Zimbabwe is located in the south of Africa; this country comprises a series of plateaus and mountains, as well as the High Veld ridge, which extends from the northeast to the southwest and takes up a quarter of the country. The Middle Veld plateau is made of wooded savanna and hills and boasts a temperate climate. The Low Veld region, meanwhile, has a hotter, dryer climate. Zimbabwe is bordered by Mozambique (to the east), Botswana (to the west), Zambia (to the north) and South Africa (to the south). Its central hilly area gives rise to many rivers, which flow into Lake Kariba in the northwest of the country, the Zambezi River in the northeast, or the Botswana marshes to the west. The eastern edge of Zimbabwe is famed for its vertiginous mountains, including Mount Nyangani, its highest point.
Despite being situated in the tropics, Zimbabwe boasts a temperate temperature all year round, owing to its altitude and inland positioning. August to October is a hot, dry period, while November to March is the rainiest. The average temperature in Zimbabwe is around 20ºC, though the thermometer can soar to around 30ºC in peak summer months, and settle at a pleasant 13ºC in the winter time.
One of Zimbabwe’s most visited natural landscapes is Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world. Ensconced in the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, it boasts some of the most impressive waterfalls in the world. Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, meanwhile, offer views to verdant mountain ranges which are ideal for hiking and mountaineering, as they feature serene waterfalls and rivers. Zimbabwe is a paradise for safari fans, with parks such as Hwange National Park home to impressive animals such as giraffes.
The Bantu-speaking people arrived in Zimbabwe during the 5th-10th centuries A.D., causing the San inhabitants to head for the desert. The first Europeans to arrive in the area where Portuguese merchants, who arrived in the 16th century. The Ndebele Kingdom rose in the 19th century, only to face an onslaught from the British community in south Africa in the 1880s. Cecil Rhodes was of vital importance in terms of British colonial expansion into Africa. By the end of the 1880s, his two companies (De Beers Consolidated Mines and Gold Fields of South Africa) dominated the diamond and gold exportation trade. Rhodes sent colonists to settle on the area which is today known as Harare, in order to begin prospecting for gold. The area the white settlers called Rhodesia would be split into Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). In 1923, South Rhodesia became a self-governing colony of the British. The local government of Zimbabwe declared independence in 1965, but did not obtain full independence from the British until 1980.
The flora of Zimbabwe is uniform, comprising thorny acacia savanna or dry woodlands in the central and western plateau, and baobabs and thorny scrub in the dry lowlands. Zimbabwe is also home to various aloe species, pretty jacarandas, colourful tropical flowers and verdant palms. Zimbabwe’s national flower is the flame lily, with its vivid red and yellow petals. Zimbabwe is home to a plethora of stunning birds (including Robert’s warbler and Swynnerton’s robin), mammals (including the giraffe, elephant, lion, antelope, zebra and rhinoceros) and fish (such as the tigerfish, lungfish and bream).
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