Zimbabwe Luxury Safari Tours

A silver backed jackal in Hwange National Park

A silver backed jackal in Hwange National Park

Why is Zimbabwe now one of the best African safari destinations?

  • The National Parks of Zimbabwe are packed with wildlife, but not people. So every safari is a personal experience
  • Zimbabwe is a land of dramatic landscapes, the Zambezi river, the longest in Africa runs through her. Zimbabwe is fertile with green rolling hills and some of the worlds’ oldest known natural rock formations of the Matopo Hills.
  • Victoria Falls, the largest water fall in Africa sits on the frontier between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
  • The Zimbabwean people are famous for their warm and genuine hospitality. This will make your wildlife safari in Zimbabwe relaxing, easy going and you will make friends for life
  • Zimbabwe has arguably the best climate of Southern Africa to travel in: cool evenings but sunny days. With many parks located at altitude you will enjoy the cooler nights and the country boasts a green fertile countryside; making it perfect for travelling.
  • The Great Zimbabwe Ruins is  one of the 7 wonders of Africa: the single largest stone city built in Sub Sahara Africa.That means Zimbabwe has two world heritage sites inside its borders!
  • Hwange national park is the only park in Africa that offers an overnight sleeper trainride into the park on a historic, refurbished Rovos steam train. Zimbabwe is also one of only 3 African countries where aficionados of historic steam trains can get their fix with a train-game drive, an overnight train ride into the national Park or a 5course dinner on a steam train as an evening treat (Zim, Sa, Zam) CHECK!!!
  • The overall cost of a multi destination Safari tour inside Zimbabwe is substantially lower then other nations, meaning you can have superb quality for your budget.
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Hwange National Park is an excellent place to go for a walking safari. The Imvelo guides are second to none.

Western Zimbabwe Highlights Tour

Everything we do is tailored to your needs, but there is one tour that everyone loves. The 7 night Western Zimbabwe Highlights tour. You start Victoria Falls, check into your hotel and then have a cruise down the Zambezi river. The next day you’ll have a half day game drive in Zambezi National Park and time to explore the old colonial town of Victoria Falls under your own steam or with a guide. Then you head out into Hwange National Park by road (or rail) to one of the incredible Imvelo Lodges in Hwange National Park. You have 3 nights in Hwange, where you will have the choice of observing animals from an underground hide, going on mind blowing guided bushwalks, or taking lesiurely game drives in the morning and evening. All the lodges have awesome food and drink. You have the option to visit the local village or the elephant watering stations. Both of which are part of this parks’ success story. The Lodge can even arrange a safari on horseback (if you are trained to do so). You aend in Victoria Falls Airport for your next flight.  Ask us how to add any of the regional locations– Namibia, Zambia or Cape Town to this intinerary.

COST: The Zimbabwe Highlights Safari tour starts and ends in Vic Falls Airport with mid season rates starting from $2995 pp, sharing.

Hwange National Park is packed with small as well as large mammals. Here you can see Warthogs wandering along in the long grass

Hwange National Park is packed with small as well as large mammals. Here you can see Warthogs wandering along in the long grass

Zimbabwe Private Luxury Safari

This itinerary would take you from Johannesburg Airport into Hwange National Park directly with a small local charter flight from Victoria Falls. You will be staying in the incredible CamelThorn Lodge inside Hwange National Park. The rooms have rooftop plunge baths and guided game activities with your own dedicated guide, you have 3 days and 4 nights to really see the best of the Park. Close to dense animal life in a remote private concession, you spend these days with your private guide. This is all about wildlife, you decide daily what to aim for on your game drives or walks. As you get to know your guide these days, there is a personal touch to your days here and with the myriad of expert options to see the wildlife, this will be a safari to remember.

