GRAND ZIMBABWE TOURS
Tailor Made tour for people on selfdrive through Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe self-drive tour
We can tailor-make a tour to suit every need. We will give an example of possible tour, but don’t hesitate to make changes.
Day 1 and 2. The Great Zimbabwe Monument is near Masvingo and certainly a must see destination. Take a half day to explore this magnificent archaeological site which used to be known as the Zimbabwe Ruins.
In the afternoon you can visit the Mary van Graan Memorial Church and enjoy the beautiful views around Lake Makwirikwa. This man-made lake is Zimbabwe’s second largest man-made lake, apart from the massive Lake Kariba. Accommodation in this area includes, among others, the Lodge at the Ancient City. The service, meals and atmosphere are extraordinary at this lodge.
If you prefer something less expensive, let’s book you into Norma Jean’s Lakeview Resort. The gardens are the best you will see in Zimbabwe and the hospitality of Norma Jean and her husband is legendary. They offer both hotel rooms and self-catering accommodation.
Day 3 and 4. Spend two nights in the Eastern Highlands and if you are a keen golfer, make it four. You will drive through Mutare and then on to the Bvumba Mountains where the Five Star Leopard Rock hotel offers superb accommodation and excellent golfing facilities. Alternatively, go to Nyanga where the Troutbeck Inn Resort is cheaper, but the golfing still excellent.
The Eastern Highlands is all about scenery. The beauty of the area can only be described as breathtakingly beautiful. If golf is your priority we strongly recommend two nights in both the Troutbeck Inn Resort and The Leopard Rock Hotel. Alternatively we would strongly recommend two nights in the Inn on the Rupurara, a boutique hotel known for its excellent meals and service.
Day 5. You will need to drive through Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare and a night here will be time well spent. We recommend the Harare Cresta Lodge, but if you prefer 5 star accommodation the Harare Rainbow Towers Hotel might be your answer. Harare is a very interesting city with numerous street vendors, well maintained parks, a wonderful flower market and modern shops. The parking at the hotel will be secure and the meals excellent.
Day 6-9 You will arrive in the late afternoon at Mana Pools, because you will stop at beautiful places such as Chinoya Caves. This is a highly recommended visit. I recently enjoyed tea at the adjacent hotel, but would not recommend it as an overnight stop. The hotel is unfortunately run down. The magnificent crystal clear pools in the limestone caves, make up for the poor facilities.
Mana Pools is a remote game reserve in the lower Zambezi Valley. This is untamed wilderness and those who want to visit it, must not only book in advance, but must take camping equipment with them. There are a few rather expensive lodges in this area, but for those on a lower budget, camping will be the only option. You need a 4x4 to visit this area and you should rather skip it if you plan to do the trip without a 4x4 and don’t want to camp. The Kariba area would be an excellent alternative.
Day 10 and 11. Two nights at Kariba is highly recommended. In Kariba you can stay at the Caribbea Bay hotel. This is still by far the best property in town. Cutty Sark hotel is cheaper and Tamarind lodges offer basic and affordable self-catering accommodation.
At its completion in 1963, Lake Kariba was the world’s largest man-made lake. The lake is almost three km long and more than 30 km wide. It’s a fishing paradise while its shores teem with buffalo and elephant.
Kariba with its numerous houseboats remains the Riviera of Central Africa, the playground of the rich and famous. Unfortunately the houseboats are very expensive and the main operator at Kariba Marineland is rather unprofessional. The fuel charges are also very high. We are therefore hesitant to recommend a few nights on a houseboat. Rather book a cruise on the Queen Mary and you will have some money left to spend elsewhere.
Day 12, 13 and 14. We strongly recommend that you stay at least two nights, or even three nights on Spurwing Island in the Mutusadonna National Park on the southern shores of the lake. The service here is excellent and game and fishing activities are just fantastic. It comes with a bit of a price tag, but it is worth every cent. You will need boat transfers from Kariba and you must allow about 60 minutes by speed boat.
Day 15, 16 and 17. Cross the border into Zambia and drive the +450 km via Livingstone to Victoria Falls. Spend three nights in Victoria Falls and make sure that you enjoy the many attractions this fantastic resort has to offer. Victoria Falls remains one of the most beautiful destinations in Africa.
Do not even consider staying in Zambia. Victoria Falls are on the Zimbabwean side and this is where all the action takes place. You can select hotel or self-catering accommodation such as the Victoria Falls Rest Camp.
Activities include a sun-downer cruise on the Zambezi for those who prefer a romantic outing, elephant back safari or walk with lions. For those who want more of an adrenaline rush, white water rafting or bungee jumping might be the answer. Allow one day to simply relax at this beautiful destination and fill the others with activities. (Depending on the sailing dates it might be possible to load your car on the overnight Kariba Ferry and cruise the length of Kariba. This can be a very pleasant experience)
Day 18 and 19. Spend two nights in Hwange, Zimbabwe’s best known National Park. There is an abundance of game and game drives are very rewarding. We strongly recommend Sikumi Tree lodge, a small private lodge. However, if your budget does not allow you to stay here, consider Hwange Safari Lodge. They are known for their excellent service, meals and safaris.
Day 20 and 21. Matobo National Park near Bulawayo is perhaps the most beautiful of the entire Zimbabwe. The rock formations and vegetation are simply indescribable. We recommended the luxurious Matobo Hills Lodge, but if your budget does not allow this, consider the Granite Ridge Lodge. They offer self-catering accommodation and a restaurant in an unbelievably beautiful spot.
Homeward bound. The best would be to drive through Plumtree border via Botswana back to South Africa. The alternative would be to go back to Beitbridge and to take the N1 to your final destination.
If time does not permit you to do a three week trip consider the following options:
Cut out the Eastern Highlands together with Harare. This will save you three nights.
Not into the camping idea? Or driving a two wheel drive vehicle? Cut out Mana Pools and save three nights.
If the wilderness idea is attractive, but the budget not that big, cut out Spurwing Island and keep Mana Pools in the itinerary.