Home to the exquisite Hwange Game Reserve and the legendary Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe is a landlocked country cosily bordered by the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. Travellers aboard the Rovos Rail luxury train journey are now entering a country whose beautiful attractions are just as famous as the controversial political environment.  Zimbabwe comprises of three official languages: English, Shona and Ndebele.

What’s in a name?

Zimbabwe is named after the ruins of Great Zimbabwe – the largest and most mysterious ruins in sub-Saharan Africa. Located near Masvingo in the east of the country, the ruins which mean ‘place of stones’, are believed to date all the way back to AD 800. Legend has it that the sweeping complex of circular battlemented compounds that make up the Great Zimbabwe ruins were once used as a base for the Mwene Mutapa. It’s been said the slaves that had been captured were kept in this compound pending the change in the Indian Ocean Trade winds.


Zimbabwe is steeped in a rich history of political unrest and economic depression which is still rife within the country today. After achieving independence from Britain in 1980, Zimbabwe began to suffer political instability due to the different political ideologies subscribed to by the current ruling and opposition parties.  The President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, stepped into power following independence and served as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987 and as first executive head of state since 1987.

A place of interest

The glamorous African rail tour passes through historically rich Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe after the capital, Harare. Bulawayo was established by a Zulu chieftain who broke away from Chaka, the founder of the Zulu nation, and fled the Boers to found Bulawayo (‘the place of killing’). Bulawayo has long been recognised as the industrial and business capital of Zimbabwe, a feat owing to the city’s strategic position near Botswana and South Africa. Bulawayo is home to the National Railways of Zimbabwe and is situated close to the sweeping Hwange National Park, Matopo National Park and the exquisite Victoria Falls.