Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. The name “Zimbabwe” is based on a Shona term for Great Zimbabwe, an ancient ruined city in the country’s south-east whose remains are now a protected site.
Most of the country is elevated in the central plateau (high veld) stretching from the southwest to the northwest at altitudes between 1,200 and 1,600 m. The country’s east is mountainous with Mount Nyangani as the highest point at 2,592 m. About 20% of the country consists of the low veld under 900m. Victoria Falls, one of the world’s biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, is located in the country’s northwest as part of the Zambezi river.
Zimbabwe boasts several major tourist attractions. Victoria Falls on the Zambezi, which are shared with Zambia and eight main national parks, the largest of which is Hwange National Park. Some of Africa’s most exclusive wildlife is found in Zimbabwe. Many of the national parks contain the classic Big 5 – Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Buffalo and Rhino as well as being world famous as a birding destination, with Hwange National Park contains some of the highest concentrations of birds on the planet.
There are four different World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in Zimbabwe: Mana Pools National Park, Matobos National Park, Victoria Falls and the Great Zimbabwe ruins. The Great Zimbabwe ruins are found in Masvingo. Other ruins include Khami Ruins, Zimbabwe, Dhlo-Dhlo and Naletale, although none of these is as famous as Great Zimbabwe.
The Great Zimbabwe ruins are the largest collection of ruins in Africa south of the Sahara. The capital of the Queen of Sheba, according to an age-old legend – are a unique testimony to the Bantu civilization of the Shona between the 11th and 15th centuries.
The city, which covers an area of nearly 80 ha, was an important trading centre and was renowned from the Middle Ages onwards.
With over 420 species recorded, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s birding hotspot. The park is best known for its huge variety of raptors; about 50 species have been recorded. The Bateleur Eagle is very common and can usually be seen soaring overhead. Bird watching is best enjoyed from October to March when food is plentiful, migrant species are around and many species are in breeding plumage.
Considered to be the world’s widest waterfalls, Victoria Falls measures an impressive 1708 metres in width. The small town of Victoria Falls, which lies adjacent to the waterfalls, serves as a great base from which to explore the many attractions this area of Zimbabwe has to offer.
Situated in western Zimbabwe, the Hwange National Park is the country’s biggest reserve, home to a profusion of wildlife, including giraffe, lion, zebra and approximately 40 000 elephants. It provides a sanctuary for all the country’s endangered species.
Comprises a large expanse of pristine wilderness characterised by flat grassy plains and dramatic rugged mountains. From the vast woody escarpment to the dense bush of the Zambezi valley floor, the park features a diverse range of landscapes inhabited by abundant wildlife species.
Characterised by a diversity of landscapes including floodplains, forests, and baobab trees, the park has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural beauty; providing a fantastic destination for photographers.
These spectacular falls can be easily visited and viewed from the Zimbabwean side. Considered to be the world’s widest waterfalls, Victoria Falls measures an impressive 1708 metres in width. The small town of Victoria Falls, which lies adjacent to the waterfalls, serves as a great base from which to explore the many attractions this area of Zimbabwe has to offer.
The park’s magnificent terrain ranges from desert dunes, savannah lands and mopane woodlands to rocky outcrops and sparse forests. Visitors can look forward to game drives, guided walks or horse riding safaris. Other highlights include: the Bumbusi National Monument and the Nyamandhlovu Pan.
The planet’s most voluminous man-made lake is home to abundant wildlife including crocodiles, hippos, fish and aquatic birds, while its shoreline and islands are rich with terrestrial game such as elephant and buffalo. It has become one of Zimbabwe’s main tourist attractions offering houseboat holidays, fishing safaris and wonderful game viewing experiences.
It is an Important Bird Area and is also one of the continent’s premier game-viewing locations, known for its good chances of seeing elephants, wild dogs, lions, and leopards. Visitors can look forward to an array of activities such as canoe trips, guided walks, game drives, river cruises, nature walks, bird watching, and catch-and-release fishing.
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