Zimbabwe & Victoria Falls
Zimbabwe covers 375 830 square kilometers, between the Limpopo river and the mighty Zambezi river. Named after the largest ancient man-made structure south of the pyramids, the Great Zimbabwe ruins are synonymous with the Victoria Falls (“Mosi oa tunya”, the smoke that thunders), the inland lake of Kariba and the great granite boulders of the Matobo Hills.
Spectacular landscapes, teaming with a rich array of unique African wildlife and flora, dominate the country in astonishing variety and number.
Most popular Zimbabwe tourist destinations :
Hwange National Park :
Zimbabwe’s largest and premier game reserve and one of the world’s last large elephant sanctuaries.
Described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘the Smoke that Thunders’ and in more modern terms as ‘the greatest known curtain of falling water’, Victoria Falls are a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as 546 million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge (at the height of the flood season) over a width of nearly two kilometers into a deep gorge over 100 meters below. The wide basalt cliff, over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a wide placid river to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges.
Facing the Falls is another sheer wall of basalt, rising to the same height and capped by mist-soaked rain forest. A path along the edge of the forest provides the visitor who is prepared to brave the tremendous spray with an unparalleled series of views of the Falls.
One special vantage point is across the Knife edge bridge, where visitors can have the finest view of the Eastern Cataract and the Main Falls as well as the Boiling Pot where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge. Other vantage points include the Falls bridge and the Lookout Tree which commands a panoramic view across the Main Falls.
“The first impression was unmistakable; immense power, the raw energy unleashed when the entire Zambezi leaps wildly into a black two kilometer wide abyss. The scale is massive, the spectacle spellbinding and perpetually changing. The falls hiss and roar as if possessed, they rumble and crash like thunder. Vast clouds spew and billow out from the seething cauldron of its dark impenetrable depths. The moving water creates a magnetism that sucks you closer, so that you recoil in horror to quench a subliminal sacrificial urge.” (Jumbo Williams, Zambezi, River of Africa. 1988)
What to do
The Victoria Falls area is rapidly becoming known as the ‘Adventure Centre’ of Southern Africa, with various adrenaline sports, unmatched scenery of breathtaking proportions, and many other leisure options for outdoor lovers.
Whitewater Rafting through Batoka Gorge
Bungi Jumping off the 111m high Victoria Falls Bridge
Canoeing on the upper Zambezi
Horseback Trails along the Zambezi and surrounding Teak forests
River Boarding mega thrills on the Zambezi rapids
Abseiling off the sheer cliffs of Victoria Falls Gorge
Tandem Kayaking An experienced kayaker will take you through the raging rapids of the Zambezi
Microlighting over the falls
River Safaris, Quiet jet-propelled boats take you into remote parts of the upper Zambezi
Elephant Back Safaris Tame elephants give the best view for gameviewing in the Reserve.
Jet Boating – hi speed jet propelled boats take you down the rapids.
Southern Africa’s largest and wildest lake, a wilderness of water, big game and baobab islands, with shores rich in elephant, buffalo and crocodile and some of Zimbabwe’s finest lodges.
The Great Zimbabwe ruins:
The site of the most spectacular ruins in Africa, south of the Sahara and Zimbabwe’s second World Heritage Site.
Gonarezhou National Park:
Gonarezhou holds the reputation as one of Zimbabwe’s most unspoilt wilderness areas and is home to the spectacular Chilojo Cliffs.
Matobo Hills National Park:
The amatobo, or bald-headed hills are over 3000 million years old. A moonscape of granite humpbacks, an hours drive south-west of Bulawayo, is a World Heritage Site, famed for its San (Bushman) painted caves, wildlife, dams and the World’s View grave of diamond magnate Cecil John Rhodes.
The pristine wilderness of Mana Pools, a World Heritage Site on the lower Zambezi River, is an area of huge riveren forests and open, clay-folded plains. It is home to practically all of Africa’s big game, including buffalo, lion, leopard, nyala, eland, wild pig, sable, zebra, cheetah, the endangered wild dog and, of course, huge herds of elephant.
The most peaceful and rewarding way to experience the awesome beauty of the Zambezi river is on a canoeing safari.
Further places of interest are:
Khami Ruins near Bulawayo (another one of Zimbabwe’s five World Heritage Sites) and the beautiful Eastern Highlands, including the Nyanga National Park, Chimanimani mountains and the Bvumba Valley.