Zimbabwe is a country I genuinely never thought I would ever get the opportunity to visit. With a checkered past, terrible leader and no currency it’s not exactly a ‘dream destination’ but I am so glad I went and got to experience this weird but wonderful place.
We were warned that crossing the border from South Africa to Zimbabwe was going to be tricky but we were one of the lucky ones because it didn’t take too long nor were there any problems.
Visa cost: $50USD
There was a nice man working at the border stop and he took all our passports away for an hour or so and gave them back with a nice new visa and sent us on our way. Due to the huge lack of money in the country there were people left right and centre trying to get money from us. The police were the worst, we got stopped several times on the way to Bulawayo and fined for whatever reason they thought up on the spot. Our driver was amazing and did the best he could to get out of it but some of them just wouldn’t budge.
We were lucky enough to arrive on the same day that a cricket match was happening in town. We paid just $2USD to get into the grounds and watch an international game of cricket, probably the cheapest in the world! We drank vodka and cokes provided by a man with a cool box and cheered on the Zimbabwe cricket team.
Unfortunately the cricket got rained off just a couple of hours after we arrived so the game wasn’t complete but it was a fun experience.
We then hit up one of the local clubs because it was Saturday night! Some people came to chat to us, some people were a little agro and some people just wanted to know what on earth we were doing there. It was an interesting night.
Motopo National Park
The following day was a really memorable one, I went to Motopo National Park to walk with rhinos. The whole experience was very interesting and I feel very lucky to be so close to animals that are so endangered.
The guide was quite controversial in his views (he is a hunter) but I feel like it was a good opportunity to see another point of view on the subject and get an insight in to what life is like in Zimbabwe. It is an incredibly corrupt country with little or no work available and the currency as I mentioned before is non existent so life is tough and our guide sure let us know how tough it is. He told us of his struggles over the past twenty years, loosing his land, maintaining relationships with the villagers who have turned to poaching and trying to keep the rhino alive.
The sole purpose of the day was to find rhinos and be able to get up close with them, after some serious rhino tracking from our guide we finally found them, tucked away under a tree retreating from the down pour of rain that was happening.
It was a mother and her calf (although not a small one). We all sat around and just stared at them and they did the same right back to us. We were all able to get close and take a picture before the rhinos retreated.
It really was a wonderful experience to be that close to such a large animal but it was all very peaceful and we all enjoyed the experience immensely.As you can see from the photos the rhinos have been de horned, this is simply the only way to protect these animals in this area. The threat of poaching is very real and it is a shame that the rangers have to go to such great lengths to prevent these animals being poached but it is necessary.
All on a high after seeing the rhinos we carried in the park and went to see some African rock paintings that are estimated to be as old as 9-13,000 years which I was very impressed by. It’s incredible to think people were living and painting on the spot that I was standing such a long time ago.
The last stop of the day was World’s View and it is where Cecil Rhodes grave was and just so happened to be the best African sunset I saw on the whole trip. There were huge boulders situated on a hill that overlooked the park and the sky turned a stunningly pink just as we arrived.
The Worlds View is home to Cecil Rhode’s grave, he was an English aristocrat sent here as a 17 year old, he made his money through gold and diamonds and died here in his late 40’s. He was a controversial character, one that people loved to hate and hate to love. But ultimately he loved Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe & Zambia) and he chose this location as his final resting place.
World’s View was one of the most beautiful spots on the Southern Africa trip and it was a great time to reflect on this wonderful place. In Zimbabwe I found a moment of calmness and reflection. The national park was not just a great place to spot wild life but the views from up here were spectacular and it was a great final stop for the day.
After visiting Vic Falls in Zambia and being totally underwhelmed I was excited to reach the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to see it from the other side. This was my first view of the falls and already I was impressed. The spray from the falls was welcome as temperatures were high and I could feel the force of it straight away.
Vic Falls was the last stop in Zimbabwe and the last place on my entire Ultimate Africa tour and it was a great end to the journey.
The cost was $30USD to get into the Falls, the walkaway was designed in such a way that you were looking at the falls most of the time but within a kind of jungle setting which was shaded from the harsh sun.
Victoria Falls were absolutely raging, I got so wet as the Falls were so powerful. I also got to see where the Devils Pool was that I did back in Zambia which was brilliant because I got to see just how close I was to the massive drop.
From my experience the Falls are better on the Zimbabwe side and it certainly was worth going to see both as they both offer very different views and experiences.
We stayed at Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side for around an hour and a half but of course you could spend longer there. It was a brilliant way to spend our last afternoon in Zimbabwe.
I am really glad that I got to visit Zimbabwe as I know it is not a ‘popular’ destination but I did enjoy it and I do hope that in the coming years it becomes a more desirable location as it is beautiful and there is a lot of wildlife there . I would love to return to do some more safaris there as there are a lot of walking safaris on offer (mainly because the rules are a little more relaxed).
Have you been to Zimbabwe?
I visited Swaziland as part of my Ultimate Africa trip with Tucan Travel.
Interested in Africa travel? Check out my other blog posts here