Safaris in Zimbabwe provide the opportunity to see a wide array of animals, including the ‘Big 5’ and hundreds of bird species, resulting in thousands of tourists visiting this landlocked African country each year.

The main contributing factor to the ongoing success of Zimbabwe safaris is the country’s 11 well-run national parks. The national parks are responsible for protecting Zimbabwe’s natural heritage and run a number of conservation programs, including anti-poaching schemes and efforts that contribute to the country’s rising eco-tourism.

In this blog post, Tailormade Africa provides an in-depth exploration of Zimbabwe’s most popular national parks, showcasing the stunning diversity of wildlife and scenery that makes each park unique. You’ll learn about the best times to visit, the various activities on offer, and a wealth of other practical information. 

Hwange National Park

As the largest national park in Zimbabwe, Hwange spans over 14,000 square kilometers and is home to one of the densest wildlife populations in all of Africa. The park was established in 1929 and has been attracting visitors from all over the world for decades.

  • Location: Hwange National Park is located in western Zimbabwe, near the border of Botswana.
  • Best time to visit: Late June to mid-November, during the dry season.
  • Activities: From horseback safaris to bird-watching expeditions, there is an activity to suit every preference. Some of the most popular activities include game drives and walking safaris.
  • Wildlife: This national park is teeming with wildlife, and you can expect to see zebra, sable, giraffe, lion, wildebeest, and many other species.
  • Accommodation: Hwange National Park offers various accommodation options within its borders, including The Hide Safari Camp and the Somalisa Camp. 
  • Travel Tips: Make sure you allocate at least a few days at Hwange National Park if you want to make the most of your time there!

Victoria Falls National Park

Victoria Falls National Park is famously home to the world’s largest waterfall, which stands at over 100 metres tall. Not only is Victoria Falls one of the 7 wonders of the world but it has also been named a world heritage site.

  • Location: The Victoria Falls National Park is located in northwestern Zimbabwe, near the border of Zambia.
  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit is between February and May, directly after the summer rains and when the waterfall is most impressive.
  • Activities: There are several exciting activities to participate in at Victoria Falls National Park, including Zambezi boat rides, visiting Devil’s Pool, white water rafting, helicopter flights over the waterfall, and much more. 
  • Wildlife: You can expect to see elephants, wild dogs, hippos, crocodiles, ostriches, baboons, and a wide variety of birds.
  • Accommodation: There are plenty of amazing accommodation options surrounding the Victoria Falls National Park, including Gorges & Little Gorges Lodge, Imbabala Lodge, Matetsi River Lodge, The Elephant Camp (located within the park), and the classic Victoria Falls River Lodge.
  • Travel Tips: Make sure you book your trip well in advance, as Victoria Falls is one of the most popular destinations in Africa.

Kazuma Pan National Park

Home to a series of pans kept full by consistent borehole drilling, Kazume Pan National Park has a diverse range of animals who drink from the pans all year long.

  • Location: Kazuma Pan National Park is in Zimbabwe’s northwestern corner, near Hwange National Park.
  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit is between September and December. Please note that the park is closed in January and February every year.
  • Activities: Some of the most popular activities available at Kazuma Pan National Park include wildlife safaris, bird watching, and viewing animal migrations.
  • Wildlife: Kazuma Pan is one of the few national parks home to the ‘Big 5’, which includes lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant, and leopard. You’ll also get to see a diverse variety of antelope and birds.
  • Accommodation: There are two campsites within the park, with various lodges nearby.
  • Travel Tips: Take the opportunity to witness the unique game migratory patterns that take place within the park each year.

Mana Pools National Park

As a world heritage site along the Zambezi River, Mana Pools National Park is the ideal destination for Zimbabwe safaris.

  • Location: Mana Pools National Park is located in northern Zimbabwe, along the south bank of the Zambezi River.
  • Best time to visit: To avoid the wet and sticky mud that occurs during wet season, it is best to visit the park from July to September.
  • Activities: Canoe trips, hiking, and game viewing are some of the most popular activities available at Mana Pools National Park. This is the perfect destination for adventure seekers.
  • Wildlife: The strip of the Zambezi River that runs through the park attracts all sorts of animals, including crocodiles, elephants, lions, buffalo, and more.
  • Accommodation: There are loads of camps to choose from when visiting Mana Pools National Park, including John’s Camp, Kanga Camp, and Goliath Camp, among others.
  • Travel Tips: Mana pools can get very hot during October and November, so you may want to avoid these months if you don’t have high heat tolerances.

