Zambezi National Park


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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  

ZimParks have comfortable 4-bed chalet accommodation along the Zambezi River at the entrance to the Park. There are also several remote camping sites dotted along the river upstream, which are available for overnight camping.  Note, they have no facilities, so visitors need to be comletely self-sufficient.  At Chamabonda Vlei in the southern section of the Park, two viewing platforms may also be hired for overnight camping.  For more info and bookings see Zambezi National Park, Chalets, Camping & Viewing platforms

Also available along the Zambezi River Drive are several 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

Wild Horizons Luxury Lodges - The Elephant Camp, The Wallow Lodge, & Old Drift Lodge

Three luxury tented lodges in Victoria Falls area operated by Wild Horizons- The Elephant Camp, The Wallow Lodge & Old Drift Lodge

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.

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.

Africa Addict

Victoria Falls-based DMC and travel agent for tailormade, personalised safaris and holidays in Zimbabwe, to suit every pocket.

Lokuthula Lodges (Africa Albida Tourism)

High quality self-catering accommodation units in Victoria Falls situated within the renowned Victoria Falls Safari Lodge Estate.

Roar & Explore Tours

All-inclusive tours around Zimbabwe's prime tourism, wildlife & cultural areas, combining transport, accommodation, meals and activities.

Heartveld Adventures

Travel information, bookings and tours around the Zambezi region and the rest of Zimbabwe

Baobab Bookings

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

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