We’re heading back to Zimbabwe & now we’re digital

In Africa, Inspiration, Our Journeys, Road Trips, Trip-Types, World Travel, Zimbabweby JanisLeave a Comment

How much will it have changed in 20 years?

Ok, so perhaps Zimbabwe may not be at the top of your African adventure list. However, we were kindly invited to a family wedding in Harare, and this could only mean one thing, another African safari was to be had.

An Elephant, close-up on Safari, Zimbabwe, Africa

An elephant, close-up on safari

My relatives have lived in Harare for around four decades now, so they have certainly seen some changes over the years.

Back in 1996 Gary and I, along with my parents visited Zimbabwe and then we returned again in 1998 with my brother, as the two of us loved it so much.

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Now, wind the clock forward 20+ years, and we’re heading back.  We’re spending our first few days in Harare, catching up with the family and celebrating the nuptials of my second cousin.

Then we’re revisiting a couple of the regions and National Parks from the previous trips, as these were just too good to miss. And now that the digital camera age is upon us, unlike back in the 90s, we’ll have hundreds of exciting photos to ponder over.  

Janis wrapped up warm for a morning Safari in Zimbabwe

On Safari in Zimbabwe back in '96

A Baobab, A symbol of Africa, Zimbabwe

A Baobab: A symbol of Africa

Although it’s now been a couple of decades since we returned to Zimbabwe, we couldn’t stay away from Africa that long, it’s an incredible continent. This, in turn, inspired our three-week road trip around Namibia in 2013 and wow, Namibia is a breath-taking country. A trip I can’t recommend highly enough.

Where are we heading?

While this post is published after our travels, here are just a few of our inspirations that may lure you into a similar African adventure.

So, without further waffle from me, here are the locations we’ve chosen.

  • Harare
  • Victoria Falls
  • Hwange National Park
  • Matusadona National Park on the shores of Lake Kariba
  • Bulawayo
  • Matobo National Park

Something to make your travels easier?

Landscape

Ok, so Zimbabwe has one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls and even though we had visited it previously, this really was a must see again. Autumn time in Zimbabwe the water levels are much higher.

Victoria Falls at High water, Zimbabwe, Africa

Victoria Falls at high water

If you’re on foot, then the best view of the falls is from the Zimbabwe side, within the Victoria Falls National Park, rather than crossing the border into Zambia. Watching the falls pouring over the edge and crashing into the Zambezi River below is breath-taking. However, the sound is absolutely incredible.

Back in 1998 we did, cross over the border into Zambia and took to the skies, for an aerial view. As you can imagine this was astounding too but, standing opposite Victoria Falls with the visual display and the mixture of the noise and spray, this really takes some beating.  

Victoria falls from the Zimbabwe side, Zimbabwe, Africa

Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwean side

Then, of course, there’s the astounding scenery across other parts of the country. Lake Kariba in the north is the world’s largest manmade lake, it was created in the late 1950s after Kariba Dam was built. The area was then flooded, and Lake Kariba was formed and now often used by locals and tourists, for recreational purposes.

The sunken forrests of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe, Africa

The sunken forests of Lake Kariba

The landscape across the lake is beautiful and with it being flooded when the trees were still in situ, it has created something quite unique and sunsets I will never forget.

Sunset over Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe, Africa

Sunset over Lake Kariba

Wildlife – not just any wildlife!

Oh yes, African wildlife is what I am really longing to see. We’ve been lucky to travel to so many places around the world and see so much, but the feeling you get when you jump into the back of a safari truck heading off into the bush is truly unsurpassable.

An Impala keeping track of us, Zimbabwe, Africa

An Impala keeping track of us

We’re keeping our fingers crossed on spotting the “Big Five”, which are an elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo. Who knows what will see, part of the fun is the anticipation of what's lurking in the bushes.

A Lioness & her cub in Hwange, Zimbabwe, Africa

A Lioness & her cub in Hwange

After Victoria Falls, we’re heading slightly south to Hwange National Park, which from past experiences was incredible. Then we’re off to Matusadona National Park in the north, on the edge of Lake Kariba, here I’m hoping to see one of my favourite wild animals the hippo.

