Exploring the hidden gems of Zimbabwe

Exploring the hidden gems of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is not always at the top of everyone’s list but it shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated, for its one of very few places in the world that will surprise you with its raw beauty and once in a lifetime experiences. If you love nature, magnificent vistas, and love to discover the natural wonders of the world, then Zimbabwe is the ideal destination for your next vacation.  If you dare to be different then consider traveling to these hidden gems of Zimbabwe.

 

Hidden Gems of Zimbabwe: Matopos Hills

Hidden Gems of Zimbabwe - Matobo Hills National Park
Discover the beauty and mystery of the natural world in Motobo National Park – a hidden gem in Zimbabwe.

Matopos Hills offers one of the most dramatic sceneries in Zimbabwe; boasting granite kopjes, wooded valleys, and a rich diversity of wildlife. Matopos Hills forms part of the Matobo National Park which is one of the oldest parks in the country and an area in Zimbabwe that is rich in history. It is here, on the peak of the Malindidzimu (known as the “Hill of Spirits”), where you will find the gravestone of the respected Cecil John Rhodes. Matopa Hills is regarded to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Matopos Hills is one of the best places in Southern Africa to view century-old San rock art, hosting some of the highest number of sites – approximately 3000. But besides San rock art, there is 100 mammal species and approximately 200 bird species recorded in the park, including the highest concentration of black eagles in the world. Visitors to the area can explore this pristine wilderness on guided game drives, nature walks, and on horseback. There is also a few dams in the area, affording visitors the opportunity to enjoy boat cruises and fishing expeditions.

 

Ruins at Great Zimbabwe

Hidden gems of Zimbabwe - the ruins of Great Zimbabwe
Discover a medieval era when visiting the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, once a great kingdom of Zimbabwe.

The ruins at Great Zimbabwe nestles in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe near the town of Masvingo, and Great Zimbabwe was believed to be the capital of Zimbabwe during the Late Iron Age. The ruins were also believed to be a royal palace for the local Monarch and a place of political power. Today, the ruins at Great Zimbabwe is regarded to be a National Monument and World Heritage Site.

This unique complex is one of the hidden gems of Zimbabwe, comprising of rectangular granite stones that have been placed on top of one another to form wall enclosures that are approximately 6 meters thick and stand as high as 12 meters. There are three distinct areas to see: the Hill complex where the king was said to live, the Great Enclosure where the wives of the king lived, and the Valley Enclosure, where all other villagers lived.

When visiting this intriguing part of Zimbabwe, one is recommended to do so on a guided tour. You can find tour guides positioned just outside the ruins or you can get a driver guide in the city of Masvingo who will take you to the area.

It is the stories told by locals that allow one to truly understand and appreciate the flawless stone architecture built by local African people during the era of AD 1250 and AD 1450, including the iconic soapstone sculpture of Zimbabwe’s Great Bird – an emblem often used on Zimbabwe’s banknotes, coins, stamps, national sports teams, and various institutions and organizations.

 

Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

Hidden gems of Zimbabwe - Hwange National Park
Boasting untouched wilderness and some of the most incredible walking safaris, Hwange is a truly rewarding safari destination.

Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s trump card when it comes to top safari experiences in Africa. Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest wilderness region, spanning over 1 465 000 hectares, and is home to abundant wildlife, including Africa’s famous Big Five and almost 400 species of birds. The park is most famous for its elephant population, boasting some of the largest elephant herds in the world, and is one of the best destinations to visit for a walking safari. Only an hour away from a world natural wonder – Victoria Falls, Hwange is a destination easily added on, affording visitors the opportunity to explore two hidden gems of Zimbabwe.

Main Camp is conveniently located at the main entrance to the park. Combined with its wide range of accommodation options and numerous pans and waterholes that attract a great number of animals, this camp is a popular choice for visitors to the region.

Main Camp offers guests the opportunity to experience daily game drives, guided walking safaris, gorgeous sunsets, and the opportunity to experience moonlight game viewing during the full-moon period.

There are also several exclusive camps in remote areas of the park which additionally offer wilderness trails, bird hides, and fishing expeditions.

 

Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe

Hidden gems of Zimbabwe - Eastern Highlands
Encompassing rolling plains and waterfalls, the Eastern Highlands offers a tranquil space in which to enjoy nature.

Extending 300 kilometers along the eastern border with Mozambique is three gorgeous mountain ranges that are collectively known as the Eastern Highlands. Exploring this region, one will come across rolling hills covered with grassland, Zimbabwe’s highest mountain, and Africa’s second-longest waterfall. Chimanimani National Park is a serious hiker’s paradise, offering various trails and gorgeous views of the untouched wilderness.

The Highlands offer sanctuary to a variety of animal species, including the fruit bat, Samango monkeys, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and a  variety of antelope. The Eastern Highlands is one of the hidden gems of Zimbabwe because it offers incredible bird watching opportunities, with over 450 species recorded in the region. This includes 23 Afrotropical Highland biome birds and some truly rare species such as the red-winged warbler and greater painted snipe.

Lodges in the area generally offer nature walks, mountain biking, game drives, golfing, horse riding, hiking trails, sleep-out experiences in caves, visits to Nyanga National Park to view some incredible San rock art. The Eastern Highlands also has a natural swimming hole for travelers to enjoy.

 

South Gonarezhou National Park

Hidden gems of Zimbabwe - Elephants in South Gonarezhou National Park
South Gonarezhou National Park is a hidden gem in Zimbabwe, offering incredible encounters with Africa’s gentle giants.

Gonarezhou National Park lies in the south-eastern Lowveld of Zimbabwe and forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which includes the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Its geographical position alone makes it one of the hidden gems of Zimbabwe. 

The Save, Runde and Mwenezi Rivers run through the park, forming natural pools that attract many of the 500 species of bird recorded in the park, along with other larger animals such as lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and various antelope species.

South Gonarezhou National Park may be off the beaten track and have more rustic accommodation options; but it is home to some of Africa’s largest-tusked elephants, unique aquatic species such as the Zambezi shark and black bream, and the gorgeous red sandstone cliffs of Chilojo.

 

Zimbabwe is undoubtedly one of the best destinations in Africa for nature lovers and explorers. Let us help you plan an unforgettable vacation by incorporating a visit to the mighty Victoria Falls with an exploration of Zimbabwe’s most pristine and off the beaten track wilderness regions.

Want to experience the wonder of the the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls?

Show me the Top Lodges

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *