Zimbabwe has much to offer tourists, from The Big Five to Victoria Falls, which is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Here’s a list of the top 10 tourist destinations in Zimbabwe.
1. Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is the largest national park in Zimbabwe, covering an area of over 14,600 square kilometers. Located in the northwest part of the country, the park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, and many other species.
The park was established in 1928 as a game reserve and later declared a national park in 1961. It is named after a local Nhanzwa chief, Hwange Rosumbani, who used to hunt in the area. Hwange National Park is known for its large elephant population, with over 50,000 elephants roaming the park. The park is also home to over 400 bird species, making it a popular destination for bird-watching enthusiasts.
Visitors to Hwange National Park can enjoy a range of activities, including game drives, walking safaris, and night drives. There are also several lodges and campsites within the park, offering visitors a chance to stay in close proximity to the wildlife and enjoy a true African safari experience. Overall, Hwange National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in wildlife and nature in Zimbabwe.
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2. Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders), is a waterfall located on the Zambezi River on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is one of the largest waterfalls in the world, with a width of 1.7 kilometers (1.1 miles) and a height of 108 meters (354 feet).
The falls were named after Queen Victoria by the Scottish explorer David Livingstone, who was the first European to see the falls in 1855. The area surrounding the falls is protected as a national park and is a popular tourist destination, offering a range of activities such as white-water rafting, bungee jumping, and scenic flights over the falls.
The falls also have cultural significance to the local people, who consider them a sacred site and have various traditions associated with them.
3. Lake Kariba
Lake Kariba is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world and is located along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The lake was created in the late 1950s after the construction of the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River.
With a surface area of approximately 5,500 square kilometers, the lake provides a variety of recreational activities, including fishing, boating, and game viewing. The surrounding area is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, crocodiles, hippos, and more.
The lake is also a major source of hydroelectric power for the region, with several power stations located along its shores. Lake Kariba is a popular destination for both locals and tourists and offers a unique blend of natural beauty, adventure, and relaxation.
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4. Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park is a wildlife conservation area located in northern Zimbabwe along the southern bank of the Zambezi River. It is known for its diverse flora and fauna, particularly its large population of African elephants, as well as lions, leopards, hyenas, and many other species of mammals, birds, and reptiles.
One unique feature of the park is the large number of Mana Pools, which are shallow pools of water that form in the river’s floodplain during the rainy season. These pools become an important source of water for wildlife during the dry season, and visitors can see a variety of animals congregating around them.
The park is also known for its stunning scenery, including the dramatic Zambezi River, riverine forests, and open grasslands. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities in the park, including game drives, walking safaris, and canoe trips on the river. Mana Pools National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, and it remains one of Zimbabwe’s most popular tourist destinations.
Bulawayo is a city located in the southern part of Zimbabwe. It is the country’s second-largest city, after the capital city Harare, and is an important economic and cultural center in the region. The city has a rich history, with a mix of traditional and modern cultures, and is home to several museums and historical sites.
Bulawayo is also known for its vibrant arts and music scene, with many artists and musicians hailing from the city. It is a popular destination for tourists who are interested in exploring Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage, as well as its natural beauty.
The city is surrounded by several national parks and game reserves, making it an ideal starting point for safari adventures. Additionally, the city has a thriving food scene, with a mix of local and international cuisine available in its many restaurants and cafes.
6. Great Zimbabwe National Monument
Great Zimbabwe National Monument is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the southeastern hills of Zimbabwe. It is an ancient city that the Shona people built, and it is believed to have been the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe from the 11th to the 15th century.
The ruins of Great Zimbabwe include stone walls and structures that were constructed without the use of mortar, with some walls reaching heights of up to 11 meters. The complex also includes a number of enclosures, platforms, and other features used for various purposes, including religious and political ceremonies.
The site is significant not only for its impressive architecture and engineering but also for its historical and cultural importance. The Kingdom of Zimbabwe was a major trading empire, and Great Zimbabwe was a hub for trade in gold, ivory, and other goods.
Today, Great Zimbabwe National Monument is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to explore the ruins, learn about the history and culture of the Shona people, and admire the breathtaking natural scenery of the surrounding area.
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7. Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park is a protected area in Zimbabwe, located about 35 kilometers south of the city of Bulawayo. It was established in 1953 and covers an area of approximately 44,500 hectares. The park is known for its stunning granite rock formations and rich cultural and historical heritage.
The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including over 200 species of trees and shrubs and over 100 species of birds. Visitors can also spot a variety of mammals such as baboons, monkeys, leopards, and hyenas, among others.
Matobo National Park is also known for its rich cultural heritage. It is home to the Matobo Hills, which have been inhabited for thousands of years by various ethnic groups, including the San people. The hills contain many rock art sites, some of which date back over 2,000 years.
The park is a popular tourist destination, offering a range of activities such as game drives, hiking, rock climbing, and bird watching. It also has a number of accommodation options, including lodges and campsites, making it a great destination for a safari experience or a weekend getaway.
8. Chinhoyi Caves
Chinhoyi Caves is a group of limestone and dolomite caves located in Chinhoyi, a town in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West province. The caves are made up of a system of tunnels and caverns that extend for several kilometers underground. The most popular cave is known as the Sleeping Pool, a natural underground lake that is crystal clear and home to a variety of fish species.
The caves are known for their natural beauty and unique geological formations, including stalactites and stalagmites. They also have a rich history, as they were used as a shelter and hideout during the Second Chimurenga (Zimbabwean War of Liberation).
The Chinhoyi Caves are a popular tourist destination in Zimbabwe, attracting both locals and international visitors. They offer a range of activities, including swimming and diving in the Sleeping Pool, exploring the caves with a guide, and enjoying a picnic or braai (barbecue) in the surrounding park
Mutare is a city located in the eastern part of Zimbabwe, near the border with Mozambique. It is the fourth largest city in Zimbabwe and the capital of Manicaland Province. The city was founded in the late 19th century as a mining town, and its growth was driven by the discovery of gold and diamonds in the surrounding areas.
Mutare is situated in a mountainous region with scenic views and natural attractions such as waterfalls, mountain ranges, and forests. The city is also home to several historical and cultural landmarks, including the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, the Mutare Museum, and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
The city is a commercial center for the surrounding agricultural areas, particularly the production of tea and coffee, and it has a growing manufacturing industry. Mutare is also an important transportation hub, with major road and rail links to other parts of Zimbabwe and neighboring countries.
10. Gonarezhou National Park
Gonarezhou National Park is a protected area located in southeastern Zimbabwe, covering an area of approximately 5,053 square kilometers. It is the country’s second-largest national park and is known for its rugged wilderness, spectacular scenery, and diverse wildlife.
The park is home to the Big Five game animals, including lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and rhinoceroses, as well as other species such as cheetahs, hyenas, zebras, giraffes, and various antelope species. The park also boasts over 400 species of birds, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers.
The name Gonarezhou means “place of many elephants” in the local Shona language, and the park is indeed known for its large elephant herds. Visitors can explore the park through game drives, walking safaris, and camping, with several lodges and campsites available for accommodation.
One of the unique features of the park is the Chilojo Cliffs, towering red sandstone cliffs that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The Runde River also flows through the park, providing water for the wildlife and creating several picturesque waterfalls and pools.
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