In the heart of the Motherland, you will find Zimbabwe and Botswana, two beautiful countries that are underrated by travelers and full of hidden treasures. Every time I visit, I am captivated by the incredible African landscapes, the magical wildlife, and the vibrant culture and people. With an upcoming group travel experience planned for these two African nations, here are 9 things I think you should take, see, and do in Zimbabwe and Botswana.
How to pack for a trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana:
Comfortable, casual clothing made of breathable, loose-fitting fabrics. Both of these countries are, unsurprisingly, hot. But unlike other African destinations where you might spend all day by the pool or visiting air-conditioned sights, the places you’re going to want to see here are outdoors and often require some walking. Taking the right clothing is essential so you can enjoy every moment of your African adventures here. Keep in mind that while the days are hot, the evenings and early mornings can be cool, so make sure at least one item is a light jacket or sweater to keep yourself warm.
Mosquito repellant. Mosquitos are a real issue in central Africa, not just because you will spend your time itching when they find you, but also because mosquitoes can carry some pretty nasty viruses, like Zika and Malaria. The best defense is to keep them away, so invest in quality repellant that is easy to use and carry with you for reapplications.
A quality camera. Most of the time, travelers use their phones to take photos, but while you are traveling here, you are going to want the best possible camera. If your phone camera is high quality, great, but even then, consider getting yourself a camera so you can capture the wildlife, the natural wonders, and the true beauty of these African wonderlands.
For more advice on what to take on your travels to Zimbabwe and Botswana, check out my free checklist here.
What to see in Zimbabwe and Botswana:
Victoria Falls. It’s no secret that these falls are one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but there is something beyond the sights here. Situated on the Zambezi River and known locally as “Thundering Smoke,” these falls are truly spectacular. Get yourself a guided tour of the Victoria Falls National Park to truly glimpse the magic.
Wildlife in Chobe National Park. Wildlife safaris are synonymous with traveling to Africa, and Chobe National Park in Botswana is the perfect place to take your safari and get up close with some of the Motherland’s truly incredible creatures. The Chobe River is home to hippos, crocodiles, and African birdlife, and the Chobe National Park boasts hundreds of elephants, antelope, buffalo, and even the top of most safari-goers' lists, the lion.
The Big Five. In Africa, the big five are a sought-after wildlife experience. In Hwange National Park, it is possible to see lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo, and elephants in their natural habitat, and this is a sight not to be missed. Traditionally, big game hunters went after the big five, and however, now, it is all about capturing them with a different shot - on your camera! It is entirely possible to see all five of these incredible creatures inside the National Park, so book yourself a big 5 drive you won’t forget!
Things to do in Zimbabwe and Botswana:
Hike in the Batoka Gorge. The Batoka Gorge offers yet another perspective from which to take in the majesty of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. A guided tour along the gorge is your best bet for an enjoyable walk and it also offers a village tour at the end so you can see another aspect of African life. While it’s an early start, you will be rewarded with a brunch served at the local village, so this is well worth setting your alarm for!
Take a boat on the Zambezi River. In the low water season, you can catch a boat to Livingstone Island, set in the middle of the Victoria Falls. Here you will see Devil’s Pool, a deep natural pool within the falls, and if you’re brave enough, you can even take a dip! During high water season, a jet boat tour at the feet of these massive falls (they’re roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls) and ride the rapids as the thundering water creates a truly magical misty experience. Either way, don’t forget a bathing suit!
The Boma Drum and Dinner show. African culture is truly special, and you can take it all in with a drum and dinner show back in Victoria Falls with the Boma Dinner and Drum Show. Zimbabwean hospitality is at its best here, dinner is a sensory experience under the African skies that you will remember forever, and the interactive drum ceremony afterward is a whole lot of fun.
Traveling to Africa, whether for your first or hundredth time, is a magical experience, and there is much to see and do. Visiting the Motherland and taking in all of her beauty and the incredible people who call her home is one of my favorite travel experiences, and I absolutely love to take groups along with me. If you’re interested in joining a group travel experience to Zimbabwe and Botswana, find out more here.