In May / June last year, two good friends, Max and Dan, went on a 3-week self-drive through Zimbabwe. Between the more known destinations, they also found some real hidden gems!

The two friends have sent us images from many wonderful destinations along their route, some of them well off the beaten track… This post is therefore rich in images, but Max has also sent us some thoughts on what a self-drive in Zimbabwe has to offer.


Before we jump into their adventures, let us first have a look at Max and Dan’s travel route!

Victoria Falls – Hwange – Matopos – Bulawayo – Masvingo – Mutare – Nyanga – Imire Conservancy – Harare

For sure a little adventurous you have to be for such a journey. But are self-drive adventures only for camping fanatics? On the contrary! The freedom of a self-drive can perfectly well be combined with booked lodges and luxurious camps along your way. This leaves you free to explore along your route during the day, knowing comfortably that you will find dinner and your reserved bed waiting for you in the evening.

Now, let’s jump into the adventures of our two gentlemen…


Hwange National Park

After arriving in Victoria Falls, our friends’ adventure started with a ROAR in Hwange National Park. Dan had travelled a lot in Zimbabwe and southern Africa before, but this was Max’ first night in the African bush. This is Max’ account from his first night in Hwange:

 “Our trip first took us south to the Hwange National Park where we stayed in a camp on a hill overlooking the African bush. After a tasty dinner, a few drinks and a nice conversation, we went to sleep, but not for long… In the middle of the night, Daniel wakes me up and I immediately hear a strange roaring noise. Male lions! That´s at least what Daniel said. I, thinking he might want to show off a bit to impress the new tourist, just commented with a half-hearted: “Impressive!”  turned around and continued sleeping. The next morning although when I saw two male lions feasting on a Zebra just outside the camp, I changed my mind a bit though.” – Max

Here are some of their images from Hwange National Park:

Hwange National Park - lion with zebra kill.
Giraffes in Hwange National Park.
Hwange National Park.

Matopos National Park, Bulawayo & Dianas Pools

From Hwange the trip went southwards on to Bulawayo and Matopos National Park. The distinct landscape of Matopos National Park impressed our friends. How is it best described? Max says it well;

“The rock formations of Matopos could easily serve as a set for a sci-fi movie
about the exploration of Mars.” – Max

Especially interesting to our travelers was also the many sites of rock art to be found in Matopos. The ancient carvings and drawings, telling the story of a distant past, really are impressive and worth seeing. Have a look at these great images our friends made:

Matopos National Park.
Matopos National Park.
Matopos National Park.
Matopos National Park.
Matopos National Park.
Bulawayo is also an interesting town for a stop, and a visit to the legendary Bulawayo Gentlemen’s Club was naturally a must for our two gentlemen! (Not to worry, the club welcomes ladies as well as gents!)
Bulawayo Club.
On the way from Bulawayo to Masvingo our travelers visited Dianas Pools. A true hidden gem! The pools are shallow with sandy banks, while the surrounding landscape has an interesting plant life and caves with rock art.
Dianas Pools.
Dianas Pools, Zimbabwe.
Dianas Pools.
Masvingo, Lake Kyle & Great Zimbabwe

Then the history of Zimbabwe continued to impress our friends on their next stop:

“Lake Kyle and the adjacent Great Zimbabwe Ruins add a taste of history!” – Max

The Great Zimbabwe Ruins are the remains of the old capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country’s late Iron Age. The city acted as the royal palace for the Zimbabwean monarchs and the ruins have a distinct regal feel to them. Our explorers choose to explore the ruins by themselves, but guided tours are available.

Great Zimbabwe.
Great Zimbabwe.
Great Zimbabwe.
Great Zimbabwe - colorful lizard.
Great Zimbabwe.
Great Zimbabwe.


From Masvingo, our travelers headed north towards Mutare.

Zimbabweans are warm, friendly and open to strangers. They are also proud of their country and like to share the knowledge of its history. This is also something our two friends got to experience on their adventure:

“I remember a moment when we got a bit off-track in a rather remote area and we stopped to ask a local for more info. The conversation started out with the most encouraging greeting ever, continued with an emotional history lesson about the area and its great chiefs, and concluded in the best wishes and warmest greetings. Unfortunately, when we left we still didn´t know where to go, but we sure had a smile on our faces for the rest of the day.” – Max

It is also well worth exploring what the local markets have to offer! Here are some images from Mutare:

On the way to Mutare.

Nyanga, Mutarazi Falls

From Mutare, the trip went on to Nyanga and…

“…the stunning Mutarazi Falls! Two of the highest waterfalls on the continent can be visited in one of the more remote corners of Zim. They are not too easily reached, but therefore you will get a chance to enjoy them without the crowds that such a magnificent place would usually attract.” – Max

With the recent opening of the Mutarazi Sky Walk (2 suspension bridges), this area is increasing in popularity. With new activities also including a Zip-line, this destination will probably be on many thrill seekers’ bucket-list. No wonder!

Nyanga - Mutarazi Falls.
Nyanga - Mutarazi Falls.
On the way from Nyanga, our friends visited Dianas Vow, another rock art site which is worth a visit.
Dianas Vow.
Dianas Vow.
Imire Concervancy & Harare

Last stop before reaching the end of their journey in Harare was Imire Conservancy. This is a rhino and wildlife conservation program, which in addition to accommodation and game drives, also offers guests the possibility to volunteer and help in the work of conserving wildlife.

Have a look at these images from Max’ and Dan’s experiences at Imire:

Imire Conservancy.
Imire Conservancy.
Imire Conservancy.
Imire Conservancy.

 “During our trip we spotted many animals including Crocodiles, Hippos, Giraffes, Lions, Elephants and Rhinos. We engaged with locals in rural and secluded areas. We hiked to stunning waterfalls, admired cave paintings, and explored even the most remote corners of the beautiful country of Zimbabwe. We shopped at local markets and tasted dishes I had not even heard of before.  This is what a 3-week self-drive in Zimbabwe has to offer.” –Max

Are you feeling adventurous, and would like to go on a similar self-drive?

Let us help plan your trip, we can organize all parts of your journey –  from flights and car rental to accommodations and activities – then all you have to do is enjoy your self-drive adventure! Our contact form for your tailor made adventure, you can find here!

Many thanks to Max and Dan for sending us so many great photographs to accompany this blog post, and a special thanks to Max for sharing his thoughts on what a self-drive adventure in Zimbabwe has to offer!

All images © Max and Dan