11 Day Western Zimbabwe Highlights
Matobo National Park – Great Zimbabwe Ruins – Bulawayo – Hwange National Park – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
11 Days / 10 Nights
Cost from USD$3861 to USD$4116 per person! Minimum of 2 people
Day 1-4: Camp Amalinda, Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park
Idyllically located in the spectacular Matobo Hills, the renowned Matobo National Park is known for its rich human history, its remarkably diverse flora and fauna and its magnificent rugged terrain. This unspoiled natural wilderness features a range of massive red-tinged, granite boulders interspersed with gorgeous wooded valleys making it a dream destination for hikers, climbers and nature lovers alike. The reserve is compact, easily accessible and is home to an impressive range of African wildlife including the highly endangered black and white rhinoceros, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, cheetah, hippo, warthog and crocodile as well as Africa’s largest concentration of leopard and black eagles. This unforgettable national park serves as an ideal stopover for travellers heading to the popular tourist sites of Hwange and the majestic Victoria Falls.
Overnight: Camp Amalinda
Camp Amalinda, an African inspired refuge, where world-class facilities combine with the spiritual energy, allure and unique beauty, for which the Matobo Hills is so celebrated.
The granite domes and castle kopjes of the Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe, are among the most majestic rock sceneries in the world. Nestled in this unique range of hills is Camp Amalinda, situated only 45kms from Bulawayo. Amalinda consists of nine individually thatched rooms including 3 honeymoon suites, 3 family rooms, 2 double rooms & 1 single room, which are all set into the huge boulders.
Each room is steeped in African historical artefacts of a bygone era and tucked away into an ancient bushman’s shelter, Camp Amalinda’s charm will leave an indelible impression on every visitor.
Explore the sites of San Bushman Cave Paintings
Explore the hills where mysterious nomads once held their sacred ceremonies. The rocky granite topography boasts more than 2000 sites of the San (Bushman) tribes and is probably the richest source of San rock art known. This area, and several famous rocks here – known to the Ndebele people – hold spiritual significance of bygone rituals. Here, you can learn about their trials and tribulations, hopes and aspirations.
The “My Beautiful Home” Bicycle Ride
The Homesteads of Africa are some of the most extraordinary in the world. They are made entirely by hand, usually a family affair, using only what nature provides. Wooden poles cut from indigenous trees, supporting sweet smelling African earthen brickwork, fired and baked in homemade ovens. Intricate grass thatching provides a tightly woven roof that separates the lovingly polished floors and the stars. Rich mud walls smoothed by hand are painted and decorated in styles and colours associated with the resident family. Diligently swept yards are home to contently clucking chickens and usually one arrogant and formidable looking rooster. A central shady tree is the meeting place during the heat of the day where women shuck corn and men talk about the rains and their precious cattle.
A well-plotted and carefully planned cycle route through these villages and rural homes in the Matopos is a once in a lifetime experience. It is a bucket list opportunity to touch the very essence of rural life and feel the warm heart and soul of Zimbabwe. Matopos is home to the some of the most incredible rural homesteads and their proud residents are excited to share their warm hospitality and their home fires with you.
Visit the world famous tomb of Cecil John Rhodes
Drive through the granite hills in the footsteps of Cecil John Rhodes. Visit his world famous tomb known as “View of the World”, it’s an historical experience not to be forgotten. Leander Starr Jameson is also buried here and together with the spirits of of soldiers killed in battle by Matabele warriors, they gather around at sunset, there is a definite spiritual presence . This “dwala” is known as “the dwelling place of spirits” or rather “Amalindidzimu”, the view will leave you breathless…
Rhino Tracking by Vehicle or Foot
The Matobo Hills is one of the last bastions of both black and white rhino in Africa. The most unforgettable safari experience will be an approach up to this endangered species. This encounter is offered within the skills and knowledge of our experienced guides. Please note: For rhino tracking on foot, guests will need to hire national parks scouts – rates available upon request.
Drinks (Local Brands) Included
Day 4: Lodge at the Ancient City, Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Once Zimbabwe’s capital, the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe is the biggest and most significant stone archaeological complex in sub-Saharan Africa. It is also one of its oldest – thought to date back to the 11th century and second only to South Africa’s Mapungwe. Composed entirely of rectangular granite blocks stacked on top of one another without the use of mortar, the walls and towers of the city measure up to 12 metres in places, and it is unsurprising that Great Zimbabwe was designated a World Heritage Site in 1986.
Overnight: Lodge at the Ancient City
Take a few steps back in time to the era of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe when you enter the luxury Lodge at the Ancient City. The Lodge evokes the splendour and mystery of the Great Zimbabwe Monument – the famous remains of the city that once housed a thriving African civilisation. The colonial government used to refer to it as the Zimbabwe Ruins.
