Zimbabwe things to see and do

Tourist offices

Zimbabwe Tourism Office UK

Zimbabwe House, 429 Strand, London , WC2R 0JR, Zimbabwe
Tel: 0207 836 7755
www.zimbabwetourism.net

Things to see and do

Bulawayo

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, is a major commercial, industrial and tourist centre. The city is rich in historical associations and is the home of the National Museum. Nearby are the ancient Khami ruins, while to the south is the Rhodes Matopos National Park, notable for its exotic formations of huge granite boulders. Dams with excellent fishing, caves with rock paintings, Cecil Rhodes' grave and a well-stocked game park make this area popular with visitors.

Canoeing safari

Apart from the traditional way of driving along the parks' game viewing roads, canoeing and boat safaris are popular alternatives. At Lake Kariba, which has abundant elephant, buffalo, rhino and smaller game living on its banks, boats can be hired for a day or for over a week. Canoeing safaris ranging from three to 10 days are especially popular between April and November along the Zambezi River past the Mana Pools flood plains.

Eastern Highlands

The string of mountains and the lush countryside in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands, which form a natural border with neighbouring Mozambique, are particularly sought after by walkers and trekkers. Climbing Zimbabwe's highest mountain, Mt Nyangani, takes around one hour 30 minutes. The World's View offers a panoramic view across northern Zimbabwe. From here, a steep footpath leads to the road to Nyanga village with its English gardens, village common and church.

Freshwater fishing

Zimbabwe offers excellent freshwater fishing, the best locations being Lake Kariba (famous for its tigerfish), the Zambezi River above the Victoria Falls (known for its giant catfish), the streams of the Eastern Highlands and the many lakes.

Great Zimbabwe National Monument

A holiday in Zimbabwe would be incomplete without a visit to the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, the largest complex of ruins in Africa south of the pyramids in Egypt. The Main Enclosure, or Temple, has walls over 9m (30ft) tall, 4m (14ft) thick and over 228m (250 yards) in circumference, giving approximately 485,521 cubic metres (635,000 cubic ft) of hand-trimmed mortarless stonework. The remains are what is left of a city-state that flourished between the 13th and 15th centuries, trading in gold. Lake Kyle National Park is not far away; there is a well-organised campsite close to the lake.

Harare

Formerly Salisbury, Harare, the capital, is Zimbabwe's commercial and industrial centre and also the usual starting point for any visit. It is a clean and sophisticated city, characterised by flowering trees, colourful parks and contemporary architecture. Local sightseeing includes the modern museum and art gallery, the Robert McIlwaine Recreational Park, which has a lake and game reserve, the Lion & Cheetah Park, the Larvon Bird Gardens and the landscaped gardens of aloes and cycads at Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens. Due to its pleasant climate, Harare is known as the 'Sunshine City'.

Hwange National Park

Formerly Wankie National Park, Hwange National Park is one of Zimbabwe's largest parks, both in size, 14,620 sq km (5,644 sq miles), and in the variety of animals and birds that may be seen. Hwange is one of the last of the great elephant sanctuaries in Africa, with over 40,000 living in the national park.

Lake Kariba

Situated in the northwest of the country on the Zambian border, Lake Kariba covers 7,770 sq km (3,000 sq miles) and holds a million gallons of water. Game can be viewed from the comfort of various safari camps, or from well-appointed cruise vessels and self-contained safari-crafts.

Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools National Park is one of Zimbabwe's most beautiful national parks, occupying 2,196 sq km (848 sq miles) of forest along the shores of the Zambezi River. The animal population includes hippo, elephant, rhino, buffalo and many types of antelope. Game-viewing on foot is allowed. The birdlife along the river and in the bush is particularly prolific. It is possible to fish for tigerfish, bream and the giant vundu.

Matobo National Park

Located close to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second major city, Matobo National Park is noted for its spectacular granite rock formations and its wealth of ancient rock paintings. Cecil Rhodes' tomb can be visited at Malindidzimu (View of the World). The Nswatugi and Pomongwe caves are worth visiting.

Nyanga National Park

Situated in the mountain range that covers the eastern part of Zimbabwe, Nyanga National Park is an area of high grasslands, evergreen forests, waterfalls, cliffs and lakeside cottages. Trout fishing is very popular and the trout hatchery is well worth a visit.

Play golf

There are around 40 golf clubs, most of which have 18-hole courses. The Eastern Highlands have the highest concentration of courses. The Zimbabwe Open is an annual competition attracting world-class players.

Victoria Falls

Made known to the wider world by the famous British explorer Dr David Livingstone in 1855, the Victoria Falls, which form a natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, are one of Africa’s best-known natural wonders and one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls. The falls, which Livingstone named after Queen Victoria, were known to native Kololo tribes in the 18th century as Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’, and the spray that they generate can be seen for miles around. The cascade is formed as the calm, 2km-wide (1.2 miles) Zambezi River spills out of a flat basalt lip and plunges into the gorge below. At their highest, the Victoria Falls drop a distance of 108m (345ft), almost twice as far as the Niagara Falls.

As much as 546,000,000 cubic metres (713,725,490 cubic yards) per minute plummet over the edge at the height of the flood season. The 111m-high (364 ft) Victoria Falls Bridge, commissioned by British statesman Cecil Rhodes in 1900 as a railway crossing, is now a popular place for bungee jumping, and can be crossed by foot for excellent views of the falls and the winding blue-green waters of the Zambezi River. White-water rafting through the Zambezi Gorge is at its wildest between July and August. Canoeing and kayaking can be practised on the more subdued river stretches above the falls. It is also possible to see an aerial view of the falls from a Micro-light or fixed-wing plane. The area around the falls is a prime game-viewing location.

Zambezi National Park

Not far from the Victoria Falls is the Zambezi National Park, where sable antelopes and other exotic animals graze in a parkland setting.

Edited by Jane Duru
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