Few African destinations can compete with Victoria Falls for sheer visual drama. At its full, roaring peak, the ‘Smoke that Thunders' is one of the continent's most mesmerising sights, leaving visitors lightly soaked and absolutely exhilarated at the same time. The falls are on the mighty Zambezi river, which means you can see them from either Zambia or Zimbabwe. Arguably, the best on-foot views are from Zimbabwe’s side - so lovely, in fact, that explorer David Livingstone declared they must have been gazed on by angels. But while these views have won it international fame, Zimbabwe is so much more than Victoria Falls: it is one of Southern Africa’s most rewarding big game safari destinations. Zimbabwe is an authentic, rugged destination that we especially recommend to travellers returning to Africa for an off-the-beaten track experience. In addition to delivering superb game viewing in the care of some of the most respected guides in the business, a Zimbabwe vacation offers classic tented camps that are comfortable without being ostentatious, fresh, wholesome cuisine, and one of the warmest welcomes in the world wherever you go.

Gonerezhou National Park

Tucked away in little-visited southern Zimbabwe there is a wildlife destination that truly deserves the accolade of ‘hidden gem’. A huge swathe of undeveloped wilderness, Gonarezhou National Park rewards visitors with stunning scenery and diverse game viewing. Its name translates as ‘Place of Many Elephants’ and you will see plenty of them, including big tuskers, but Gonarezhou is home to the rest of the Big 5 too – rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. Rivers cut through the park, attracting antelope, zebra and giraffe; wild dogs and cheetah patrol the floodplains and the air resonates with the calls of some of the 400 recorded bird species. It forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park together with South Africa's Kruger and Mozambique's Limpopo National Parks but Gonarezhou’s trump card is something on a smaller scale: the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.

Victoria Falls

Clocking in at twice the height of Niagara Falls, the Victoria Falls is one of Africa’s greatest and most-visited attractions. Traditionally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya or ‘the Smoke that Thunders’, Vic Falls is often the end-point of a Southern African safari. The area is known as Africa’s Adventure Capital because there is so much to see and do. In addition to touring the Falls, you can also see them from the air on a helicopter or microlight trip. Hit the water in a canoe, raft or cruising boat; meet habituated elephants; leap off the historic bridge; and swim in the mischievously named Devil’s Pool. There’s also plenty of shopping and history, as well as lazy days in the sunshine after a bumper safari.

Hwange National Park

Hwange is the largest and best known of Zimbabwe’s national parks. At 15 000 km² this immense wildlife reserve is packed with big game and is famous for massive numbers of buffalo and - in particular – its elephant herds. Indeed, Hwange’s 30 000-strong elephant population is the second largest in the world after the Chobe National Park in neighbouring Botswana. But it’s not just elephants that draw visitors to Hwange National Park; this Big 5 reserve has a well-deserved reputation for predator sightings too. Lion, leopard and cheetah are regularly seen, and night drives reveal the smaller nocturnal predators - serval and civet cats, and bat-eared foxes. Then there are the rarer animals: Hwange is an important breeding ground for endangered African wild dog, black rhino and the beautiful roan and sable antelopes.