Built on a granite outcrop, the Lodge at the Ancient City has sweeping views of a valley filled with trees, and faces in the direction of the Great Zimbabwe monument, so that you can see the Great Enclosure with its famous Conical Tower from the Hotel. Lake Mutirikwi, the third largest man-made dam in Zimbabwe, can also be seen. The main complex and guest lodges at the lodge are built from stone and thatch, with structures of granite stonewalling capturing the atmosphere of Zimbabwe’s oldest UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At night the firelight and soft mbira music at the Lodge at the Ancient City create a magical atmosphere. You can enjoy Table d’hôte meals in the open-air summer house, or, if the weather in Zimbabwe is not pleasant, in the thatched dining hall. Huge granite boulders, characteristic of the geology of many parts of Zimbabwe, form part of the lounge and bar at the Lodge of the Ancient City.
Activities revolve around the Great Zimbabwe Monument. Expert guides based at the Lodge offer a variety of explorative excursions to the famous Zimbabwe Ruins where they explain the origins and history and eventual decline of the city, the various trading routes as well as religious and social practices of the once thriving community. Game drives and walks in the nearby Lake Mutirikwi Recreational Park, as well as drives into the tribal areas surrounding the Great Zimbabwe site are also offered at the lodge.
Guided Tour of Great Zimbabwe National Monument
Dinner, Bed and Breakfast
Day 5: The Nesbitt Castle, Bulawayo
Zimbabwe second largest city is named after the royal kraal of Mizilikazi – founder of the Matebele Nation. The nearby Matapos National Park is the major tourist attraction in the Bulawayo area.
Overnight: The Nesbitt Castle
The Nesbitt Castle is a Bulawayo based boutique hotel. An authentic castle built in the 1800’s, the Castle is one of a few on the African continent, boasting 10 luxury suites each uniquely decorated. The Castle is everything you would come to expect from a classic boutique hotel, and we would like to share this little piece of Zimbabwean magic with you. From our award winning restaurant to our ranking at No. 1 on Tripadvisor your clients will be assured of top quality service, as is our Nesbitt Hospitality ethos.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 6-9: Ivory Lodge, Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s biggest reserve, home to a profusion of wildlife, including giraffe, lion, zebra and approximately 40 000 elephants. It provides sanctuary for all the country’s endangered species, including a population of wild dogs thought to be among the most sizeable surviving groups on the continent. Terrain ranges from desert dunes and savannah lands to rocky outcrops and sparse forests, and visitors have the choice of game drives, guided walks or horseback safaris as a means of experiencing the park and its creatures.
Overnight: Ivory Lodge
A small intimate lodge featuring 7 luxurious tree houses and 2 Presidential Elephant Suites set on elevated platforms amongst the indigenous flora of Hwange Game Park. Deep in the mystical teak forests of Hwange is this unobtrusive camp, bathed in the tales of pioneering hunters and explorers such as Fredrick Courtney Selous. Lumbering giants drift around your stilted platforms , their tusks glinting in salute to the sanctuary of shade offered up by these massive trees.
This is Ivory Lodge – place of elephants. It is here that great herds of elephants are found – sometimes over 100 strong. Hwange is renowned for its huge tuskers – big old bulls with magnificent tusks. It is also here that the famous Presidential Herd drinks – these elephants’ home-range is among the dense feeding areas of the Sikumi Vlei and where they find refuge from the scorching heat at Ivory’s water hole. Silently, elegantly, the lodge stands over the waterhole…. watch by flood light under a star spangled African night sky – the elephants in their play-fighting…their display of instinctive rituals, their caressing and murmurings… all which speak of years gone by.
Morning, afternoon & full day game drives can be arranged on the concession and into the National Park. An abundance of game species can be spotted within the concession and National Park including Elephant, Lion, Giraffe, Cheetah, Zebra, Sable, Wild Dog, Leopard and much more!
Within the concession, evening game drives can be arranged with a sunset stopover for sundowners and your choice of beverage. Returning to the lodge by spotlight to find those elusive night animals & arriving back in camp in time to freshen up for dinner.
Spend the day, half a day relaxing near the pan with full waiter service and watch the animals as they get up close and personal.
After a fireside coffee and delicious muffins, journey into the bush on foot with your professional guide on a walking safari. Enjoy the early crisp mornings as you discover the wonders of the African bush and witness its wildlife come to life. Starting time is first light. Walking Safaris are carried out on our private concession of 6000 acres and are weather dependent.
Walking Safaris only available upon request during reservation.
