Zambezi National Park

Zimbabwe

National Park stretching 50 kms upstream and inland from Victoria Falls, along the Zambezi River towards Kazungula.

The Zambezi National Park is located upstream from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, stretching for some 50 kilometres along the Zambezi river.

This beautiful gem of a National Park is little known, despite its proximity to the world famous Victoria Falls. 

Split off from the Victoria Falls National Park in 1979, the 56,000 hectares of pristine wilderness and wildlife habitat has been a National Park in its own right ever since.

The Park is bisected by a tar road which runs between Victoria Falls and the Kazangula border post, dividing it into two sections:- 

1. The Zambezi River Game Drive, with an extensive network of roads and scenery along the river accessed through the main gate of the National Park, a few kilometres upstream of the Victoria Falls.

2. The 25 kilometre Chamabondo Game Drive in the southern part of the Park, which begins about 5 kilometres south of Victoria Falls town off the main highway (A8) to Bulawayo.

On his way to discovering the Victoria Falls in 1855, David Livingstone travelled down this section of the Zambezi, from the Linyanti Swamps in neighbouring Botswana. This incredibly beautiful stretch of river above the falls enchanted Livingstone and led him to write about “scenes so lovely they must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”, a quote often mistakenly associated with the Victoria Falls itself.

Spectacular sunrises and sunsets are the norm along this river and the area is popular for both landscape and wildlife photography.

Most of the park is within the eco-region of Zambezian and Mopani woodlands, whilst a small portion in the south is within the Zambezian Baikiaea (Zambezi Teak) Woodlands. The park has a vast diversity of indigenous tree species, and its terrain varies between riverine woodland, dry river beds, rocky outcrops and spring-lines with a gradual escarpment leading towards the Kazangula road split.

Soil types vary from alluvial and Kalahari sand, riverine sand and pockets of black cotton soil. The natural spring-lines which occur within this park are absolute hidden gems and regularly have an abundance of wildlife traversing through them. These are prime walking areas for those who enjoy adventuring and exploring on foot.

The river margins support a lush forest fringe, offering shade and shelter for bushbuck and duiker, whilst waterbury trees overhang the river and provide perches for the kingfishers, herons and fish eagles.

The park is home to a variety of larger mammal species including lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and several antelope species such as eland, kudu, waterbuck, impala and Zimbabwe’s national animal, the majestic sable.

Along the river, pods of hippo wallow during the day, emerging from their watery retreats at night to graze along the riverbanks. Crocodiles are regularly seen lurking along the rivers edge, waiting for antelope to come down to the banks to drink.

An estimated 400 species of birds have been recorded within the Zambezi National Park making this a bird lovers' paradise, with specialities which include the Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Skimmer, Collared Palm Thrush, Lanner Falcon, Goliath Heron, Kori Bustard, African Fin foot, Rock Pratincole and Long-toed Lapwing.

The summer months (November to March) are hot and humid; winter months are cooler and dry sometimes becoming colder at night.

Accommodation & activities  

Upstream along the Zambezi River Drive, there are 25 numbered picnic sites where self-drive day visitors are able to picnic or fish (with correct fishing permits). These sites are attractively situated along the banks of the river, many of which are sheltered beneath the beautiful shady trees like the Natal Mahogany.

There are several privately-owned lodges and camps situated along the Zambezi River within the Zambezi National Park.  These, along with most of the hotels and tour operators in Victoria Falls town, offer guided game drives into the Zambezi National Park.  You can also take a walking safari in the company of an experienced and knowledgeable professional safari guide. (Contact Discover Victoria Falls).  

Don't forget to support local community conservation initiatives (like the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VAPU) which help the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority to keep this area wild and wonderful for visitors to enjoy.

Travel listings for this area

Zambezi Sands River Camp - Imvelo Safari Lodges

20-bed tented lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River in the Zambezi National Park between Victoria Falls and the Botswana border.

Baobab Bookings

Booking agency for accommodation, houseboats, transfers, fishing safaris and other activities throughout Zimbabwe - Lake Kariba specialists

Vayeni

Zimbabwe-based tour operator specialising in high-end, luxury travel experiences throughout Southern Africa

Chundu Island

Exclusive 20-bed lodge set into woodland on an island in the middle of the Zambezi River upstream from Victoria Falls in the Zambezi National Park.

Safaris 4 Africa

Experienced Destination Management Company & agent providing safaris and holidays carefully tailormade to the individual needs of clients

Masuwe Lodge

Tent-under-thatch accommodation and safari experiences just a few minutes' drive from the adventures of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club & Victoria Falls Safari Suites (Africa Albida Tourism)

This iconic group of top quality Victoria Falls tourism properties sits atop a hill with a magnificent view over the Zambezi River and National Park

ZimParks - Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority

Self-catering lodges/chalets, tented camp, campsites & picnic sites within the Zambezi Valley's major National Parks and Protected Areas.

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