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Zimbabwe Safari 2024: Your Essential Travel Budget and Itinerary

With its abundance of wildlife, breathtaking landscapes and historical attractions, Zimbabwe is one of the best places in Southern Africa for an unforgettable safari adventure. This complete guide covers everything you need to plan the perfect Zimbabwe safari trip in 2023 - including estimated costs, top destinations and an ideal one week itinerary.

Zimbabwe offers incredible diversity, from thundering Victoria Falls to the remote wildlife haven of Mana Pools and Great Zimbabwe's ancient rock ruins. Spotting the Big Five across national parks, cruising the Zambezi River past hippos, and getting up close with rhinos are just some of the amazing experiences Zimbabwe has to offer. Use this 2024 travel guide to start planning your own extraordinary journey.

Zimbabwe

How Much Does It Cost to Go on Safari in Zimbabwe?

A safari trip to Zimbabwe can vary greatly in price depending on your travel style, length of stay and choice of accommodation. However, some average costs for a mid-range Zimbabwe safari are:

  • Lodge/hotel accommodation: $150 - $300 per person per night

  • Guided safari tours: $150 - $250 per person per day

  • National park fees: $15 - $30 per person per day

  • Transportation: $50 - $100 per day

  • Food: $20 - $40 per day

This would mean a 7-day Zimbabwe safari for two people may cost around $2,500 - $4,000 in total, excluding international flights. You can lower costs by staying in budget hotels or going without a guided tour. Or make it a more luxurious trip by opting for higher-end lodges.

Victoria Falls specifically tends to be slightly more expensive, so factor that in if it's on your itinerary. Doing a multi-country safari including neighboring countries like Zambia and South Africa can help maximize your experience while amortizing the international flight costs.

Best Time to Visit Zimbabwe on Safari

May to October is the ideal time for Zimbabwe safaris when the weather is dry and mild. August through October is peak season for wildlife viewing since animals congregate around water sources. Prices are highest during these peak months.

The rainy season lasts from November to April when parks may still be accessible but secondary roads get muddy. You'll get fewer crowds and potential savings on lodging in the shoulder season months of April/May and November.

Top Safari Destinations and Activities in Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

One of the world's greatest natural wonders, the majestic Victoria Falls stretching across the Zambezi River is a can't-miss experience. View the thundering cascade known locally as "The Smoke That Thunders" from viewpoints in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Activities like helicopter tours, bungee jumping and whitewater rafting add adrenaline thrills.

Hwange National Park

Home to over 100 mammal and 400 bird species, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's top safari destination. The chance to see elephant herds numbering in the hundreds is unforgettable. Lion, buffalo, giraffe and zebra sightings are also fantastic.

Mana Pools National Park

Remote wilderness safaris in Mana Pools offer exceptional wildlife viewing including elephants, Cape buffaloes, and all of Africa’s big predators. Canoeing safaris down the Zambezi River provide unique perspectives.

Matobo National Park

Home to the continent’s highest concentration of leopards along with white and black rhinos, Matobo National Park also features more than 3,000 ancient rock paintings. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Great Zimbabwe Ruins

Dating back almost 1000 years, the magnificent stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe provide insight into this ancient Shona civilization. Guided tours bring the history and spiritual significance of the site to life.

Sample 7-Day Zimbabwe Safari Itinerary

To help you plan your optimal Zimbabwe safari adventure, here's a sample week long itinerary including some of the country's top highlights:

Day 1: Arrive in Victoria Falls

Fly into Victoria Falls and spend the afternoon exploring the falls area, craft markets and local village. Take a sunset Zambezi River cruise spotting hippos, elephants and other wildlife along the shores.

Day 2: Full Day in Victoria Falls

Spend today viewing Victoria Falls from 16 different vantage points along the Zimbabwean side. In the afternoon, take an open vehicle game drive through Zambezi National Park spotting giraffes, zebras, and more wildlife.

Days 3-4: Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park

Transfer overland to Hwange National Park stopping enroute at historic Bulawayo. Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in Hwange spotting lions, elephants and over 100 mammal and 400 bird species.

Day 5: Matopos National Park

Drive south to explore Zimbabwe’s cultural and scenic highlights at Matopos National Park. Search for black and white rhinos on foot, and admire over 3000 ancient bushman rock paintings spread across granite outcrops.

Day 6: Great Zimbabwe Ruins

Journey east through lush highlands to the magnificent 11th-century stone ruins of Great Zimbabwe, once a center of trade and spirituality for the Shona civilization. Take a guided tour of the Hill Complex, Great Enclosure and more.

Day 7: Fly out from Harare

Drive back to Harare in time for your international departure flight home.

Start Planning Your Dream Zimbabwe Safari

With its wealth of wildlife, natural beauty and historical treasures, Zimbabwe promises an incredibly rewarding safari adventure. Use this 2023 budget guide and sample itinerary to start customizing your own Zimbabwe safari filled with life-enriching moments.

The top highlights like Victoria Falls, Hwange's abundant game, and remote Mana Pools will surpass your safari dreams. Between wildlife encounters, comfort stays at lodges, fascinating history at Great Zimbabwe, and delectable food, Zimbabwe has so much to offer on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

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