Zimbabwe travel hot list 2024
Great Zimbabwe Guide’s Editor, Beth, has selected 20 travel gems and innovative ventures which reveal a vibrant, evolving Zimbabwe in 2024. There are many hot additions to the Zimbabwe travel scene and it was difficult to select a shortlist.
The finalists in the Zimbabwe travel hot list are those that are leading the way in sharing and championing Zimbabwe’s sensational culture, wildlife and ecosystems. They have been categorised as follows:
Conservation and community ventures | Alternative and tailor-made getaways | Foodie experiences | Travel logistics | Recently revamped accommodation | Wellness experiences | Art and culture ventures.
Beth asked the finalists to tell us why we should be excited about their businesses this year…
All photos are courtesy of the respective businesses.
Conservation and community ventures
EcoDrop helps tourists and locals avoid the use of single-use plastic water bottles by providing accessible and affordable purified drinking water stations in retail outlets, schools and tourist facilities, starting in the tourism hub of Victoria Falls.
“We currently have 23 machines installed around Victoria Falls. We have plans to add another 10 in the next few months. This will definitely have an impact on the removal of the plastic bottles around the town. To date our systems have removed the use of 68,290 plastic bottles since we started in April 2023. This number is growing daily. Welcome to the solution; welcome to EcoDrop!” Hamish Henderson, EcoDrop
African Bush Camps Foundation
More than a luxury bespoke safari guide company, African Bush Camps and its Foundation has always put local communities at the forefront. They announced their ‘Move for Education’ initiative in 2024, aiming to equip 2000 learners in underdeveloped schools with stationery packs and daily meals. Additionally, their ‘Vision 2030’, launched in 2024, which undertakes to support the natural landscapes around their camps, enable functioning ecosystems for wildlife, and empower local communities.
“For 2024 we have put together a selection of Best of Zimbabwe packages to help showcase the country as an all-round destination. These packages are a one-stop-shop for those interested in booking fly-in safaris, at great rates.” Natasha Dixon, African Bush Camps
Butterfield & Robinson’s Zimbabwe Conservation Safari
This premier active travel company has launched a new scheduled Zimbabwe safari for 2024.
“Our Zimbabwe Conservation and Safari trip is a 10-day adventure through the country’s wildlife-rich plains, with an itinerary designed to highlight the new vision inspiring modern-day Africa. Adapting to the pace of safari life between three unique camps, travellers will follow in the footsteps of the Big Five, canoe safari along the Zambezi River and experience the natural wonders of Matusadona National Park, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools and Lake Kariba. Beyond the safari, travellers will connect with conservation organisations working to safeguard wilderness areas and reimagine the relationship between tourism, local population and wildlife.” Mike Scarola, Butterfield & Robinson
The Siding, Hwange
An exciting new addition to the self-catering accommodation in Hwange National Park, The Siding is a solar-powered eco-camp particularly suited to families and groups. Named after the railway track that has passed by for decades, it offers the ultimate self-catering private bush experience, tantalisingly close to wildlife, with sustainable measures included as a priority. The Siding from The Bayete Collection
Alternative and tailor-made getaways
Writer’s Safari with Safari Guide Afrika
This specialist private safari company based in Zimbabwe has partnered with a celebrated local writer for a bush retreat with a difference.
“Safari Guide Afrika in association with Black Rhino Safaris and The Farmhouse are proudly pioneering a safari with a difference. Our Soul Safaris programme launches later this year with our Writer’s Safari hosted by John Eppel: poet, writer and teacher. This will be a journey like no other, crafting memories that last a lifetime!” Nicholas Marillier, Safari Guide Afrika
Mitchell Riley Private Guided Safaris
Offering personalised safaris that are tailor-made to the interests of each traveller, Mitchell Riley is well-versed in birding, fishing, photography and walking safaris. Having graduated as one of the youngest fully qualified guides in the country, and now with over 15 years of experience under his belt, he is an exciting addition to Zimbabwe’s private guided safari scene.
