In some ways, Zimbabwe might be what you'd expect. Safaris, gorgeous desert sunsets, and impressive waterfalls and lakes. But there's so much more to this southern African country than that. Here, you can visit historic sites dates back thousands of years, take a lakeside vacation, hang out in an urban oasis, or explore a lush green forest searching for the tallest tree in the country. This is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, animal lovers, and historians.
Victoria Falls acts as the natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and is one of the natural wonders of the world. These falls are twice the height of Niagara Falls at around 350 feet high. While you're there, take a stroll along the Victoria Falls Bridge for an amazing panoramic view or bungee jump if you're feeling gutsy. Find the Devil's Pools for a daring view over the falls or sign up to go white water rafting in the water below.
There are a lot of breathtaking views in Zimbabwe but the one that tops the list is from atop Malindidzimu Hill. Called World's View, this destination gives you a 360-degree view of the Eastern Highlands. If you're up for a hike, this is an amazing destination. It's the perfect place to take photos and the serene landscape and multi-colored lichen add more to this out-of-the-world view.
Mana Pools National Park is located along the shores of the Zambezi River. If you want to be at one with nature and learn more about some of Zimbabwe's native animals, this is the place. You're allowed to walk around the park freely to spot hippos, buffalo, antelopes, hippos, and elephants. Of course, it's always best to go with one of their experienced guides, just in case you run into a lion.
Skyscrapers may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Zimbabwe, but a stop in Harare will soon show you how much this country has to offer. Harare, also known as Sunshine City, is the capital and has just about everything you would expect in a hip urban environment, including modern architecture, city parks, botanical gardens, and a thriving nightlife. A lot of travelers use Harare as a base when they visit Zimbabwe. It's a great place to start your trip.
Chivero National Park is another great place to see animals up close and personal. Here you can tour the park in your own car, but this place is a little rugged so it's best to rent a 4x4. There are an unbelievable number of animals to spot, including ostrich, impala, giraffe, zebra, rhinos, warthogs, baboons, and more. Chivero National Park is right down the road, too. If you're looking for some caves to explore, you'll find them there.
The Great Zimbabwe National Monument is one of the most important historic sites in all of Africa. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ruins here were once the capital and served as an important trading station as far back as the Middle Ages. One of the legends surrounding this place is that giants once used Great Zimbabwe as a playground.
Kariba Dam is a great place for anyone who just wants to kick back and relax by the water. This man-made lake was the largest in the world when it was constructed in the 1950s. Today, visitors can hang out on a houseboat, stay in a lodge or luxury safari camp, hike through the wilderness or watch an awe-inspiring sunset or two.
Matopos National Park is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its stacked rocks and ancient caves. There are two general sections to this park. The first is a trip back through time to explore rock art caves with prehistoric paintings done in red ochre. The second is the game area where you can go spot native wildlife. This park is considered an Intensive Protection Zone for rhinos and is a great place to explore the outdoors.
Hwange National Park is the largest one in Zimbabwe. The park is home to one of the largest elephant populations in the world and there are actually more than 100 animal species here, not including the more than 400 species of birds. Take a drive through the park and spot kangaroos, giraffe, wildebeests, impala, hippos, elephants, and many more. This is a great place for photographers, as there are waterholes to observe and amazing sunsets to capture.
The Chirinda Forest Reserve is located in the eastern highlands and is a surprisingly lush, green place to explore. This forest is primarily made up of hardwood trees like mahogany and is said to be home to the largest tree in the country. The Big Tree is an estimated 1,000 years old and more than 210 feet high.