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What is it really like on the ground in Zimbabwe?

What is it really like on the ground in Zimbabwe?

Anyone with half an eye on the news will know the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe is unsettled. If you are thinking about visiting Zimbabwe soon, or have a trip planned, you may be wondering whether it is safe to travel and how your travel experience might be affected. In these situations we always advocate seeking local input and advice, to get a real sense of the feeling on the ground. So we asked Victoria Falls resident Shelley...

Lodge review

Lodge review

Verney’s Camp, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe In a remote, private concession in the central south-eastern part of Hwange, Verney’s Camp opened in May 2018 with ten spacious tents set around a waterhole, surrounded by teak trees. With all the comforts expected at a high-end, all-inclusive safari camp — a pool deck overlooking the waterhole, bedtime hot-water bottles, warm and professional service — Verney’s still maintains a relaxed, low-key vibe. The food is fresh and light, with meals such as...

Aboard the Stimela Star

Aboard the Stimela Star

Sue Watt can’t resist a novel way of transferring from Victoria Falls to Hwange National Park “She’s a bit of a faded lady, but she’s lots of fun,” Butch says of the new love in his life. And having spent the night with her, I have to say he’s summed her up pretty well. His new love is called Stimela Star, not a raucous mid-life beau but a newly restored vintage train dating back to the 1950s that runs...

Guess where?

Guess where?

This has to be one of the most dramatic and rugged landscapes in Africa, captured so evocatively in this series of pics by Bad Rabbit Studios. Part of the ‘Afromontane archipelago’ which stretches from the Great Rift Valley in East Africa to the Cape, these mountains are formed by alternating strata of schists and quartzites, with habitats ranging from forest to woodland, scrub and grassland. A diverse flora results, including an estimated 80-plus species which are endemic. With an...

How to plan the ideal holiday to Zimbabwe

How to plan the ideal holiday to Zimbabwe

Why should you visit this revitalised southern African country and how can you make the most of your trip? Shelley Cox tells you everything you need to know: how long to go for; how many days to spend in each place; how to get from A to B; the best places for families, birdwatching and wildlife, and much more Zimbabwe: a land full of charismatic personalities, prolific wildlife and spectacular landscapes. The country in which I was born, and...

Good times in Harare

Good times in Harare

If you like art, food, shopping and nature, you’ll find the buzzing Zimbabwean capital to be a great starting point for your trip or a destination in its own right. Words and photographs by Christopher Scott Business is low and slow but we now have high hopes for our future,” beams Leon Suragi, a stone and metal craftsman plying his trade at a popular curio market along Enterprise Road, one of Harare’s main arteries. Sporting a clean but frayed...

Zimbabwe unwrapped

Zimbabwe unwrapped

An insider’s overview, from the experts at Steppes Travel Why visit? Following the recent political changes in the country, there has been a noticeable revival in Zimbabwe. Reinvestment and positive changes are taking place, new lodges are being built and a quiet optimism prevails that Zimbabwe will return to being one of Africa’s most popular safari destinations. And with good reason. It’s hard to sum up Zimbabwe, especially its scenery, because it changes and inspires at every turn. This...

Going wild for painted dogs

Going wild for painted dogs

Pursuing a long-held dream to get up close and personal with painted dogs, Alison Dewar visited Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park — where she spent three days with Painted Dog Conservation and discovered the brilliant work they do for our four-legged friends It was dusk as we bumped along the dirt road in an old converted game drive vehicle, which had probably seen better days. My husband Craig and I were literally squashed in (he’s 6ft 3in) among the 11-and...

Hide and seek: the evolution of a lodge

Hide and seek: the evolution of a lodge

The Hide, in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. One of Travel Africa’s original advertisers, it is a prime example of how a lodge has evolved over the years to reflect the changing needs of safari-goers. Phil Clisby reports Along with his wife Lorraine, Tom Preston believed that the success of a safari was all in the experience: “That one time that makes you catch your breath or simply stops you in your tracks.” The...

Why you should visit Zimbabwe now!

Why you should visit Zimbabwe now!

Our publisher, Craig Rix, urges readers to visit his homeland sooner rather than later, to capture the atmosphere and help boost the country’s development. Image copyright Christopher Cragg, Far and Wide Zimbabwe. Sitting in a cold Oxfordshire office, it was thrilling to watch the scenes from Harare and Bulawayo as the recent ‘transition’ of power in Zimbabwe unfolded. It was a deeply emotional time; Zimbabwe is where my soul and roots lie. Above all, I was struck by a...