“The Zambezi Valley is my favourite place in Africa to visit as a private safari guide. The wide river with its glistening networks of water; the islands strewn with hippos and crocodiles; the warm, dry, dusty air that fills your lungs; and the sensory delight of birdsong, distant hippos grunting and the breeze running through the trees. I particularly look forward to spending time in this unique one-of-a-kind wonderland this year, and showcasing what Zimbabwe has to offer.” Mitchell Riley, Mitchell Riley Professional Safari Guide
SkyDeck Mountain Retreat
African holidays don’t have to be about golden savannahs: at SkyDeck in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands you can skip the sweaty game drive and swap it for a cosy mountain retreat.
“Perched on the edge of the Honde Valley escarpment, nestled amongst afro-montane forests, overlooking Zimbabwe’s highest peak, Mt Nyangani, the SkyDeck Mountain Retreat is breath-taking in every sense. The Eastern Highlands’ first, and only, luxury accommodation, with indulgence beyond your wildest dreams. A butler and private chef are ready to meet your highest expectations: enjoy a private outdoor shower and wood-fired hot-tub, while having every need attended to.” Chris Cragg, SkyDeck Mountain Retreat
African Vegan On A Budget with Chef Cola
International award-winning Chef Cola presents tasty vegan meals that she describes as “African inspired with a touch of soul food”. This multi-talented Zimbabwean influencer has also launched a line of chef’s clothing, designed vegan menus for rangers working in conservation, and is a community fresh food champion.
“I’m looking forward to hosting exclusive vegan events around Harare in 2024, specifically Food x Art and Dinners With Chef Cola. My first cookbook is also due to be released this year, containing over 200 vegan recipes that celebrate African culture.” Nicola Karogo, African Vegan on a Budget with Chef Cola
Micro distillery producing local distillates from indigenous wild Zimbabwean fruits and botanicals. The beverages are called ‘kachasu’, which is the local name for this traditional ‘moonshine’. Made in limited batches and sold directly to consumers as well as a number of restaurants and bars in Zimbabwe. Definitely something new for the tastebuds when visiting Zimbabwe. Tangwena
This multi-award winning African airline has made strides in bringing new flight routes to Zimbabwe. It connects Harare, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo; and also flies to Johannesburg and Mbombela (Kruger) Nelspruit Mpumalanga in South Africa.
“We are pleased to announce that we will be increasing flights from Kruger [to Victoria Falls] during the peak season months of July, August, and September. This will provide more flexibility for our passengers and help them plan their travel according to their convenience.” Julian Edmunds, fastjet
Tracks4Africa’s Zimbabwe paper map
Fresh off the press, Tracks4Africa has just published its first Zimbabwe map. One side of the map covers the entire country of Zimbabwe in 1:1,000,000 scale (1cm = 10km), while the back shows more detailed maps of Hwange, Mana Pools and Gonarezhou national parks. The high-detail map indicates places of interest, national parks, towns with services, and all the roads connecting them. It also features time and distance indicators on roads which allows for easy trip planning. It’s printed on water- and tear-resistant paper, so it can stand up to many overlanding self-drive trips. Zimbabwe Tracks4Africa travellers map
Milton Park Medical and Emergency Centre Harare
Newly-built facility providing travellers with peace of mind should anything go wrong, this is a 50-bedded private hospital, with an ICU, HDU, 24-hour Emergency Rooms, theatre complex, cancer treatment, CT and X-ray services. Milton Park Medical
ACE Ambulance’s Zambezi Cover
ACE launched its Zambezi Cover in January 2024, which means that safari-goers can have affordable emergency cover when travelling in the whole area of the lower Zambezi Valley, as well as access to the newly built ACE Trauma Unit in Chirundu. It offers 24-hour access to a nearby private trauma clinic, a 4×4 road ambulance, and a river boat ambulance in the Zambezi Valley. ACE Air Ambulance
Recently revamped accommodation
N1 Hotel Victoria Falls
A comfortable hotel in Victoria Falls at affordable prices, now with family suites as well as camping options.
“We are delighted to announce the completion of major upgrades and refurbishments at the N1 Hotel in Victoria Falls. Starting in March 2023, our team embarked on a journey to enhance the guest experience, and we are thrilled to unveil the results.
