A Magical Safari In Zimbabwe With African Bush Camps

A safari in Zimbabwe is an excellent decision for exploring Southern Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. The country is a stunning safari hub, offering breathtaking landscapes and memorable wildlife encounters. Despite its historical challenges, Zimbabwe remains one of our favorite destinations in Southern Africa and a sanctuary for intrepid explorers.

Its primary draw lies in untouched natural beauty, friendly locals, vibrant culture, and many activities catering to adventurers. Zimbabwe boasts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Victoria Falls, and Mana Pools, two of the finest destinations for travelers in Africa. Then there is Hwange National Park, one of the best places to safari in Africa, and a sprawling wilderness renowned for its diverse wildlife, adding another captivating safari gem to the country’s must-visit attractions.


Safari In Zimbabwe

Safari Clothes - What To Wear On Safari In Mana Pools

Zimbabwe is a surprisingly diverse country with sweeping savannahs in the central and western stretches, lush rainforests in the eastern highlands, and arid woodlands toward the northern frontier, where the Zambezi River fuels a thriving wildlife kingdom. The country has a wealth of national parks, including Zambezi, Victoria Falls, Hwange, Matusadona, Mtobo Hills, and Mana Pools National Parks.

Waterbuck in Zimbabwe
Waterbuck in Zimbabwe

Mana Pools National Park and Hwange National Park are the country’s two most famous safari destinations due to their landscapes and game density. These two vast swaths of wilderness offer visitors a chance to escape with unique experiences and thrilling wildlife encounters.

Mana Pools Canoe Safari Zambezi River

Mana Pools may be our favorite as you can drift serenely down the Zambezi River on a canoe safari while marveling at the abundant game along its fertile banks. Or you can traverse the vast savannahs of Hwange National Park, home to one of the globe’s largest elephant populations. After all that wildlife, you can then stand in awe before the majestic spectacle of Victoria Falls—a testament to the awe-inspiring forces of nature.

We visited Mana Pools, Hwange, and Victoria Falls on our last trip to Zimbabwe. It was the perfect trip to disconnect from modern life and reconnect with the natural world. During our time in Zimbabwe, we would walk with elephants, canoe down the Zambezi, and enjoy sundowners amongst serene landscapes. It’s the perfect spot to throw on some safari clothes and experience the magic of the African bush.


African Bush Camps In Zimbabwe

Natasha On Safari In Mana Pools - African Bush Camp

Our trip to Zimbabwe was with our trusted partner and one of our favorite safari operators. We were fortunate enough to test out almost all their Zimbabwe camps on our trip, which provided a wonderful mix of experiences, wildlife, and environments. We’d highly suggest anyone hoping to go on a safari to Zimbabwe stay in at least two different properties/camps for some variety.

Mana Pools Brunch

To start our safari, we flew to the country’s capital city of Harare. Getting to Harare was easy, thanks to a flight from Doha with Qatar Airways. This makes travel logistics easy, and it helps that Qatar Airways is arguably the nicest airline in the world. After a night in Harare, we flew to Mana Pools via a bush flight with Safari Logistics.

Natasha Mana Pools Bar Cart

A trusted safari travel agent makes this easy as they book the capital’s bush flights, transfers, and hotels. This was our second trip to Mana Pools and our third to Zimbabwe, so we had a good idea of what to expect. However, that did not lower our anticipation as amongst safari-goers and industry insiders, it’s widely regarded as one of the best parks for safari in Africa.


Mana Pools

Game Viewer Along Zambezi River

Mana Pools is famed for its glorious views of the Zambezi Escarpment and close wildlife encounters. We’ve hardly seen a better sunset in Africa than some of those that we’ve seen from the banks of the Zambezi River with a drink in hand. The African park is renowned for its position on the Zambezi River, and some massive elephants call it home, along with a healthy lion and wild dog population.

Boswell In Mana Pools
Mana Pools Wild Dogs

The park is vast and remote, so wildlife viewings are intimate and rarely crowded, unlike popular safari destinations like Kruger or Serengeti National Park. That remoteness is apparent as almost all visitors arrive via a bush flight and can take the vast wilderness from the plane window. Mana Pools occupies around 2,200 sq km of land and is surrounded by safari concessions that act as a successful buffer between man and the wilderness.

On our second visit to Mana Pools, we were still overwhelmed by the sense of wilderness. This probably has much to do with our first stop, Kanga Camp. The safari camp is deep in the bush, 25 kilometers from the Zambezi River, and the sole water source for a vast swath of land. That means we often didn’t even need to go out for a game drive as the animals came to camp for a drink. Of course, we still set out on game drives to explore the landscape and find more wildlife, including many elephants, lions, and bird life.

