Zimbabwe is a beautiful country geographically blessed with unique natural wonders. The country is awash with world-class natural attractions that make this tiny southern African nation a dominant regional tourism powerhouse and favourite destination for western tourists.
Zimbabwe is a country often referred to as Africa’s paradise because of its fantastic weather, beautiful scenery, incredible terrain and lush landscapes. The small southern African nation is geographically blessed with world-class attractions both natural, heritage or man-made. It is the only African country that is home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Natural attractions are products of nature. Most are given protection status by governments and tourism departments. These can be waterfalls, caves, mountains, rivers among others. Zimbabwe has many waterfalls, caves, mountains, rivers, rock formations and more. The nature of the attractions is the reason why the country remains a favourite destination for western travellers to Africa. Listed below are some of the country’s most popular natural attraction that put Zimbabwe on the global tourism map and why people visit and always return.
Majestic Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and the only one in Africa. Located on the Zambezi River bordering Zimbabwe and Zambia, it is the biggest tourist attraction in Africa. Locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders), it is the largest waterfall in the world. Victoria Falls is one of the greatest natural wonders among the Seven Wonders of the World due to the sheer volume of its water.
Victoria Falls has five main gorges, all located and best viewed from Zimbabwe. It’s convenient location within a game reserve allows for game viewing and a myriad of other activities. Victoria Falls is part of UNESCO World Heritage Protection site. The first European to stumble upon The Falls was Scottish explorer David Livingstone on November 17th 1855 before renaming them in honour of his monarch, Queen Victoria.
The Mighty Zambezi
The 2700 km long Mighty Zambezi is Africa’s largest river south of the equator and the fourth largest in Africa. It covers the 555 km border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and is of vital importance to the tourism industry in the region. However, the crown jewel of the Zambezi is Victoria Falls located at mid-point before its estuary meets the Indian Ocean. Zambezi River is an important resource and vital tourism engine with multiple functions and purposes including being the bridge between two countries where people, trains and vehicles cross from one side to the other. The Zambezi is divided into three major areas: Upper, Middle and Lower Zambezi.
The Zimbabwean side of the Upper Zambezi is called Zambezi National Park which encompasses Victoria Falls, Africa’s leading tourist attraction. This key area has sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, teems with bird and wildlife, channels and islands. It is also where activities such as cruises, canoeing, fishing, kayaking and boating occur. The Zambezi River area is home to Africa’s Big Five with Zimbabwe being the only country where all of the five are found.
Mana Pools National Park is Zimbabwe’s best kept secret and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a heaven for conservationists. It is one of the most remarkable conservation areas in Zimbabwe covering 2,500 square km of river frontage, islands, pools and sandbanks. The four Pools boast of diverse wildlife including four of the Big Five, the endangered black rhino, Nile crocodile and over 350 species of birdlife. This untamed wilderness at the Zambezi is one of Africa’s most renowned game-viewing areas. The word mana in local Shona language means Four (4), a reference to the four pools formed by the meandering Zambezi River. A nature-lovers and photographers paradise that can be best explored only by canoe or foot.
The Chilojo Cliffs can be classified as Zimbabwe’s miniature version of the Grand Canyon. Located in the south-eastern lowveld and within Gonarezhou National Park, the iconic red sandstone cliffs have become synonymous with the unspoilt wilderness of the Park. The cliffs with a panoramic view of the Runde River valley are a product of eons of erosion and they are an enduring feature of country’s beautiful landscape. The best way to access the remote area is by 4-wheel drive with low-range gear required to access the upper viewpoint of Chilojo Cliffs.
Zimbabwe’s Balancing Rocks are listed among the Top 10 Balancing Rocks in the World. The country is awash with some amazing and astonishing rock formations with the most prominent of these being the Balancing Rocks in Epworth (Harare) and Matobo Hills on the outskirts of Bulawayo. The Chiremba Balancing Rocks in Epworth were popularized by being featured in the country’s now defunct Zim Dollar and were declared a National Monument in 1994.
Also popular are the Mother-and-Child Rocks located in Matobo National Park, an area abundant with impressive and rare rock formations. Although strange balancing rocks and weathered boulders also in Domboshava and Nyanga are popular features of the Zimbabwean landscape, rock formations such as those found in Matobo are some of the best granite outcrops in lichen-streaked balancing rocks within the entire southern African region.
Zimbabwe’s wildlife is one of its major resources and a national treasure. Because of its prestigious wildlife located in throughout the many National Parks, Game Reserves and sanctuaries, the country has maintained premier safari destination. With African wildlife facing decline and extinction due to excessive poaching, hunting and illicit trade, Zimbabwe is the only country where one can find some of the rare and endangered species. Among these are the black and white rhinos, spotted wild dogs, scaly pangolins just to name a few. Furthermore, the country is the only place in Africa where all of the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, rhino) can be found, a deserved tribute to relentless conservation efforts.
The Eastern Highlands comprising of Chimanimani, Nyanga and Vumba districts have a huge concentration of natural attractions. The mountainous region is home to the country’s three mountains – Bvumba, Chimanimani and Nyangani, Zimbabwe’s highest peak. It is home to many rivers and lakes, hills and kopjes, rare flora and fauna, hot-springs and many waterfalls including Mtarazi Falls which is Africa’s highest waterfall. Nyanga National Park is home to some amazing natural as well as heritage attractions. A perfect destination for outdoors and nature-lovers.
Explore, experience and discover Zimbabwe’s Natural Wonders. Visit Zimbabwe.