Republic of Zimbabwe
390,624 sq km
Shona (76%), Ndebele (18%), Batonka (2%), Shangaan (1%), Venda (1%), European, Asian
Shona, Ndebele, English
Robert Gabriel Mugabe
The north-west consists mostly of plateaux, characterized by bushveld dotted with small rocky outcrops and bald knob-like domes of slick rock, making for an acne-writ-large landscape. The hot dry lowveld of southern Zimbabwe is comprised mainly of level savannah, sloping almost imperceptibly towards the Limpopo River on the border with South Africa. The Eastern Highlands, straddling the Mozambique border, are Zimbabwe's main mountainous region. The highest peak is Nyangani, which rises 2592 m (8500 ft) near the northern end of the range.
The critters, crawlies and crops in Zimbabwe are mind-boggling. Elephant,
buffalo, lion, cheetah, hyena, jackal, monkey and antelope are amongst the
wildlife in the national parks. Species which are unique to Zimbabwe or found
only in limited ranges elsewhere include the rare Nyala, the King Cheetah
and the Samango Monkey. Zimbabwe is also one of Africa's last rhinoceros ranges,
and both black and white rhino are present, albeit in small numbers.
If you're anything like the average visitor to Zimbabwe, you're planning at least one foray into the bush to encounter the endearing faces you've come to know through years of nature documentaries. Safaris range from heading off into the wilderness with stout boots and a long lens to swanky light plane and 4WD combos. But animal-spotting is only the first and most obvious of the adrenaline hits possible in Zimbabwe.
In the Victoria Falls area alone you can go white-water rafting, kayaking, micro lighting, parachuting, horse-riding, cycling and even do the world's highest bungee jump. And that's before lunch. The Mavuradonha Wilderness and the national parks of the Eastern Highlands offer superb hiking, the Kariba area offers sailing, house-boating and other water activities and the middle Zambezi is ideal for long-distance canoeing. Zimbabwe is one of the world's least expensive and least crowded golfing venues, and if you're interested in such novelties as warthogs rooting around on the fairways and crocodiles in the water hazards, it's ideal.