Zimbabwe was once considered the safari gem of Southern Africa. Despite years of struggle, the county has found its feet, and the national parks are no less spectacular than they once were with plentiful wildlife and world-class experiences. This complete trip of Zimbabwe highlights some of its best known parks, and some lesser known ones. You’ll explore the world-famous Hwange NP for first-class wildlife, marvel at the breathtaking wilderness of the Zambezi River at Mana Pools NP, discover the history and scenic beauty of the Matobo Hills area and explore one of Southern Africa’s last untouched wilderness areas with Gonarezhou NP.
Day 1: Gonarezhou
You will depart this morning from Harare airport for your flight to Mahenye Airstrip in the Gonarezhou National Park. Met on arrival and transfer to Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge for the next three nights.
Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge sits on the cliffs of the Save river with panoramic views over Gonarezhou National Park. Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge offers guests access to the pristine wilderness of Gonarezhou, with the authentic animal interaction which goes with a park which is rarely visited. Gonarezhou is a gem amongst African parks and offers safari travellers an increasingly rare ability to explore untouched Africa.
Each of Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge’s 10 chalets are spacious, simple and elegant, with all the comforts of home. The main lodge has everything you need; a shaded swimming pool, a sumptuous lounge, a library, a bar and dining room, all surrounded by beautifully tended gardens. Even here, at the heart of Chilo, the great African wilderness is never far away. You can watch our local elephants, hippos and crocodiles cooling off in the waters of the river from the viewing deck.
Time permitting, you can enjoy your first game drive in the park.
Day 2: Gonarezhou
Set out this morning on your choice of a game drive or game walk in Gonarezhou, including a visit to Tembwahata – the largest natural water pan in Zimbabwe, the Palm forest and Machaniwa Pan.
This afternoon you can enjoy a cultural visit to the Mahenye community – the birthplace of the Community Led Conservation initiative started by Chilo founder Clive Stockil. This project is now widely known as CAMPFIRE, and has been replicated thousands of times across Africa.
Following this experience you will stop for a breathtaking end to your day with sundowners overlooking the Chivilila Falls.
Day 3: Gonarezhou
Full day game drive safari in Gonarezhou National Park, including a visit to the iconic Chilojo cliffs. Gonarezhou National Park, in Zimbabwe’s South-East Lowveld, covers just more than 5 000 km² of some of the most spectacular scenery in the region incorporating the iconic Chilojo Cliffs, wide meandering rivers and extensive woodlands. Widely known for its unique wilderness character, the Park’s reputation as a premier destination for quality wildlife sightings is also growing. Home to about 11 000 elephants, the Gonarezhou truly deserves its vernacular name as ‘Place of Elephants’.
After an exciting day exploring the different reaches of the park you will finish the day with sundowners overlooking the Save River.
Day 4 - 6: Matobo Hills
Depart this morning after a leisurely breakfast for the airstrip for your flight to Bulawayo. You are met on arrival and transferred to Amalinda Lodge for three nights. Amalinda is an African inspired refuge, where world class facilities effortlessly harmonize with the cultural and spiritual energy, allure and unique beauty for which the Matobo Hills is renowned and celebrated.
Amalinda is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Matobo Hills, the oldest National Park in Zimbabwe, tucked away into an ancient Bushman’s shelter. The granite domes and castle kopjes echo the essence of tranquility and majesty of untamed Africa, where wildlife and birdlife species thrive in prolific numbers. Famous for its healthy population of endangered rhino, the area is one of the most sought after destinations within Zimbabwe.
Two thousand years ago, the Bushmen called Matopos their home. Now you can too. For 26 years, the Stead Family have shared their beautiful family home in quiet harmony with furry and feathered residents of Matopos. Allow the Steads to share their idyllic lifestyle with you and your family. This is your private wilderness of granite, a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from reality and reconnect with family and nature. The Amalinda Private Villa is situated on the Amalinda Lodge Concession, a mere 45 kilometres from Bulawayo.
You have the next three days to enjoy the included activities of your choice as detailed below.
Walking on our property is entirely safe – you could bump into warthog, zebra, klipspringer, kudu, impala, wildebeest, reedbuck, duiker, steenbok, hyrax and a vast variety of bird life. Watch out for the elusive leopard, although he’ll see you first.
The Matobo Hills is one of the last bastions of both black and white rhino in Africa. The most unforgettable safari experience will be an approach up to this endangered species. This encounter is offered within the skills and knowledge of our experienced guides. Note extra cost for park guides.
San Bushman Cave Paintings
Explore the hills where mysterious nomads once held their sacred ceremonies. The rocky granite topography boasts more than 2000 sites of the San (Bushman) tribes and is probably the richest source of San rock art known. This area, and several famous rocks here – known to the Ndebele people – hold spiritual significance of bygone rituals. Here, you can learn about their trials and tribulations, hopes and aspirations.
Tomb of Cecil John Rhodes
Drive through the granite hills in the footsteps of Cecil John Rhodes. Visit his world-famous tomb known as “View of the World”, it’s an historical experience not to be forgotten. Leander Starr Jameson is also buried here and together with the spirits of of soldiers killed in battle by Matabele warriors, they gather around at sunset, there is a definite spiritual presence. This “dwala” is known as “the dwelling place of spirits” or rather “Amalindidzimu”, the view will leave you breathless.
Cultural Village Visits
Take a tour to an African homestead and get down to earth with the local Matabele people. Enjoy their gracious hospitality as they show you around their “pole and dagga” huts. Use this opportunity to get an insight into the way of life for the local people and to experience their culture. We offer a chance to visit a clinic, traditional healer and local primary school where one begins to understand no matter what adversity children face, one of their basic wants is to learn. Many projects at the school, clinic and orphanage have been completed, and some are ongoing, through our social responsibility program, The Mother Africa Trust.