A road transfer has you arrive back in Victoria Falls and your next location is at the Gorges Lodge, just 11 miles outside Victoria Falls. This lodge has her cabins perched on the edges of the Gorges cliffs, with a drop of 400 meter right below your rooms’ balcony. Watch the Black Eagles soar past your room and the cliffs every afternoon. Dinner, drinks and breakfast are all served against this dramatic backdrop. With a transfer to town you can go and visit the main Victoria Falls and the river Zambezi and depending on the season and flow, you will get wet – or very wet. With a day to spend at will in town, you can happily return to the Gorges Lodge again with their transfer. The final day of your tour in Zimbabwe is spent with a visit to the Zambian side of the Falls, a short game drive to see the rhino living in the Zambian bush in Mosi Oa Tuna National Park and a fine dining experience on the historic steam train that has been refurbished and drives over the bridge on the Falls. A last transfer will take you back to Victoria Falls Airport for your flight out.

COST: The Zimbabwe Private Luxury Safari tour starts and ends in Vic Falls Airport with mid season rates starting from $3500 pp, sharing.

*After either option you continue on to a few days in Cape Town to soak up more of Africa’s iconic places, walk in South Luangwa with the chance to see leopard, go fishing on Lake Kariba or travel to the arid dunes of Namibia for a contrast in scenery – any extension can be added in any direction.

Zimbabwe Guided Tours Additions.  In and around Zimbabwe

When travelling all this way to Zimbabwe for your African safari, why not add a few unique extensions to your time here. Zimbabwe has so much natural beauty and cultural highlights to offer, that it is easy enough to fill your entire Zimbabwe holiday time just within her borders. Ask us to add a trip to the national monument of the ruins of Great Zimbabwe- a feat of drystone architecture found nowhere else in Africa. Great Zimbabwe was known in all corners of the continent and her rulers were famous. For keen fishermen, Lake Kariba is a great destination to add to the first part of your Wildlife Safari with time spent on a private houseboat and a chance to catch / release some of the largest catfish and Nile Perch known to live in the waters of Africa. If you prefer history combined with natural beauty, then a stop at the enigmatic Matopo Hills and Mana Pools can not be missing from your itinerary for your Zimbabwean Safari tour.

All of these locations can be added, but will need some carefull planning taking season and distances into account.

 Ask us for any extension & options when we start building your tailor made safari for you. Simcly use the chat function to send a message. 

Zebras stare at the camera in Hwange National park before  going back to their grazing

Zebras stare at the camera in Hwange National park before going back to their grazing

How do I get around Zimbabwe on Safari?

The starting point for your Zimbabwe wildlife safari will be Victoria Falls Airport. If you are traveling with an escorted safari tour like the Zimbabwe Highlights Tour, your Zimbabwe safari guide will meet you outside Arrivals where a transfer is waiting for you. From that moment on, all transport, pickup and drop offs during your Zimbabwe holiday tour are arranged for you. While inside the National Park of Hwange and Chobe you will be taken around in open game drive vehicles by dedicated safari guides. In Hwange National Park, the safari lodge has its own guides, which means that from the minute you arrive with them, they will take care of all your game activities, your meals, drinks, and your accommodation.

If you are on our tailormade Luxury Zimbabwe Tour, your arrival point is again in Victoria Falls Airport but you will be met by the charter airline inside the airport and helped through local immigration. You fly straight out again, right into the heart of the national park. Within an hour of your landing in Vic Falls you will be immersed in the stage setting of your African safari journey. Inside Hwange National Park, your expert guide and lodge staff will look after everything you may need. The unique style of game viewing means that you and your Zimbabwean safari guide can decide exactly how you would like to spend each day: on foot, in a car, out the whole day, dawn only, in the hide or even on a bike or horseback. So many ways to see the wildlife and landscapes of Hwange National Park will definitely give you the most amazing time. You are handed over to the staff of the Gorges Lodge when you reach Victoria Falls again. This lodge has dedicated drivers, town staff and guides to make your stay the best in every possible way. A return transfer for your final flight out of Victoria Airport is included so you need not worry about this final arrangement to end your African wildlife experience.

How do I get to Zimbabwe for my safari?

