There’s always a palpable air of excitement at the very start of a game safari. Perhaps it’s the thrill of chasing Africa’s Big Five; of stumbling across a rare and endangered black rhino or following fresh tracks to pin point the game ranger’s next direction. Perhaps it’s the excitement of the safari-style open jeep – that by its very nature seems to defy logical safety concerns – but allow for unobstructed views and catching the cool breeze in the hot air at dusk. Whatever it is, be sure to wear neutral clothes, lay off perfumes and colognes and bring a jacket before you head out on your evening safari to fully enjoy the magic of Mother Nature and the entertaining commentary that follows.
‘Why did the zebra cross the road?’.. It’s very likely you’ll spot zebra within a few minutes of entering Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve but, instead of lame jokes, you’ll learn how their stripes act as a natural air-conditioning system or how new-born zebras eat their mother’s dung to help them fight off any infections when they are at their most vulnerable.
As the sun sets over the horizon, the African bush is awash with colours and sounds. As the evening dawns, rare nocturnal animals come out of their daytime retreats while calls of birds and antelope signal there's a predator on the prowl or packs of scavengers gathered at a kill. Leopard are remarkably common in Victoria Falls, and yet rarely spotted, due to their illusive nature. Leopard can be found in both in Victoria Falls National Park
Over four-and-a-half hours, the safari traverses the shores of the reserve’s lake and through basalt plains into teak forests and savannah following in the tracks of Africa’s biggest – elephants, rhinos, buffalo, hippos and more. In this environment, vehicles give way to the herds and questions are encouraged - the inevitable chorus of laughter (as you learn all things weird and wonderful from your guide) mingles seamlessly with the snorts and grunts of the African bush.
Who knew that a rhino uses a similar, albeit rudimentary, method to wine connoisseurs to inhale and discern scents? They’re very curios animals and you’ll see them sniff the air to glean information as the jeeps roll by. Sadly, black rhinoceros have not fared well at the hands of humans. In the Seventies, an estimated 65,000 black rhinos could be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Sadly, 90 percent of them were killed and experts estimate there are fewer than 1,500 left, concentrated in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, and Tanzania. The small herd of rhinos go about their daily business unaware of just how special they are. To protect them the animals are often de-horned to deter poachers.
Sunsets are toasted with a hip G&T sundowner before the safari continues into the reserve. And, when the viewing’s done, another traditional treat awaits… Sit-down for a 3-course bush dinner in a pop-up restaurant within the Stanley & Livingstone Private Game Reserve – dinning under the twinkling stars. A blazing fire, flickering lanterns light the area under a darkening sky while you are welcomed with a traditional greeting in the Shona and Ndebele languages. The perfect accompaniment to ethnic cuisine served with a contemporary twist - including Zimbabwean favourites and barbecued game meat. We’re game if you are…
16 Official Languages Spoken
Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda, and Xhosa.
Electricity – Volt & plug
The Zimbabwean electricity supply is 240V/50hz.
Wi-Fi can be found at most accommodations and some restaurants and airports, however, the download speed is often slow and many connections limit your data usage. In short, you’ll be able to stay connected with home, but don't expect a high-speed fibre connection.
When To Go
Zimbabwe is blessed with a mostly mild climate, but different areas will yield different temperatures throughout the year.
May-Aug = Winter time bringing dry days and very cold mornings/evenings.
Nov-Apr = The summer rainy season is beautiful, with sporadic rain and dramatic afternoon electrical storms.
Sep-Oct = Very hot and very dry.
The best time to visit would be from March - August as the falls are at their fullest and it is optimal for spectacular views, whitewater rafting and canoeing the Zambezi.
With the possible exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, most tourist services and attractions are open on Zimbabwe's public holidays. In addition, most city shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues remain open.
|1 January||New Year's Day|
|21 February||Robert Mugabe National Youth Day (from 2018)|
|Easter Sunday -2d||Good Friday|
|Easter Sunday +1d||Easter Monday|
|18 April||Independence Day|
|6 May (Sunday)||Mothers' Day|
|25 May||Workers Day (Labour Day)|
|Second Monday in August||Africa Day|
|Second Monday in August||Heroes' Day|
|14 August||Defence Forces Day|
|22 December||Unity Day|
|25 December||Christmas Day|
|26 December||Boxing Day|
Generally, most nationalities do not need a visa to enter Zimbabwe, however this changes regularly, so it is best to contact your local embassy for confirmation before departure. Your passport should be valid for at least SIX months from the date you will leave Zimbabwe and should have at least two blank pages.
What To Pack
Zimbabwe is generally pretty laid back, so no need to haul out your best silks when you head to these shores. Here's some clothing advice when in Zimbabwe:
Health & Safety
The standard vaccinations required for the Southern African region are applicable to Zimbabwe. It's important to see your doctor several months in advance, as some vaccinations take time.
It's highly recommended to get vaccinated for both Cholera and Typhoid - both of which had sporadic breakouts in late 2016, as well as Yellow Fever, Typhoid and Hepatitis A & B among others.
Malaria is present in many parts of the country, so it's recommended to take a course of antimalarials such as Doxycycline or Malarone. However, preventing bites is the ideal solution, so wear long-sleeve clothing in the evenings and bring along repellent containing DEET.
The tap water in Zimbabwe is not safe to drink, so ensure you consume bottled mineral water only, which is widely available.
Zimbabwe may have high crime statistics, but if you conduct yourself wisely, most tourists enjoy the country without any incident at all. Ensure that you lock away your passports and travel documents in a safe, which is usually provided by your accommodation. Don't flash around valuables and keep an eye on your belongings at all time. Majority of Zimbabwe’s crime is opportunistic petty crime, so if you are vigilant about your belongings you should not have any problem.
The currency in Zimbabwe is the American Dollar US$. You can easily convert your currency at a bank or Forex Bureau. The airports and larger towns often have many different Forex options. You can also withdraw from an ATM, banks are available in major cities. Be sure to check what international bank charges you will incur for withdrawals before you arrive. Major credit cards are accepted at some hotels or restaurants, however, there may be a surcharge. It is advisable to have small amounts of cash for curios and tipping.
Gratuities are not compulsory but rather a reward for good service. If you are happy with the service received you are welcome (but not expected to) tip guides or staff. The following is a suggestion for tipping: