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Matobo NP, Gonarezhou NP, Save Valley and Chimanimani NP, Zimbabwe

Rugged Zimbabwe

£5,050 pp sharing

At a Glance

Dates: October 12th - October 22nd, 2023

Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.

Prices: £5,050 pp sharing (with a £1,200 single supplement)​, excluding flights.

In a sentence: A rare chance to explore much of southern Zimbabwe, from the Matopos to Chimanimani, with some world-class game-viewing in between.

Overview

Visitors to Zimbabwe typically flock to Mana Pools, Hwange or Victoria Falls - which is understandable, really. In fact we encourage this, as it leaves some spectacular hidden gems to us. This unique itinerary takes visitors to the rhino-hotspot of Matobo, as well as the stunningly scenic Gonarezhou and the little-visited Save Valley and Chimanimani. If you want something a little different, but with a good chance of the 'Big Five', this is the tour for you.

Itinerary

Day One

Bulawayo & Matobo NP

On arrival into Bulawayo, you will be met by your tour leader and the rest of your group. From Bulawayo, you will drive to the excellent Matobo National Park. Sometimes called the Matopos, this rocky area is prime habitat for leopard, and sightings are reasonably common. The real stars, though, are white rhino and black rhino, and we may be lucky enough to spot any one of these species on an evening walk before dinner tonight.

Day Two

Matobo NP

We have a full day in Matobo today. A full-day game drive offers an excellent chance of spotting white rhino, black rhino, leopard and a range of unusual antelope species, including klipspringer and tsessebe. As the sun sets, we will pay special attention to the koppies, rock formations where we may spy a leopard soaking up the last warmth of the day's sun. Thereafter, we return to our comfortable lodge for dinner.

Day Three 

Great Zimbabwe Ruins

After breakfast, we begin a lengthy drive south - our destination is one of the most important archaeological sites anywhere in southern Africa. After lunch on our arrival at our hotel, we immediately head out on a tour of these impressive and extensive city ruins with a local expert, before returning to the hotel for an evening meal.

Day Four 

Gonarezhou NP

This morning we make a beeline to one the most beautiful, wild and game-rich nationals park in Zimbabwe - Gonarezhou. Arriving at our accommodation in time for lunch, there will be time this afternoon to soak in the amazing atmosphere here. As the heat of the day fades, we will head out to view the park on foot, and we may glimpse Gonarezhou's famous elephants as the sun sets. Big cats are rare here, but sightings do occur regularly, and we may spot lion, leopard or even cheetah this evening. Caracal and pangolin, amongst other rarities, have been spotted here in recent years.

Days Five to Six 

Gonarezhou NP

The next days are dedicated to exploring this spectacular area on foot and by vehicle. All of the 'Big Five' might be spotted, and we will make an extra effort to locate the packs of wild dog that roam these areas in good numbers.

Day Seven

Save Valley

This morning we leave the beauty of Gonarezhou behind and head to the wonderful Save Valley. Boasting some of the highest predator densities anywhere in Zimbabwe, this multi-use ecosystem is a great bet for all of the 'Big Five', in addition to cheetah and wild dog. Our game drive this afternoon will focus on all of these species and more in this very special and under-touristed ecosystem.

Day Eight

Save Valley

Our full day in Save Valley will allow us to dedicate significant time to locating any charismatic species that may have so far eluded us, likely to include black rhino, cheetah and perhaps wild dog.

Day Nine

Chimanimani NP

This morning we head east to the remote and beautiful Chimanimani. This area is lush and scenic, and we will be sure to stop in at Bridal Veil Falls, a real highlight. After settling into our hotel, we will head out for a scenic drive through the highlands, and we will stay out for an hour or so after dark to spotlight for several species of galago.

Day Ten

Harare

Today we drive to Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, where we overnight in a comfortable hotel.

Day Eleven

Tour End

Today guests are transferred to the airport for their homeward flights.

Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.

Dates and Prices

This tour will run in October 2023, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources. The tour will run from October 12th to October 22nd.

The cost of this trip is £5,050 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinking water is included. There is a £1,200 single supplement for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £2,050, plus any single supplement, must be paid.

Flights and Visas

Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Bulawayo or Harare at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.

British nationals do require a visa to enter Zimbabwec. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for Zimbabwe will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Zimbabwe entry visa for UK citizens is $55 - this can be obtained on arrival into Bulawayo. 

Please also note that there is a departure tax of approximately £15 payable on your departure from Bangui Airport.

Weather and What to Bring

The weather in the Zimbabwe in October is hot and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 16 degrees Celsius.

A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.

Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.

Safety and Security

There are currently no security concerns in any of the areas visited by this tour.

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