Allthough it is not the capitals’ airport, the little international airport of Victoria Falls is as easy to reach as its nations’ hub, Harare. From Johannesburg, there are a number of international worldwide connections to your home country on large international carriers. Johannesburg is Africa’s best connected airport with direct flights from Europe, the United States and Asia. Quality airlines such as KLM (www.klm.com), British Airways (www.ba.com) and Turkish Airlines (www.thy.com) all serve Johannesburg daily. The Middle Eastern super carriers such as Qatar (www.flyqatar.com) and Emirates (www.emirates.com) also land every day.

But by far and away the easiest connection is British Airways (www.ba.com) who operate a flight to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe from Johannesburg and Cape Town. As ATOL license holders, we are happy to organise your international flights to start your tailor made safari tour in Zimbabwe. We are experts in finding a flight connection that works for you. Whether it would be from a remote airport in the United States to Africa, tying up a connection from Australia to a bush strip, or a simple Europe to Victoria Falls return flight: we have access to very competitive business class and premium fares. In addition we can also find you the best value economy class fares, on all airlines.

Lions crossing the historic railway at Hwange National Park

Lions crossing the historic railway at Hwange National Park

Zimbabwe Luxury Safari Tour Itinerary

The Zimbabwe Private Luxury Safari – the best of our private escorted tours around Zimbabwe

Day 1 – Your flight from Johannesburg International Airport arrives into Victoria Falls. Make your way through immigration and find your safari guide outside the terminal and the vehicle will take you to the Gorges Lodge for your first overnight. The Gorges Lodges is ‘glued’ to the edge of the cliffs over the Zambezi River below. A drop of 400 metres down is right off your balcony, and this dramatic setting is the backdrop of your meals, drinks, dawn and sunset. This first evening after a long haul flight to get here, we’ll take it easy and let you enjoy the sunset over these jungle covered plummeting facades. The communal bar is on the flightpath of the famous Black Eagles that nest near the chalets on the cliffs, and they come close enough to make out their individual markings. Drinks and dinner is an informal and communal affair and the home cooked food is tasty and plentiful. Retire to your balcony with a nightcap and get ready for the next days’ activities.

Day 2 – after a relaxed breakfast, a transfer will take you into Victoria Falls town itself. You are dropped off right at the entry of the Falls National Park, where you spend a few hours walking the various trails and tracks that give you all the angles of the falls and the boiling ravines below. Once you had your fill, exit the Park and meet your driver to cross the bridge to the Zambian side of the Falls. Here you have the option to have a rest and tea at a bar at the waterfront and by 2 or 3 PM, you enter the Mosi Oa Tunya National park. The smallest park of Africa, but with the largest creatures in it: you can visit the family of rhino that lives here. And it is worth the effort to see these shy, vulnerable creatures, even if only for 15 minutes. After a drive through the lovely little Park, you are taken back across the bridge and have the chance for another stop at the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel. If you are interested in trains and history, then this is a must-do stop in your day. The breath taking views of the bridge over the river is world class.

Eventually return to the Gorges Lodge by car, in time for dinner and drinks with the eagles and another night in the bush.

Day 3 – If brave enough, you can ask one of the Lodge guides to walk you down all the way to the river below. Beware – you must come up again as well. Especially in the hot season, it is best to do so in the morning. Relax around the lodge, have a cold dip and after lunch, you are taken into town again for a visit to the local arts market. At 16:00 PM you are taken to the siding to board the Rovos steam train for a classic evening out. This train offers exclusive 6course meals while the train steams over the bridge and into Zimbabwe and all food, snacks, drinks are included. The local expert on all things Zambia/Zimbabwe/Botswana, historian and author Dr. Peter Jones will start the evening with an onboard lecture explaining local geo-political history. And while you slowly chunter along over the tracks, a sumptuous dinner and matching wines are served. Around 21:00 PM you are back in the siding in Victoria Falls itself from where the transfer vehicle will take you back to the Gorges Lodge for a nightcap on the edges of the cliff. With the evening breeze coming up from the river deep below you cooling down your room above the escarpment it is a fitting end to a historic train ride in Africa.

