Zimbabwe might not be the first country that comes to mind when you think adventure travel, but it should be. It’s home to Victoria Falls and boasts one of the top 10 paddling rivers as well as the third highest bungee jump in the world. Not to mention, you’ll find safari adventures to last a lifetime.
Explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Rivaling the Egyptian Pyramids in size, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins once housed 2,000 Shona people and served as the political seat of power for the Bantu civilization. All three of its sections—the Valley Complex, Hill Complex, and King’s Compound—date back to between the 11th and 15th centuries.
While you can tour the lower sections easily, add some extra adventure by hiking up to the King’s Compound. The ancient trail can be steep, but the views from the top are worth it.
Take a Walking Safari through Hwange National Park
Some of the largest elephant herds in the world can be found in Hwange National Park. Explore the park on a walking tour anytime between July and October for the best chance to glimpse these tusked giants as well as lions, giraffes, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas.
For a safari, you’ll want to pack binoculars, hiking shoes, insect repellant, and other large gear, and compression organizers for your luggage can keep these bulky items separate and ready to go for your safari adventure.
Canoe in Mana Pools National Park
Since the roads are often impassable from November through April, canoe is the only way to access Mana Pools National Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the abundant wildlife that collects at its pools. From your canoe, watch for elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and even lions and other cats.
Canoe trips can last for just a few hours or as long as days as you camp along the shores of the Zambezi River. Either way, you’ll want to bring a waterproof bag to keep your gear dry while you’re on the water.
Whitewater Raft the Zambezi River
Considered “the wildest one-day whitewater run in the world,” the Zambezi River is known for its long, violent rapids and big drops. Since you’ll almost certainly get wet, especially from July to mid-February, prepare for the trip with a durable trunk that has compartments to keep your dry and wet clothes separate.
The river isn’t the only physical challenge you’ll face. You’ll need to be in relatively good shape to hike the 750 feet out of the basalt gorge below Victoria Falls.
Bungee Jump at Victoria Falls
Thrill seekers can participate in several adventures set against the backdrop of Victoria Falls. If you’re not afraid of heights, opt for the bungee jump—the third highest in the world. The four-second freefall is consistently rated as one of the top five adrenalin experiences you can have anywhere, period.
Or, try the similarly exhilarating bridge swing that, following a freefall jump, turns you into a human pendulum over Zambezi River. It makes the nearly 1,000-foot zip line across the river seem tame by comparison.
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conducts your own research and use your best judgment.
National Geographic Guide Series Yonder Rolling Trunk 32
ORV Trunk 30
Pack-It Active Wet Dry 2-in-1
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
How to Prepare for an African Safari
How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Safari
World’s Best Places to Go River Rafting
By Teresa Bitler
Teresa Bitler is an award-winning travel writer specializing in adventure, culture, and history. Her work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Sherman’s Travel, and many other high-profile outlets. To learn more, visit teresatravelstheworld.com.