Family Safaris In Zimbabwe

All who visit Zimbabwe, remark on one things. How safe the country is for families. Both the Shona and Ndebele prize family above all else.

When in the country, you can guarantee that the locals will treat your kinds like one of your own. In fact, you could even get the mothers to take your kids on their backs (the ultimate siesta)

Places That We Tailor Make Family Safaris For

Cultural excursions at Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

  • Marvel at the grandeur of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
  • Participate in family-friendly activities such as sunset cruises on the Zambezi River, white-water rafting, nature walks, and cultural tours.
  • Encounter wildlife in the nearby Zambezi National Park.
lion at hwange national park

Hwange National Park

  • Discover large herds of elephants and a diverse collection of wildlife, perfect for game viewing.
  • Benefit from educational opportunities with some of Africa’s top safari guides.
  • Enjoy family-focused accommodations and activities suitable for all ages.
Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba

  • Enjoy the tranquility and scenic beauty of Africa’s largest man-made lake.
  • Partake in water-based activities such as fishing, boat cruises, and bird watching.
  • Relax on a houseboat while taking in the legendary sunsets and abundant wildlife along the shores.
Matobo Hills rocks

Matobo National Park

  • Explore ancient rock formations and view San rock art with your children
  • Encounter rhinos on foot with expert-guided tracking experiences.
  • Learn about the rich cultural heritage and visit local communities.
Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe

Eastern Highlands

  • Perfect for families who enjoy hiking and exploring mountainous terrain.
  • Offers a cooler climate and lush scenery with opportunities for bird watching and nature walks.
  • Provides a peaceful retreat with a variety of accommodation options catering to families.
Lake Kariba

Mana Pools

  • Known for its picturesque landscape and excellent opportunities for canoeing and walking safaris.
  • Offers an authentic wilderness experience with exclusive campsites along the river.
  • Ideal for families with older children seeking adventure in a remote setting.

A Suggested Family Safari Itinerary

This is one holiday that we organised for a family of 3 from Germany

Day 1-2

Arrival and Victoria Falls Exploration

Upon arriving in Zimbabwe, the family of four were greeted at the Victoria Falls Airport and transferred to a family-friendly lodge near the Falls. The next day was spent exploring one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls. Followed by a guided tour of the falls, a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. The father and son did the bungee jumping and white-water rafting.

Day 3-5

Hwange National Park

A short drive or flight took our family to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve. Known for its large elephant population and diverse wildlife, Hwange offered them excellent game viewing opportunities. The stay was at one of our family-friendly safari lodges that catered to children with educational programs and activities. The days were filled with guided game drives, nature walks, and a visit to a local village to learn about the culture and community conservation efforts.

Day 6-7

Lake Kariba and Matusadona National Park

Next was Lake Kariba, the world’s largest man-made lake by volume, that offered a serene escape and a different perspective on wildlife viewing. This coincided with a stay in Matusadona National Park for a chance to see the endangered black rhino and partake in guided bush walks & canoe safaris.

Day 8-9

Mana Pools National Park

They didn´t stop there as this was followed up by Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its natural beauty and excellent wildlife viewing. The park offered a unique safari experience with opportunities for walking safaris and canoeing on the Zambezi River. Encounters with elephants, hippos, and a variety of bird species in their natural habitat. Nights were spent at an eco-friendly camp that provided immersive experiences for the whole family.

Day 10

Return to Victoria Falls and Departure

The holiday ended with a return to Victoria Falls for some last-minute curio shopping before their departure.

Why go on a Family Safari in Zimbabwe?

Safari guides

Knowledgeable Safari Guides

Safari guides in Zimbabwe are recognized for their expertise. They provide informative and engaging tours that cater to inquisitive minds, educating both children and adults about the wildlife and ecosystems.

Family safari activities

Variety of Activities

Families can participate in walking safaris, bird watching, fishing, and cultural tours. Activities like canoeing on the Zambezi River provide a unique view of the landscape and wildlife.

