​Overview – Zambezi NP

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip has traveled through Zimbabwe several times and is the author of more than 20 guidebooks to various African destinations.

Philip is the Zimbabwe expert for SafariBookings and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Philip is our Zimbabwe expert and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Named after the atmospheric tropical waterway that flows along its northern boundary, Zambezi National Park supports good numbers of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo and other wildlife. Because it is near Victoria Falls, the park is most frequently visited on full- or half-day safaris, but it also boasts a great choice of classy riverside accommodations offering a full-on bush experience.

Best Time To Go June to October (Best time for wildlife viewing)
High Season June to October (The park gets busy during weekends, regardless of the season)
Size 560km² / 216mi²
Altitude 891-1,056m / 2,923-3,465ft

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful scenery along the Zambezi River
  • Picnic spots available
  • Great half-day or day trip from Victoria Falls
  • Elephants and hippos are common close to the river
  • Not crowded despite being close to Victoria Falls
  • Excellent birding destination
  • Only three of the Big Five are regularly seen
  • Travel by 4WD vehicle is essential

Zambezi NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Although four of the Big Five are present, only elephant, buffalo and, to a lesser extent, lion are likely to be seen. There are no rhinos, and leopards tend to be shy and skittish. Neither cheetah nor African wild dog is resident but both pass through occasionally. The river teems with crocodiles and hippos. Common antelope include greater kudu, impala and waterbuck.

Scenery

The Scenic Zambezi River is lined with jungle-like riverine forest and studded with small islands. It can be explored along Zambezi Drive, which runs the length of the park from east to west for roughly 50km/30mi. The riverine forest hosts some amazing trees including apple-rings, figs, ebonies and baobabs. Elsewhere, a cover of mopane and miombo woodland is interrupted by grassy floodplains such as Chamabonda Vlei.

Activities

Most game drives follow scenic Zambezi Drive, where elephants are plentiful. A more remote and southerly area for drives is Chamabonda Vlei, where a pair of wildlife-viewing hides overlooks artificially pumped waterholes. Most lodges in the park run walking safaris and sundowner cruises. Some also have canoes. Lodges inside the park also generally offer day trips to Victoria Falls and can arrange a wide array of activities there.

Weather & Climate

As with the rest of the low-lying Zambezi Valley, the climate is warm to hot. Temperatures in the Dry season (April to October) bounce from morning cool to afternoon warmth and back again. The Wet season (November to March) is significantly hotter. Mornings are usually clear, but afternoon showers typically fall once every three days over November and March and once every two days from December to February.

Best Time To Visit

The broad Zambezi River draws many thirsty animals to its banks in the Dry season (April to October), but you’ll see the most animals from June to October. Victoria Falls is at its most thunderous from February to June, which is when the flow of the Zambezi River is at its highest. The Wet season (November to March) sees fewer visitors and low-season rates might be available.

Want To Visit Zambezi NP?

15 Zambezi NP Safaris

Zambezi NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Ariadne van Zandbergen  –  
South Africa ZA

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

On the Bank of the Mighty Zambezi
2/5

Zambezi National Park is just a stone’s throw away from Victoria Falls. This small park isn’t on a par with Hwange or Zimbabwe’s other fantastic wilderness places, but it makes for an easy outing from Vic Falls if time is limited....

Full Review

Latest User Review
Caroline Page  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Jan 17, 2024
5/5

This park was more open than Hwange and we saw a lot of animals here, including a large herd of elephants and hippos! Definitely recommend this park with the Zambezi river bordering to give more scenic views.

Full Review