Great guides, no crowds, and heaps of brilliant activities – Zimbabwe is fantastic for family safaris, and we’re delighted to be introducing it to our portfolio. Our Sales Manager Charlotte has just come back from Zimbabwe, where she experienced the natural wonder of Victoria Falls and the Hwange National Park with its array of family-friendly activities. She’s shared some of her photos and insights with us.
One of the world’s largest waterfalls, Victoria Falls is most impressive from the Zimbabwean side and a great place to start and/or finish a Zimbabwe family holiday. Charlotte snapped this photo just as a rainbow formed in the spray. Dubbed ‘the adventure capital of Africa’, it offers all kinds of thrilling activities including zip-line canopy tours, kayaking, rafting and cycling. There are also micro-light and helicopter flights over the Falls themselves and sunrise and sunset cruises on the Zambezi, spotting hippos and sometimes crocs.
The Elephant Express is the way to get into the Hwange National Park – parents can sip a G&T en route, while kids can take a turn driving the iconic safari train. Despite being Africa’s 10th-largest national park, Hwange, with its different terrains, is off many visitors’ radars and you’ll feel almost as if you have its stupendous variety of wildlife to yourselves.
The train takes two and a half hours, giving you lots of time to spot wild dogs, baboons, giraffes and plenty more besides. Charlotte saw a huge array of wildlife, not least a pack of wild dogs sauntering near the railway tracks and hippos enjoying a good wallow within just a few minutes of entering the national park.
We offer a couple of great lodges in the Ngamo plains – the largest plains in Hwange – with their lion, cheetah and other big cats, and their many waterholes providing plenty of opportunity to watch hippos go about their business. These lodges offer lots of fab activities, including day and night game drives looking for big cats and wild dogs. For more thrilling wildlife adventures in Africa check out our family safari holidays.
A fantastic conservation project, the Cobras Community Wildlife Protection Unit, has brought rhino back to Hwange. Locals have been trained as rangers to provide both protection from poachers and to take visitors out to see male white rhinos Thuza and Kusasa, who were introduced to community land here in 2022.
The rangers need to protect the rhino from poachers 24/7. All the family will love going on a thrilling walking safari with them. And walking with the rangers provides an opportunity to understand the balance needed between protecting wildlife and the people who live there.
Tracking elephants in the bush was one of Charlotte’s favourite activities. The ‘elephant approach’ walk is guided by an experienced ranger who ensures that you stay downwind of the elephants at all times. Elephants have poor eyesight and hearing (despite the size of their ears!), relying instead on their excellent sense of smell. If you move quietly through the vegetation, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible close-up view of a herd. Charlotte is sure this will be one of the highlights for families with older children when holidaying in Zimbabwe with kids.
Charlotte loved visiting one of the local schools, which have been financed by revenue from safari lodges – you can see first-hand the positive impact of your Zimbabwe family holiday. This is a great opportunity to chat with the kids about their daily lives and for them to practice their English, and it’s also a chance to take them some much-needed supplies.
Imagine a zebra strolling past as you shower! Accommodation in Zimbabwe comes in both quite luxurious and more back-to-basics styles – the latter especially in the most remote areas. All of it is great for kids. Tented accommodation is set on wooden platforms for security and the guides bring you hot water for your bucket shower, which allows you to perform your ablutions immersed in the sounds and sights of nature!