Sustainable Travel in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has a growing international reputation for its national parks. Currently 11 parks include the largest, Hwange National Park, which shares a border with Botswana. It is the premier game-viewing area with easy access, and a birdwatcher’s haven with more than 400 species of birds recorded. Another well-known park is Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that is also one of the least developed national parks in Southern Africa. It supports elephant, buffalo, zebra, kudu, waterbuck, hippos and crocodiles, among others. The rare black rhino can also be found here. It is remote and remains in its wild state. Walking safaris are permitted here. In the rainy season, it is accessible on foot or by boat. The lower Zambezi River in Zimbabwe is where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after the rainy season. As lakes dry up every year, groups of large animals migrate here for the water, making this one of Africa’s most celebrated game-viewing areas. Lake Kariba is home to large concentrations of buffalo, waterbuck, impala, zebra and elephant. Zimbabwe shares Victoria Falls with Zambia, and both offer excellent opportunities to explore the falls and a range of related activities. The best views of the falls depend on the time of year. Some 685 species of birds have been recognized in Zimbabwe, and that includes ten globally threatened species. Zimbabwe’s first human populations were ancestors of the San people. The first Bantu-speaking farmers arrived during the Bantu expansion around 2,000 years ago. Zimbabwe today has undergone a series of economic and social challenges. It is complicated country but at the same time has great potential, stunning landscapes and a rich history.

What are they doing right?

As Zimbabwe emerges from years of political upheaval to renew its position as one of Africa's most famous wildlife safari destinations, it is looking beyond the well-established tourism hub of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi Basin – including Lake Kariba and Mana Pools National Park - to develop new tourism products and services in other parts of the country, including in the far south, which offers spectacular wilderness in partnership with renowned ecolodges such as Singita, that will broaden its appeal and enhance economic benefits to local communities. Recognizing that tourism is vital to the country's economic development future, the government unveiled a National Tourism Master Plan in July 2017 that designates 11 different tourism zones around the country and earmarks them for assistance in developing infrastructure and public-private partnerships, with an aim to create conservation-based tourism that delivers tangible economic benefits to rural villages. With its rich natural and cultural heritage, Zimbabwe is poised to return to the international tourism stage in the coming years, as one of Africa's most beautiful safari destinations.

The Elephant Ranking

Elephant StarElephant Star

The destination recognizes sustainability as being important and have embarked on establishing sustainable tourism practices.

Southern Africa’s elephant populations travel across many countries, including Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, seeking food, water and territory. That makes monitoring, protecting and securing habitats for elephant herds especially tough. Some 40,000 elephants cross these three countries. With funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other donor partners, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) brought together all stakeholders in Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to develop a Heartland-wide management strategy for the elephants. In 2003, AWF carried out the first coordinated aerial survey of this region. AWF’s conservation work in the Zambezi Heartland was then adjusted to focus on developing additional habitat for elephants and other large herbivores. These plans include designated wildlife movement corridors as well as other aspects from biodiversity conservation, to agriculture and human settlement, to tourism development.

Why the Elephant Ranking?