Zimbabwe: Diamond in the Rough

Zimbabwe is a landlocked southern African country, neighbouring Botswana in the west, Mozambique in the east, South Africa in the south, and Zambia in the north. It is smack-bang in the middle of some of the most spectacular natural attractions in the region, but it has not always had it easy. With a rocky political past and a failed currency, this scenically astounding country has not had nearly as much travel exposure as it deserves. From mighty rivers, to wooded forests, giant granite boulders, sheer cliff faces, and semi-arid Kalahari landscapes; the country is home to some exquisite animal and birdlife. The safari value of Zimbabwe shines brightly amid the history of political and cultural unrest, just like a diamond in the rough. There are a handful of inimitable national parks and reserves, which suit both adventurous souls and luxury seekers, and with Vic Falls on its northern border, Kruger down below, and Chobe in the west, there really is no reason to miss it!

Mana Pools National Park

This is the place of the two-legged elephants, where Africa’s largest land mammals can be seen standing on their two back legs with their trunks reaching up to grasp the luscious fruit from the towering trees. It is an astonishing sight to behold, as the elephants are dwarfed by the monstrous figs, mahoganies, ebonies, and acacias, creating an image of a natural cathedral with light pouring through the canopies.

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Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park has a world-famous population of elephants, considered to be a global stronghold. It is a very large national park of over 14 000 square kilometres, only an hour south of Victoria Falls in the northwestern corner of Zimbabwe. It used to be a designated hunting ground for a chief, and was proclaimed a national park in 1929. Its name – Hwange – has evolved from Wankie, which was the name of a chief, and it is certainly one of the country’s most well known safari destinations.

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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The world-famous Victoria Falls, named by David Livingstone after Queen Victoria, is one of the most phenomenal natural attractions and popular destinations in Southern Africa. Its indigenous Tonga name, Mosi-ua-Tunya, means The Smoke That Thunders, which is an apt description for the incredible mass of falling water between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Considered the largest waterfall in the world for its combined width (1.7km) and height (108m), Victoria Falls is one of the 7 Natural Wonders, and a World Heritage Site.

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Gonarezhou National Park

For anyone who knows Zimbabwe and has visited many times before, Gonarezhou is the place that stands out as the most enchanting, pristine, and unchartered of all the Zimbabwean parks and reserves. It is located on the southeastern border of the country, sharing transfrontier borders with Mozambique and South Africa, and it is the second largest park in Zimbabwe at over 5000 square kilometres. This scenically phenomenal area is located a distance away from the safari hotspot in the north western part of the country where Hwange and Victoria Falls is located, so it remains a special and undiscovered place.

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