Travel diary: 10 things to do in Zimbabwe, Africa

From going for a safari, and exploring cave paintings and Zimbabwean culture to shopping, eating and drinking, here are 10 reasons to visit Zimbabwe in Africa.


Mukuvisi Woodlands, Zimbabwe.

Mukuvisi Woodlands, Zimbabwe.

Going for a safari

Zimbabwe has amazing wildlife and birdlife at its national parks and a game drive to view them is highly recommended. Choose from Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, Lake Kariba & Matusadona National Park or Gonarezhou National Park. It is advisable to wear layered clothing during game drives and stick to colours like Khaki or brown to blend with the surroundings.

Safari vehicles in Zimbabwe.

Safari vehicles in Zimbabwe.

Spending time at a Shona Village in Masvingo

The village depicts the culture of the Shona people who are an ethnic group with Bantu ancestry. There is an option of staying overnight in traditional homes of the village.

Shona village, Zimbabwe.

Shona village, Zimbabwe.

Hiking to the rock paintings at Matobo Hills

Matobo Hills which are located in Southern Zimbabwe are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They contain rock art which is one of the largest in southern Africa. These rock paintings depict the way of life of foragers of the Stone Age. It is recommended to carry drinking water and snacks for hiking.

Matobo Hills rock art, Zimbabwe.

Matobo Hills rock art, Zimbabwe.

Watching the sunset from Matobo Hills

There is something fascinating about an African sunset. Watching it unobstructed, at eye level, seated on one of the many rocks of Matobo Hills makes the experience even more magical.

Matobo Hills sunset

Matobo Hills sunset.

Walking in Mukuvisi Woodlands in Harare

If you would like to experience wildlife in the city itself, then head to Mukuvisi Woodlands. From the game-viewing platform, you can spot zebras, giraffes and impalas. The woodlands have marked routes for walking, cycling or running spanning a distance of 3, 5, 8 and 10 km. Dogs on a leash are also allowed. Entry fee for adults is $5 or Rs 415, for kids between 5-12 years it is $ 4 or Rs 332 and for dogs it is $2 or Rs 166.

Game-viewing drive in Zimbabwe.

Game-viewing drive in Zimbabwe.

Visiting the National Heroes Acre in Harare

This national monument is dedicated to the martyrs of Zimbabwe who sacrificed their lives to liberate the country. The Shrine contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which pays tribute to those heroes whose remains are spread across caves, mass graves and unknown graves of the country.

Eating local cuisine

Sample Nhopi which is pumpkin soup, Derere which is okra and Mutakura which is made using cow peas and groundnuts. While Kapenta which is a small fish is a hot favourite, stews made from chicken, cow or goat meat and grilled beef can also be relished.

Drinking like a Zimbabwean

Zimbabweans love beer specially Zambezi. Malawi Shandy which is made with sprite, ginger ale, orange juice and bitters is also popular. Try stoney ginger beer or Mazoe orange crush which is mixed with water and drunk. Carbonated drinks like cherry plum can also be tasted.

Malawi Shandy in Zimbabwe.

Malawi Shandy in Zimbabwe.

Shopping for souvenirs at Avondale in Harare

Avondale is one of the earliest and most affluent suburbs in the capital. The market there is known for souvenirs ranging from wooden artefacts, African jewellery to colourful clothes depicting wildlife. Mbira which is a traditional musical instrument resembling a thumb piano is also sold.

Avondale souvenirs shops, Zimbabwe.

Avondale souvenirs shops, Zimbabwe.

Savouring an Indian meal in Harare

Restaurants like Spice Lounge Restaurant, Taj Restaurant and Bukhara serve Indian cuisine. Choose from paneer tikka, vegetable kofta curry, butter chicken, parathas, Amritsari kulchas to masala dosa and medu vada.

Getting there

Zimbabwe has a visa on arrival for Indians. It costs $45.

Ethiopian Airlines flies from New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru to Harare with a layover at Addis Ababa. The duration of the flight from New Delhi is 13 hours and 25 minutes and round trip air fare is Rs 101,200. The duration of the flight from Mumbai is 12 hours and 35 minutes and round trip airfare is Rs 77,000. The duration of the flight from Bengaluru is 13 hours 45 minutes and round trip airfare is Rs 77,500.

While the best time to visit Zimbabwe is from May- September, the cheapest time is from November-March.

On an average, accommodation ranges between Rs 10,000-13,500 for a night. Fast food costs Rs 450- 1600 depending on choice. Meals in hotel restaurants range from Rs 2100-2500.

Zimbabweans speak fluent English so there is no language barrier.

The Zimbabwean Dollar is the official currency. US dollars is also widely used and cards are accepted.

For travelling within Zimbabwe, a car hire is recommended.

KHURSHEED DINSHAW is an independent travel writer. Views expressed are personal.

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