in the 15th century
  • The edifices were erected by the ancestral Shona
  • Believed to have served as a royal palace for the local monarch
  • The modern independent state was named after the ruined city
  • The word great distinguishes the site from the many hundreds of small ruins, now known as zimbabwes

Victoria Falls


Best time to travel: Feb-May
Walk difficulty: Easy
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Settlement began in 1901 when the possibility of using the waterfall for hydro-electric power was explored, and expanded when the railway from Bulawayo reached the town shortly before the Victoria Falls Bridge was opened in 1905, connecting Zimbabwe to what is now Zambia
  • It became the principal tourism centre for the Falls, experiencing economic booms from the 1930s to the 1960s and in the 1980s and early 1990s

Hwange National Park, Matabeleland North

Best time to travel: Sept-Oct
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$$

  • Largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe, the park is close to the edge of the Kalahari desert, a region with little water and very sparse, xerophile vegetation, but seasonal wetlands form grasslands in this area
  • The Park hosts over 100 mammal and 400 bird species, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores
  • All Zimbabwe’s specially protected animals are to be found in Hwange and it is the only protected area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in small numbers
  • Other major predators include the lion, whose distribution and hunting in Hwange is strongly related to the pans and waterholes

Mana Pools National Park

Best time to travel: Aug-early Nov
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$$

  • Wildlife conservation area and national park in northern Zimbabwe, it is a region where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season
  • As the lakes gradually dry up and recede, the region attracts many large animals in search of water, making it one of Africa’s most renowned game-viewing regions
  • It is home to a wide range of mammals, over 350 bird species, and aquatic wildlife, and is one of the world’s wildest and best preserved natural ecological areas

Gonarezhou National Park, Chiredzi

Best time to travel: May-Oct
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$$

  • National park located in a relatively remote corner of Masvingo Province
  • Owing to its vast size, rugged terrain and its location away from main tourist routes, large tracts of Gonarezhou remain pristine wilderness
  • Gonarezhou is the country’s second-largest national park, after Hwange National Park
  • The northeastern end of Gonarezhou is located within the Zambezian and mopane woodlands, while the southwestern end is located within the Southern Africa bushveld ecoregion

Matusadona National Park

Best time to travel: June-Oct
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$$

  • Matusadona was proclaimed, in 1975, a National Park, covering flat plains and rugged mountains, and protecting a diverse flora and fauna
  • Its area encompasses a combination of pristine and rugged wilderness, which before the Kariba Dam was built and Lake Kariba created, was very inaccessible
  • The creation of the lake caused profound ecological changes
  • In particular, the availability of grazing on the lakeshore has contributed to an increase in the populations of large mammals in the park, especially those of elephant and Cape buffalo
  • Other populations include large grazers such as waterbuck, common zebra, and impala to thrive, attracting the associated predators