Senses and sensibility

Senses and sensibility

The new Super Sensory Safari in Mana Pools National Park demonstrates how innovative ideas and specialist guiding are enriching the experience of the modern-day safari. Words and photographs by Mike Unwin "How would nature build a city?” The question comes from our guide, Rob Janisch. And the answer, it seems, lies in the towering termite mound around which our small group is gathered. We pause, cogs whirring. Three warthogs stare from the back of the clearing, as though aghast...

The 12 best wilderness areas in Zimbabwe

The 12 best wilderness areas in Zimbabwe

When you think there are some wonderful places we had to ignore in order to keep this list to just a dozen, you realise quite how diverse the country is. Gonarezhou National Park Located deep within Zimbabwe’s southeast corner, Gonarezhou (pictured above) is the country’s second-largest national park, covering just over 5000 square kilometres. Roughly translated, ‘gonarezhou’ means ‘the wilderness of elephants’ – a name that conveys the park’s austere beauty and natural wealth. A trip here will take...

The place that gave its name

The place that gave its name

The ancient city of Great Zimbabwe continues to inspire feelings of awe and grandeur. With so much on offer in Zimbabwe, a journey to view an ancient ruin – the ‘lost’ city of Great Zimbabwe – might seem hardly worth the effort. To believe that, and to act upon it, would be a pity. The site is more than beautiful – it is awe-inspiring. It opens the eye to something too easily neglected in Africa – its extraordinary past....

In the swing of things

In the swing of things

Golf may not be the first thing you consider playing in Zimbabwe, but, as Iain Wallace explains, the country is home to a course like no other. Every golfer has his or her favourite course – it may be the windswept links of St Andrews or simply the local nine-hole pay-as-you-play municipal course. For me, and undoubtedly many others, the course of choice is found in the rolling landscape of Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands. The championship course at Leopard Rock...

The wheels deal

The wheels deal

Mike Unwin takes his family on a road trip in Zimbabwe. Starting at Victoria Falls, he travels south through Hwange National Park to Bulawayo, explores the otherworldly Matobo Hills, then continues east to the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, and ends his journey in Harare It’s there as we round the corner: a roadblock, just as we’d been warned. My wife is at the wheel. “Leave it running,” I hiss, while we slide to a halt and I race through...

Walking in the wild

Walking in the wild

Rose Gamble relays her experience of walking in the remote Gonarezhou National Park, one of southern Africa’s great untramelled reserves It was our first dusk. We’d parked by an enormous baobab tree, decanted G&Ts into glasses and walked 200m through the dimming bush. Somewhere in the shadow of the reddening cliffs, a lone jackal called. We headed towards the empty riverbed, intent on watching the sun set from its gentle, sandy depths. As we left the last of the...

Zimbabwe, month by month

Zimbabwe, month by month

Here's our quick guide to what to expect of Zimbabwe's weather throughout the year, giving you  your best chance of seeing of animals and birds, knowledge of the temperature highs and lows, plus when best to visit the majestic Victoria Falls to witness her full beauty and formidable power. January - March · The peak rainy season. · Most showers occur in the afternoon for about one hour. Mornings tend to have clear blue skies until midday when stunning...

From ground level

From ground level

Emma Gregg travels to Mana Pools, Zimbabwe’s northernmost national park, to experience this magnificent Natural World Heritage Site on foot My bed for the night is 24 steps up in the crown of an ancient tree. Before I climb, I squeeze my eyes tight for a moment to imagine the view from the top. The prospect of camping out in a tree house is so exciting, it’s as if the decades have fallen away. Suddenly, I’m seven years old...

On the right track

On the right track

It’s great to hear of a national park that is thriving, and whose challenges are the result of its successes. So we sent Geoffrey Dean to Hwange for an enviable visit to see what kind of experience is on offer. The three lionesses had been snoozing contentedly in the shade of an anthill near Ngweshla Pan. It had been a hot day, but as the sun prepared to set and the temperature dropped one of them wandered over to...

50 Shades of blue

50 Shades of blue

It’s Africa’s largest inland body of water — and the world’s largest man-made reservoir. Lake Kariba is immense, scenically outstanding and incredibly rich in wildlife, and what better way to explore it than on a houseboat, waking to a different vista each morning, feeling the shift of the elements around you, drifting off to the rock of the boat and a hyena’s distant whoop? Words and photographs by Mana Meadows Like any sea, this lake has its moods. And...

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