Category: Zimbabwe travel guide

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Travel to Zimbabwe for dramatic landscape and diverse wildlife

Victoria Falls: Zimbabwe & Zambia from John Robson on Vimeo.

Zimbabwe is an incredibly diverse & beautiful land rich in magnificient natural wonders. Zimbabwe is in central southern Africa. Because of the impact of its colonial history on the nation’s political, economic, and sociocultural life, it generally is identified more with southern Africa than with central Africa. A land-locked country of 242,700 square miles 390,580 square kilometers between the Zambezi River to the north and the Limpopo River to the south, it is bordered by Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia.At the beginning of the twentieth century, the population is estimated to have been about six hundred thousand. The 1992 national census estimated it at over ten million, and with a growth rate of 3 percent, it is expected to be over twelve million in 2000. Zimbabwe is named after Great Zimbabwe, the twelfth- to fifteenth-century stone-built capital of the Rozwi Shona dynasty. The name is thought to derive from dzimba dza mabwe (“great stone houses”) or dzimba waye (“esteemed houses”). Cultural and religious traditions among the Shona, Ndebele and smaller groups of Tonga, Shangaan and Venda have similarities in regard to marriage practices and the belief in supernatural ancestors. Great Zimbabwe RuinsAround the 10th century, trade developed between the Mashona (Shona) and the Phoenicians. Through the period from the 11th century to the 15th century, descendants of the Shona speaking people are believed to have built the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.These ruins of Ancient Zimbabwe are some of the oldest and largest structures located in Southern Africa, and are a truly remarkable sight to see.At its peak, estimates are that the ruins of Great Zimbabwe had as many as 20 000 inhabitants. The ruins span 1,800 acres (7 km²) and cover a radius of 100 to 200 miles (160 to 320 km). The Great Zimbabwe ruins are built entirely of Stone. It was here that the iconic Zimbabwe Birds were found. The word Zimbabwe consists of two key root words, -mba- which means house; and -bwe, which means stone. The word therefore means “House of Stone”. In conventional usage the word had a figurative meaning denoting a royal court even where no stone enclosure existed. Its variant pronunciation is Dzimbahwe, which also meant a place where kings or chiefs were buried, and carrying the same metaphor such places did not necessarily have any stone work.Zimbabwe has rich and diverse cultures. The largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe is Shona. The Shona people have many sculptures and carvings of gods (idols) which are made with the finest materials available. The Shona people live in the northern parts of the country. The Nbebele live in the western regions, and there are many other minority groups strung accross the country, all sharing commonness in the diversity of their cultures.Zimbabwe first celebrated its independence on 18 April 1980. Celebrations are held at either the National Sports Stadium or Rufaro Stadium in Harare. The first independence celebrations were held in 1980 at the Zimbabwe Grounds. At these celebrations doves are released to symbolise peace and fighter jets fly over and the national anthem is sung. The flame of independence is lit by the president after parades by the presidential family and members of the armed forces of Zimbabwe. The president also gives a speech to the people of Zimbabwe which is televised for those unable to attend the stadium.

UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, Victoria Falls is one of Africa’s greatest features. You’ll realise its sheer enormity before you even set your eyes on it, you’ll hear its roar and see its high plume of white mist rising into the African sky. Little wonder the locals call it ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ (The Smoke that Thunders).

Zambezi National Park, This National Park is a one stop destination affording the visitor several aspects of tourism ranging from prime game viewing, cultural tourism and of course the Victoria Falls.

Hwange National Park, Want to experience true ‘big game country’ where elephants roam free and lions rule – but without the crowds? Hwange National Park, one of Africa’s prime safari locations, is a lesser known gem that offers all of this and more.

Matobo National Park, This breathtaking and timeless landscape of exposed granite outcrops – sculpted and shaped by the elements of nature to create an area of outstanding natural beauty – has enchanted Ndebele kings and European visitors alike.
Binga is a good place for visitors from Bulawayo, Hwange or the Victoria Falls to access a housboat holiday on Lake Kariba without having to go all the way to Kariba town. Binga also makes a good stopping point for self-drive visitors aiming to drive the long, slow 4×4 gravel road along the southern shore of Lake Kariba. Binga is a fishing centre and an administrative hub created for the Tonga people who were moved out of the Zambezi valley when Lake Kariba covered their traditional homes.  It is reachable via a tar road which turns off the main Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road near Hwange.   Binga has a servicable tarred airstrip accessible by small charter aircraft.