Day 4 – After a relaxed breakfast the transfer vehicle will drive you and your party to the Dete railway station in a 2hour drive over a smooth road. Here, the Stimela train will wait for you to board. The Stimela train is a privately restored steam train with classic cabins, a bar and restaurant with viewing windows onboard and the guides will keep you entertained while the chef prepares a full course dinner on board. This is a sumptuous classic dinner experience at its best. The train heads into Hwange National Park, one of the very few game drives in the world you can do by train. While enjoying the views and sights of the bush slowly moving past your window, sip a glass of pristine wine as you enter deeper into the Park. After dinner, you are accommodated in the sleeper cabins and the train carries on, winding its way into the bush.

Day 5 – On arrival in the National Park train station (3AM), the Stimela train stays stationary so you can sleep until dawn on the train. You will be woken up with a breakfast and a view of the bush surrounding you on all sides. Here, you meet the lodge vehicles to take you onwards to the camp inside the national park. Head out in the game viewing vehicles and enjoy an early morning game drive enroute to the Camp of your choice. This early and this deep in the park, guaranteed sightings of elephant, giraffe, gazelle and maybe even big cats are a fact. Midmorning you arrive at Jozibanini Tented Camp, right in the heart of the savannah plains of Hwange National Park. Check in to your tented room, rest and relax after lunch and tea and in the late afternoon head out again to explore the park and camps surroundings for more game with the rangers and game vehicles of the camp.

Dinner and overnight accommodation in double or twin tents, full board, is at Jozibanini Camp.

Day 6 – Today you have a full day inside Hwange National Park. Depending on the season, the recent sightings and your own wishes, a plan for the day is made with you and the guides. You may be keen to cover some more ground and see the various landscapes the park has to offer, with its different animals making their living in these habitats. Perhaps you are more into bird spotting, and would like to stay put in a sheltered spot to see what feathered gems come by. Maybe all you want to do is watch elephant families drink and play around the water pans. Anything you like to do is taken into account and the day is yours. Lunch can either be a packed picknick in the park, or return to the lodge for a shady patio lunch and a rest during the hot hours. An afternoon game drive or village visit is always on offer.

Dinner and overnight accommodation in double or twin tents, full board, is at Jozibanini Camp.

Day 7 – One more day to enjoy the variety of game options in Hwange National Park. A fantastic and unique way to see the wildlife from a very different angle is to plan a visit to the Underground Hide: a container has been sunk into the ground near a watering hole and in all safety you can sit and watch the animals come to drink. The animals know there is a structure, but as you are inside, and hidden from their view this is one on of the most natural settings to watch them come to drink. Another option for a more adventurous exploration of the bush is to go out on foot with the camps guides and learn about tracks, spotting smaller animals like birds, insects and rodents. See the different prints and scat left behind by visitors of the bush and feel the heat, dust and sand while walking through this landscape. Bushwalking is always done in single file, guided by 2 armed rangers and only when they deem the situation safe.

If you are an experienced horseback rider, this is also a way to see the bush up close and away from the usual open cars. Lastly, ATB bikes are an option in the dry season to cover some ground: again this will be guided by expert rangers and only when the season is safe. Whatever you do: your lunch can again be either a picknick in the park, or enjoyed in the shade of the camp while you rest during the heat of the midday.

A last dinner and overnight accommodation in double or twin tents, full board, is at Jozibanini Camp.

*Alternatively, depending on the season we may suggest choosing to stay at the Camelthorn Camp:

Day 8 – Today you have time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the shade of the camps’ bush premises or even make the most of your last hours here in the African wild and go for an early morning walk in the vicinity of the camp with a guide. Mid morning you are taken to the small gravel airstrip nearby the camp and in a 45 minute flight you will find yourself back in Victoria Falls Airport.

You can now collect any stored luggage here and the flight company will help you transfer to the international desk for your flight back to Johannesburg.

*alternatively, you can now meet your safari vehicle to head out to Chobe National Park in Botswana, or even return to Victoria Falls itself if that is your itinerary.

*For those continuing into Zambia or Zimbabwe, your onward flight or vehicle transfers will be meeting you at Victoria Falls Airport.

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