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Zimbabwe – A Selection Of 24 Pictures

African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana), Nyamandhlovu Pan, Hwange National Park (Main Camp Area), Zimbabwe, Africa

African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana), Nyamandhlovu Pan, Hwange National Park (Main Camp Area), Zimbabwe, Africa

We spent three weeks in Zimbabwe in Juli 2012, and covered most of the National Parks and “Highlights” of this beautiful country on a Self-Drive Safari: Matobo, Hwange, Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, Mana Pools, Gweru & Gonarezhou – Here you find a selection of 24 pictures of Zimbabwe Continue Reading →

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Travel Guide To Zimbabwe

Grand Escapades’ Travel Guide To Zimbabwe – Self Drive Safari Through One Of Africa’s Hidden Gems

African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana), Nyamandhlovu Pan, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Itinerary And Time Of The Visit

In July 2012, after travelling 5.700 kilometers in three weeks in cars, boats and even a canoe, we got a bit of a feel what Zimbabwe is like, at least from a tourist’s perspective… Nevertheless, this country is so large and has so much to offer, both On and Off The Beaten Track that we actually feel we only scratched the surface! Continue Reading →

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Camping in the Wilderness…

Zimbabwe-193Camping in Zimbabwe’s national parks gets you as close to nature, the wilderness and animals as you can possibly be. Sometimes frighteningly close! The sounds and noises made by feeding animals all night in “Wilderness Camps” often gave us goose pimples, but pleasant one.

Wilderness campsites in Hwange National Park and Mana Pools National Park are in high demand and hard to get in. Only a very limited number of cars, one to four, are allowed in each, guaranteeing the upmost privacy and quietness. Especially in Mana Pools, do not expect to show up and find a place. Very different are Matobo & Gonarezhou National Park, which we had more or less to ourselves. Continue Reading →

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Driving along the Mozambique Border

Zimbabwe-167Mutare was the place where our trio was to part. Heidi and Jason continued into Mozambique and Gilles drove straight down to Johannesburg / South Africa to fly home. Somebody has to work… But first we had to get to Mutare. From Gonarezhou National Park we followed the road running parallel to a mountain range forming the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Here Zimbabwe seemed the most traditional and the most scenic. The hilly scenery was a pleasant change to the large stretches of flat countryside in other parts of the country. But the reason why Gilles did those extra miles driving further north was to bring Jason and Heidi as close to the border as possible. And that was Mutare. Continue Reading →

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Gonarezhou – Alone Under the Cliffs

Chilojo Cliffs, Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe, AfricaSlumped in our camping chairs, right in front of us Chilojo Cliffs were glowing red and golden, painted by the setting sun. And the best of all, we had them all to ourselves! Actually, we had the entire park to ourselves…

A quick look into the registration book at the gate revealed that nobody else had entered the park that day. We could pick any camping site we wanted, the ranger said. Naturally we set up camp at a prime location, at the Wilderness Camp Site facing the cliffs, right on the Runde River. During the dry season, the river is reduced to a small ribbon, exposing wide sandy banks. Continue Reading →

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Houses of Stone – Great Zimbabwe

Great Enclosure, Great Zimbabwe, near Masvingo, Zimbabwe, Africa

Great Enclosure, Great Zimbabwe, near Masvingo, Zimbabwe, Africa

Great Zimbabwe is the largest stone structure ever built south of the Sahara. In its heydays (between the 11th and 14th century) it served as the royal residence of an empire that reached from Botswana to the coast. Trading gold and ivory for clothes, beads and ceramics with far away places like India, Arabia and China made the city rich. Continue Reading →

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Volunteering in Africa

Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe, AfricaVolunteering has become a fast growing industry, a very profitable business fed by well-meaning people, who for various reasons devote some time of their life to helping others. Africa seems to be predestined for such endeavors. During our many trips we learned that the continent is swarming with volunteers, working at schools, villages, game reserves, hospitals, with blind people, handicapped people, you name it! Most of them are young, spending anytime from a day to a year for a good cause. Continue Reading →

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Elephants’ Training & Riding

Training & Riding Elephants, Antelope Park, near Gweru, Zimbabwe, Africa

Training & Riding Elephants, Antelope Park, near Gweru, Zimbabwe, Africa

Having already spent 85 USD per person on the lion walk the day before and being happy that the sun was out, we felt like what the heck, let’s splurge again! Elephant training was on the agenda, for only 20 USD. This included elephants performing all kinds of tricks (lifting their legs, kneeling down, kicking a ball) and putting up with us. Hopefully they did not mind us sitting on their legs, on top of them, grabbing their trunk, touching their rough skin and taking photos as if there is no tomorrow. The only thing that irritated us was that one foot of each elephant was tied down with a chain. What looked like a precaution still felt funny. Continue Reading →

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Walking with Lions

Walking with Lions, Antelope Park, near Gweru, Zimbabwe, Africa

Walking with Lions, Antelope Park, near Gweru, Zimbabwe, Africa

Antelope Park, a game reserve with a resort-like touch, offers something very, very unique: a “Walk with Lions”! Expecting cubs, as promoted on the website, we were rather surprised to find two large lionesses lying in the grass. The trainers introduced them as 20 months old cubs (!) A bit embarrassed by their slackness the trainers explained, “They had just been fed and are a bit lazy“. Trying to make the lions rise, they pocked them with wooden sticks, which only triggered repeated yawning, revealing a set of mighty teeth. With the powerful fangs clearly visible, we certainly did not mind the big cats being lazy and sleepy! Continue Reading →

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