Zimbabwe has long been on the top of my bucket list and after years of anticipation, I was finally able to take the plunge and embark on one of the most fun-filled safaris I’ve experienced yet. Scouting for our new Victoria Falls & Hwange Safari Adventure, I saw Victoria Falls, explored by safari vehicle and by foot Hwange National Park, and canoed the Zambezi in both Zambezi National Park and Mana Pools National Park. Each day was a thrilling adventure filled with unbelievably good wildlife sightings, fascinating and illuminating conversations with locals, and activities that kept me moving and shaking—and having a blast! Now that I’m back home and the dust has settled, I’m already scheming on how to get my whole family (including my 7-year old nephew) over there for another visit.
It’s hard to narrow down my adventure to just a few best moments...there were just so many. We were fortunate enough to spot rare wild dogs on the hunt—and wild dogs are always at the top of my wish list on safari. Another favorite moment was during one of the walks in the bush. Our guide spotted Cape buffalo tracks and meticulously tracked their movements until we found ourselves peering, hidden from view, at a herd lazily grazing before us. They ultimately did sense our presence and trotted away. But that’s when our guide started calling out, making the noise of a distressed buffalo. To my utter astonishment, he was able to lure them back to us. On that same hike, I finally had my first sighting of an elusive honey badger!
Each of the camps is fantastic—comfortable, and perfectly positioned in wildlife rich areas, so I loved them all! Bomani Tented Lodge is definitely a contender for my favorite though. There is really good diversity in the surrounding ecosystems, so we could see many different types of wildlife in just one region of the park. At the moment there’s a cheetah family of 5, a mother with 4 nearly-grown cubs.
Plus, the lion pride is going strong with two male brothers reigning the neighborhood and three tiny cubs still nursing. Those little guys are just now big enough to come out of hiding for all us tourists to ooh and aah over. Near camp there’s a hide situated just beside a water hole. Tucked safely away and essentially undetectable by the animals, you can watched as elephant come right up to you and drank just feet in front of the hide. Watching these guys interact, especially the babies with their adorably awkward trunk movements and the pushy bulls gently shoving smaller elies out of their way, was such a memorable moment for me!
To get to camp in the first place you’ll be riding on a private train—the Elephant Express. I cannot say enough how fun this was. We were a group of adults giddy as children as we spotted baboon, herds of elephant, steenbok, cheetah, lion, wildebeest, giraffe—we saw it all. It’s just good ol’ fun for the whole family.
Some folks might wonder whether I felt safe traveling in Zimbabwe. The truth is, from the moment I arrived to the moment I said my goodbyes to the new lifelong friends I’d made, I felt completely at ease in Zimbabwe. The guides are far and wide acknowledged as the best. Zimbabwe guides undergo the most rigorous and the lengthiest training on the continent. Their licenses are truly the most prestigious in Africa. No kidding, I can speak from personal experience and tell you the expertise, competence, and skill these guys demonstrated on my trip was unbelievably impressive!
One thing that really sets our Victoria Falls & Hwange Safari Adventure apart from our other safari itinerary is all the activity. You’ve got bicycling—who wouldn’t want to bike in the bush! You’ve got hiking—what a thrilling experience to have all your senses come alive while you’re on the ground with the flora and fauna! You’ve got canoing—remembering the sound of the hippos grumbling and laughing on the banks of the river as we paddled and glided along still makes me smile.
Zimbabwe is a truly magical wildlife destination! You’ve just got to check this one out.
Interested in checking out our Victoria Falls & Hwange Safari Adventure? Click here for the itinerary.
Press Play: Watch Video Clips from Hilary's Zimbabwe Adventure