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Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

Toronto, Canada
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Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

My husband and I together with our 19 year old daughter are planning a trip to Africa. We are pretty flexible and can go anytime during July, August or early September. We must be back home by September 10th however because our daughter resumes her university studies on the 12th. We can make this trip 2-3 weeks in duration.

Anyway, our focus is on wildlife and adventure and we like to get away from the crowds. So we're thinking of Zimbabwe. Apparently Zimbabwe also has excellent expert guides which we consider to be very important. We've never been on safari before, and we've certainly never been to Zimbabwe before. So any suggestions as to where to go and stay will be welcome. Naturally we want to spend a day at Victoria Falls, but since our focus is on wildlife, a day or two at the most should be enough at the falls.

We're not looking for high end luxury, and we also don't want large hotel type accommodations. We simply seek the nature of Africa!

One thing that does interest us, that is not in Zimbabwe, is the great white shark cage diving in South Africa near Cape Town. Does anyone know if it's easy and economical to fly from Zimbabwe to Cape Town? If it is, we may tack a couple days onto the beginning or end of the Zimbabwe trip to do the cage diving.

Any suggestions and all advice will be GREATLY appreciated!

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Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
Cape Town
Cape Town
Western Cape, South Africa
Haifa, Israel
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1. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

The best safari experience that I had was in Zimbabwe... Zimbabwe nature reserves does not hold many tourists like other African reserves.. therefor you get more authentic experience.... for example... In Kenya we encountered a lion less than 1 meter from us.. and the lion did not care.. he didn't even move his head to see who is coming behind him... they are so used to humans that they simply don't care. In Zimbabwe things are different... the animals fear from humans... I did a walking safari and many times the animals have began to chase us to scare us away.. it was amazing.

You should also know that safari experience are nice.. but if you do that with car after few days it gets really boring.... better take a walking safari and feel the adrenalin rush... there are also water safari.. where you canoeing in lake full of hippos etc...

Have fun! Zimbabwe is amazing.

I hope you will find time to see other wonders of Zimbabwe even though that they are not related to safari or animals... for example The Great Zimbabwe site.

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Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe
260 Reviews
Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

Thanks for your reply. Walking safaris are definitely something we're interested in, and reading your message has gotten me very excited about visiting Zimbabwe. Going in a canoe interests me too.

Can you please tell me what your itinerary was when you visited Zimbabwe? Where did you stay?

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Haifa, Israel
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754 posts
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3. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

Well my itinerary was that I didn't have any.

I was backpacked in Africa... All I had was my backpack and Lonely Planet book... I flew to Kenya and Had a flight back from South Africa... the rules were go anywhere you want and never take flights. I knew in general where I want to go and what I want to see.. but things always changed according to what I heard from fellow backpackers. For example.. I didn't plan to travel to Zimbabwe... I planed to go to Mozambique.. but I met another backpacker in Malawi and he convinced me to join him to Zimbabwe... we took a bus to from Malawi to Harare.. spend a few days in Harare.. then traveled to Masvingo for the Great Zimbabwe... then Bulawayo and from there we took the train to Victoria Falls... In Victoria Falls I booked the walking safari in Hwange National Park.

The goal of my travel was to experience Africa as much as close as I can to the experience of the locals... Whenever I could I slept in my tent... sometimes in some countries I even opened it in a gas station or in the middle of nowhere... I avoided as much as possible from private taxis... I usually traveled in local buses and that is an experience of its own (many of the locals where looking at me speciously.. it was weird to them that I want to travel in a bus that barley can move when I can afford to fly.. but when I explained them the aim of my travel there were excited.. the 25+ hours of a drive in a bus where awful if you think about comfort but it was amazing to speak and share with the locals..)... I set the goal of my travel from the first day that I planed my trip to Africa.. it was.. live as local. I didn't fly all the way to Africa to see hotels or stay in the "tourists zone" I came to see Africa.. and this is what I did.

anyway... regarding to your question about accommodation... In Harare I refused to pay for hotels... Unfortunately Zimbabwe is not very backpacker welcoming and there aren't many low budget accommodations... Harare is suite more for mid range to luxury accommodations.. but I found my way to a local gust house which usually hosts locals from other parts of the country that came to visit their family.. We payed 4 USD$ per night per person for a room with 3 single beds (we where 3 people). In Masvingo we slept in a 15 beds dorms... it was fun.. reminded me my military time :)

In Bulawayo we had better accommodation.. it was very nice lodge.. we slept in out tent but they had also private and very big rooms for family... In Victoria Falls... I stayed at shoe string lodge... also in my tent..

