The 8 most beautiful places to visit in Zimbabwe

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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  • 1. Victoria Falls
  • 2. Lake Kariba
  • 3. The Remains of Great Zimbabwe
  • 4. Harare
  • 5. Hwange National Park
  • 6. Matusadona National Park
  • 7. Matobo Hills
  • 8. Bulawayo

Change of scenery and adventure are guaranteed in Southern Africa with this guide to the 8 most beautiful places to visit in Zimbabwe!

Zimbabwe is not the first Southern African country that comes to mind when it comes to discovering the treasures of this continent. Faster forsaken in favour of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa because of its political situation, it is nevertheless there that the mythical Victoria Falls are located. Its national parks have nothing to envy its neighbours either! You won't miss the much sought-after Big Five, but just to observe them, of course! But then, if there is everything here, what are you waiting for to visit Zimbabwe?

Interestingly, 60% of the country's population is under 25 years old, which contributes to its dynamism, especially in its capital, Harare. This trip will be an opportunity to learn more about the history of Africa and its centuries-old cultures, which were unfortunately consigned to oblivion by European colonization. In short, there is no longer any question of missing out on the cultural wealth of this country, which nevertheless has 16 official languages!

And to give you a foretaste of what awaits you, here are our 8 most beautiful places to visit in Zimbabwe.

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1. Victoria Falls

This is the flagship landscape to visit in Zimbabwe and this is where you are likely to come across the most tourists. Situated on the border with Zambia, a bridge allows you to cross from one country to another. The falls form a 1.7 km long wall where the Zambezi River flows into a 100 metre deep canyon with a crashing sound. The site offers the possibility to walk on the heights of the falls and along the Zambezi River. It is a unique opportunity to observe the rich wildlife and the beauty of the landscape. A loop in the rainforest is highly recommended to appreciate the variety of biodiversity in the area.

Please note that high water occurs in March-April, this is when you will be able to witness the phenomenon of water fog and rainbows.

Read also: The 9 most dangerous places in the world

2. Lake Kariba

Who would believe, discovering the richness of its wildlife and its wild banks, that the lake is artificial? In 1960, it was the construction of a hydroelectric dam by the Frenchman André Coyne that created Lake Kariba.

During the rainy season, the water level rises and floods the surrounding forests as witnessed by the fascinating spectacle of tree trunks emerging from the surface. They then form choice perches for a wide variety of birds and give the place a mystical atmosphere. A trip on the water will allow you to meet some hippos and crocodiles or to fish one of the famous tiger fish.

If you pass by here in September, don't miss the local festival dedicated to the god Nyaminyami. Legend has it that he lived there and that the construction of the dam separated him from his wife, which provoked his anger and triggered a tragic break in the dam.

3. The Remains of Great Zimbabwe

Visiting Zimbabwe and the archaeological remains of this ancient medieval city is an opportunity to wring the neck of certain prejudices inherited from colonization. The site, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is unique in the world. The legend even says that the Queen of Sheba resided there.

The complex bears witness to the Shona culture with a city founded in the 11th century which welcomed up to 10,000 inhabitants in the 14th century. Among the remaining remains are several stone walls that certainly delimited an upper, royal city, walls and ruins of towers. Numerous artefacts, such as sculptures, gold jewellery and pearls, some of which came from Asia, have been found and prove that the city was an important commercial crossroads.

4. Harare

The capitals of Africa are not among the most famous cities in the world when it comes to city-trips. Harare tends to deviate from the rule and is considered one of the most pleasant cities on the continent. Of course, you will still have to take the usual precautions as a tourist. Thus, avoid walking alone at night. However, the capital of Zimbabwe has a few little nuggets to discover.

For starters, the city is pleasant thanks to its many parks and gardens in abundant bloom, a visit to the National Botanical Gardens is also recommended. The Harare Gardens is the largest park in the city, with many activities to do there. It is home to the must-see museum, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, which is a centre for contemporary art with a focus on African artists. It is also a centre for the conservation of the continent's artistic heritage, from the early arts to the present day.

5. Hwange National Park

Visiting Zimbabwe is synonymous with wildlife watching and safaris! The Hwange National Park is one of the largest in the country. It is home to all the mythical mammals of Africa, many of which include, but are not limited to, elephants. The diversity of its fauna is exceptional, monkeys, giraffes, beasts, hyenas or shimmering birds straight out of the Lion King. The same goes for its landscapes which offer superb viewpoints.

The best way to discover it is, of course, to be accompanied by a park ranger. In addition to the 4×4 safaris, other visits are possible. For example, guided night walks offer the possibility to discover nature in a quieter way, away from the crowds.

6. Matusadona National Park

Situated on the shores of Lake Kariba, you should not miss to visit this park with its amazing history. When the artificial lake was created with the construction of the dam, many animals were trapped on islets as a result of the rising waters. The authorities then organized an Operation Noah to evacuate the animals and release them safely. This is how the park came into being.

Today, thanks to the proximity of the lake, the fauna has grown considerably. You will certainly have the opportunity to come across, among others, a certain number of crocodiles, hippopotamuses but also black rhinoceros, an endangered species of which only a few dozen individuals remain. The landscapes are also unforgettable.

7. Matobo Hills

Visiting Zimbabwe is not only about safaris. What makes the reputation of Matobo National Park and its mountains are the balancing rocks, granite rocks of several tons piled up. The balance seems precarious but it has held for several centuries. These natural sculptures already fascinated ancient civilizations. Indeed, many traces of occupation have been discovered there, including rock paintings. The Matobo Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and some of the rocky chaos is considered sacred by the local people who still practice ancestral rites there.

Another interesting fact is that Cecil Rhodes, the British settler who created Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, is buried in the Hills, as is the founder of the Ndebele Kingdom in the 19th century, King Mzilikazi.

8. Bulawayo

It would be a pity to miss Bulayawo during your visit to Zimbabwe. The city is the second largest in the country and was the capital of the Ndebele kingdom founded in the 19th century.

  • Its historic centre is famous because it has preserved traces of European occupation and many colonial style buildings, some of them very surprising, remain, which brings a certain charm.
  • On the cultural level, Bulawayo is also known for its beautiful museums. Indeed, the Museum of Natural History is very rich and its collections are among the most important on the continent. The fauna and the flora of the country are presented there, the various civilizations and the characters who marked the history of Zimbabwe. As a bonus, a gold mine has been reconstructed among many other curiosities.
  • The other famous museum of the city is the railway museum. It retraces the history of colonization and its pharaonic projects, through the presentation of old railway carriages. You can discover the one that crossed the Victoria Falls bridge for the first time or the one of Cecil Rhodes.
  • To finish your discovery of the city in beauty, you should not miss to go to the outskirts to visit the remains of the city of Khami which developed after the fall of Great Zimbabwe.

So, what are you waiting for to visit Zimbabwe?

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