Elephants Off the Track
Hwange National Park
Once you land in Harare, you’ll take a short flight to reach the Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge on the edge of one of the most pristine areas of Zimbabwe, the Gonarezhou National Park. Perched on a cliff above the Save River, each lodge at Chilo Gorge has its own veranda overlooking the river. On your first evening, head out on an excursion to Mahenye Island to explore the site of what was once Mahenye Lodge, now tangled up in thick tree roots and vines. Afterward, head back to the beach to enjoy sundowners.
The next day it’s into the wilderness of Gonarezhou National Park, to the Mahove Tented Camp. This seasonal tented camp will allow you a taste of wild camping in the bush. Enjoy the diverse range of landscapes here, from sandstone cliffs to scrub and baobab trees. It’s also home to lions, cheetah, wild dogs, hyena, buffalo, hippo and giraffe. But the park is best known for its elephant population which number in the thousands. Explore the last great frontier of untouched safari wilderness as you head out on secluded game drives without other vehicles nearby.
Matobo National Park
Today it’s on to Matobo National Park. The journey takes six hours through superb southern Zimbabwe scenery, including local villages and farms. It’s worth the journey, as Matobo Hills is home to one of the last wild populations of rhinos in Africa. Plus, the views over the hills here are incredible. When you arrive, you’ll tuck into an African feast cooked over a wood fire.
Enjoy two full days exploring the Matobo Hills. You’ll need it too because while it’s a small national park, there is a lot to see. First up? An unmissable rhino safari on foot. Your professional guide will take the lead as you silently trek in search of these endangered animals. Crouch quietly in the bush and you might be lucky enough to see these magnificent beasts going about their daily business.
Culture vultures will enjoy a hike out to see the park’s cave paintings. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these friezes are between 1,500 and 10,000 years old. Afterward, you might also want to take advantage of the twice-daily game drives through the park. As well as black and white rhino, you may spot antelope, baboons, and leopards. The park is also home to an enormous bird population with varieties including hawks and falcons.
During your time here make the trip to visit the locals of the Silozwe Valley. You will be able to see traditional African dancing and enjoy a tour of the village. On this excursion, you’ll gain more insight into what is involved in living in the Zimbabwean countryside.
Hwange National Park
Today you’re off to the Jozibanini Camp in the remote south-west of Hwange National Park. Your accommodation for the next two nights? Under canvas, on a raised ground platform. There are verandas too, allowing you to sleep under the stars if you’d prefer.
Hwange won’t disappoint. The arid semi-desert ecosystem here boasts ancient fossil dunes and the shallow valleys allow pathways for herds of elephants. Speaking of which, these beauties are the main attraction here and you’ll be able to view them from hides that allow you to get incredibly close. Head out on game drives where you’ll have the chance to see lions, painted wolves, leopard, zebra, wildebeest and lots of endemic birds. Spend at least one sunset at the watering hole where you can watch elephant families drinking and get to know their characters.
On your final day, you’ll transfer on a short flight to Victoria Falls airport where you'll catch your flight home.