The “My Beautiful Home” Bicycle ride is a well-plotted and carefully planned cycle route through these villages and rural homes in the Matopos is a once in a lifetime experience. It is a bucket list opportunity to touch the very essence of rural life and feel the warm heart and soul of Zimbabwe. A chance to pedal your way through the pulse of Africa. Every home is different. Authentic and uncontrived, with no planning permission needed. There is no duplication or carbon copy. Every home is complete. This is a livelihood where less is certainly more. An overdose of life in all its simplicity – yet this is where you will see the widest smiles and hear the most genuine laughter.
Day 7 - 9: Hwange
Depart today for your road transfer of three hours to the Hwange National Park area and on to Khulu Bush Camp for the next three nights. Khulu Bush Camp, Hwange National Park’s quintessential luxury safari lodge. Inspired by the breathtaking splendor of its natural surrounds, Khulu Bush Camp reflects Africa’s timeless wonder and natural beauty, providing you with the ultimate and utterly unforgettable safari experience.
The beauty of this camp is that it combines luxurious and private accommodation with old world hospitality. Khulu overlooks an ancient riverbed, in today’s terms called a ‘vlei’, known to attract a variety of the greatest wildlife and bird life in Hwange National Park, right on your doorstep. All rooms boast a magnificent view of a productive waterhole set in an ancient river bed, with abundant local wildlife. You have the next three days to enjoy the included activities of your choice as detailed below.
Game Drives (Morning, Afternoon or Full Day)
Morning, afternoon & full day game drives can be arranged on the concession and into the National Park. An abundance of game species can be spotted within the concession and National Park including Elephant, Lion, Giraffe, Cheetah, Zebra, Sable, Wild Dog, Leopard and much more!
Within the concession, evening game drives can be arranged with a sunset stopover for sundowners and your choice of beverage. Returning to the lodge by spotlight to find those elusive night animals & arriving back in camp in time to freshen up for dinner.
After a fireside coffee and delicious muffins, journey into the bush on foot with your professional guide on a walking safari. Enjoy the early crisp mornings as you discover the wonders of the African bush and witness its wildlife come to life. Starting time is first light. Walking Safaris are carried out on our private concession of 6000 acres and are weather dependent.
Day 10 - 12: Mana Pools
Depart this morning after breakfast to the Hwange Main airstrip for your flight to Mana Pools. Met on arrival by your guide and transferred to John’s Camp for the next three nights. Mana Pools National Park is situated on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River where you will find John’s Camp nestled amongst canopies of Trichelia and Mahogany trees, it is a truly natural wilderness. Across the vast floodplain one can walk with the giants – our African Bull elephants, dine amidst herds of buffalo, gaze upon prides of lion, enjoy sundowners with hippos on the banks of the Zambezi River and bird watch over 400 species of birds.
The camp has six ensuite Meru style tents, a common dining area and a star gazing sleep-out platform for the more adventurous safari traveller. Each tent has en-suite bathroom facilities with flush loo and overhanging safari-style bucket showers. Inside the tent is a lit changing area complete with a running water basin. With privacy in mind, the tents are generously spaced out along the floodplain adjacent to the Zambezi River. The dining area is centrally located between the tents, positioned in thick shade, and there is a campfire overlooking the floodplain for evening cocktails and snacks before dinner.You have the next three days to enjoy the included activities of your choice as detailed below.
Game drives are conducted from open 4×4 Landcruisers with a ‘window’ seat for everyone (2 people per row, max 6 guests per vehicle). Mana Pools National Park, a World Heritage Site, is perfectly situated in the heart of a natural valley on a unique flood plane, rich and diverse in flora, fauna and wildlife. It is home to 4 of the Big 5 (excluding only Rhino). Enjoy a delicious bush lunch prepared in the main camp and set up in a remote and beautiful part of the park, overlooking either the Zambezi River, one of the many inland pans, a gully or the majestic floodplain itself.
Mana Pools is the only national park in the world where you are allowed to freely walk with the wild animals and get to experience Africa as it should be – on foot! Walking safaris are lead by professional, armed and licensed Guides who are passionate and knowledgeable.
Land based fishing. Catch a variety of species from the great African Tiger Fish to the tasty Tilapia (bream). All Tiger are strictly catch and release and we have a bag limit of 5 Tilapia per day.
We can also arrange a private tour of the National Park Headquarters where guests can interact with the rangers who work tirelessly to protect and maintain not only wildlife, but also the park itself. Here guests will witness first-hand a remote Parks station working in harmony with nature.
Enjoy a last morning free for a leisurely breakfast before being transferred to the airstrip for your flight back to Harare. You may also wish to consider adding a pre or post trip to the world-renowned Victoria Falls.
|Start Date:||End Date:||Price Sharing:||Single Add:|
|01 May 2021||31 Oct 2021||USD $9278||USD $3118|
|01 May 2022||30 Jun 2022||USD $9278||USD $3118|
|01 Jul 2022||31 Oct 2022||USD $9548||USD $3118|
Dates Reflect Seasonality, Departs Daily on Request.
Airport transfers, light aircraft flights, accommodation as indicated, all safari game drives/excursions as indicated in the itinerary, meals, local brand alcoholic drinks, qualified Safari Rangers at each camp, laundry, all national park entrance fees.
International flights, visa costs, optional excursions, gratuities and personal expenses.