The Real Zimbabwe Safari Experience: Breaking Down Misconceptions

The Real Zimbabwe Safari Experience: Breaking Down Misconceptions

April 25, 2024 0 By Arthur Williams

Home to eleven national parks filled with jaw-dropping landscapes, Zimbabwe is one of the most popular safari destinations in Africa. Despite this Southern African country’s popularity, there are still many misconceptions surrounding safaris in Zimbabwe.

While some of these misconceptions are basic misunderstandings, there are others that can actually deter people from embarking on Zimbabwe safaris and potentially missing out on a life-changing African adventure!

At Tailormade Africa, we are experts when it comes to planning bespoke holidays in the beautiful country of Zimbabwe. In this article, we will break down the misconceptions and debunk any myths surrounding safaris in Zimbabwe.

Misconception #1: The Only Types of Safaris in Zimbabwe Are Driving Safaris

Yes, driving safaris are definitely the most common and popular type of safari in Zimbabwe. Driving safaris allows you to cover the most ground in the least amount of time. Most national parks span hundreds of kilometres, so a reliable safari vehicle is needed if you want to see as many animals as possible!

However, driving safaris is not the only option on offer. If you’re looking to try something a little different and enjoy a unique experience, you may want to look into booking a walking safari or canoeing safari during your time in Zimbabwe.

Walking safaris are led by licensed, professional guides and give you the opportunity to look for animal tracks and stroll across African soil. Zimbabwe is one of the very best countries in Africa to enjoy a walking safari, thanks to local guiding standards and examinations. You’re sure to learn a lot from your guide during your walk, so don’t be shy to ask questions.

Canoeing safaris in Zimbabwe typically take place on the mighty Zambezi River. You may see pods of hippos cruising the river or herds of elephants taking a drink through their long trunks. Canoeing safaris allow you to see African wildlife from a truly unique perspective and are one of the most sought-after experiences in Zimbabwe.

Misconception #2: You Will See the Big Five at Every National Park

If you want to see the Big Five during your time in Zimbabwe, you need to do your research beforehand and make sure that the national park you’re visiting is home to these animals. Even if you visit a Big Five game reserve or national park, there is still no guarantee that you’ll see all five in one game drive.

If you want to increase your chances of seeing the Big Five, consider visiting Hwange National Park, Matobo Hills National Park, or Gonarezhou National Park— all of which are home to elephants, lions, buffalo, rhinos, and leopards.

Some of the Big Five, especially leopards, can be extremely elusive and shy. It is best to go into your game drives with very little expectation. If you want to increase your chances of seeing the elusive leopard, you may also want to book a night drive or two.

The optimal time for seeing herds of elephants (and a variety of other animals) is during the dry months between May and November when animals gather around watering holes to drink and bathe.

Misconception #3: Zimbabwe is Only Known for its Big Game Viewing Experiences

Many people love the idea of seeing big game like elephants, rhinos, hippos, etc., but Zimbabwe is home to a rich diversity of species. You shouldn’t miss out on the birds, insects, and small reptiles that also call this African country home.

Zimbabwe is home to over 700 bird species, including African fish eagles, shrikes, turacos, flycatchers, bee-eaters, bulbuls, and many more. It is truly a bird-watcher’s paradise, especially in the months between October and March, so don’t forget to pack in your binoculars.

Some of the smaller mammals you can keep an eye out for are meerkats, shrews, aardvarks, hyraxes, baboons, monkeys, and hedgehogs, among others. While these animals may not be as impressive as the mighty elephant, their adorable antics are sure to delight you during your safari in Zimbabwe.

If you’re a fan of reptiles, you’ll be pleased by the vast array of snakes, tortoises, and lizards in Zimbabwe’s national parks. Just remember that many indigenous snakes are venomous, so you want to keep a safe distance between yourself and these slithery creatures.

Misconception #4: You Need to Be Comfortable With Camping to Enjoy Zimbabwe Safaris

When some people visualise a safari holiday in Zimbabwe, they imagine small tents and communal bathrooms. While many tourists do enjoy staying in simple camps, this is not the only type of accommodation on offer in Zimbabwe!

There are plenty of luxury lodges that provide all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay! You can look forward to private villas with their very own splash pools, deluxe bedding, incredible food, stunning views, and so much more!

Some of our top picks include Victoria Falls River Lodge, Zambezi Sands, Batonka Guest Lodge, and Matetsi River Lodge.

No matter your preferences and dietary requirements, you’ll find a lodge in Zimbabwe that perfectly fulfils your needs. The best part is that even Zimbabwe’s most luxurious establishments are still very affordable when compared to similar accommodations in Europe and the global north in general.

Misconception #5: The Landscapes in Zimbabwe are Monotonous

While the most common landscape in Zimbabwe is tropical grasslands, the African country has so much more to offer than just its wide-open savannas. If you have never visited Zimbabwe before, you may be surprised by its steep mountain peaks, rolling hills, wetlands, and lush forests.

This country offers a truly impressive range of ecosystems, which is the reason for its rich biodiversity. Zimbabwe is also home to seven natural wonders, including Victoria Falls, Mana Pools, the Zambezi River, and Lake Kariba, among others.

One thing is for sure, you definitely won’t be bored of the landscape when on a Zimbabwe safari. If anything, you’ll be so impressed that you’ll be booking your next trip before you have even left the country.

Support Wildlife Conservation in Zimbabwe

Conservation has become a very important topic. Tourists are encouraged only to support sustainable projects and practices, especially when it comes to wildlife. Thankfully, the Zimbabwean government recognises the importance of conservation and over 14% of the country’s land has been set aside for conservation efforts.

Leading up to the year 2000, Zimbabwe experienced several massive droughts alongside political instability both of which negatively affected wildlife populations and tourism. Today, there are plenty of antipoaching schemes in place, and the government also equips local rangers with some of the best training currently available in the world!

By going on a safari in Zimbabwe, you are supporting this African country’s conservation efforts and tourism industry. If you want to go the extra mile, you can always make a donation towards private conservation efforts, sanctuaries, and other sustainable establishments.

Now that misconceptions have been broken down and myths have been dispelled, you most likely cannot wait to embark on a safari in Zimbabwe! Tailormade Africa creates custom itineraries for you and your travel companions based on your specific preferences. There is no need to go with a one-size-fits-all package when there are bespoke options available! Get in touch today to begin planning an unforgettable safari holiday in Zimbabwe.