Zimbabwe — Attractions
Zimbabwe’s attractions span the world-renowned Victoria Falls and the World Heritage Great Zimbabwe National Monument and many lesser known wonders worth visiting. Spend an equal amount of time exploring the national parks and urban treasures like the rich heritage museums.
Great Zimbabwe National Monument
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Great Zimbabwe National Monument is the second-largest collection of ruins in Africa after the Egyptian pyramids. One of the greatest African civilizations, the Great Zimbabwe dominated the region between the 13th and 15th centuries. The complex is as powerful as the civilization was, with the main temple walls standing almost 10 m high with a circumference of over 200 m.. Set against a backdrop of beautiful Lake Kyle National Park, the memento is a tangible piece of the continent’s history and should not be missed.
Address: Masvingo, Zimbabwe
The continent’s most well known natural site, Victoria Falls should be on the top of every traveler’s itinerary. Once famous for being discovered by the great David Livingstone, these billowing falls over 100 m high are a wonder to behold and provide some great photo opportunities. Called the “smoke that thunders,” a wide range of activities can be organized in the area, including whitewater rafting and canoeing, but many people visit the falls just to take in the breathtaking views and get rained on by the refreshing spray. If you’re really brave, bungee jumping over the falls is the experience of a lifetime.
Address: Northwestern Zimbabwe
The main photo spot of Victoria Falls, the Devil’s Pool is a truly unique phenomenon. September through December, the water level is shallow enough that you can literally walk right up to the edge of the falls without getting swept over due to just the right current and a naturally formed rock wall under the surface. Take an amazing picture with your arms and feet hanging over the edge and your friends will think you’re the ultimate daredevil.
Address: Northwestern Zimbabwe
Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools is arguably Zimbabwe’s most beautiful national park, and in a country which has no shortage of nature, this status is quite an honor. Running alongside the great Zambezi River, Mana Pools National Park is home to many animals which frequent the river’s shoreline. Everything from hippo and rhino to elephant and buffalo can be seen here. There are several activities around the area, but the main draw is the literal ‘pools’ of water which are a refreshing break from Zimbabwe’s sweltering summers.
Address: Northern Zimbabwe
Dating back to the 17th century, this ancient site is situated almost in the middle of nowhere and holds a certain eerie, desolate charm. The complex is located atop a small hill and the main feature is a huge wall built from stone. Travelers will no doubt appreciate the ornate decorations which provide insight into early African architecture. The ruins are off the beaten path for sure, but for many therein lies the appeal.
Address: Matabeleland North
National Gallery of Zimbabwe
Housed within the beautiful Harare Gardens, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe holds a magnificent collection of indigenous art. A combination of both contemporary works and ancient artifacts, everything from paintings by modern Zimbabwean artists to stone sculptures and local crafts can be found here. For those wanting to take home a souvenir, there is a lovely gift shop attached to the gallery where books, miniature sculptures, and art can be purchased.
Address: Corner of Julius Nyerere Way and Park Lane, North of City Centre, Harare
Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences
What the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences lacks in size, it by all means makes up for in substance. With a myriad of intriguing fossils and explanatory dioramas, even the most regular of museum visitors will be impressed by these exhibits. Most notable are the history of traditional Shona culture and crafts, which provide insight into one of Zimbabwe’s largest indigenous groups. Archeology buffs and budding historians should not miss this attraction.
Address: Civic Centre, between Pennefather Avenue and Raleigh Street, Harare
There are no real zoos in Harare, but Mukuvisi Woodlands is the closest tourists will get to one. Spot wildlife like zebras and giraffe along with resident animals that are part of the enclosure. There are several trails which are great for afternoon walks and a nice picnic area. The Woodlands are at their liveliest when events are being held, so be sure to keep your ears peeled for current happenings.
Address: Glenara Avenue, Queensdale, Harare