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best of zimbabwe

11-Day Exploration of Victoria Falls, Hwange, Matobo Hills and Mana Pools

Excellent game viewing, dramatic scenery and adventurous activities are the hallmarks of our Best of Zimbabwe safari. Highlights include viewing the world-famous Victoria Falls, one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world; game viewing in Hwange National Park, which is home to large numbers of elephants and many other species; Matobo National Park, one of Southern Africa’s most interesting and breathtaking rock landscapes; and exploring the natural beauty of Mana Pools, set along the great Zambezi River.

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Day 1 – Arrive/Victoria Falls: Arrive at Victoria Falls Airport (Zimbabwe) and transfer to your camp. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure. Overnight at Victoria Falls River Lodge or Ilala Lodge.

Luxury: Victoria Falls River Lodge boasts 13 tented suites (each with private deck and plunge pool), 6 secluded island treehouse suites, spacious open-plan dining, lounge and bar areas, an onsite fitness center and spa on the banks of the Zambezi River. The first privately owned safari lodge to be built within the Zambezi National Park, the Lodge is ideally located for exploring Victoria Falls – the spray of which can be seen in the distance!

Deluxe: Ilala Lodge includes 32 rooms and two suites furnished with railway sleeper teak. With plenty of light from the patio doors, rooms lead onto either a communal garden or a balcony, where rooms on the upper level afford a view of the spray of the falls. Standard in each room are en suite bathrooms with a shower, bath and bathroom amenities, air-conditioning, fan, and tea and coffee facilities. Suites are larger and include a king-size bed. 

Day 2 – Victoria Falls: After breakfast, enjoy a private tour of the falls on the Zimbabwean side. Afterward, choose from other activities on offer such as a game drive or walk; canoeing or kayaking on the Zambezi River; touring a local village; or adventure activities such as white water rafting, bungee jumping or a helicopter flight over the Falls (some at additional fee). Work with your Journey Specialist to pre-plan what activities you’d like to include in your stay. Dinner and overnight at Victoria Falls River Lodge or Ilala Lodge.

Day 3 – Victoria Falls/Hwange National Park: After breakfast, you will be transferred to Victoria Falls Airport for your flight to Hwange National Park. Hwange National Park is a land of contrasts from dense teak and acacia forest to vast open savanna, offering guests an exhibition of raw and diverse Africa. Home to countless elephants, numerous lion prides and rare antelope such as sable and roan, it offers excellent game spotting opportunities around the many waterholes found throughout the park. Enjoy lunch at camp and an afternoon safari activity. Dinner and overnight at Somalisa Camp or Bomani Tented Camp.

Luxury: Somalisa Camp consists of seven elegantly furnished tents with gauze sliding doors, a glass wood-burner fireplace for the cold winter nights, in-room fans for the hot summer days, en suite bathroom facilities including flush toilets, an indoor and outdoor shower, as well as a copper slipper-style bathtub. With natural wood and copper finishes, the organic features of the bush fuse perfectly with the luxe style. Kudhinda, the Zimbabwean national material, is paired with modern decor creating an authentic contemporary African fusion. At the edge of the expansive deck in the main area, sits an elephant pool which is frequented by elephant families, which is a true highlight at this beautiful camp. 

Deluxe: Bomani Tented Camp overlooks Bomani Pan and comprises of an open dining room, bar area and lounge, built on a spectacular viewing platform, and ten rooms. Choose from tents raised on teak platforms overlooking the vlei or ground level tents in front of the lodge waterhole. Situated in the Ngamo Forest Area, within a 5,000 acre private reserve, Bomani Tented Lodge is a mere 5 minute drive from their own private gate into Hwange National Park. 

Days 4 & 5 – Hwange National Park: Enjoy two days of safari activities in Hwange National Park. Activities include game drives, walking safaris, evening drives and village visits. Guests of Bomani Tented Camp also have the opportunity to walk with rhino and learn about the conservation efforts to protect these animals. Meals and overnight at Somalisa Camp or Bomani Tented Camp.

Day 6 – Hwange National Park/Matobo National Park: Enjoy a morning safari activity and breakfast and then depart for your flight to Matobo National Park, one of Southern Africa’s most interesting and breathtaking rock landscapes. Weather-shaped granite dominates this National Park and provides unforgettable vistas. Overnight at Amalinda Lodge or Big Cave Camp.

