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Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo is rich in culture and history. Most often used as a gateway to some of the country’s safari destinations, for those that do stop over, there is plenty to explore.
The contrast between the hustle and bustle of this city and the peacefulness of the national parks is fascinating. Take time to explore the city, take in the architecture, the activity, museums and visit the markets to pick up some souvenirs.
An area scattered with huge piles of granite boulders, Matobo National Park has some of the region's most breathtaking scenery. The huge rocks provide natural shelter and have been linked with human occupation from the early Stone Age right through to early historical times and intermittently since.
Today the Matobo Hills continue to be an important focus for the local community and also contain a fantastic collection of Bushman rock art, one of the highest concentrations in Southern Africa.
There is a wide variety of flora and fauna within the park and game drives are a great way to explore. For those that are a little more active and want to get a little closer to nature, hiking is highly recommended here and there are a number of different trails to suit all abilities. Horse-riding, fishing and boating are also available within the park.
One of the least visited of Zimbabwe's safari parks, Gonarezhou National Park has prolific birdlife, particularly after the rains. It has the feel of an unspoilt wilderness, allowing for excellent game viewing beneath the majestic forests.
With no fences between Gonarezhou and Kruger in South Africa and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, wildlife is free to roam over a huge area. The park is home to elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra and giraffe and many species of antelope to name but a few.
The range of hills and mountains stretching down the Eastern side of Zimbabwe are the Eastern Highlands. This area offers beautiful scenic drives, fantastic walking and hiking trails, and some very gentle, low-key bird-watching and wildlife experiences.
From Nyanga National Park in the North, the Bvumba Mountains in the centre and the Chimanimani Mountains in the South; hikers and botanists will be in their element here!
© ecoTravel Africa 2011