Painted Dog Conservation Centre
Zimbabwe boasts one of the largest populations of this endangered species. A visit to the Hwange Research Centre to learn more about these beautiful painted dogs and the rehabilitation, research and conservation efforts surrounding the centre is highly recommended. There is no entry fee charged but the program kindly asks visitors to either buy something from the curio shop with proceeds going to the program or welcomes any donations.
Drinks (Local Brands) Included
Day 9-11: The Kingdom Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Resting on the southern banks of the Zambezi river at the western end of the eponymous falls, this popular tourist town is compact enough to walk around and makes an ideal base for travellers exploring the seventh wonder of the world, the unfathomably vast Victoria Falls. About two thirds of the falls can be viewed from the Zimbabwean side and, while the falls are undoubtedly the star attraction, the area provides both adventure seekers and sightseers with plenty of opportunities to warrant a longer stay.
Popular activities include scenic flights over the falls in helicopters or micro lights, bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge, white-water rafting (seasonal), and day trips to Chobe National Park. The town itself offers some excellent accommodation and restaurant options as well as an eclectic variety of African curios and authentic art sold by friendly Zimbabwean locals who are wonderfully welcoming and eager to help you enjoy your stay.
Overnight: The Kingdom Hotel
Quatermans, The Rapid Pool, The Wild Thing and The Pit sound like titles of movies or books not quite suitable for all ages. They are in fact the names of the four bars in African Sun’s closest hotel to the Victoria Falls, The Kingdom at Victoria Falls. This is a fun-filled resort hotel aimed unashamedly at the tourist who wants to take in the majesty and excitement of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Complete with its own food court offering a wide choice of relaxing or quick meals, suiting all ages, The Kingdom at Victoria Falls also offers three swimming pools and a toddlers pool, a children’s play area and, for the ladies, planning a “night on the town” or a visit to the resort’s spa and beauty parlour.
The architecture draws on the ancient Kingdom of Munhumutapa, with great domes, pillars, and bridges over the many water features, The Kingdom’s fun-filled atmosphere gives guests a unique blend of African tradition and Western leisure.
Tour of the Falls Zimbabwe
The Victoria Falls – Now In Its 150 Millionth Fantastic Year – Reaches Its Zenith In About May each year. It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience – the sight, the sound, the smell; the humbling feeling that here indeed is Nature’s Supreme Masterpiece. No photograph can begin to depict the reality… and nothing prepares you for your first sight.
This tour is conducted in the morning and afternoon. En route, clients may be taken past the ‘Big Tree’ where they may stop and take photos. Clients will be accompanied through the Rainforest by one of our qualified Guides who will give a brief history of the Falls themselves as well as detailing the flora, fauna, bird & wildlife and other points of interest. Guides are also happy to assist clients with photographs whilst visiting this most spectacular of waterfalls. Raincoats are provided when needed.
The Zambezi River cruise is a superb way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the River. You may have the opportunity to see a variety of game; including hippo, crocodile and elephant in their home environment, as well as enjoy the many different bird species. The Sunset cruise is very popular and includes finger snacks, beer, wine, local spirits and soft drinks. There are great photo opportunities against often-spectacular African sunsets.Flocks of birds skim the waterline as the sun sets behind the African skyline.
Transfers are included in the rate and guests are collected from all hotels and B&B’s in Victoria Falls town.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 11: Departure
Cost from USD$3861 to USD$4116 per person! Minimum of 2 people
- Meals as specified at each camp.
- Scheduled airport, road & Intercamp transfers where specified.
- Tour of Great Zimbabwe excluding park entrance fee of USD$18
- Sunset Cruise
- Tour of Victoria Falls
- Game Activities at Matobo Hills and Hwange
- All NP and entrance Fees
- Scheduled airport transfers
- Scheduled road transfers between locations on itinerary
- Visa’s for Zimbabwe
- Travel Insurance
- Regional and International flights
- Additional meals, drinks & activities not specified.
- National Park Conservation Fees – currently US$30.00 per person per entrance (Victoria Falls Rainforest), US$20.00 per person per day (Hwange Main Camp) & US$15.00 per person per day (Matobo National Park) Great Zimbabwe park entrance fee of USD$18
- National Park Monument Fees – currently US$10.00 per person per entrance (Rhodes Grave Museum)
- Items of personal nature
- Based on a minimum of 2 guests sharing
- Child rates are available on a request basis.
- Itinerary available in reverse order; please enquire from your consultant about cost difference.
- Please contact your consultant for the cancellation policies for the various properties.
- All activities are at the discretion of the guides and camp managers; water based activities dependent on water level; fishing seasonal.