Sunrise at Victoria Falls in Zambia
Sunrise at Victoria Falls in Zambia

When most people think of Africa, the first images that come to mind are of vast expanses of jungle, lions roaming the savannah, and tribesmen clad in brightly colored robes. But there is another side to this diverse continent – one that is often overlooked. Zimbabwe is a country in the southeast region of Africa that offers tourists a wealth of different experiences, from hiking and camping in some of the most beautiful scenery on the continent to learning about the rich history and culture of the Zimbabwean people.

If you’re looking for an African adventure off the beaten path, then Zimbabwe is the perfect destination for you. Here are just a few of the many delights you’ll discover should you consider traveling to this unique country.

Two shanhaan tribal dancers at the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls.
Two Shangaan tribal dancers at the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls.

1. The People and Culture

One of the best things about Zimbabwe is the people. The locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and they will go out of their way to make sure you have an enjoyable visit. In addition, there is a rich culture to be experienced in Zimbabwe. From the traditional music and dance to the beautiful artwork, there is much to be discovered about the Zimbabwean way of life.

There are a number of different cities and towns to visit in Zimbabwe. Some of the most popular ones include Harare, Bulawayo, and Victoria Falls. Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe and the destination to visit if you want to discover museums, parks, and restaurants.

The second-largest city in the country, Bulawayo is known for its Victorian architecture and lively arts scene. And then we have the spectacular Victoria Falls. The town is home to the world-famous Victoria Falls, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. And this gets us to our next delight: the views!

View of Victoria Falls on the Zambia side.
View of Victoria Falls on the Zambia side.

2. The Scenery

Zimbabwe is home to some of the most stunning scenery in all of Africa. From the majestic Victoria Falls to the sprawling savannahs, there is no shortage of natural beauty to be enjoyed in this country. Whether you’re looking for an exhilarating outdoor adventure or a relaxing nature escape, Zimbabwe has something to offer everyone.

Victoria Falls are one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders on the planet. The Zambezi River plunges over a mile-wide cliff, creating a curtain of mist that can be seen for miles. The falls are sacred to the local Tonga people, who call them Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “the smoke that thunders.” They have been a popular tourist destination since the Victorian era, when European explorers first documented them.

Today, visitors can enjoy the falls from several different vantage points. The Devil’s Pool is a natural rock pool on the edge of the cliff, where brave souls can swim right up to the edge of the falls. For a different perspective, visitors can take a helicopter ride or a walk across the Knife-Edge Bridge.

View from Camp in Hwange National Park
View from Camp in Hwange National Park

3. The Wildlife

Zimbabwe is a country with an abundance of wildlife, making it a popular destination for safaris. Some of the most iconic animals found in Zimbabwe are lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, antelopes, zebras, and crocodiles. The best time to see wildlife is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. However, this is also the busiest time of year for tourism, so you may want to plan your trip for the shoulder season, which is from November to April.

Hwange National Park is an awe-inspiring place to visit and one of the last great elephant sanctuaries in the world. With its vast open plains and diverse wildlife, it’s no wonder that Hwange is considered one of the best safari destinations in the country. The park is also home to some of the most magnificent landscapes in Zimbabwe and has a calming and peaceful atmosphere that invites to introspection.

Another majestic place of wonder in Zimbabwe is Mana Pools National Park, a world heritage site. Covering an area of 2,196 square kilometers, this is one of the most unspoiled parks in Zimbabwe and one of the few places where you can see the African wild dog. The park is characterized by winding rivers, gently rolling hills, and abundant wildlife. Its name comes from the four large pools of water that form on the Zambezi River, a haven for wildlife and the place where visitors gather to spot elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, and other animals in their natural habitat.

The Great Zimbabwe Ruins
The Great Zimbabwe Ruins

4. The History

Zimbabwe has a long and fascinating history dating back centuries. From the ancient ruins of Great Zimbabwe to the more recent struggle for independence, there is much to learn about the past of this country. A visit to Zimbabwe is sure to leave you with a greater understanding and appreciation for the African continent as a whole.

The first human inhabitants of Zimbabwe are thought to have arrived around 1000 BC. These early settlers were the Khoisan people, who were later joined by the Bantu-speaking Shona and Ndebele peoples. The Shona arrived in the country around the 10th century AD, while the Ndebele made it here in the 16th century.

Blooming Jacaranda trees lining Milton Avenue in Harare.
Blooming Jacaranda trees lining Milton Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe

The first European settlers came to Zimbabwe in the late 19th century, during the period of British colonial rule. The British explorer Cecil Rhodes led the first group of settlers, who founded the city of Salisbury (now Harare) in 1890. The country was originally known as Rhodesia, but changed its name to Zimbabwe in 1980 after gaining independence from Britain.

Since independence, Zimbabwe has been through a number of political and economic challenges. The country is currently going through a period of economic growth and reform, and is working to improve its image on the international stage.

One of the most impressive historical sights in Zimbabwe are the famous Victoria Falls and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, a former capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other historical attractions include Khami Ruins, a 15th-century city, and the Matobo Hills, home to ancient rock art.

If you’re looking for an African destination that offers something a little different, then be sure to add Zimbabwe to your list. With its friendly people, rich culture, and stunning scenery, Zimbabwe will be a memorable off-the-beaten-path surprise.