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ekscrunchy Nov 23rd, 2019 01:33 PM

ZIMBABWE SAFARI..Recommended!!!!!!
I spent the last two weeks of September at four camps in Zimbabwe--two different in Hwange, one in Mana pools, and one in Malilingwe.

For anyone planning a Southern African safari, with possible addition of Vic Falls, I would highly, highly recommend visiting the reserves in Zimbabwe. It is generally noted that the guiding here in the best in Africa, as the training is more stringent and longer than in other countries. Political and economic troubles notwithstanding (you would not be aware of any of this in the bush, unless you specifically sought to converse with the guides and other locals (I did; one of our guides at Linkwasha in Hwange had actually ran for president in 2018!!)

Prices for upscale lodges (Wilderness has quite a few; Singita has one) are lower than comparable properties in SA and way lower than those in Botswana (exception was Singita Pamushana, which is priced as you would except with Singita)

Access is easy, through Vic Falls airport, or through Harare (maybe other cities, not sure), followed by charter flights into the bush. Guiding was spectacular, Mana Pools, with the Zambezi flowing alongside the camp and the Zambia escarpment's red cliffs rising less than a mile across the river, service, and food, were all on a par with the best of SA and Botswana.

From Linkwasha, we were able to tour a "real" village and meet the local people. And last but certainly not least, the game viewing was spectacular!
Unlike reports I've read from Kruger, we saw no starving animals although there has been a drought. The country now usses US dollars as currency, after the collapse of their own.

Granted, we were at four high-priced camps but you would have the same game viewing in less fancy accommodations.

I am not going to write a trip report but would be happy to share experieinces and offer opinions for anyone who has not before considered Zimbabwe as a safari destination. From there, we flew to CaapeTown for 6 nights at the "Nellie" , then home to JFK on KLM via AMS. It would have been easy to add Zambia to Zimbabwe, as my sister did last May...she also was blown away by the Zimbabwean camps and game viewing. (I had already been to Vic Falls, which to me, was not so thrilling, probably because we were there in October when the flow was not at its peak.

tripplanner001 Nov 23rd, 2019 02:13 PM

Thank you for the tip about the Zimbabwe parks. We went to Victoria Falls in April and it was full of water and mist, which actually made it hard to view. I assume the falls would be better in June or July, when the waters recede some.

crellston Nov 23rd, 2019 08:54 PM

Thanks for sharing your impressions ekscrunchy. We have been so impressed with our time in South Africa on our current trip that a return visit is almost certain, but next time would likely combine with somewhere else, most likely Namibia and/or Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has a special attraction for me personally as my late father worked there as young man before I was born.

Heimdall Nov 24th, 2019 01:27 AM

My daughter and son-in-law took their Land Rover from London to Cape Town, starting the African leg of the trip in Cairo, visiting most of the major game parks in eastern and Southern Africa including gorilla and chimp trekking on the way. One of their favourite parks for big five game was South Luangwa in Zambia. Having their own vehicle allowed them to visit more remote locations, including the skeleton coast in Namibia, and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa, which they did later after reaching Cape Town. The whole trip took a year.

ekscrunchy Nov 24th, 2019 05:58 AM

Crellston: You've probably read them but if not, you would probably enjoy (if enjoy is the right word for some of the tragedies contained within, but there is joy as well) the trilogy by Peter Godwin, a Rhodesia-born author now living in NYC. These memoirs are three of the best books I've read on Africa. They begin when the author's father arrived in Rhodesia, also as a young man who hid the fact that he was Jewish for many years, even from his children, and end during the rein of Mugabe.

There are other areas besides the game parks that sound interesting, such as Matobo Hills and Great Zimbabwe. The country certainly needs foreign exchange, although what happens to the revenue might be debatable.


crellston Nov 26th, 2019 11:22 PM

Thanks for the tips ekscrunchy, I will seek out those titles when back in the U.K.

if you can use a VPN to access the BBC, have a look at the Romesh Ranaganathan travel doc on Zimbabwe. He is a Sri Lankan born stand up comedian and very famous in the UK and has recently turned his hand to travel documentaries. This one is a gem, as hilarious as it is informative. His guide is a zimababwean lady who is arguably the single most entertaining guide in the world. Just watching this one programe made me want to seek out her services!

MyriamC Nov 27th, 2019 07:41 AM

Thanks for the tips!
We'll be in Namibia, Botswana and Vic Falls in September 2020. Never considered Zimbabwe for a safari but it's certainly something I may reconsider.

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