Zimbabwe at face value is a small nation, which has its knees buckling under the weight of an economic crisis. At a deeper look however, Zimbabwe boasts of numerous tourist attractions, and is filled with beautiful natural sights and wonders that often get massive attention from local and international tourists. This brand of rogue beauty is the first thing you must experience if ever in Zimbabwe.
1. Victoria Falls
The majestic Victoria Falls is an obvious must do, must visit and must see destination. Victoria Falls town and resort boasts a multitude of activities which make it a great place to visit. Besides the roaring falls that stand before the raging Zambezi River which in themselves are the true reason for the visit, there are a number of other exhilarating activities that one can partake in. Bungee jumping, white water rafting, abseiling and of course the luxurious river boat cruises are all available in one place. The small town claims such a great number of tourists each and every year. According to Zimbabwe tourism chief, roughly 2 million tourists have visited as of February 2016 (a nine percent increase from the previous year’s 1.8 million). It is because of its popularity that it must be first on any person’s travel and must do list when in Zimbabwe.
2. Lake Kariba
The lake is among the largest manmade lakes in the world. It houses a massive dam and is responsible for a flourishing ecosystem comprising of game, birds and fish. Going to Kariba is a worthwhile endeavour. One will never be short for things to do once in this place that is clothed in the mystery of myth and folklore. Besides the large lake and the cultural depth of the Kariba, once there one can enjoy numerous activities which include the usual African experience of game viewing, a fishing trip or two and best of all, a cruise on a boat house simply living life while on the drift.
3. Nyanga Mountains
The Nyanga Mountains boast the highest peak in Zimbabwe which has been named “world's view” for reasons that are plain upon summiting. Another fabled site, the mountain has a reputation for being sacred and not taking its defilement lightly. Over the years there have been “reports” of missing persons and other inexplicable occurrences. Despite these negative reports, the Nyanga Mountains in the Eastern Highlands are a must visit. Once there, one is at liberty to go hiking, kayaking, mountain biking among other adventurous outdoor activities that this rugged terrain has to offer. With much cooler weather, as opposed to the Zambezi and Kariba intense heat waves, this misty retreat must be on your bucket list.
4. Great Zimbabwe
The reason it must be regarded as a top place is visit when you are in Zimbabwe is that it is in itself a historic tale that needs no telling. On the outskirts of the town of Masvingo, are the largest and possibly some of the oldest ruins in Africa. The Great Zimbabwe ruins are thought to have been constructed from around the 11th century stretching into the 14th century and are the oldest ruins in the southern African region. Taking a trip to marvel at this historical leviathan is not an experience one should simply pass by, especially those with a soft spot for archaeology and all things historical. It can’t be said that one did and experienced all the invigorating things and wonders that Zimbabwe has to offer but never saw the Great Zimbabwe Ruins; they are of course the source of the country’s name, and are an architectural wonder to behold.
5. Matopos National Park
The Matopos National Park gains its worthiness from the massive picturesque boulders that balance precariously atop each other strewn across the landscape. The area was named by the great Ndebele King Mzilikazi whose grave along with that of Cecil John Rhodes’. These are to be found close to and in the park respectively. Any tourist with a knack for hiking will love the area and will more likely fall in love with its vast offering of wildlife. The wildlife although greatly diminished by poaching still thrives magnificently. The park notwithstanding the balancing rocks boasts of the world’s largest concentration of black eagles, and in general 1/3 of the eagle species of the world, wildcat, springhare, and baboon’s monkeys also are common in the area. The rivers are teeming with fish ranging from bass to bottle fish. The park has lodges chalets and campsites all ready for use for any avid group of tourists or the solitary adventurer.
6. Mana Pools
“Mana” meaning four in one of the country’s main language Shona, signifies the four pools that are in one of Zimbabwe’s most, wild and remote parks. The pools are a result of the Zambezi River which left in its wake oxbow lakes that have been responsible for the thriving and multiplying of scores of varying wildlife. The pool named long pool is the largest of the four pools that are in the area. This pool houses large numbers of crocodile and hippos, and is popular with herds of elephants that come for an occasional bath and drink. On an unmanned game walk which the pools offer (a rare treat in Zimbabwe) one is bound to catch a glimpse of either a large herbivore like the zebra or the elephant, and rarely a lion or a cheetah. With a continuous trek into the forest one will come across the Zambezi River which marks the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is at this point one has the opportunity to see the great giant that is responsible for the Victoria Falls and feeds the famous lake Kariba.
7. Hwange National Park
Vast and proud, it is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe. It is responsible for the abode of all of Zimbabwe’s specially protected wildlife and is located on the western side of the country between Bulawayo and the famous Victoria falls. The park has limited if not almost non-existent rainfall, and is mostly inhabited by desert related woodlands for example the Zambezi teak. The weather is explained by the parks proximity to the Kalahari Desert. In spite of the harsh weather conditions, the park receives a very generous tourist following. The park houses roughly 100 mammal species, 400 bird species and among these are 19 large herbivores and close to eight large carnivores. Apparently due to poaching, the park is the only place where one can find gemsbok and brown hyena in their more sizeable numbers. The park, established in 1928, is a must see wonder of Zimbabwe.
8. Gonarezhou National Park
The name means “place of many elephants.” The scenery is wild, rugged and beautiful; and is located to the south east of the country. Gonarezhou covers a large area of over 5000 square kilometres. The park offers a good number of large mammals and even houses some rare species like the king cheetah. Dissected by three rivers, the Save, Mwenezi and Runde, the parks wildlife thrives greatly due to the abundance of water. Fish, birds and larger animals flock to the pools and oases that are created by the rivers. The park like most forests and mountains in Zimbabwe is sacred and demands immense respect from those who choose to visit its dusty laterites.
9. Chinhoyi Caves
The traditional name for the the Chinhoyi Caves is “Chirorodziva” which means the “Pool of the Fallen.” The caves are made up of a series of tunnels which take you on a descent down to the main cave which is stunning with its aqua marine coloured water. This pool is known as the Sleeping Pool and has become very popular amongst divers, who have gone as deep as 50m and the visibility is still unbelievably good. On the property there are campsites and caravan sites which enables you to spend the night or have a picnic whilst exploring the caves. The Caves are located about 9 kilometres north-west of the town of Chinhoyi, 120 kilometres from the capital city of Harare.
10. Chilojo Cliffs
The Chilojo cliffs are situated within the great Gonarezhou National Park. They were created as a result of a long natural process involving water and wind erosion, which occurs over innumerable years. Even though the cliffs are found in the park which is the main attraction, they are a wonder to behold. The red coloured cliffs which offer a view of the Runde River are bound to draw the attention of any tourist.