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Like Botswana, Zimbabwe is a landlocked country bordered by Mozambique to the east, South Africa and Botswana to the south and west and Zambia to the north. It lies on a high plateau with terrain that consists mainly of grasslands bordered on the east by mountains. The north eastern border of the country is marked by the mighty Zambezi River where the incomparable Victoria Falls and the magnificent expanse of Lake Kariba are located. The Zambezi River is one of the world’s best water adventure destinations, offering outstanding white water rafting in the Gorges below the falls and excellent canoeing and kayaking above them.
Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Reserves are extensive and noted for the wide range of safari experiences they offer. The parks cover a variety of environments and a large and diverse collection of species.
Victoria Falls National Park
The best time to enjoy a Victoria Falls holiday is arguably between September and November. During March and April, when the water volume is at its peak, the Falls create so much mist that they are difficult to see, and from May to September the mist adds to the season’s high humidity. There are many activities available, including bungee jumping, flights over the Falls, and raft trips to the Boiling Pot at the base of the falls.
Downstream from Victoria Falls, is the vast, man-made Lake Kariba which was formed as the result of the damming of the Zambezi. Covering an area of approximately 2000 square miles, its waters adjoin the Matusadona National Park game reserve. This was established as a refuge for the wildlife that was saved from the rising waters of the lake and as such, hosts an abundant amount of game which gathers along the lakeside.
Mana Pools National Park
It is at Mana Pools that the Zambezi spreads out into a large number of small ponds and pools. During the dry season, Mana Pools attracts a plethora of wildlife including lion, leopard, zebra, and hippo in addition to an unusually wide variety of antelope species. Canoe safaris through Mana Pools are a particularly enjoyable and popular experience and the park also offers walking safaris.
Hwange National Park
Hwange is located south of Victoria Falls along the Botswana border and spreads out over 5,600 square miles of predominately highveld and semi desert. It is here that you will find one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Zimbabwe, being renowned for its vast numbers of elephant. Hwange offers several private reserves that offer visitors far less restricted game viewing and allow both walking safaris and night game drives.
Matobo National Park
With its quite unique and somewhat extraordinary landscape, this park is a collection of hundreds of small hills that are dotted with precariously balanced freeform stacks of granite boulders. It is here that Cecil Rhodes is buried on one of the hills near the park entrance. In addition to hosting many different game species, Matobo is home to the largest concentration of black eagles in the world and an abundance of other birdlife. Matobo also attracts visitors to its thousands of prehistoric well preserved rock paintings.
WHEN TO GO