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Zambezi & Victoria Falls National Park

Image - Zambezi & Victoria Falls National Park

This is one of the 7 Wonders of the World· Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most prolific and spectacular waterfalls· Victoria Falls is a one stop destination affording the visitor several aspects of tourism ranging from prime game viewing, cultural tourism and the Falls themselves.


The Victoria Falls are shared by both Zambia and Zimbabwe and is territorially divided by Cecil Rhodes' famous bridge. As well as a spectacular view down into the gorge, this bridge has more recently become famous for its adrenaline-pumping bungy jump with a fall of 364 feet (111 meters)! The other most popular adventure pursuit here is white-water rafting on the Zambezi.

Zambezi National Park together with Victoria Falls National Park cover an area of 56,000 hectares. The northern border of the Park is formed by the great Zambezi River which also forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia for much of its length.

Best time to visit
Fishing is at its best in September to October best time to go is mid-season from June to September but all lodges and canoeing operators are open from April to November.

The Zambezi basin above the falls experiences a rainy season from late November to early April, and a dry season the rest of the year. The river's annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April. At full moon, a "moonbow" can be seen in the spray instead of the usual daylight rainbow. During the flood season, however, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, and the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist. Close to the edge of the cliff, spray shoots upward like inverted rain, especially at Zambia's Knife-Edge Bridge.

As the dry season takes effect, the islets on the crest become wider and more numerous, and in September to January up to half of the rocky face of the falls may become dry and the bottom of the First Gorge can be seen along most of its length. At this time it becomes possible (though not necessarily safe) to walk across some stretches of the river at the crest. It is also possible to walk to the bottom of the First Gorge at the Zimbabwean side. The minimum flow, which occurs in November, is around a tenth of the April figure; this variation in flow is greater than that of other major falls, and causes Victoria Falls' annual average flow rate to be lower than might be expected based on the maximum flow.

Victoria Falls is roughly thrice the height of North America's Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivalled only by South America's Iguazu Falls.

Wildlife

The national parks contain abundant wildlife. A wide variety of larger mammals may be found within the Zambezi National Park 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 viewed. The river above the falls contains large populations of hippopotamus and crocodile. Elephants cross the river in the dry season at particular crossing points.

Klipspringers and clawless otters can be glimpsed in the gorges, but they are mainly known for 35 species of raptors. The Taita Falcon, Black Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Augur Buzzard breed there. Above the falls, herons, Fish Eagles and numerous kinds of waterfowl are common.

Fish

The river is home to 39 species of fish below the falls and 89 species above it, mostly black cod and slippery trout. This illustrates the effectiveness of the falls as a dividing barrier between the upper and lower Zambezi.

Other Attraction

  • Game viewing - visitors use their own vehicles for transport.
  • Fishing - visitors bring their own fishing gear and boats.
  • Walks – marveling at the splendour of the Falls is, of course, the prime activity of the area. Visitors should plan on viewing the Falls at several different times, as the ever-changing mist and light can afford spectacularly different views throughout the day.
  • Scenic views
  • Boat cruises - daytime and sunset cruises on the Zambezi River.
  • Moonlight viewing – an unique opportunity to view the Falls and the Lunar Rainbow which takes place during periods of the full moon·
  • Other activities include: guided tours, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, helicopter and micro-light flights over the Falls, tribal dancing, etc

Access

Victoria Falls and Zambezi National Parks lie on the southern bank of the Zambezi River. Visitors can travel by car, driving 440 kilometres northwest from Bulawayo or through Kazungula Border Post with Botswana 90 kilometres to the west. The Victoria Falls Border Post is within metres of the Falls for access by road from Zambia. The road from Bulawayo to the Falls is completely tarred and the roads around thee Falls can easily be negotiated by all types of vehicles. Victoria Falls boasts an international airport with services from Harare and many regional and international destinations.

Accommodation

Lodges
The accommodation units at Zambezi Camp are self-contained lodges on the river bank, situated 6 kilometres upstream from Victoria Falls. The camp is served by a tar road and is open all year around. The lodges are all fully equipped and each has 2 bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and kitchen with stove and refrigerator.

Fishing Camps
Three exclusive 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 a flush toilet and cold shower; running water, a sleeping shelter (with low side walls at Kandahar), cement table with bench and braai unit. Fishing by boat is excellent in these areas.

Camping Sites
For an unforgettable wilderness experience, there are 4 minimum development camping sites available in the Park. Situated on the banks of the Zambezi, these areas are unfenced and completely in the wild and are equipped with a braai stand and bush toilet only. Chundu 1 (25 kilometres upstream from the reception office) and Chundu 2 (26 kilometres) are situated in an acacia forest close to the river’s edge. Chomuzi (40 kilometres) is sited near some rapids and Siamunungu (47 kilometres) is located at the end of the Zambezi River Drive on a particularly lovely stretch of the river. Each camp can accommodate a maximum of 12 people.

Picnic Sites
Upstream along the Zambezi River Drive, there are 25 numbered sites where day visitors may picnic or fish. These sites are attractively situated on the banks of the river and sheltered beneath the beautiful shady riverine vegetation.
Victoria FallsAmenities

The town of Victoria Falls has most modern conveniences and there are several world-class hotels, lodges and restaurants. Supplies of fuel, food and provisions may be found here, as well as hospital facilities and many curio and craft shops.

Last Updated on Wednesday 9th December 2009