Being such a lush green and wide country of course it is impossible to see everything there is in 5 days, but we tried to make the most of it with all the obstacles and unplanned border crossings delay.
Since we were “late” according our itinerary, the first thought was skipping this place, luckily all four of us agreed that we will find a way and visited Matopo Hills. On the way to our campsite which was part of the amazing Big Cave Safari Lodge, we obviously chose the road less traveled and ended up in tiny houses driving on even tinier roads around the Matopos villages. A family even let us in their yard and we could see and feel how their life is, a tiny bit of it.
The Big Cave Safari Lodge was amazing, out of this world in a real sense. The nature, the structure of the accommodation, the food, but most of all the people. Maybe they were the warmest people in Africa or the ones that told us most stories, and that is what made them to my number one list. A hike on the hills in the evening and Safari through the Matobo National park is what we did in the area. Even though this is the area with highest concentration of leopards and rhinos in that part of Africa, the luck was not on our side. Still we were more than lucky to experience this.
Camping/Hotel: Big Cave Camp
Recommendation: Absolute must, from people, surroundings, food everything, if it is not on your itinerary you need to add it.
Price: 10USD p.p/night
Payment: Cash in USD
The most important historical point of Zimbabwe is the Great Zimbabwe ruins, left overs of the Great Zimbabwe Kingdom and also UNESCO World Heritage Site. I guess that in Europe there are plenty of these kind of ruins but on the African continent this is one of a kind. The surrounding valley is super lush green as far as your eye can see. Within the ruins there is a historic village explaining the past life and also a group of people performing. Dancing, singing mostly. Entry fee 15 USD per person.
Camping/Hotel: Clevers Lake View and Ressort
Area: Great Zimbabwe, Masvingo
Recommendation: Great Area with amazing views, free wifi and the best toilet/showers on the road
Price: 12USD p.p/night
Payment: Cash in USD
Last stop on our trip were the Mutarazi Falls, since they were on the border crossing to our next planned country. Since we were always taking the less traveled road, we couldn’t see the sign showing us the way, and Google Maps led us to the Mozambique border up in the mountains, where random guys said no access behind this point. The confusion was on a high level, and we were looking for the Far and Wide camp site, which turned out to be further than needed for us. Since google was of no help we turned to the locals. Unfortunately everybody was sending us 500 meters and then right. Little did we know that the road was straight for 25 Kilometers and later learned that out of politeness you will get an answer, but is the answer correct? Most probably not. Beans at midnight, that is what our dreams were made of, but the next morning was magical, when we woke up in a little bit different Africa. Low temperatures, gray sky, and it was actually not only sweater weather, but rather jacket weather. Hike to the falls, where entrance for internationals is 10 USD and we continued our way direction Mozambique.
Camping/Hotel: Far and Wide Zimbabwe
Recommendation: Great Area with amazing views, but this is not really a camping spot more like a parking spot, however the guys were beyond nice. Tricky to arrive by night.
Price: 15USD p.p/night
Payment: Cash in USD
First time we experienced what can really happen in Africa, when driving half the way to the boarder, the police told us we cant use that road, since the bridge was destroyed by a flood. And a 5 hour journey turned 25 and counting hours journey.
I think Zimbabwe was the most underrated country before our trip, and now i am deeply sorry for that. There is so much to see and experience and so many of the high tourist spots unvisited, as the Hwange National Park, Mana Pools, and the cities for example. We crossed through Bulawayo which looked super modern, but it was not on our agenda this time.
Also don’t believe everything you read, because no quarantining was involved in this trip, despite all the people on the road and the governmental websites speaking about it.
And once you are here, make sure you buy your food on the road, unless you want to spend 7USD for halloumi brick or 4 USD for a tuna can. But that’s another story.