Arranging Self-Drive trips around Zim as we do, I get to follow people’s whole journey to making their bucket-list trips happen. It often starts with an idea in the client’s mind of what Zimbabwe is like. They have often heard stories from friends, or seen pictures on social media. Often, they can’t quite put a finger on what it is that makes them want to visit a place that presents so many challenges to visitors and locals alike!
Zim has some great wildlife and wilderness and diverse geographic splendor that sets it apart from neighboring countries but to me, that’s not what inspires the yearning.
No, it is FREEDOM that is the Magic Dust that makes Zim special. Zimbabwe allows self-drivers freedoms you can’t find in places that cookie-cutter tourism has over-run.
To me the beauty of Mana Pools is made unique by the fact that you are allowed to walk in the wilderness at your own risk. Where else in the world would you be allowed to wild-camp as deep into lion country as Chitake Springs? (There are surprisingly few incidents, so long as you behave sensibly)
Where else can you drive 200km through Hwange like I did in March and see 2 other vehicles in 2 days? The lion and wild-dog sightings we had were ours along, deep in the bush without a stream of parked cars lined up behind (or in fount) of us. The African wild cat sighting was in the campsite as it stalked pigeons 10m from our lunch table.
Only in Zim can you walk across the sandy riverbed of the Runde river under the towering Chilojo cliffs with ellies in the distance and see no footprints in the sand but your own?
How long Zim will remain under-visited and unspoiled? I don’t know. All I do know is that right now, deep in the Zambezi valley, lions are hunting, unmolested by the game-viewing vehicles full and chattering tourists of bulk tourism. I for one am making the most of it….