Update: Jun 2005 In spite of the bad press Zimbabwe is the perfect place to go on a Safari Experts Excursion - don't be afraid to go, the people are warm and friendly and will welcome you! The wildlife is excellent, and there are very few other tourists there!
Zimbabwe is another landlocked country of 150,000sq miles - about the size
of California. With a population of nearly 12 million, it has a diverse
economy - mining, tobacco, tourism and it is still self sufficient in agriculture,
largely left over from colonial days. The main park areas are Matusadonna,
along the South shore of Lake Kariba, Mana Pools on the South banks of the
Zambezi, overlooking Zambia, Hwange and Victoria Falls. There are many excellent
lodges for mass tourism, and small camps offering a more personalized experience.
Guides in Zimbabwe are particularly well informed. Additional adventures
such as canoeing on the Zambezi, tiger fishing, elephant back safaris, the
worlds best white water rafting and bunjee jumping make Zimbabwe an exciting
destination. The weather is best in their winter, May to August, and on
until October is the best time to be there.
Safaris that include Zimbabwe typically will include some time in
Zambia, Botswana and or South Africa.
Tiger Fishing on the Zambezi River - Fly or Bait
Victoria Falls: This incredible spectacle is rightly one of the natural
wonders of the world. Twice as wide as Niagara, and half as high again,
they cannot fail to inspire. Peak water in April can make them hard to see,
and in very dry years by November the flow can be minimal. The view from
the Zambian side should also be seen as it offers a very different perspective.
There are "Flights of the Angels" over the Falls in helicopters
and microlights. The nearby bridge offers the worlds highest natural bunjee
jump and the start of the best white water rafting on earth - 22 cataracts
in one day!
Cheetah family: The worlds fastest land mammal can attain speeds up to
70 mph for a short while. Though not hard to find, ironically they are threatened
by tourism as they are daytime hunters and tourists are on the look out
for signs of them hunting, and often disturb them. Specially adapted in
the spine, head and lungs for high speed and killing, they may have litters
of up to five, though typically only two will survive.
Elephant feeding in the Zambezi, near Mana Pools: Canoeing along the Zambezi
is a truly unique way to view wildlife. Especially during the drier and
hotter months, vast numbers of elephant, buffalo and antelope come down
to the river to drink. In addition to the superb bird life, huge numbers
of hippos and crocodile are seen. The canoes are stable and guides are skilled
in avoiding potential danger on this thrilling experience. The sunsets and
sunrises on the river are without equal. Trips may be up to five days, camping
at varying levels of comfort on the banks of the Zambezi.
Lion with its Buffalo kill at Matusadona: In spite of the Cape Buffalos'
formidable protection system, they are a favorite prey for lion, as they
have slow acceleration and will feed a large pride. Lion prides are plentiful
and easily seen in the Matusadona area. Lake Kariba has risen to record
levels in 99 thanks to excellent rains. Several excellent small camps service
this area, including Musango, Sanyati and Kiplings. A superb way to visit
is to stay on the Water Wilderness Houseboats, permanently moored in inlets
along the shore, and sit on your verandah and watch as the game comes in
Aerial view of Rukomechi - Mana Pools - on the South
bank of the Zambezi River: Rukomechi is one of several excellent remote camps on the banks of
the Zambezi, both on the Zimbabwe and Zambian sides of the river. The river
itself provides a focal point for vast amounts of game, especialy as the
dry season approaches, in addition to the excellent hippos, crocs and birdlife
- not to mention the superb tiger fishing! The Zambazi's unlimited power
constantly changes the shore line, providing an unwelcome challenge to campowners!