A hotel tour for families and small groups (minimum 4)
A hotel tour for families and small groups (minimum 4)
2 Discover Harare & surroundings
After breakfast the group will explore Harare, the vibrant capital city of Zimbabwe. We will get an idea of the city centre of Harare starting from Africa Unity Square where we view some interesting historical sites like the Parliament Buildings and the Court Houses. We proceed to the so-called Kopje, from which you have a magnificent view over the city. A visit to the colourful local market Mbare Musika gives a good insight in the day-to-day life of hard-working people. We finish the city tour with a visit to the Domboshava rock paintings 30 minutes from town. They are well known for its quality, its stunning surroundings, and its rich heritage. A great way to end this first day.
Harare has a vibrant night life with life performances of all sorts of art forms (music, arts, theatre), so for those who have the energy we will organise an evening tour (optional).
3 Mutare: Visit a rural community
After breakfast we drive (2.5 hours) to Rusape, a small town on the highway to Mutare. We will visit a typical rural setting, where we will walk around with a local guide. Nothing surprises visitors more than walking around villages, meeting the local people who simply do what they always do: work on their small agricultural plots. It is another world, but it is a reality for half of Zimbabwe’s population.
After lunch we will drive (1.5 hours) to our comfortable lodge which is situated near Mutare. Your camera will like this place because of its stunning views.
4 Exploring Odzi area
After breakfast we will visit a nearby commercial farm, where tobacco, maize and grapes are grown. This offers an excellent opportunity to find out about the everyday life of a farmer in Southern Africa. Learn about the stages of growing and curing tobacco and get an appreciation of the social responsibilities a commercial farmer has for his staff. The daily challenges on a farm are many.
After lunch we visit the Old Mutare Mission. This mission was founded in the early days of the 20th century by a Methodist reverend. Today it comprises a primary school, a secondary school, an orphanage and a hospital that takes care of approximately 12.000 locals. Missions have played a very important role in the development of Zimbabwe and have been focal points for education and health care in the rural areas of the country.
We will also visit the primary boarding school, the orphanage or the hospital. Get a glimpse of the daily operations of these large missions where thousands of people live together.
5 Mutare: Tour of the Misty Vumba Mountains
After breakfast on our way to the Vumba we enter the Christmas pass, where we have spectacular views over the city of Mutare.
We will proceed to the Vumba Mountains, often clouded by shrouds of mist, giving it its distinct views. We will do a two hour guided bird walk in Bunga Tropical Forest. Even if you are not a birdwatcher you will enjoy this magical forest and its beautiful viewpoints. A lunch of coffee and cake (excluded) at the famous Tony’s Coffee Shoppe is an event which adds some spice to the day! We will visit some more viewpoints before returning to Mutare.
In Mutare we will pass by Gogo Olive and hear an amazing story of success. Gogo Olive was set up in 2008 by Julie Hagan whose memories of her grandmother knitting for missions in Africa inspired her to set up this project, as a means of giving both hope and a desperately needed livelihood to present and former women prisoners. The distinctive and appealing Gogo Olive figurines are not only sold across Zimbabwe, but are now being exported to Europe and Asia.
6 Masvingo: Mysteries of the Great Zimbabwe ruins
After breakfast we depart for Masvingo, the home of the famous Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The drive is about 350 km, and takes about 4 to 5 hours, on a quiet road with great landscapes.
Zimbabwe – meaning big house made of stone – derived its name from the massive stones at Great Zimbabwe. Historians and archaeologists are still excited about this place. They are surrounded by unanswered questions: Who built them? Where are the graves of the deceased leaders? Why was it abandoned? We advise you to take at least 2 to 3 hours for your visit, guided by one of the excellent local guides.
7 Matopos National Park: City of Kings & Balancing Rocks
After breakfast we depart for Bulawayo, the second city of Zimbabwe; a drive of about 4 to 5 hours. We will do a short walk in the city centre, with a great variety of historical buildings, lunch close to the famous national gallery. A visit to the interesting Natural History Museum is an option. Afterwards we will have 45 minute drive to Matopos National Park.