Exploring the local culture

Deep Cultural Experiences

A visit to local communities and learning about Zimbabwean culture enriches the safari journey. Families can engage with locals, understand traditional lifestyles, and even tour schools.

Safety in Zimbabwe

Safe and Hospitable Environment

Despite its past political issues, Zimbabwe is a safe destination for tourists, known for its warm and inviting atmosphere. Families can confidently explore the natural wonders of this stunning country.

Why Trust Sound Of Safaris With Your Family Safari?

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Responsible Travel

For 5 years, your visits have helped us make a real difference to Zimbabweans. Thank you!

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In our hands

While visiting Hwange, enjoy 24/7 access to our distinctive Global Concierge service.

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Travel Experts

Our Travel Specialists only recommend destinations they have personally visited.

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Finest Guides

Experience the best interpretive adventures with our skilled private and specialist guides.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to pack for you and your kids?

Luggage Choice: Soft bags are the way to go, especially for light aircraft transfers. Hard-cased suitcases simply won’t do. Use packing cubes to segregate clothes for different parts of the journey.

Daypack Necessities: A daypack is a must for carrying daily essentials. Don’t forget a money belt for cash and credit cards.

Appropriate Clothing: The weather can fluctuate, so layers are key. Pack a good jacket, scarf, gloves, and woolen hat for cold mornings. For hot days, breathable fabrics are recommended, and a windbreaker for cooler nights. Earth-toned clothing is ideal for safari activities.

Shoes: Comfortable sneakers, sandals, or walking shoes are necessary for activities like exploring the Victoria Falls rainforest. Pack flip-flops for lodge/camp or pool use.

Accessories: Under the African sun, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a bandana or buff for cooling are invaluable.

Health and Hygiene: Sunscreen, insect repellent, all necessary medication, and malaria prophylactics are must-haves. A small first aid kit can also come in handy.

Hydration: A reusable water bottle is essential to stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste.

Technology: Extra batteries, memory cards, and chargers for cameras are necessary. A power pack can keep electronics charged during long days.

Optics and Cameras: Quality binoculars can enhance wildlife viewing. A good camera or a smartphone with a high-quality camera is essential for capturing safari moments.

Children’s Entertainment: Pack age-appropriate travel games, books, or tablets loaded with apps and movies for downtime or long transfers.

Travel Documents: Passports, visas, travel insurance, and any necessary health certificates should be packed and easily accessible.

Snacks: Non-perishable snacks are recommended, especially for times when meals may be delayed during travel.

Comfort Items: For younger children, a favorite small toy or blanket can provide comfort in a new environment.

Clothing Care: Hotels and lodges often provide laundry services, so packing light and washing clothes as needed is a good strategy.

Swimwear: Bathing suits are necessary for hotel pools or any potential water-based activities.

Essential Travel Information to Zimbabwe

Visas and Documentation:
Zimbabwe-bound travelers require a passport that is valid for no less than six months, with a minimum of two blank pages. While many nationalities can secure a visa on arrival, it’s wise to verify current visa stipulations with the Zimbabwean embassy or consulate in your home country. Additional requirements may include return tickets and evidence of sufficient funds for the duration of the stay.

Health and Vaccinations:
Seek advice from a healthcare provider regarding necessary vaccinations and health precautions. Usual recommendations encompass vaccines for hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever (if traveling from a yellow fever endemic region). Malaria prophylaxis is also suggested for specific areas, particularly during the rainy season. Remember to acquire a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers medical emergencies.

Currency and Banking:
While the Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL) is the official currency, US dollars are also widely accepted. Carrying enough cash is crucial as ATMs may not always be operational, and credit card acceptance is sporadic. Notify your bank about your travel plans to prevent suspension of card services due to unexpected foreign activity.

Packing Essentials:
Travelers should pack lightweight, comfortable clothing, layered to accommodate fluctuating temperatures, particularly during the winter months (June to July) when the mornings and evenings can be chilly. Other essentials include a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, reliable insect repellent, and lockable luggage.

