Tourism & Communications
As a result of media coverage about the country’s problems, many foreigners do not consider Zimbabwe as a holiday destination, though tourists from Asia are growing in number. Food, fuel and electricity shortages, as well as poorly maintained road and rail networks, make it a difficult destination for travellers.
For long-distance domestic journeys, there are many smaller airports and airfields, although aviation services have declined.
Zimbabweans are incredibly welcoming to visitors who do travel to their country, which has much to offer in terms of natural beauty. The Eastern Highlands are green and verdant with a variety of flowers to delight trekkers and hikers. And the savannah lands across much of the country are home to a range of wildlife.
The country has many parks and reserves scattered across the country, including Chizarira, Lake Mutrikwe, Gonareshou, Hwange and Mana Pools, which is a UNESCO World heritage site. See Geography & Wildlife to learn more about some of these national parks.
Victoria Falls - a top destination
Though there are many spectacular landscapes, the top destination for most visitors is Victoria Falls.
This is one of the natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO heritage site. Spanning 1.7km and plunging over 100m at their highest point, the falls create a massive curtain of water. At the bottom, the spray and mist created by the water help to explain the local name – ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ or ‘the smoke that thunders’.
Visitors can also opt to take part in a range of adventure activities around the area of the Falls, including canoeing, white-water rafting and bungee-jumping. For those who like to stick to land, the area also offers excellent hiking and horse-riding trails.
Historical and archeological sites
Three places of historical and archaeological importance are on the UNESCO heritage list – the Matobo Hills and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and at Khami.
The most famous complex of Great Zimbabwe is known as 'the Great Enclosure'. Visitors can see the remains of its massive stone walls, which were studded with conical towers – see History & Politics.
As well as offering visitors a beautiful and extraordinary landscape, the Matobo Hills contain granite rock formations which were used as shelters by Stone Age man. These contain the highest concentrations of rock paintings in Southern Africa. Many paintings depict animals still present today, such as rhinos, zebra, giraffes and leopards.
The ruins of Great Zimbabwe and Khami provide evidence of the region’s importance as a trading empire from the 11th century onwards. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe (30km from Masvingo) are particularly impressive. These include remains of many stone houses and several city complexes, great feats of engineering and constructed without mortar.