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Country Info > Zimbabwe> Visa Info > Travel Tips > Govt & Economy >Zimbabwe National Parks >History & People

Zimbabwe National Parks

1. Victoria Falls National Park

Victoria Falls National ParkThe Victoria Falls constitutes one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world.The sight of millions of gallons of turbulent water cascading over a sheer precipice into narrow gorge a hundred meters below is something nobody can ever forget.

It is considered that the largest curtain of falling water in the world, measuring slightly over 1.7km in width and draws visitors from all over the world. Victoria Falls has dozens of viewpoints that are reached by paths through the rainforest, which grows in the area of the spray.This volume of water is greatest in April and May though photographers get better pictures, and keep their cameras dry when the river is less full.

Victoria Falls is a one-hour hop by air from Harare, and less than an hour from Bulawayo.
The local people who led David Livingstone to this magical place in 1855 call it "Mosi-oa-Tanya". The Smoke That Thunders can be seen 70km away. "Scenes so lovely, must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight," said David Livingstone.

It has become the premier adventure resort of Southern Africa with adventurers coming from all over the world to experience the white water rafting classified as the best waterfall in the world, rafts break their way through rapids graded as high as 5 (6beingum - navigable) through the deep gorges of the mighty Zambezi River.

Visitors can fly over the falls in a variety of aircrafts including helicopters and micro light or do bungee jumping from the bridge above the gorge. Canoeing and Kayaking on the upper Zambezi River is a magical experience that brings one much closer to nature. Here visitors have the time to enjoy the bird life and varied vegetation and to sit silently watching the animals come down to drink and play in shallow waters.

A night spent on the banks of the upper Zambezi on a canoeing safari or down in the brooding gorges whilst rafting, is a never to be forgotten experience.The African sun setting and rising, the camp fire and the stories of your professional guides, enrich, even further the adventurers unique bush experience.

For those visitors not wanting an active adventure there is the pleasure of cruising down the Zambezi with a chilled drink in hand, watching hippo as the sunsets behind gentle swaying palm trees. A walk in the nearby Zambezi National Park with a professional guide, or game drive in a special constructed game viewing vehicle will open up a new experience for the visitors.

Fishing from the banks of the river is a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours or for the keener angler, a full day out in a fishing boat could easily result in a good catch. Game viewing can also be done on horseback or by hiring a mountain bike.Zimbabwe's popular safari train, Rail Safari pulls in and out of Victoria Falls, as do the famous Rovos Rail and Pride of Africa. Entertainment after dark includes traditional music, dance and casino.

2. Hwange National Park

Hwange National ParkHwange the largest of Zimbabwe National Parks, covers an area of more than 14 000 square kilometres, the size of Wales in the United Kingdom.It was declared a Game Reserve in 1928 and through a careful management system over the years; the small wildlife nucleus has grown into large herds that now roam the game park.

The National Park is estimated to have more than 40 000 elephants most visitors to the park always enjoy to watch. Hwange is also home to a wide range of other species, one of the most rare being the wild dog (or painted hunting dog) that through the efforts of a dedicated team of experts are once again breeding and growing in big numbers.

The magnificent Sable Antelope, Zebra, Eland, Kudu and Water buck, the bad tempered buffalo, and the tall gracious giraffe are just a few of the animals which are commonly seen on game-viewing drives.Dawn and dusk game drives and observation platforms beside watering holes provide unforgettable scenes of the natural world in its wild state.

Lions on night patrol are a common sight around the luxury hotels and safari lodges on the National Parks perimeter. Anytime is the right time to visit Hwange. Early in the year after the rain season the vegetation is green and lush. Colorful wild flowers carpet the ground and the newly born animals cavort with their parents.

It is also the same time that migratory birds start their long flights home. Later on in the year, when water is sparse the animals converge at water points providing excellent photographic opportunities. There is a good selection of accommodation for visitors, from basic self-catering National Parks Chalets to the more luxurious hotel and safari lodges.

Visitors can choose to sleep in a sophisticated tree - house, in a large airy tent and under thatch or ethnically designed safari lodges, some with game viewing hides and platforms, most with swimming pools. The visitors to Zimbabwe should always expect a high standard of comfort and warm hospitality.

3. Kariba National Park

Kariba National ParkVisit the second largest manmade dam in the world, Kariba, for game viewing, Fishing boat cruises and other water activities. Originally only a river running through the land populated by the Tonga. It took 10 000 men four years to build the dam. 87 men lost their lives, 18 of which fell into the concrete and 4 still remain in the wall.

Kariba contains over a million cubic metres of concrete and 11 000 tones of steel and stands 126 metres high. The lake is 290km long, 32km at its widest and has a minimum depth of 120metres. The Queen Mother officially opened it in 1960.

A church with all names o the people who died during the construction was built as a symbol of respect. Pay a visit to the nearby Batonga village for undiluted culture and traditions, what with the myth of Nyaminyami "The river god". It's not all; get into the ferryboat across the mighty Zambezi to Mlibizi. You will love the experience.

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