Despite the rather disturbing political shenanigans of the last few years, Zimbabwe is still a great destination. And, notwithstanding the undeniable poverty and extreme hardship that most of the population has been subjected to, Zimbabweans remain warm and friendly people.
Some parts of the country have fared better than others over the last few years. The cities of Harare and Bulawayo are still going but they are both a lot less comfortable than they were a decade or so ago – but better than a few years ago. You can buy most basics in the stores, although choice is limited. And, while the general infrastructure, such as roads and telecommunications, are still technically in place, they have not been maintained at optimum level.
But it’s the non-urban areas that are the real attraction. The beautiful Zambezi Valley is a major drawcard. Mana Pools, with its myriad oxbow lakes, meanders and extensive floodplains is a wildlife paradise unrivalled for relaxing and exhilarating walking and canoeing safaris. Kariba Town has definitely gone a bit downhill but the dam wall is still standing and the artificial lake is still one of the biggest in the world. The fishing is still great, and the game around the edges still utterly spectacular. And Victoria Falls, which weathered the economic storm better than anywhere else in the country is going strong.
People are investing in tourism infrastructure, and all the usual adventure activities are still on offer. The Batoko Gorge rafting remains one of the wildest and most exciting rafting trips in the world. You can still shop till you drop at the craft market, watch cultural dancing, ride and elephant, walk with lions, fling yourself into the void in one of a number of daredevil ways.
Most of the national parks are open for business, and the game has fared a lot better than many people expected.