If you’re looking for a fantastic destination to explore, you need to add Masvingo, Zimbabwe to your list! This beautiful country has some of the best scenery on the planet and is also home to some of the most exciting and diverse attractions.
Here are ten of the best places to visit in Masvingo, Zimbabwe:
Gonarezhou National Park
Gonarezhou National Park is Zimbabwe’s second largest national park. Gonarezhou means “the place of elephants”. It is located in a remote corner of Masvingo Province, south of Chimanimani and along the Mozambique border. The park is full of beautiful tracts of forest, including areas full of Combretum and Mopane trees. There are also many tall Acacia Albida trees in the Runde River valley.
The park is home to herds of elephants, black rhinos, lions, and wild dogs, as well as a wide variety of birds, reptiles, and small mammals.
Gonarezhou National Park Activities
There are plenty of activities to do in Gonarezhou National Park. You can go on game drives, guided walking safaris, or 4 x 4 safaris. If you’re lucky, you might even see some of the rarer animals like cheetahs, warthogs, and the endangered African wild dogs.
Facilities at Gonarezhou National Park
There are plenty of places to stay in Gonarezhou National Park. There are 14 different campsites in the park, each with its unique design and facilities. Every campsite is unique, from sleeping next to a pan to watching the sunset over the Chilojo cliffs. The campsites are self-catering, so you’ll have to bring your food and cooking equipment, but if you don’t want to spend the night, perhaps you could just visit for a few hours and enjoy the beautiful scenery or stop at one of the picnic spots.
Gonarezhou National Park Tips
If you’re planning on visiting Gonarezhou National Park, here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:
- Bring plenty of drinking water and sunscreen.
- Wear comfortable shoes, because distances between places at Gonarezhou National Park might be quite long.
- Arrive early to avoid the crowds.
- Do not feed the animals.
Chilojo Cliffs are located in the southwestern part of Zimbabwe, and they’re one of the most visited sites in the country. There are two parts to the cliffs: the upper area, which is grassland, and the lower area, which is a desert.
The iconic Chilojo Cliffs, located in the heart of Gonarezhou, stand more than 180 metres high and run for nearly 20 kilometres along the Runde River’s south bank. These cretaceous sandstone cliffs, formed over millions of years, provide an ideal backdrop for the wilderness below.
You can get to the Chilojo Cliffs on foot or by car. If you’re walking, then it’ll take you about an hour to get to the top, but if you’re driving, it’ll only take you a few minutes to reach the top.
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
The Great Zimbabwe National Monument is about 30 kilometres from Masvingo and is located in the Lowveld at an elevation of about 1100 metres in a sparsely populated Bantu/Shona region. The property, which was constructed between 1100 and 1450 AD, spans nearly 800 ha and is divided into three sections: the Hill Complex, the Great Enclosure, and the Valley Ruins.
The Great Zimbabwe National Monument was built using stone bricks, and archaeologists estimate that over 30,000 workers were involved in building the city. The walls of the city are up to nine feet thick, which is why they were able to withstand attacks from the Portuguese and even modern-day treasure hunters!
Great Zimbabwe is thought to have served as the local monarch’s royal palace. As such, it would have served as a political power centre. The walls, some of which are eleven metres high, were among the most prominent features of the edifice. They were built without the use of mortar (dry stone). The city was eventually abandoned and fell into ruin.
Great Zimbabwe is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s been described as “one of Africa’s greatest architectural achievements.”
Great Zimbabwe National Monument Activities
There are many things to do at the Great Zimbabwe National Monument.
- You must hike to the top of the Hill Complex to see the ruins.
- Great Zimbabwe also has a traditional centre where visitors can learn about and appreciate traditional culture and ways of life.
Accommodation at Great Zimbabwe
There are a few hotels and lodges to stay in near Great Zimbabwe which include Lodge at Ancient City and Great Zimbabwe hotel
Tips When Visiting the Great Zimbabwe Ruins
If you’re planning on visiting the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:
- There is an entrance fee (about $10).
- To learn more about the history, you’ll need to hire a guide for a small fee.
- You can climb to the top of the Hill Complex for a breathtaking view of the surrounding area.
- Climbing the Hill Complex can be steep, so if you’re not feeling very fit, you should probably skip it.
- The archaeological site is open from 8 am-6 pm, so you’ll need at least three hours to visit the ruins.
Lake Mutirikwi, formerly known as Lake Kyle or Kyle Dam, is located in southern Zimbabwe, south of Masvingo. Lake Kyle is thought to have been named after the Kyle farm, which occupied the majority of the land required for the lake and was named after the Kyle district in Scotland, from which the pioneer of the Lowveld, Tom Murray MacDougall, originally came.
The lake, which covers approximately 90 km² (35 sq mi), was formed in 1960 as a result of the construction of the Kyle Dam on the Mutirikwi River. Concor Construction built the dam to provide water to farming estates on the Lowveld to the southwest, around Triangle, where the main crop has been sugar cane.
Lake Mutirikwi Activities
There are many things to do at Lake Mutirikwi, including swimming, game drives, hiking, and bird watching. It’s also a popular spot for fishing.
- Lake Mutirikwi Recreational Park is only 33 kilometres from Masvingo and is home to three of the Big 5, namely the buffalo, leopard, and rhino. You can do a self-guided game drive for only US$3.
- You can get to Lake Mutirikwi by car, but you will have to rent a boat if you want to explore the islands.
Pokoteke Gorge is located north of Lake Mutirikwi in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo province, where the Pokoteke River cuts through the Beza Range of hills.
Mushandike Sanctuary and Dam
Mushandike Sanctuary is a one-of-a-kind sanctuary. Inside the sanctuary, you can see the wildlife being fed and cared for.
This means you’ll have exclusive access to the antelope, zebras, and leopards. Winter is the best time for scenic drives because the leaves of the Mopane trees illuminate the forest with their autumnal colors.
The Mushandike Sanctuary is a lovely place for recreation, picnics, and game viewing. It has a diverse range of primarily plains game species roaming its 13,360 ha. There is also the Mushandike Dam, which covers 417 ha and allows visitors to take boat rides or go fishing.
The Malilangwe Reserve has one of the highest concentrations of endangered black rhinos in the world, and its abundance of wildlife provides unparalleled game-viewing opportunities. Guests can immerse themselves in nature on twice-daily game drives, bush walks, sundowner boat cruises, excursions to rock art sites, and more, thanks to private access to this untouched wilderness.
Singita-Pamushana on Malilangwe is a four-star lodge and the Malilangwe Trust’s eco-tourism arm. Key activities include:
- Guided safari walks
- Game drives
- Bush dinners
- Bird watching
- Community visits
- Boat cruises
- Rock art site visits
Chiredzi Crocodile Farm
Shangashe Game Park
These are just a few of the amazing places to visit in Masvingo, Zimbabwe! If you’re looking for a new and exciting destination to explore, you need to add Masvingo, Zimbabwe to your list!