Domestic flights are a common way to connect major tourist destinations. For land travel, consider hiring a reputable local driver or opting for a guided tour, as self-driving can be difficult due to road conditions and local traffic regulations.

Safety and Local Customs:
While Zimbabwe is generally safe for tourists, it’s smart to exercise standard precautions like not openly displaying valuables and maintaining situational awareness. Respect for local customs is expected, including modest dress and avoidance of camouflage clothing, which is banned in Zimbabwe.

Wildlife and Safari Etiquette:
During safari tours, adherence to the guide’s instructions is crucial for personal safety and the welfare of the wildlife. Maintain a respectful distance from animals, and minimize noise to avoid disturbing them.

Invest in a local SIM card for mobile communication, as international roaming can be costly. Hotels and lodges may offer Wi-Fi, but connectivity may be limited in more remote areas.

Zimbabwe utilizes a combination of plug types, including Type G (British) and Type D (Indian). The standard voltage is 220-240V. Travelers should carry a universal adapter and consider a power bank for charging devices during extended outings.

Emergency Contacts:
Maintain a list of emergency contacts, including local emergency services, your country’s embassy, and contacts at your accommodation.

Environmental Responsibility:
Travelers should be conscious of their environmental impact. Proper disposal of waste, water conservation, and avoidance of disturbing natural habitats are all important.

With careful planning and respect for Zimbabwe’s laws, culture, and environment, a visit to this stunning country can be both memorable and rewarding.

What is the best way to get to Zimbabwe?

For international travelers, Zimbabwe is reached by air via its principal international airports: Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo, and Victoria Falls International Airport in Victoria Falls.

  1. Harare International Airport (HRE) is Zimbabwe’s largest airport and a key hub. It offers flights from Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Emirates, and Kenya Airways, connecting Harare with international destinations such as Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Dubai, and Nairobi.
  2. Bulawayo International Airport (BUQ), while smaller, is another entry point, particularly for travelers keen on visiting the southern regions of Zimbabwe. South African Airways and Air Zimbabwe operate flights into Bulawayo.
  3. Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA) provides access to the stunning Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The airport’s recent upgrades accommodate larger aircraft, increasing the number of international flights. Airlines such as British Airways (operated by Comair) and Fastjet offer direct flights from Johannesburg, and other regional carriers link Victoria Falls with various Southern African destinations.

Booking flights in advance is recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability and optimal fares. Domestic flights within Zimbabwe can also be arranged to connect major cities and tourist hotspots.

When is the best time to go on a family safari in Zimbabwe?

May to October – Dry Season (Peak Safari Season)

  • Wildlife Viewing: Zimbabwe’s national parks, particularly Hwange National Park, are teeming with animals during this period. As water sources dwindle, animals congregate around the remaining waterholes, making them easy to spot.
  • Weather: Cooler temperatures, clear skies, and a lack of rainfall make this period comfortable for outdoor activities, including game drives.
  • Victoria Falls: Although water levels start to recede, the views remain breathtaking. The reduced mist allows for clearer photographs and better visibility of the falls.
  • Fewer Mosquitoes: The mosquito population decreases during this period, reducing the risk of malaria, a critical factor when traveling with children.
  • Consideration: As this is the high season, expect higher prices and more tourists. It’s advisable to book accommodations in advance.

November to April – Wet Season (Green Season)

  • Scenery: The landscape turns lush and green, offering stunning views and excellent photography opportunities.
  • Bird Watching: This period is ideal for birdwatching, with migratory birds in the area and a vibrant local bird population.
  • Baby Animals: Many animals give birth during this time, providing a unique opportunity to see newborn wildlife.
  • Water Activities: Rising water levels in the Zambezi River make this an excellent time for water-based activities such as canoeing and boat safaris, especially in places like Mana Pools National Park.
  • Victoria Falls: The falls roar with increased intensity towards the end of the wet season, offering an awe-inspiring spectacle.
  • Consideration: Heavy rains can make some roads unpassable, and the lush vegetation may obstruct game viewing. This period is also the hottest, which may be uncomfortable for families with young children.