As part of the project, we have expanded our capacity by adding 23 new rooms to the hotel, allowing us to accommodate even more guests at affordable prices. The exciting addition was completed in November 2023, just in time for our December visitors to indulge in our hospitality whilst exploring the wonders of Victoria Falls.” Leanne Nesbitt, N1 Hotel Victoria Falls
Rhino Safari Camp
Traditionally rustic permanent safari camp situated in the remote and wild Matusadona National Park, on the shores of Lake Kariba, accommodating up to 14 guests.
“Under the new ownership and management, Rhino Safari Camp has started an important and consistent refurbishment process. Well-known safari experts have also joined the team, making the experience in camp even more memorable.
The icing on the cake: Matusadona is now managed by African Parks together with Matusadona Conservation Trust, which is taking steps to bring a new life, and more wildlife than before, to the park.” Marina Massari, Rhino Safari Camp
Mbano Manor Hotel
Nestled among an ancient teak forest, the highly rated luxury property was founded by Zimbabwean entrepreneur Dr Mati Nyazema in 2020 and rebranded under the Mantis Collection in June 2023. Mbano Manor Hotel, Victoria Falls by Mantis is the first internationally branded hotel in Victoria Falls in over a decade, according to Accor. Surrounded by the wild beauty of a bird and tree sanctuary, the boutique hotel offers 18 luxury suites and a presidential villa. It operates in accordance with Accor’s environmental and energy efficiency reporting tools, internal carbon price monitoring, eco-certification programs, and brand standard sustainability criteria. Mbano Manor Hotel
Victoria Falls Yoga
Venture beyond the confines of studio walls and embrace an immersive yoga experience in the splendour of the African bush.
“In 2024, we’re thrilled to bring an elevated level of wellness to visitors exploring Zimbabwe. Our experiences include private yoga sessions with breathtaking views, group retreat and yoga safaris as well as custom safari itineraries which integrate yoga and wellness, helping connect people with nature, nurture their well-being, and make their adventures in Zimbabwe truly unforgettable.” Kerrith O’Fee, Victoria Falls Yoga
Victoria Falls Safari Spa
The largest and first purpose-built spa in Victoria Falls, surrounded by the natural African bush of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge estate.
“Since its opening just over a year ago, the Victoria Falls Safari Spa has become a focal point of rejuvenation and tranquillity in Victoria Falls. We are enticing visitors with tailor-made wellness packages that blend luxury, adventure, and health, and encouraging guests to enjoy not only our luxurious treatments but also our healthy meal options, promoting holistic well-being. Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, the Victoria Falls Safari Spa plans to incorporate additional hydrotherapy options into our treatment menu and align with wellness trends to provide an unmatched spa experience for our guests.” Avalon van Leent, Victoria Falls Safari Spa
Newly opened in 2023, Mvula Spa offers luxury spa treatments and consulting services at Shongwe Oasis Boutique Lodge, the first adults-only retreat in Victoria Falls.
“Mvula spa is looking to expand in 2024 adding more options to wellness, as well as growing our cruelty-free, vegan, organic AM Cosmetics range.” Avalon van Leent, Mvula Spa
Art and culture ventures
Pfeka clothing tells the Zimbabwean story through unique prints and patterns.
“Our main pride is our own in-house designed and manufactured Masvingo print fabric which is inspired by the iconic Great Zimbabwe. Picture wearing Zimbabwean history, heritage, and nature – it’s an immersive experience. Visit our shop at Old Hararian Sports Club or explore our website for a range including hoodies, t-shirts, replica Zimbabwe sports team jerseys, fabrics, and accessories. Perfect souvenirs that beautifully narrate Zimbabwe’s tales. We’re expanding accessibility, exploring partnerships with resort centres, airports, and more, ensuring travellers can easily grab a piece of Zimbabwean charm.” Eglet Mtengwa Nyabvure, Pfeka
Simunye Live Show
An inspirational African adventure tale that showcases stunning visuals, music, puppetry, and dance. Launched in 2023, the production is a feast for the eyes and ears, performed by local performing artists in an intimate 180-seater, open-air theatre in the central location of Elephants Walk, Victoria Falls. Simunye Live
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