Zimbabwe History | Overland Africa

Zimbabwe Overland Travel

For a country that’s spent the last decade on the front pages for all the wrong reasons, Zimbabwe is still an integral part of an African Overlanding experience. It’s a remarkably resilient country with a diverse array of national parks and reserves, a friendly and welcoming population (who speak excellent English), and great Overlanding infrastructure.

And it’s not like you’re going to come all this way to Africa and not see Victoria Falls.

Logistics hub for a Southern Africa safari experience and home to “The Smoke that Thunders”, Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe’s biggest trump card and has long been the undisputed favourite stop-over for Overlanders heading to all points of the compass.

Not that it’s all about Vic Falls of course; Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park is one of Southern Africa’s heavyweight reserves, and there are many superb wildlife destinations in the north and west of the country. Game viewing is good, the scenery rugged and undeniably African, and the country boasts a range of Overland-friendly activities from elephant-back safaris to white-water rafting.

Check out our wide range of Zimbabwe Overland tours, browse our Zimbabwe map and start a little background research with our Zimbabwe destination guide.

Zimbabwe Travel Guide


• Zimbabwe was once known as Rhodesia, named after its colonial founder, Cecil Rhodes.
• At just under 400 000 km² Zimbabwe is about the size of California - but with a lot more elephants.
• The country’s diverse environments range from the forested Eastern Highlands to the rolling highveld grasslands in the centre to the hot and steamy lowlands of the northern Zambezi Valley and arid southern savannahs.
• It’s big on wildlife: about 13% of Zimbabwe consists of national parks, forestry land and private safari concessions.
• Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s flagship park and boasts one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of elephants.
• Zimbabwe and Zambia lie on each side of the Zambezi River and ‘share’ Victoria Falls - this World Heritage Site can be viewed from either country.
• The thundering Victoria Falls is generally best viewed from the Zimbabwean side, and especially when during full flood between February and May.
• English is widely spoken and Zimbabweans are noted for their friendliness and good humour, even after a decade of economic and political chaos.
• The Zambezi River has been dammed to create the enormous Lake Kariba, home to house boats and tiger fishing.
• Zimbabwe has a hot and wet summer from November to May and a cool to hot but dry winter from June to October; July is the coldest month, October the hottest, and February the wettest.

Travel Tips:

  • Visa entry for Zimbabwe can be expensive; find out before you arrive
  • The once strong Zimbabwean dollar no longer exists. The US dollar is now officially in use
  • However, ZAR, GBP, Euros and Pula are often accepted, particularly near Victoria Falls
  • Optional activities in Victoria Falls can be paid for using US dollars and GBP cash
  • The people of Zimbabwe are generally warm & welcoming - give them a smile!
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Dont forget to:

  • See Victoria Falls - “The Smoke that Thunders”
  • Go white-water rafting at Victoria Falls
  • Take afternoon tea at Victoria Falls Hotel
  • Explore Mana Pools by canoe
  • Watch herds of elephants at a waterhole in Hwange
  • Enjoy a sundowner on a Zambezi Booze Cruise
  • Take a scenic Flight of Angels over Victoria Falls
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Quick Facts:

  • Zimbabwe was once known as Rhodesia, named after its colonial founder, Cecil Rhodes
  • At just under 400 000sqkm, Zimbabwe is about the size of California
  • About 13% of Zimbabwe consists of national parks, private concessions & forestry
  • Hwange National Park boasts one of Africa’s largest elephant populations
  • Victoria Falls is best viewed from the Zimbabwean side, especially during February and May
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