Victoria Falls and Zambezi National Parks
Most of the camps are sited in beautiful situations on the Zambezi River and the National Parks form part of the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.
Many of the large mammals are found including the Big Five: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and white rhinoceros. In addition, herds of sable antelope, eland, zebra, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck and impala, as well as many of the smaller species of game can be seen.
Excellent fishing on 40 kilometres of Zambezi River frontage which hosts a large variety of fish and is famous for bream and fighting tiger fish.
The National Park is well-situated to make visits into Victoria Falls town very convenient. Security at the gate was excellent and visitors just need to show their lodge keys to the gate guard for access to the National Park at any time of the day or night.
Rated the best equipped lodges by our group of visitors after Matopos National Park and generally one of the best Zimbabwe experiences.
Victoria Falls National Park occupies the area between west bank of the Zambesi River below the Victoria Falls and the A8 national road. Entry is off Livingstone Way from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority () entrance. The Zambezi National Park is north and east of Victoria Falls town along Livingstone Way with the main Park entrance a few kilometres north of Victoria Falls town next to the Zambezi River.
GPS reference for Zambezi National Park entry: 17⁰54′00.13″S 25⁰49′01.80″E
GPS reference for Victoria Falls National Park entry: 17⁰55′29.79″S 25⁰50′49.66″E
The borders of both National Parks are partly shaped by the Zambezi River which also forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia for much of its length. The National road to Bulawayo (the A8) divides the two National Parks going south; together they cover an area of 56,000 hectares (140,000 acres) The Zambezi National Park which is by far the larger has two main game-viewing sections: the Zambezi River Game Drive, with an extensive network of roads along the river accessed through the main gate of the Park, and 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.
The summer months (November to March) are hot and humid; winter months are cooler and dry sometimes becoming colder at night.
The 20 self-catering Lodges are on the river bank, situated six kilometres upstream from Victoria Falls with access by tar road and open all year around. They are all fully equipped and have two bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and kitchen with stove and refrigerator. Generally, the lodges are far better equipped in terms of cutlery and kitchen utensils and linen and the accommodation is a far better experience than in (say) Hwange National Park. The signage around the National Park is excellent and the check-in was a better experience; staff was more helpful and management are much more in touch. We were warned in reception that the geyser was not working, so maintenance is also an issue here, but management were attentive to the problem.
The lodges are very private being surrounded in riverine forest and enjoy fine uninterrupted views onto the Zambezi River. We watched elephant, kudu and impala going to the river from the verandah. Baboons and vervet monkeys are always present in large numbers and visitors need to be very careful that all their windows and doors are closed tightly to ensure these wild animals do not gain access into their lodge where they will cause havoc.
The lodges are thoughtfully furnished with enough good quality furniture both inside and on the verandah to make the stay a relaxing and comfortable experience.
The fishing camps: Kandahar, Siansimba and Mpala Jena, are attractively situated on the banks of the Zambezi just off the Zambezi River Game Drive. Facilities consist of flush toilets and cold showers; running water, a sleeping shelter, cement table with bench and braai. Fishing is excellent in these areas.
For that wilderness experience there are camping sites available on the banks of the Zambezi. They are unfenced and completely in the wild and are equipped with a braai stand and bush toilet only. Distances upstream from the Reception Office are: Chundu 1 (25 kilometres) Chundu 2 in an acacia forest (26 kilometres) Chomuzi is near rapids (40 kilometres) and Siamunungu is at the end of Zambezi River Drive (47 kilometres) Each camp can accommodate a maximum of 12 people.
Upstream along the Zambezi River Drive, there are 25 numbered picnic sites attractively situated on the banks of the river and sheltered beneath the beautiful shady riverine vegetation where day visitors may picnic or fish.
Pioneers Camp (www.pioneerscamp.com) is a tented camp situated inside the Zambezi National Park upstream from the Victoria Falls. The camp's location is on a lovely quiet stretch of Zambezi River shoreline with a natural spring-line, Mpala Jena, running through the site which attracts wildlife throughout the year.
The camp is open all year round and offers night and day-time game drives, walking, bird-watching, and of course, river activities. These include fishing, canoeing, morning or sunset cruises as well as guided walking along the Mpala Jena spring-line with professionally trained guides.. It's conveniently located close to Victoria Falls so visitors can easily go into town to enjoy some "adventure", a game of golf, or high tea at the Vic Falls Hotel.
The Camp has six en-suite luxury tents, well-appointed and nestled under shady trees with wide views of the Zambezi. There is a central dining and lounge area to mingle, eat and relax in. Meals are prepared from a selection of fresh produce, and are served either al fresco, or in our shady dining tent overlooking the river.
The camp is eco-friendly, with modern solar lighting, solar geysers for showers, flushing toilets and efficient and correct waste disposal.
The camp is open all year round with the summer months (October - April) offering migratory birds, "baby" animals, excellent fishing, and great photography with the bush greening up and set off by incredible skies. The winter months are traditionally better for game viewing, as it is drier and cooler, with better visibility through the bush.
Zambezi Sands River Camp (www.imvelosafarilodges.com) accommodation is situated within the Zambezi National park and consists of eight Bedouin-style double or twin luxury tents built along the river bank on raised wooden platforms at the water’s edge, each with its own splash pool and a four-bed family suite. The centrally-located main camp consists of a dining room, lounge and bar, with a shaded outdoor deck for alfresco dining experiences looking out over the river.
From the banks of the Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls River Lodge (www.victoriafallsriverlodge.com) visitors can see the spray from the Victoria Falls and set within the 150,000 acres that make up the Zambezi National Park it feels like a real African Safari experience. The main lodge has an open plan design and has been positioned so visitors can sit back and sip on a cocktail under the shade of the thatched roof and watch the elephants on the river bank. Their spacious luxury tents have larger than king size bed, a freestanding bath and comfortable sitting area, indoor and outdoor shower and a private viewing deck.