Transitional Periods: April-May and October-November

  • Balanced Experience: These months strike a balance between the dry and wet seasons, offering moderate water levels at Victoria Falls and good wildlife viewing opportunities as animals begin to gather around water sources.
  • Weather: The weather is in transition, so there may be a mix of late rains or the beginning of the dry season’s cooler temperatures.
  • Crowds: These periods may see fewer tourists, providing a more private safari experience for families.

Do I need a visa?

Zimbabwe’s visa requirements are nationality-dependent. While many visitors can obtain a visa on arrival, others must apply beforehand. Checking the latest visa requirements prior to travel is a must.

  1. Visa on Arrival: Citizens of countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and some European Union nations can obtain a visa at the airport upon arrival. This process is straightforward, but having the exact cash amount is advisable as credit card facilities may not always be available.
  2. E-Visa: An e-visa option is available for those preferring to secure their visa prior to departure. The e-visa application can be completed online, making for a swift entry process upon arrival.
  3. KAZA Uni-Visa: For those intending to visit both Zimbabwe and Zambia, the KAZA Uni-Visa is an option. This visa permits multiple entries between the two countries over a 30-day period. It is particularly useful for visitors wanting to see Victoria Falls from both sides of the Zambezi River.
  4. Visa Exemptions: Certain countries, primarily in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), are exempt from visa requirements for short visits. Staying informed of the latest visa exemption list is key, as policies can change.

Always ensure that your passport has at least six months of validity beyond your planned departure date from Zimbabwe and at least two blank pages for stamps. Staying updated on any changes in visa policies is also important, as immigration rules can change.

Currency & Using Credit Cards in Zimbabwe

When traveling to Zimbabwe, it’s important to be well-prepared in terms of finances, as the country has experienced significant economic challenges and currency issues. As of the latest information available, the Zimbabwean government has reintroduced the Zimbabwean dollar (ZWL), which is the official currency. However, the currency situation can be volatile, and it’s advisable to check the latest updates before your trip.

Foreign currencies such as the US dollar, South African rand, British pound, and Euro are widely accepted, especially in tourist areas like Victoria Falls. It’s recommended to carry a mix of cash in these currencies for convenience. Small denominations are preferable as they make transactions smoother and help avoid issues with receiving change.

Credit cards are accepted at most large hotels, restaurants, and some shops, particularly in Victoria Falls and other major tourist destinations. However, due to economic instability, some businesses may be reluctant to accept credit cards because of the fees and delays in converting them to hard currency. It’s advisable to confirm in advance if a business accepts credit cards and which types (Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted).

ATMs are available in major cities and towns, but they may not always be reliable due to cash shortages or network issues. If you do find a functioning ATM, there might be withdrawal limits, and they often dispense cash in local currency at the official exchange rate, which may not be favorable. Therefore, relying solely on ATMs for cash during your trip is not recommended.

A money belt or similar secure pouch is essential for keeping your cash and credit cards safe. It’s advisable not to carry large sums of money with you and to utilize safes at your accommodation whenever possible.

When using credit cards, always keep an eye on your card to prevent cloning or unauthorized transactions. Be cautious when entering your PIN, and check statements regularly for any signs of fraudulent activity. In case your card is lost or stolen, ensure you have the contact details of your card issuer readily available to report the incident immediately.

It’s also worth noting that tipping is customary in Zimbabwe for services such as guided tours, restaurant staff, and hotel housekeeping. Having small denominations of cash on hand will make tipping more convenient.

In summary, when visiting Zimbabwe, it’s best to have a mix of cash in widely accepted foreign currencies and to use credit cards as a backup in established businesses. Always stay informed about the current economic situation, and plan your financial strategy accordingly to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.