A pod of Hippos in Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe, Africa

A pod of Hippos in Lake Kariba

Our favourite travel reads

Is Africa on your list?

Are there some incredible countries that you’ve visited and held a lifetime of memories for you, then please share them with us?  Is Africa now tempting you?

Architecture

On this trip, we’ve included a stay at Bulawayo, which we never got to visit last time. I’m really interested to see the Colonial influences that that still remain through the city. Particularly the effect of the railways, which played such a significant role during the Cecil Rhodes era. 

The Bulawayo Club, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Africa

The Bulawayo Club

When we were in Namibia, I was really surprised as to how much of the German influences still remain. It’s great to see a mixture of cultures.

Night Sky

Another lasting memory that I have of Zimbabwe and Namibia are the incredible nights skies. Without the light pollution from the towns and cities your are treated to a vision like no other. You are even able to see the Milky Way with the naked eye. I'm really hoping we get a few clear nights.

The night sky from our lodge, Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch, Namibia

The night sky in Namibia

Quirky reminders

I remember back in 1996 when we drove through parts of Harare, when we were out and about with our relatives, that you see some really quirky things, and you just look at each other and think “only in Africa”.

There was a business on the side of the road selling fridges, and as a nod to the upmarket London store the owner had named his shop “Sell Fridges”. We had to laugh.

A trip back to Zim wouldn't be the same if we didn't pick up some of the local crafts.

It's those little things that you glance at in weeks, months, years to come that hold so many memories and smiles.

Stone bust momento from Zimbabwe, Africa

A stone bust momento from Zimbabwe

What’s there to eat? 

Now from my memory of 20 years ago, there was a lot of meat and particularly game dishes. I’m actually quite happy with this as I love a BBQ or Braai as the locals refer to it. 

Although, I think I’ll skip the little grubs and insects that my cousins were trying to tempt me with last time. They were trying to convince me that they tasted of peanut butter. I think even if they’d tasted of chocolate brownie, I still don’t think I would have been convinced.

One of Gary’s favourite African snacks is biltong, which is a dried, cured meat. I can see us grabbing some of this for our car journey north to Kariba. 

Biltong for sale at Lions Den, Zimbabwe, Africa

Biltong for sale at Lions Den

Something for the Traveller

It’s all about the memories

We do have some incredible memories from our two visits of 20 years ago. The exhilaration of whitewater rafting and bouncing through whirling rapids down the Zambezi River is one I’ll never forget. We've now converted the video evidence to DVD.

Oh, I’m so looking forward to creating even more memories, that Gary and I can reminisce about in the future.

That African safari is calling you

Start creating your own adventure and discover the amazing scenery & African wildlife for yourself. 

We chose British Airways, and it was all done with a few clicks, a brief stopover in Johannesburg, and our luggage was there waiting for us on arrival at our end destination in Harare.

Inspired to visit Zimbabwe?

The country holds so many opportunies to explore the best of Africa, and there's nowhere quite like Lake Kariba.

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Comments

  1. What beautiful photos! It sounds as though you have an epic trip planned. I’m already looking forward to seeing the posts. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

    1. Thanks Clare, it is an incredible country and doesn’t quite get the good press it so deserves. I can’t wait to share our memories.

  2. Hippos are my favourite too – have a great time in Zimbabwe#farawayfiles

    1. Thanks very much, there’s something quite special about hippos, although they are huge animals they almost seem quite graceful in the water.

  3. How exciting! I’ve never been to Africa, but it’s high up on the list. How amazing to be able to visit it multiple times and to have relatives there. I’ll be looking forward to hearing all about it! Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    1. It has been a great opportunity to discover Zimbabwe, having local knowledge helps considerably at times. We’ve been to Namibia and Zimbabwe, but there are so many African countries that look fantastic and so diverse.

  4. I did Vic Falls only, stayed in Zambia, but had a great time! Would have loved to see Lake Kariba, looks stunning! #farawayfiles

    1. Victoria Falls are absolutely incredible, such an amazing sight. Although I must admit Lake Kariba is something completely different, it has such a calming feel about it.

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