Throughout the last decade, Expert Africa continued to offer trips to Zimbabwe using BA Comair and South African Airways and carefully chosen, small, independent camps. We didn’t promote these strongly, but we always offered them. We did this as a matter of principle, to support good people whom we have known for many years who were struggling to make their small businesses survive, and to aid Zimbabwean wildlife conservation.
Now, a flurry of new camps are opening across Zimbabwe and many other safari professionals have returned to the country . The political scene in Zimbabwe is changing, and while progress is likely to be slow, we are cautiously optimistic for the country’s future.
Supporting the more positive elements of Zimbabwe's recent political and economic changes – and the small, independent camps that we focus on – is one key reason why we are now very happy to actively promote Zimbabwe to our travellers. A recent study by one of our partners in Zimbabwe estimated that on average, one person employed in a safari camp there supports 6.6 dependants. We believe that supporting them, along with generating an influx of foreign currency for a struggling economy, is crucial to the future well-being of the tourist industry.
Rest assured that if we felt our travellers, by visiting Zimbabwe, would worsen problems for Zimbabwe’s people, or prolong the tenure of an oppressive government, then Expert Africa would refuse to organise trips here. However, we don’t believe that this is the case, and while we will be keeping a close eye on the situation, we feel at present that our form of targeted, responsible travel to Zimbabwe is a positive stance.
For a few more of the many views on this question, some recent press articles stand out:
Why safari in Zimbabwe? It’s got the best-trained guides
April 2013: The Globe & Mail (Canada)
Published under the original title "Game on", Tim Johnson's article concentrates on his time at Somalisa Camp in Hwange National Park, whilst also talking about Zimbabwe's recent political troubles and the prospects for its future.
As the tourists head back to safari in Zimbabwe, is it on the Rhodes to recovery?
January 2013: The Daily Mail
Graham Boynton, a renowned travel writer on Africa, recounts his experiences of his visit to Zimbabwe in January 2013, detailing the events that led to its decline and its slow but steady recovery.
The ethical new Zimbabwe safari
February 2010: The Times
An excellent piece by a very experienced Africa journalist, Lisa Grainger, who has a strong background in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe: A beautiful land in need of a change of fortune
Feb 2009: The Independent
A discussion of the subject including links to views by The Independent's Travel Editor, Simon Calder, who is known for his strong ethics; and also The Independent's Southern Africa correspondent.
Our top picks for holidays to Zimbabwe
We'll always tailor-make your Safari for you. Here are some of our favourites to inspire you.