You should definitely stay in Kaziikini camp in Botswana – but we like to cater for all of your travelling know-how, so we thought we’d offer you an insight into neighbouring country Zimbabwe too. Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it was known before its independence, finally claimed back its land under the governance of Robert Mugabe – after decades of tough negotiations with the UK years following its 19th century colonisation. Today Zimbabwe is a fantastic country well worth visiting with proud, happy locals that will make you feel welcome.
Zimbabwe is like Botswana’s younger brother, with similar landscapes and attractions, but a whole history of its own. A good starting point to discovering the history of the nation is at Cecil Rhodes’ Tomb at Malindidzumo, which means “view of the world”. Cecil Rhodes was a colonialist who claimed the land as Britain’s own in the 1880’s for mining. This is one of many connections Zimbabwe has with colonial Britain, such as the fact Victoria Falls was discovered by Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone – who also was the first westerner to map Zambia.
The Great Zimbabwe National Monument
As the largest ancient ruin south of the Egyptian pyramids, you would be foolish not to see it for yourself. You need to in order to believe its historical importance to the nation. Historians believe the castle-like walls were built to guard the gold they traded in between the 13th and 15th century. The stone walls that have amazingly stayed strong today are a testimony to the organisation and strength of Medieval Africans.
Zambezi National Park
At 4092 square kilometres, Zimbabwe’s fascinating safari reserve is an unspoilt natural delight. What better place to observe game animals than a green nature reserve on the river Zambezi? Here you’ll feel and hear the rush of the mighty river flowing into its next natural wonder, Victoria Falls. Zambezi‘ s wildlife is among Africa’s finest.
Other national parks in Zimbabwe are Hwange (the largest) and Mana Pools, also on the river. Matobo National Park in the second city of Bulawayo is famed for its granite rock formations. See our two-part guide of Southern Safari Parks for more information on national parks and game reserves.
A stone’s throw from Zambezi National Reserve is the Victoria Falls waterfall between Zimbabwe and Zambia. ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ is a must-see landform. The force of tonnes of water dropping over 100 metres is truly epic to behold and will remind you of nature’s true majesty. The flow rate is a fierce 1088 m3/s, which is extremely fast whatever your grasp of mathematics. It is known as the greatest curtain of water in the world.
Rivers and lakes in Africa are not very common and the equatorial climate means you’ll likely get hot and sweaty, so take the plunge and cool off in the river of Zambezi. The shallow stream is great for paddling or angling for tigerfish and bream. There are wildlife guides by the river who give you everything you need to know about every animal living in Zimbabwe, from scampering buffalo to swarve barbet birds. They’ll also lead you safely across the channel if you’re willing to take the trip into Zambia.