Nyanaga National Park

Known for being home to the highest land in the country, Nyanaga National Park is filled with perennial rivers and green hillsides. This is one of Zimbabwe’s very first national parks.

  • Location: Nyanaga National Park can be found in Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands surrounding Mount Nyanaga.
  • Best time to visit: This park can be visited throughout the year, so it is up to you whether you’d prefer to visit during the wet or dry season.
  • Activities: Some places you may want to visit during your time in Nyanaga National Park include the Nyangombe Falls, the Mutarazi Falls Skywalk, and Mount Nyangani. 
  • Wildlife: Nyanaga National Park is home to zebra, eland, kudu, waterbuck, leopard, and hyena, among other animals.
  • Accommodation: You can find three lodges available at various camps within the national park. Alternatively, you could stay at a nearby hotel or guesthouse.
  • Travel Tips: It is preferable to hike Nyanaga’s terrain with an experienced guide to ensure your safety.

Matusadona National Park

If you’re interested in an authentic Zimbabwe safari experience, there is no better destination than the remote and rugged Matusadona National Park, which is home to a lake and two rivers.

  • Location: The park is located on the southern shore of Lake Kariba in northern Zimbabwe.
  • Best time to visit: June to October offers the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Matusadona National Park.
  • Activities: In addition to game viewing, Matusadona National Park offers bird watching, hiking, fishing, and canoeing. 
  • Wildlife: The national park’s lakeshore attracts elephant, buffalo, crocodile, hippo, antelope, and many other animals. You can also see predators such as lion, leopard, and hyena.
  • Accommodation: Matusadona National Park offers a variety of accommodation options, including lodges, safari camps, and even houseboat experiences!
  • Travel Tips: The roads to Matusadona are very rough, so it is best to access the national park by boat.

Gonarezhou National Park

Together with Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park and South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Gonarezhou National Park forms part of The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, offering unspoilt wilderness of impressive magnitude.

  • Location: Located in the remote southeast corner of Zimbabwe, Gonarezhou National Park represents the last frontier.
  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit the park is during the cool, dry months between April and August.
  • Activities: You are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to the activities on offer at Gonarezhou. You can enjoy stargazing, game drives, bird watching, fishing, picnics, sunsets, cultural experiences, and more.
  • Wildlife: The park is home to the ‘Big 5’ as well as other sought-after species, such as the wild dog, crocodiles, hippos, and more. There are also over 450 bird species!
  • Accommodation: Whether you prefer bush camping or self-catering accommodation, there are plenty of places to stay within the park.
  • Travel Tips: With Gonarezhou being so large and remote, you could easily spend your entire Zimbabwe safari holiday at this one park. 

Zambezi National Park

Named after the mighty Zambezi River, the Zambezi National Park is a small park that provides the perfect opportunity for a fun and exciting day trip.

  • Location: The park is located upstream from the Victoria Falls and next to the Victoria Falls 
  • Best time to visit: July through October provides the best conditions for visiting the Zambezi River. 
  • Activities: Some activities on offer at the Zambezi National Park include boat rides, game drives, bird watching, nature walks, and cultural tours.
  • Wildlife: You can see all sorts of animals at the Zambezi National Park, including crocodiles, hippos, elephants, and a wide variety of birds.
  • Accommodation: One of the best places to stay if you’d like to spend time at the Zambezi National Park is Zambezi Sands, as you’ll enjoy incredible views over the Zambezi River. You can also stay at any of the many accommodation options near Victoria Falls.
  • Travel Tips: As the Zambezi National Park is only around 40 kilometres squared, it is best suited to a day visit.

Are you ready to visit a few of the abovementioned national parks by booking an unforgettable safari in Zimbabwe? Tailormade Africa offers personalised packages that are suited to your specific requirements and preferences to ensure a memorable holiday for you and your travel companions. Contact us today to begin discussing your dream Zimbabwe safari.