Self-drive Journeys Through Zimbabwe
There is a misconception that it is not safe to do self-drive safaris through Zimbabwe, and many are concerned about taking up the challenge. However, this can’t be further from the truth.
Zimbabwe has numerous stunning, relatively remote, uncommercialized destinations. In addition, several different border posts surround the country, making it easily accessible for a multi-country itinerary. For example, combining safaris between Namibia, Botswana and Zambia is simple, with straightforward routes to follow.
For example, the Pandamatenga border between Botswana and Zimbabwe takes vehicles directly to Hwange National Park, cutting out about 2 hours of driving from Victoria Falls. This is an excellent option for guests wanting to include both Chobe National Park and Hwange National Park in their African safari itineraries.
Iganyana Tented Camp, located in the Dete Vlei, bordering the Hwange National Park, fits well into the itinerary. The camp is located either two hours by road from Victoria Falls or a three-hour drive from Bulawayo. Iganyana Tented Camp is only a 3.5 km drive off the main road, so there are no long treks offroad. In fact, it is a fantastic, convenient way of breaking up the journey between Vic Falls and Bulawayo onwards.
Guests are welcome to drive into the Hwange National Park, where full day trips with a packed lunch and drinks can be arranged from the Camp if they would prefer to go on their own. The terrain in Hwange varies with Kalahari red sand areas, rocky areas with huge boulders, vast open savannah plains, natural spring lines and even ancient ruins. It’s a definite must-do destination for self-drive enthusiasts.
Granted, the roads in Zimbabwe are a bit poor in some sections with potholes, but this is part of the adventure. However, there is currently an initiative to improve the roads, particularly between tourist destinations. It may take a bit of time to repair the entire road network, but it is possible to drive through on mostly good tarred roads.
Nevertheless, we always highly recommend using a well-equipped 4×4 vehicle when driving through the country for comfort. Look for one equipped with a:
- gas bottle
- extra water
- camping equipment
- spare tyre
- spare battery; and
- extra food supplies.
Travelling through Zimbabwe can be a bit of extra planning. For example, we recommend bringing small denomination USD notes, but exploring this great country is worth the little bit of extra effort. Fuel is generally available in most towns and payable in United States Dollars. Still, it would be a good idea to arrange to plan to also carry spare fuel containers with extra fuel.
Ideally, when determining a route, think about including the whole of Zimbabwe rather than just the better-known Victoria Falls. There are incredible destinations in the country’s north, such as Kariba Lake, Chirundu for the amazing tiger fishing, Mana Pools with the beautiful acacias and where elephants are known to stand on two legs to reach food higher up in the trees. The highlands of Nyanga, with the highest point in Zimbabwe, the mystical Mount Inyangani, Chimanimani, down to the southeast Gonarezhou National Park, with its distinctive red cliffs and enormous elephants, also shouldn’t be overlooked. Great Zimbabwe is an archaeologist’s intrigue and delight and one to fit into the route. When planning the trip, Great Zimbabwe is not too far from Bulawayo and the Matobo Hills where the balancing rocks and ancient bushmen cave paintings are sure to awe and inspire the intrepid traveller.
It is 100% worth considering adding Zimbabwe to a regional self-drive itinerary, and make sure to include Iganyana Tented Camp!