So you have finally decided to visit my country and all the good things that come with it? Well, I am going to make it easier for you by taking you through the places and events you should surely look out for when you come.
I know we have countless great places you could visit when you are in Zim, but I also know there are certain places you just can’t afford to miss. Having to make choices of game resorts, landscape scenery, beautiful mountain views and even local events can leave you in a daze as there are so many to choose from. What you should surely focus on is getting a little of everything. The ones I have picked are only a few of the places you should be sure to see and then go literally wild thereafter!
For the best touring experience I would suggest you start off from the small towns and wildlife resorts before settling down amidst the great Sunshine City lights.
Mosi-oa-Tunya Victoria Falls (The Smoke that Thunders)
This is a great river bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe and stretching along towards the horn of Zimbabwe. By the way, the aerial view of Zimbabwe is that of a teapot with a pouring horn on the Western side.
The Victoria Fall descents to about 5,604ft and as it flows downward it would be spraying a white cloud of showers which from a distance roars like thunder and appears like a thick fog of smoke. This gave rise to the native name that translates to the Smoke that Thunders. Be sure to carry your swimming gear when you get closer as the cascade of water will leave you totally soaked up!
There are a number of activities that you can do while at it. There would be rafting, bungee jumping and abs-sailing by the waterside. You also get to view a variety of wildlife around the World wonder.
Matobo Hills in Hwange
Hwange is a renowned safari area. It is rich with fauna of various sizes and kinds from birds to crawling rare breeds of creatures. It is a reserved game park and the animals are left in their wild state without taming, though at times you are allowed to feed them.
The whole area is raw land with not much infrastructural developments and the accommodation chalets that were built are all made to complement the wild life characteristic. Don’t get scared though, the safari is patrolled by trained and friendly guides and there are many viewing tours facilitated so you get to view it all from the safety of a ride.
Mutare Christmas Pass
The best night view you can get in Zimbabwe is the array of lights as you enter a mountainous province of Manicaland. Mutare is the town bordering Zimbabwe and Mozambique and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes for day time viewing.
In this instance, I want to draw your attention to the marvel that earned the name Christmas pass because of the glitter and light arrangement that forms from an elevated view on a winding road leading to the town. The view is of the suburbs located in the valleys of Mutare and they are distributed in the same winding vein which creates a kaleidoscope of shimmering multi-colored lights.
The Great Dyke
One of the treasures of Zimbabwe that make it such a rich small country is the vast mineral deposit belts that stretches for all of 329,327 miles which means it runs beneath several towns and cities. It begins from right after the capital city of Harare towards Kariba, another must-see place.
The Great Dyke is a belt of platinum and chromium ores and the road that runs through it is edged by a cross-sectional frame of the belt as it was cut right across the blasted quarry of mineral deposits. You get to see the markings of sedentary rock formations and antique style rock walls giving you a rare enjoyable experience of geography lessons!
This is a place held with much mystic awe. The Chinhoyi caves is made up of a deep cloistered cave with a mysteriously blue dam in its midst. Much legend surrounds the formation of these caves and as you go down towards the dam you will see a number of rock paintings that depict the old life enjoyed by my ancestors as hunters and gatherers placing the dam’s origins to over centuries back in history.
The dam never runs dry and the darkness surrounding it holds you enthralled. It is believed that if you misbehave when inside the cave you may disappear for good as the caves are believed to be guarded by ancestral spirits. But they won’t stop you from taking really marvellous pictures and dipping your feet into the tepid azure waters believed by some to hold charming powers!
Domboshawa Dwala stretches
If rocks and geological features tickle your fancy, Domboshawa is the place for you. Even if you have never particularly held an interest in rock stuff, this awesome expanse of granite will surely rock your world!
As you climb to the top of the mighty pillar you will see small rivulets and waterholes and a narrow hole right at the top believed to stretch all the way across the dwala. This rock is surrounded by several other small ones and each of them is decorated with numerous paintings that have lived way longer than most of the current citizens in my country. They form a cultural heritage from which our then illiterate ancestors managed to communicate much of their life activities to us.
Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA)
Bringing you back to the city in style would be this annual festival held in the capital around April each year. The festival is a full display of performing arts from grassroots level to celebrated artists and these all showcase the very depth of my African culture through dance, song and theatre.
HIFA is one of the events that draw much interest from the international audiences and most of our local artists have seen their way to the top from performing there. The shows, all typically feature local musical instruments like the mbira, drums, shakers and castanets and would involve certain traditional musical elements such as hand clapping, feet stamping and much ululating.
Reps Theatre Live Performances
In the midst of the city is this place where raw and fully developed stage talent is given exposure. The theatre holds performances each week ranging from child dance groups to travelling actors performing Shakespearean sonnets and King Lion dance versions to the loud applause of a huge audience.
Be sure to be part of this audience for a feel of the artistic side of my Zimbo locals at its best. Plus you may be lucky to get to watch your favourite classic performed live on stage!
Annual Trade Fair
Held in Bulawayo one of the large cities of the country, this annual event hosts a number of trades from art, agriculture to technological innovations. But the beauty of it is the myriad of cultural displays that fill the space.
There are lunar-park activities you get to enjoy at the Trade Fair and for that dash of adrenaline experience you may go high in the air on the big wheel.
If you are lucky you will even see the live cattle and pigs that some farmers would be displaying!
You just can’t go up in the exploratory mood on an empty tummy! Garwe (crocodile) is a traditionally named restaurant which specialises in traditional cuisine. The menu consists of local sadza which is a thick porridge or pap prepared from ground mealies, sorghum or rapoko which we grow locally. It is a rich meal full of anti-oxidants and much energy.
The pap is accompanied by an assortment of relishes ranging from naturally growing vegetables such as pumpkin leaves, mushroom and okra. You can mix it up with Western menus like stewed or grilled chicken or beef stews.
There are many other restaurants which can give you our local version of your regular meals like cake made from oat flour over a charcoal oven or biltong boiled and stewed and mixed with various leaf vegetables for a delicious stew.
Can’t wait to get down to Southern Africa?
Well, here are even more reasons you should make it quick. There are several lakes and beach outlets from which you can surf and go cruising to watch the African sun setting. You can also travel around the city where various natural wonders are still intact like the balancing rocks which form a spiral of piling large rocks of irregular shapes such that your first thought would be that they might fall right on top of you. These rocks have been standing like that for a number of eras.
While enjoying the wild and the colorful of Zimbabwe, you may also splurge on yourself with various colorful materials to drape around you as you visit the traditional homesteads all around the wild safaris; in the spirit of true Africanism!