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The “old safari days” in Zimbabwe
A Zimbabwe safari taken 20 years ago is still likely to rate amongst the best safari experiences of many who travelled in southern Africa pre-2000.
- In the 1990’s Zimbabwe had a conservation track record second to none.
- A Zimbabwean Professional Safari Guide licence was top rank in guiding circles.
- In those days the country supported prolific game populations across diverse wild habitats.
- It was hard to match Zimbabwe’s wide range of safari options through rivers, lakes, savanna, mountains and valleys.
In 2000 the politicians dimmed the lights on Zimbabwe. International tour operators and regular visitors simply voted with their feet and wallets. It was boom time for Zambia and other southern safari neighbours. Even East Africa took up some of the Zim guides and hosts, with their clients. So for eight years, whilst safari volumes grew elsewhere, Zimbabwe stagnated. Then despite the post credit crunch recovery when a new class of “luxury on safari” washed over neighbours, Zimbabwe was still relegated.
These were hard times indeed for the Zimbabwe safari industry. Especially for wildlife, custodians and conservationists. So even the few things that did change for the better after 2009 went without notice.
Some things never changed in Zimbabwe
Zimbabweans have always been happy to “make a plan” whilst brandishing healthy can-do attitudes. Always supported by warm smiles. So in all the quiet years Zim guides and hosts were still on the top-10 lists held by industry professionals and others in the know.
As always, guests were given special treatment by some big personalities. In settings where finest quality soft furnishings couldn’t have stood up to the the authenticity of the safari itself.
One thing changed with certainty - Bob’s gone for good!
In a coup that wasn’t a coup, Mugabe resigned in November 2017. Nothing could contain jubilant crowds in celebration at the time. We believe that the politicians have really got the message. Bob’s gone for good!
So the other certainty is that visitors making the effort now will be greeted by some big personalities, warm smiles and simply tremendous service on safari in Zimbabwe.
Conservative travellers who wake up too late will find bedspace already taken up by a new generation of adventurers experiencing some of the best that Africa has to offer.
Come and join us on a Zimbabwe safari. The time is right. Now.
It’s all very simple…
- Get your logistics right. The traditional circuit doesn’t route via Harare any longer. We use Victoria Falls as the hub. It’s easy in and out from Johannesburg or Cape Town. A really good alternative is in via Bulawayo. Vic Falls gives us easy access into Hwange, Matopos, Zambezi National Park. (Then Botswana if you wish.) Matusadona, Mana Pools and the lower Zambezi are best via shared charter.
- Get your timing right. July to September is likely to be full in the best places. May-June are the “champagne” months. Late September into November is a “secret season”.
- Book sooner rather than later. If you can’t get the right space this season, then don’t take 2nd choices, rather book now for next season. In the right places. (The only downside is that prices next year will be on par with Zambia and Botswana.)
Typical safari suggestions in Zimbabwe
Our trips are custom. Every year things change but over the years there’s a batch of tried and tested combinations that really work. Through the seasons, January to December. See this general explanation on how we arrange safaris (in East, southern and Central Africa).
Further reading when planning a Zimbabwe safari
- Remember to “go beyond the obvious” when planning your safari. A recap on geography, seasons and more. Covers East, southern and Central Africa.
- Understand how the “secret seasons” work in Zimbabwe. Just after the rains in May and June. Just as the new rains are about to start in October and November.
- Don’t be afraid to travel during the the rainy season. This is the “green season” in the warm summer months. November through to April.
- Country notes on Zimbabwe. With further notes on destinations, history and culture.