Natasha At Kanga Camp In Mana Pools
Lion In Mana Pools
Mana Pools Sunset Game Drive

Our next stop on our safari to Zimbabwe was the Zambezi Expeditions camp set along the Zambezi River. It’s the most basic in the African Bush Camps portfolio of Zimbabwe properties but may be our favorite. It’s all about connecting with the wild here with comfortable tents along the river. With that in mind, we spent plenty of time on foot in the park – Mana Pools is well-known for its walking safaris.

Cameron Alongside Tent In Mana Pools

This meant chasing the famous bull elephant, Boswell. The big boy has learned to stand on his hind legs to reach food no other elephant can. We were fortunate to walk with him and see him do his thing. This has much to do with Cloud, our guide, who was excellent in every sense. Mana Pool always seems to guarantee some of our closest experiences with these mesmerizing giants came about in this park.

It made for a humbling safari in a stunning part of the world. There are only a handful of lodges in Mana Pools, but African Bush Camps operate three unique camps and settings. Traveling between them made for an ideal safari in the park and gave us a wide range of experiences. After finishing up at Zambezi Expeditions, we went to their luxurious Nyamatusi Camp.

Nyamatusi Pool Deck

Nyamatusi contrasts sharply with Zambezi Expeditions as the tents leave you without any luxury you desire in the bush. This includes a plunge pool, multiple daybeds, an outdoor shower, and an expansive bathroom – all of this occurs within “canvas” tent walls.

Cameron Sits At Nyamatusi

After a few days of walking in the sun at the previous camp, we used our time to relax and enjoy more relaxed activities. This meant game drives and sundowners at some of the best spots in the park. One of our favorite experiences was a canoe safari down the Zambezi River, which offers a unique way to take in wildlife in the bush.

Zebra In Mana Pools
Canoe Safari On Zambezi River
Mana Pools Sundowner

Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park Guide

After Mana Pools, we flew to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest park. The bush flight took about two hours to reach from Mana Pools as it’s on the other side of the country. Hwange National Park is largely a woodland on the border of the Kalahari Desert. Rain here is sparse until the seasonal rains arrive and form large grasslands and water pans, allowing the park’s animal population to survive the dry season.

Elephants Walking Safari
Safari In Hwange

Along with natural water pans, the park utilizes a series of artificial water pans that offer the park’s huge population of elephants a place to drink year-round. The result is one of Africa’s largest elephant populations, home to nearly 45,000 elephants. With that many tuskers, you’re guaranteed to see more than a few elephants. Only an hour after landing in Mana Pools, we were in a hide, looking out to a sea of elephants, taking mud baths, and drinking water at a pan.

Hyenna In Hwange
Elephant In Hwange National Park
Cameron In A Hide On Safari In Hwange

As we arrived in the morning, it was the perfect time to have a cup of coffee before arriving at our home for the next three days, Somalisa Camp. The camp sits on a very active water pan and offers views of the surrounding plains marked by a network of game trails. Somalisa is a magical place and one of our favorite lodges we’ve ever stayed at in Africa. After a warm welcome and a chance to settle into our beautiful tent, we enjoyed fresh pizzas from the camp’s woodfire oven.

Somalisa Camp

Guests are assigned an expert guide for their stay, and we could have gotten luckier. Every guide with African Bush Camp has been professional and knowledgeable. However, our guide, Bheks, was beyond that, as he was a tremendous pleasure to spend time with in the bush. We had a lot of good laughs and enjoyed learning a bit more about Zimbabwe through his eyes.

Somalisa Camp Sundowners With Bheks, Cameron, And Natasha

That home, at least while in the bush, has 100 mammal species, including all the big five animals. Most notable on our trip was the newest addition to the local lion pride, newborn cubs. When we found them in the bush, they were still learning to walk a few steps from their mom. It was just one of many wildlife experiences that we had the pleasure to enjoy in Hwange.

Tiny Lion Cub

The Camps We Stayed At On Safari In Zimbabwe


Kanga Camp

Kanga Camp Deck

Kanaga Camp is deep within Mana Pools in a private concession connected to the protected wilderness area. Its location on the only water source for 25 kilometers ensures the animals come to camp. It’s well known for the “armchair safari,” as you only need to sit on a couch on the raised deck above the pan to see thirsty wildlife searching for a drink.

The small camp consists of six Meru-style tents that are on raised platforms. We were shocked at how nice the tents were during our short stay in the camp. The camp seems to nail luxury in the wild without being overly indulgent. The six Meru-style tents with floor-to-ceiling mesh windows let in fresh air and sunlight. There are no solid walls or air-conditioning, so you feel connected to the wild in the tents. They’re all solar-powered, each with an ensuite boasting hot running water and an outdoor shower. Plus, there’s a secluded veranda offering stunning views of the pan.