Luxury: Amalinda Lodge is a unique four-star luxury lodge set in the granite boulders of The Matobo Hills. This exclusive, privately owned & family run safari lodge is the premier accommodation in the area. Tucked away in an ancient bushmans shelter, Amalinda boasts a spa, infinity rock pool, library, wine cellar, sunset lounge, show kitchen and many varied activities.

Deluxe: Big Cave Camp is is located on a beautiful, privately-owned wilderness area, bordering the Matobo National Park, and within the UNESCO World heritage area. It is one of the oldest lodges in the area, and has been recently renovated to give the rooms a lovely fresh feel to compliment the spectacular views into the National Park. The lodge is owner managed, and comprises 8 granite under thatch lodges that blend into the natural environment. Each lodge has an en suite bathroom, stunning views and a balcony.

Day 7 – Matobo National Park: Spend a full day exploring the area. Hiking, tours of rock art sites that document the area’s 40,000-plus-year history of human habitation, rhino tracking, a visit to Cecil Rhodes’ grave and cultural visits are the highlights of a luxury Zimbabwe safari at Matobo Hills. The rock formations and myriad cultural activities contributed to Matobo’s UNESCO World Heritage status, though it’s worth noting that Zimbabwe’s largest concentration of leopards can be found here. Meals and overnight at Amalinda Lodge or Big Cave Camp.

Day 8 – Matobo National Park/Mana Pools National Park: Enjoy one last activity and then breakfast before transferring to the airstrip for your flight to Mana Pools National Park. The legendary Mana Pools is known for its wildlife rich flood plains and magnificent views of the Zambezi River, with the Zambezi Escarpment in Zambia as a dramatic backdrop to the scenery. The river boasts some of Africa’s most amazing tiger fishing and adventure canoeing safaris, creating the perfect combination of beauty and fun and making this World Heritage site a must-visit national park. Famous for its four main pools which hold water all year round, all manner of wildlife migrates here during the dry season. Enjoy lunch at camp and an afternoon safari activity. Dinner and overnight at Tembo Plains Camp or Zambezi Expeditions.

Luxury: Tembo Plains Camp is built in the thick riverine forest on the edge of the Zambezi River, in the private Sapi Reserve, which is just east of Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. Tembo Plains has just seven tented suites, including one family suite, each with their own private indoor lounge area and outdoor swimming pool, veranda and outdoor dining area. All rooms enjoy expansive en suite bathroom facilities including indoor baths, showers and double vanities. What makes Tembo Plains’ design unique is the combination of canvas and stone walls, an architectural reference to the Zimbabwe Ruins. 

Deluxe: Zambezi Expeditions has just six meru style tents with en suite bathroom facilities and bucket showers. Comfortable yet classic, the camp offers the kind of intimacy with nature that can only be achieved by immersing yourself in the heart of the wild. Fall asleep to the sound of the flowing river and chuckles of hippo and wake-up with the dawn chorus to a spectacular African sunrise. 

Days 9 & 10 – Mana Pools National Park: Enjoy two days of safari activities in Mana Pools National Park. Activities include game drives, boating, nature walks, catch-and-release fishing and fantastic birding (activities vary between camp and may have an additional fee). Meals and overnights at Tembo Plains Camp or Zambezi Expeditions.

Day 11 –Mana Pools National Park/Victoria Falls/Depart: Enjoy one last safari activity and breakfast before transferring to the airstrip for your flight to Victoria Falls Airport. Upon arrival, connect to your onward flight.

Interested in this trip? Give us a call or drop us an email.

Quick Facts

Perfect for:

  • Perfect for Big 5/Wildlife Sightings
  • Perfect for Luxury Accommodations
  • Perfect for Adventure Seekers
  • Duration 11 days
  • Departures Anytime
  • Accommodations Tented game lodge, deluxe/luxury camps
  • Fitness Rating Easy / Moderate
  • Activities Game drives, nature walks, canoeing, cultural visits, boating, fishing
  • Safari Type Big 5/Wildlife
  • Style Deluxe or Luxury
  • Land-Only Price* $$

*Pricing is per person and an estimate. Contact a Journey Specialist for a customized quote.
$ = Call for Pricing | $$ = $5,000 – $9,999 | $$$ = $10,000 – $20,000 | $$$$ = >$20,000

Photo courtesy African Bush Camps

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