Zimbabwe | World Safaris

ZIMBABWE

Wildlife travel in Zimbabwe has faced serious challenges over the past several years. Unimaginable currency inflation and political uncertainty convinced many travelers to visit other African countries on their wildlife safaris. Outside of visits to Victoria Falls, I made the same choice – until last October.

The best way for me to describe what I found is to first tell you a bit about the people I met. From the woman who processed my travel visa at Harare International Airport and the driver who bundled me into his little Toyota – from the ex-pat manager of the lodge I stayed at in Harare to the red haired (and impossibly young!) pilot who flew me into Hwange – from the seasoned Zimbabwean couple who, after losing their farm, started a successful sausage business to the chef who made me one of the best tasting cheeseburgers I’ve ever had – everyone exuded cheerful optimism and amazing energy, especially when they talked about their home – Zimbabwe.

And the wildlife destinations were equally impressive – as are some of the conservation challenges. I read about “Operation Noah” in the late 1950s and the rescue of wildlife as the waters of the Zambezi River filled the valley behind the Kariba Dam – and now I was there – staring across at “Starvation Island” from my room. Several days later I flew into Hwange – in my mind, a legendary safari destination. Sitting on the verandah of my tent, I watched as a small herd of sable antelope trotted across the dry scrub, heading to the waterhole the camp filled with water from their well. But elephants are the story at Hwange! Numerous boreholes provide more than enough water for the elephants and it was exciting to see them thriving. And I listened as a British couple on holiday began to wonder what would happen if the borehole pumps were not maintained. Later, they told me it was the first time they began to understand some of the complexity of conservation challenges.

In addition to some great game viewing, dedicated professional guides and exceptional camps, Zimbabwe offers some of the best values in Africa. If you haven’t been there recently, you might want to make Zimbabwe your next wildlife conservation destination. – Tom LaRock, Managing Director and Founding Partner