I hope this was helpful.. if not for you.. maybe for others :)

if you have other questions.. feel free to ask.

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Harare
Harare
Harare Province, Zimbabwe
Masvingo
Masvingo
Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe
260 Reviews
Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Bulawayo
Bulawayo
Bulawayo Province, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park
376 Reviews
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Seattle, Washington
1 post
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4. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

I cannot give you specifics but I'm sure there are regular flights to and from Cape Town . As a Zimabwean based in US i can tell you Zimbabwe is a gorgeous country and you'll definately enjoy your trip. I will be visiting family in March myself and i cant wait!!. If you have any specific questions to help you prepaire i would be happy to help if i can.

Edited: 6:36 pm, February 11, 2011
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Cape Town
Cape Town
Western Cape, South Africa
Mfuwe
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5. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

This safari is really special - It combines canoeing, bushwalking, tracking lions and wild dogs on foot, all in one of the best parks in Africa. The guides are 2 of the best, and not expensive. maunselfdrive4x4.com/predatorsofmanapools.htm

Victoria Falls...
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6. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

Flights are not a problem, there are 2 flights a day from JHB to Vic Falls, operated by SAA and BA respectively. Cape Town to JHB there are numerous flights and should not be a problem to connect on the same day. Zimbabwe is renouned for it's walking safaris and expert walking guides. However you need to be specific with regards to the type pof walking you want to. Not all lodges and camps offer walking as part of there daily program. If walking a specific requirement I would opt for an operator that specializes in walking, where the focus is tracking down wildlife on foot. An ideal combination is a couple of nights mobile camping in Northern Hwange National park looking for Black Rhino on foot, then combining a lodge in the Soth of the park which has the best all round game viewing in Zimbabwe. A walking/canoeing option in Mana Pools is another fantastic option. Don't forget to check out Matoba Hills National park and Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe has plenty to offer from a cultural and historical aspect as well as incredible wildlife.

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Cape Town
Cape Town
Western Cape, South Africa
Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park
376 Reviews
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park
Mashonaland Central Province, Zimbabwe
Haifa, Israel
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7. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

>>there are 2 flights a day from JHB to Vic Falls<<

Let me also say that 1time ( www.1time.aero ) a low coast South African airline fly from JNB aka Johannesburg international ( OR TAMBO) to Livingstone in Zambia which is few minutes away (by taxi) from Zimbabwe.... some people fly to Livingstone and cross the border to Victoria Falls.

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Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Greater Johannesburg, South Africa
Livingstone
Livingstone
Southern Province, Zambia
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

Thanks everyone...and Elad...it sounds as if you had quite an adventure.

Does anyone know the approximate cost to fly from Cape Town to Victoria Falls? And roughly how much does it cost to get from Victoria Falls to the Mana Pools area? If we go to Zimbabwe, we definitely want to go to Mana Pools. The wildlife experience there sounds phenomenal! But we want to keep the costs reasonable. As my husband says...we want to visit Zimbabwe...not buy it!

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Cape Town
Cape Town
Western Cape, South Africa
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park
Mashonaland Central Province, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls...
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9. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

Flight cost Cape Town to Vic Falls, check out SAA/BA websites. You can fly JHB to Livingstone on One Time which is a budget Airline, but remember you will have to buy a double entry visa for Zambia plus a single entry visa for Zimbabwe. Plus you will have to get a transfer across to Vic Falls.

To visit Mana Pools you either have to hire a 4WD (Avis Zimbabwe) or get a charter flight into Mana, contact Solenta Air. If you go the charter route I would fly into Harare for JHB and then go to Mana Pools-Matusadonna-Hwange-Vic Falls, then fly Vic falls to JHB

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Cape Town
Cape Town
Western Cape, South Africa
Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park
Mashonaland Central Province, Zimbabwe
Harare
Harare
Harare Province, Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park
Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
auckland
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10. Re: Please help us plan a trip to Zimbabwe!

we took our 18 and 19 daughters on a 21/2 week life time experience to zimbabwe & botswana 3 years ago. We did Hwange national park stayed at Ivory lodge which was awesome, this is a couple of hours south of Victoria falls stayed in the national park cabins at victoria falls and did the sights around there before heading on a 8 day overland trip from Victoria falls back to Johannesburg via Chobe and the delta teh overland trip was with the Bundu group small buses and very accommadating. If you google the companies named you should get details.

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Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park
Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
Ivory Lodge
Ivory Lodge
284 Reviews
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Greater Johannesburg, South Africa