For reconnecting with nature, the Family Tent has a wraparound terrace with private seating and dining areas overlooking the pan. And the honeymoon tent? It’s got a rolltop bath on a secluded deck—perfect for a romantic starlit soak. There’s also a relaxing upper deck under a shady mahogany tree, ideal for birdwatching or a moment of calm. And when you’re not exploring, there’s a full bar and plunge pool to unwind in.

Kanga Camp Bar

Kanga Camp is open from April to November and pairs perfectly with Zambezi Expeditions. That’s where the adventure amps up with canoeing and catch-and-release tiger fishing on the Zambezi River. It’s the ultimate African experience package!


Zambezi Expeditions

After we left Kanaga, we made our way to Zambezi Expeditions for a more rustic safari experience situated in a brilliant location along the Zambezi River. The camp is beloved by most after an authentic safari, as it provides everything you need to be comfortable. It’s prime for wildlife, and animals always wander around the camp.

The camp’s six tents are set underneath several winter thorn and ebony trees along the river banks. It’s a semi-mobile camp, so tents are quite literally tents and feature bucket showers and no running water. We love this style as it conveys the remoteness of the camp’s location and allows you to connect with nature. Sitting outside our tent in the afternoons with a good book was a highlight of our trip — the perfect spot to relax.

Breakfast Zambezi Expeditions
Cameron In Zambezi Expeditions

The heart of the camp lies in the communal dining space and lounge. A cool drink, a tasty snack, or a spot to recharge our camera batteries was always available. Of course, we must note the plunge pool as it was a great way to cool off in the summer heat while watching the Zambezi River.

Pool At Zambezi Expeditions

They lit a cozy fire every night to sit around and star gaze. After recalling the day with our fellow safari guests and making new friends, we’d head to the dining table. As with tradition on safari, dinners are communal and feature delicious lodge food.

Brunch In Mana Pools

Nyamatusi Lodge

Nyamatusi Deck

Our last stop in Mana Pools was at African Bush Camps’ newest camp in Zimbabwe. Nyamatusi Camp is situated along the Zambezi in the heart of Mana Pools. The gem of a camp blends comfort with sustainability and seriously luxurious “tents.”

The six luxurious tented suites offering mesmerizing river views and escarpment made our escape to nature opulent and soothing. Each tent boasted air-conditioning, indoor and outdoor showers, a private viewing deck, and a plunge pool, creating a haven of elegance in the wild.

Nyamatusi Plunge Pool

At Nyamatusi Camp, meaning ‘wild game,’ we continued connecting with the wilderness. Whether on game drives or a relaxing canoe safari. Of course, this was all while going without any want or need. The camp was seriously luxurious and even featured a wine cellar!

Wine Cellar In Mana Pools

Hwange


Somalisa Camp

Somalisa Camp is a storied camp in Hwange surrounded by a mix of golden savannah and Kalahari woodland. It’s the camp where you want to melt into a comfortable seat and listen to the lions roar in the distance. It was the company’s first safari lodge, and it’s easy to see why they chose the magical location. Nestled under an Acacia grove along a seasonal floodplain, Somalisa Camp blends tranquility with nature’s elegance.

Somalisa Camp Interior

The intimate bush camp, perfect for a serene Hwange safari, features an elegant style infused with natural wood. Operating on a full solar power farm and water purity system, Somalisa Camp is an eco-friendly haven, recycling 80% of the water used and holding the first GOLD Green Tourism Certification in Zimbabwe.

The seven sailcloth tents, set on a private concession in Hwange National Park, offer modern amenities like a fan, battery charging station, wood-burning fireplace, and private viewing deck. Inspired by yesteryear’s romance, the bathroom boasts an indoor and outdoor space with a copper slipper-style bathtub and endless views across the vast plains.

Somalisa Camp Morning

Explore Hwange’s legends through walking safaris, game drives, birding, and cultural visits seamlessly led by our passionate guides, revealing the wonders of the African bush.

About Cameron Seagle

Cameron Seagle is one of the principal writers and photographers for The World Pursuit. He is a travel expert that has been traveling the world for the past decade. During this time, he established a passion for conservation and environmental sustainability. When not traveling, he's obsessed with finding the best gear and travel products. In his free time, you can find him hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering, and snowboarding. His favorite countries are Scotland, Indonesia, Mozambique, Peru, Italy, and Japan.

You can learn more about Cameron on The World Pursuit About Us Page.