Once you have seen the landscapes of Matopos you will understand why John Cecil Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia, wanted to be buried in the granite rocks of Matopos! The views are simply awesome.
Overnight in a cosy lodge next to Balancing Rocks.
8 Matopos National Park: rhino tracking
Today we do a full day trip of Matopos National park. This popular trip takes you into the game park section of the Matopos National Park. Game viewing is done by open safari vehicles, whilst looking for fresh rhino tracks. We follow the spoors with a chance to approach the rhino on foot. We continue the tour with a visit to some of the historical sites in the park. We stop at one of the cave sites, where thousands of years ago the San bushman left their life’s story on the stone walls. Later we climb Worlds View where Rhodes grave and the Shangani memorial give an insight into the more recent history of Zimbabwe. A great trip which gives you the best of Matopos..
9 Hwange National Park: The Big 5
After breakfast we will depart for Big 5 country, which will take about 4 hours.
Hwange National Park is the largest national park of Zimbabwe (1.5 million hectares). It has a great diversity of wildlife, and has more than 200 bird species. The standard of professional guiding in Zimbabwe is very high. Full of passion and knowledgeable about every living thing: wildlife, insects, grasses, flowers and birds. With their guidance you may encounter elephant, buffalo, sable antelope, lion, wild dog and with some luck the leopard. But don’t be surprised to spend 15 exciting minutes near an ant-hill to hear the amazing story of what‘s going on inside!
It is this unique wildlife experience which will make you come back to the magic of Africa!
On arrival we have lunch and after the traditional tea and biscuits, at around 3.30 p.m. we will go into the concession in an open vehicle with guide. Experience the thrill of big game and plains game sightings as professional guides lead you through a private 40,000 acre estate. Return to the lodge at around 6.30 p.m.
10 Hwange National Park: Explore the wilderness of Africa
The lodge overlooks the Ganda pan, a natural waterhole, which attracts a wide variety of bird and animal species including elephant, buffalo, lion and a large variety of waterfowl. All can be seen from the lodge itself.
After an early rise you depart at around 6.30 a.m. for a game drive into Hwange National Park via Main Camp in an open vehicle with guide. A visit will be made to the famous Nyamandlovu pan, where you are virtually guaranteed to see big game in big numbers. It is these experiences which make you come back to Africa. Return to the lodge at around 8.30 p.m.
Ganda Sunset Game Drive – USD 35 p.p.
After the traditional tea and biscuits, at around 3.30 p.m. you will go into the concession in an open vehicle with guide. Experience the thrill of big game and plains game sightings as professional guides lead you through a private 40,000 acre estate. Return to the lodge at around 6.30 p.m.
11 Victoria Falls: Mosi O Tunya - The Smoke that Thunders
The Victoria Falls don’t need much introduction, they are known all over the world.
This is adrenaline territory: rafting, kayaking, canoeing, horse riding, and other exciting activities with weird names: Bungi Jump, Zip Line, Cable Slide and the Gorge Swing.
For the less adventurous there are boat cruises, game drives in Zambezia National Park, interaction with elephants and lions, and helicopter rides over the falls. There is simply too much to mention all.
All activities can be booked through the tour guide a few days before, he can advise on contents and pricing.
13 Departure: Take your memories with you
My husband and I have just done this tour and we had a wonderful time. There were four in total in our group plus the driver, Mr Gombe. The itinerary was very good – we really enjoyed visiting the school at Old Mutare Mission, the gardens at Seldom Seen in the Bvumba (with the infectiously enthusiastic Bulawesi to guide us!), and the tour of Serengeti 5 organic farm and ecotourist facility. We also had a very interesting visit to a tobacco farm. Our tour then travelled across the country to take in Great Zimbabwe, Matobo and Hwange before ending at Vic Falls. We all felt that our driver, Mr Gombe, did a fantastic job if getting us from one stop to the next on time but very safely, and he was the perfect driver – kind, thoughtful, funny and very patient with the various foibles of four foreigners! He was a star! We recommend this tour to anyone who wants to experience the vitality and optimism of the Zimbabwean people, and the beautiful country as well.