Perhaps not the first destination that springs to mind when thinking of a safari, but that’s part of Zimbabwe’s charm. This less well-visited nation is home to stunning national parks boasting a myriad of wildlife as well as a fascinating history and one of the seven natural wonders of the world – The Victoria Falls. The diversity of wildlife in Zimbabwe is tantalising, from the classic Big 5 to cheetah, hyena, zebra, crocodile and eagles. Here at Rainbow Tours, we’ve compiled a list of the best National Parks to satisfy all your wildlife-spotting desires:
- Hwange National Park
- Mana Pools National Park
- Gonarezhou National Park
- Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve
- Matobo National Park
Hwange National Park
Best for: Elephant, Lion, Giraffe, Wild Dog.
As the largest National Park in Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park has no shortage of stunning terrains and interesting wildlife. The largest elephant population in the world roams freely across the park’s varied landscape, buffalo and rhino congregate at waterholes and lions sleepily relax in the grassland. It is also one of the only places in Zimbabwe where you have a chance at spotting a giraffe or catching a leopard or cheetah lounging in the branches of the Acacia tree. A truly unique place and an experience to match.
For a warm and relaxed evening, stay at the beautiful Hide Safari Camp. Each of the ten private, East-African style tents overlook a waterhole and there’s the option to sleep-out in the “Dove’s Nest”, a three-storey treehouse.
Mana Pools National Park
Best for: Elephant, Hippo, Zebra, Buffalo, Hyena
As with all Zimbabwean National Parks, Mana Pools is teeming with wildlife. However, what sets this park apart is the volume and variety of animals that congregate around the river, earning it the title of one of Africa’s most outstanding natural spectacles. The backdrop of dramatic cliffs frames the gathering of animals beautifully. Stay overnight at Ruckomechi Camp for a beautiful and relaxing setting to end your day, watching the passing elephants from a secluded bathtub overlooking the park.
Gonarezhou National Park
Best for: Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo, Zebra, Antelope
A largely pristine wilderness, thanks to its size and more remote location, Gonarezhou is a haven for a huge diversity of wildlife including elephants, hippos, wildebeest, antelope and zebra. The park is where you will also find the iconic Chilojo Cliffs – magnificent red sandstone cliffs that offer a spectacular view from the top.
Our Essential Zimbabwe Safari tour takes you to both Mana Pools and Gonarezhou National Park
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve
Best for: Lion, Hartebeest, Giraffe
Geologically diverse and secluded, Malilangwe provides excellent opportunities to observe a variety of species including lions, giraffes, antelope, hartebeest and zebra. The passionate guides will ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience and an overnight stay in Singita Pamushana offers outstanding panoramic views of the reserve. The area is protected by the Malilangwe Trust, helping to preserve the many endangered species that live there and creating sustainability in the local communities.
Matobo National Park
Best for: Eagles
You won’t find the Big 5 here, but that doesn’t mean Matobo National Park has any less to offer! Matobo is a bird lovers park with three varieties of eagle, including the rare Cape Eagle Owls, soaring in the skies above. It also showcases some of Zimbabwe’s most captivating landscapes – rugged scenery decorated with rock formations and granite plateaus. Journey through the park and you will find preserved rock paintings depicting the giraffes and white rhinos of 2,000 years ago and have plenty of opportunities to learn about Zimbabwe’s rich cultural history.