Zimbabwe is the diamond in the rough; a world of contrasting destinations that are treated with both mesmerisation and trepidation. Victoria Falls is perhaps the busiest tourist hub in southern Africa and is a well established, age-old, and trusted destination on the northern boundary of the country; and then there is the long-forgotten Gonarezhou National Park in the south which is a place for rugged travellers looking for quiet contemplation in nature. Hwange, Mana Pools, and Lake Kariba are Zimbabwe’s top wildlife spots and they certainly deserve a look. The country’s tricky political status that has left its currency in turmoil was a deterrent for many safari goers, but take it from us: Zimbabwe’s wild areas are not to be missed! We work with some of the best in the business to create and conduct safaris in these beautiful, uncrowded national parks and reserves, where serious resources are being put into supporting and sustaining the wealth of natural beauty they hold. In celebration of this most magnificent country, our expert Natasha put her list of top 10 safari accommodations as a guide to potential guests and visitors. These places will knock your socks off!
Tucked up in the northern corner of expansive Zimbabwe is Hwange National Park where waterhole action leads to some of the most exciting lion activity in southern Africa. A short drive from Victoria Falls takes guests right into the exciting surroundings that host an incredible big cat population and a huge concentration of elephants. At The Hide Safari Camp – which is one of our agent Natasha’s top accommodations in the country – the opportunity to see the action play out is taken to the next level via the use of hides which are positioned ideally alongside these busy waterholes. Daily game drives are nothing short of impressive with some unbelievable sightings presenting themselves around every corner. Back at camp, it’s luxury and relaxation all the way. Swipe to see what we mean. Dreamy!
Somalisa Expeditions is set in the heart of Hwange, land of the giants. Identical to the original Somalisa Camp, Somalisa Expeditions offers one of the most authentic ways to experience this exceptional elephant territory. Nestled under a grove of acacia trees, along the edge of a seasonal flood plain, Somalisa Expeditions looks onto a resident waterhole which becomes a popular mud bath and meeting place of the gathering elephants. The up-close encounters and photographic opportunities with these majestic animals is endless. There are only six tented suites which have a contemporary nostalgia about them and are supremely comfortable and stylish. This is exclusivity in Zimbabwe’s most celebrated safari area and most definitely in Natasha’s top 10 safari accommodations in the country.
Situated in a remote corner of Hwange, Davison’s Camp enjoys the abundance of wildlife that calls this place home. Named after the founder and first warden of Hwange, Ted Davison, the camp is infused with a sense of history and nostalgia. The makeup of the classic tented camp reflects that, and its demure design does not overpower the surroundings, rather it embraces them in the most subtle and stylish way. There are nine individually standing tents, designed to welcome the view from not only the front entrance but the sides too. The camp overlooks an extremely productive waterhole that attracts a variety of plains game and predators, so sightings are never far away. There are game drives that take wildlife encounters to the next level and guided walks that truly show off the lay of the land. One of Zimbabwe’s most loved and sought after safari spots, and with good reason!
If we’re talking about Zimbabwe safari options, Mana Pools comes to the forefront of our minds. This place of open escarpment, towering albida tree forests, placid Zambezi river frontage, and a soft whisper of life drifting through every shady nook and cranny. Mana Pools is known around the world as a walking safari paradise, where elephants, leopards, wild dogs and lions can be seen on foot in some of the most breath-taking moments. World-class guides, total wilderness, and some superior accommodations combine to produce unforgettable safari experiences. One of our higher recommendations in Mana Pools, and indeed Zimbabwe as a whole, as per Natasha’s expertise, is Zambezi Expeditions. This luxury tented camp has all the romance of the lingering explorer era, with canvas meru-style tents, alfresco bucket showers, lantern-lit dinner tables, and bedroom comforts. Open on the banks of the Zambezi from April to November, this 12 pax tented camp takes guests canoeing, walking, fishing, birding, and driving through Mana’s magnificent territory. And life at camp isn’t so bad itself.
This is what Mana Pools is all about. “Ruckomechi Camp rises along the banks of the Zambezi River, gazing out towards Zambia’s evocative escarpment. Its broad-canopied ana trees create glorious shade throughout the camp and are much loved by the elephants for their rich, nutritious seeds. Our concession is explored by vehicle or on foot, while boating and canoeing allow for a different perspective of the area.” Most definitely one of our top recommended Zimbabwean safari camps.
Canoeing the Zambezi with elephants splashing at your side, walking the shady floor of the riverine forests while wild dogs play rough and tumble with one another, not bothered by your presence, and driving along the riverbank where buffalo and lion have left their tracks at the water’s edge. All of this and more define the Vundu Camp Mana Pools safari experience. The magic of this Zimbabwean paradise is everywhere you look, and from Vundu’s eight tented chalets, the Zambezi activity is only a few metres away. One of the reasons Natasha loves this place the most is its personalised style, led by owners and guiding team, Nick and Des, who will show guests the ultimate Mana safari experience with natural ease and expertise. Families welcome and discovery insisted upon. Top 10 Zimbabwe accommodations for sure.
The vlei and woodland areas of Mana Pools are full of their own natural beauty and wild inhabitants, while the Zambezi River and the views of the Zambian escarpment in neighbouring territory is another face of Mana’s diverse character. The inner territories see wildlife dynamics play out around waterholes and animals emerge from the thickets without warning. This place is full of surprises, and Kanga Camp is perfectly positioned to enjoy it all. Overlooking a pan that retains water throughout the dry season, the dining and lounge areas are really just front row seats to some epic game viewing. The six luxury tents are so beautifully set up with dark wooden floors and ivory canvas ceilings that it might be tempting to nurture a book all day! Families are accommodated in two spacious tents which have their own lounge and dining areas so there is ample space for everyone to relax and enjoy the wildlife show in total comfort. When you get out there on game drive or on foot, you’ll see Mana’s lions, elephants, wild dogs, and so much more, everywhere you look. This place is top notch Zimbabwe.
This five-bedroom tented camp overlooks the Ruckomechi riverbed in a supreme part of Mana Pools National Park. Perhaps this camp’s most outstanding feature is its hide, which is disguised as a termite mound to keep it completely camouflaged in the natural environment. The photo opportunities and unique wildlife viewing from the hide are unbeatable. The raised tented suites are airy and ideal for keeping cool with insect-proof gauze that allows air to flow straight through while you watch the sunrise from your east-facing bedroom. Meals and cocktails are blissful experiences enjoyed overlooking the wilderness from the comfort of minimal, naturally furnished lodge. This camp’s location near Mana’s well known Chitake Springs makes it one of the best, and its subtle intimacy ensures it is just right in terms of style.
We could challenge you to find the time to make use of all of Changa Safari Camp’s relaxation stations. There are so many to choose from: a bathtub under the stars, a deck chair looking onto the expansive Lake Kariba, a hammock beneath the trees, the infinity pool with a view that seems endless, or a sun lounger in the dappled shade, poolside. You’ll just have to stay for a week or two, there’s no other way to get it done! One of our ultimate Zimbabwean safari properties in Matusadona National Park.
Last, but as the saying goes, certainly not least, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge features on our list of Zimbabwe’ top safari accommodations. It boasts a view like no other, with Lake Kariba extending out in front of it. Its elevated position on a range of remote hills makes one feel on top of the world. Bumi is situated near the border of Matusadona National Park and is easily accessible by light aircraft and boat, allowing you to be swiftly transported into paradise without the stress of a long journey. The service is known to be over and above anywhere else in the country. A true masterpiece. We might have saved the best for last!