Zimbabwe's recent political history might not make you itch to go and visit, but as things have started taking a good turn, the hidden gems of Zimbabwe are now becoming widely known all around the world.
As the tourism sector continues on massive leaps of growth, more and more people are falling in love with Zimbabwe's nature, history, people, and everything in between.
We have picked some 12 places which we think showcase what Zimbabwe has to offer for the curious mind of a traveller. There are obviously more than 12 places but we honestly don't think we would ever finish if we didn't set a limit.
Let's get right to it.
Top Places To Visit In Zimbabwe
1. Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls on the Zambezi is a defining landmark for both Zambia and Zimbabwe, and therefore a very popular and wonderful place to visit. If seeing the world's biggest sheet of falling water isn't impressive, you can engage in other activities such as flying over the falls on a micro flight or even skydiving from up in the skies.
Because of its popularity, you will have so many options to choose from - in terms of activities, accommodation and getting there.
Related Article: Things to see and do in Victoria Falls
2. Harare, The Capital
As the capital and largest city, Harare is an expression of Zimbabwe's culture, history, art, and people.
From animal sanctuaries, museums, historical burial grounds, markets, and art galleries, Harare is a mixing pot of the past the present, and the future.
3. Hwange National Park
Hwange is Zimbabwe's largest park and is well known for the big herd of big game - especially buffalo and elephants. Hwange's savannah landscape is popular for game viewing, where you will see the big-5 animals - lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, rhino as well as wild dogs.
With more than 30,000 elephants, Hwange's elephant population is only surpassed by Chobe National Park in Botswana.
Walking safaris in the dry season provide unbelievable closeness to the unspoiled nature.
4. Great Zimbabwe Ruins
The Great Zimbabwe Ruins are an important part of Zimbabwe's history, commerce and culture from the 11th and 15th centuries. The stone building with no mortar represents a high standard of Shona People's craftsmanship.
In the local Shona Language, 'Zimbabwe' directly translates to 'the big stone house' - a fascinating fact that connects the people of Zimbabwe to this historical place and World Heritage Site.
Related article: UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa
5. Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park is a scenic piece of zimbabwe with some of the best majestic granite rock scenery you will encounter anywhere. The huge rocks balancing on top of each other provide a beautiful dramatic effect on the surrounding landscape of small hills.
While the rock outcrops are the main attraction, you will also see the many animals and birds which live in this protected area. You can find rhinos, leopards, zebras, hippos, crocodiles and so much more.
If you are a boy scout (or girl guide), you might be happy to know that it was in the Matobo hills where Sir Robert Baden-Powell first learned woodcraft, the fundamentals of scouting from Burnham.
6. Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools is located in the Lower Zambezi area where the flood plain turns into an expanse of lakes as a result of the rainy season.
As the lakes slowly dry up, animals come close to the sources of water. This makes for great wildlife viewing opportunities. Mana Pools National Park is a World Heritage Site based on its pure wilderness and beauty.
The walking safaris and canoe safaris are a perfect way of exploring the area and its wildlife.
7. Lake Kaliba
Lake Kariba was formed by creating a dam on the river Zambezi, and it is shared by both Zambia and Zimbabwe - as is the electricity it generates. Lake Kariba is popularly explored by slow cruises on a houseboat, or in smaller boats and canoes.
The abundant wildlife will be a feast for the eyes as you will see hippos, elephants, crocodiles, birds - which you can do either relaxing in a houseboat or fishing for the fish that is very plentiful in the lake.
8. Matusadona National Park
Matusadona National Park is located on the shores of Lake Kariba and provides a wonderful setting for wildlife viewing. The flood plain along the Lakeshore attracts many animals such as African buffalos, elephants, hippos, black rhino as well as several bird and animal species.
You can enjoy walking safaris, hiking in the escarpment, as well as canoe and boat rides on Lake Kariba. All these options make game viewing an incredible experience.
Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second-biggest city after Harare. While the tree-lined streets give the city a calm and gentle vibe, Bulawayo's history is one of blood since its formation in the 1840s.
Bulawayo is great for arts and culture as it houses the Natural history museum, a railway museum the Bulawayo Art Gallery. The prime location near several of Zimbabwe's tourist attractions, such as Matobo National Park makes it an ideal place to add for a day or two.
10. Nyanga National Park
Nyanga National Park lies in Zimbabwe's Eastern Highlands and contains Zimbabwe's highest point - Mount Nyangani. The landscape is dominated by green hills, perennial rivers, and waterfalls which makes Nyanga a top place for those who love hiking.
Aside from the capturing landscape, Nyanga National park has wildlife such as buffalo, lion, leopard, hyena as well as many birds, fish, and frog species.
You will also find some 15th-century ruins of the Ziwa people.
11. Chinhoyi Caves
The Chinhoyi Caves are found some 135 kilometers northwest of zimbabwe's Capital - Harare. The cave system is comprised of limestone and dolomite, and the main cave is popular for its cobalt blue waters.
The caves are often visited by divers and some dives have been noted to exceed 300 meters in depth. The water is so clear and the temperatures are constant, which makes the caves open to exploration all year round.
As one of the little-known attractions, visitors often find it quiet and very peaceful.
12. Gonarezhou National Park
Gonarezhou which directly translates to "Place of many Elephants" is well known for its elephants, especially ones with the largest tusks.
The park borders South Africa's Kruger National Park as well as Mozambique's Limpopo National Park. This makes it ideal for those who are visiting the adjacent parks and crossing countries.
One thing that is clear about Zimbabwe is that there is so much to see and do. Whether you want the pure wilderness of wildlife, hiking, the adventurous Victoria Falls and the Zambezi or a relaxing day of learning about the art, history and culture, it is all there.
Zimbabwe's political history - especially in the recent past, has overshadowed the massive safari potential of the country. This has left many of these areas unknown to most travellers.
We hope this list has inspired you to visit Zimbabwe and explore the beautiful areas, people, and culture in person.