T0p 10 Best Zimbabwe National Parks And Game reserves .
Top 10Best National parks and game reserves in zimbabwe include, Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, and Victoria Falls National Park and among others, with the highest concentration of tourist during peak hours. Lesser-known gems such as Nyanga National Park and Matusadona National Park have just as much to offer dollar for dollar
The country boasts of beautiful natural sceneries and prolific wildlife from its abundant game reserves
In this guide, I have rounded up the best Zimbabwe national parks that should be on your bucket list. These are some parks that combine huge game density, spectacular view sand other natural attractions.
The parks have game reserves that will definitely offer you a once in a lifetime safari experience over your next safari or game viewing destination. Without further ado, here are the top 10 Zimbabwe National Parks:
1. Hwange National Park
Hwange is the largest and most famous of the Zimbabwe national parks. The game park not only boasts of rich wildlife but also excellent animal viewing experience.
Hwange is best known for its vast population of the different wildlife animals most especially the big five and these include; lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo. I recommend you visit the park during the dry season when you can easily spot leopards near the river banks and wells.
The park’s proximity to Victoria Falls makes it perfect for adventure seekers.
2. Mana Pools National Park
Located below Lake Kariba, Mana pools’ exotic beauty is the reason it has made it to the
With more than 43 miles (70km) of the Zambezi river passing through the park, the river forms pools of water, and that is where the name, Mana Pools, comes from.
The park has a unique ecosystem that supports a vast range of wildlife. It is one of the Zimbabwe national parks that boasts of a massive population of elephants and buffalos. You will also see African hippos, crocodiles, and almost 400 species of water and woodland birds.
The park is best explored by canoes or foot. Note that the park is only open during the dry season (April – November).
3. Victoria Falls National Park
This park is home to the great Victoria waterfalls and includes the Zambian side as well.
Victoria Falls is one of the largest and most magnificent waterfalls on earth. In comparison to the famous Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls is significantly bigger (twice as high and 1.5 times as broad). As a result, Victoria Falls is referred to as one of the seven wonders of the world.
A famous feature of the park is the rainforest. Trees grow in the spray of the falls, including ferns, palms, liana vines, and a number of trees such as mahogany not seen elsewhere in the region.
You will have an opportunity to view elephants, Cape buffalos, southern white rhinoceros, hippopotamus, eland and a variety of other antelope herds during tour drives and walking safaris.
If you are fortunate, a bask of crocodiles may be seen in the river. While you’re there, be sure to check out the nearby crocodile habitat which offers a safer view of these dangerous animals.
4. Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park forms the core of Matobo or Matopos Hills covering over 10,600 acres of land.
Matobo is not only a game park but also one of the Zimbabwe national parks heritage site for Zimbabweans. The park hosts the grave of king muzilikazi and cecil Rodes.
Although the high volume of tourists visiting the park in recent years, its scenic view is still one of the best and remains undiluted.
The Matobo National Park is home to the towering granite rocks above the vast plains. If you are looking for rock art, Matobo is one of the places where you will find Bushman rock art sites.
Also, there are over 175 bird and 39 snake species in the park. As a matter of fact, this is one of the Zimbabwe national parks where a self-drive trip is allowed.
5. Zambezi National Park
Located next to Victoria Falls on the Zambezi valley, the Zambezi is one of the smallest Zimbabwe national parks. Notwithstanding, this park is one of the scenic game reserves in Zimbabwe.
The park boasts of the scenic Zambezi River filled with opportunities to see the magnificent giant African hippo and crocodiles.
During your safari drive into the park, you will likely see elephants, buffalos, giraffes, and zebras. Zambezi national park is also home to a variety of antelopes including the waterbuck, sable, and impala. Zambezi National Park should not be overlooked because it is a great park to visit.
6. Gonarezhou National Park
Bordering the iconic Limpopo National park in Mozambique and South Africa’s Kruger National park, Gonarezhou National Park offers astounding safari experience. The name ‘Gonarezhou’ translates into ‘place of elephants’ because it has a massive population of elephants.
Its rugged and beautiful sceneries are reasons why thousands of tourists flock to visit this park-all-year-round.
The fact that the park borders Kruger and Limpopo game reserves mean that it enjoys an abundant variety of wildlife, and a perfect destinationfor a safari trip.
The park is also home to all the Big Five game animals, lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo, and also an excellent birding destination. If you are looking for a walking safari, then look no further! Although often overlooked, Gonarezhou is worth your time .
7. Nyanga National Park
Nyanga is in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. It is one of the Zimbabwe national parks that are not well known when compared to the others.
This park is the source of the big rivers that form the spectacular cascade, the iconic Pungwe falls.
During your visit, check out the vistas, gorges, lakes, and valleys in Nyanga National Park. The park offers incredible hiking and mountain climbing experience for adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies.
Very often you will come across herds of antelopes, and troops of monkeys. The park is also an excellent birding destination for your Zimbabwe travel.
This game park is located on the shores of Lake Karibu and is best accessed using a boat.
If you’ve been to Matusadona national park, the one thing you’ll love about this game reserve is the presence of all the Big Five game animals. So if you are looking to see during your trip to Zimbabwe, then this is one of the parks you should have on your bucket list.
8. Chizarira National Park
Chizarira is one of the Zimbabwe national parks that boast of most of the Big Five game animals apart from the rhinoceros.
Although the wildlife density is not huge, the terrain is perfect for a good view; another reason why Chizarira is on the list.
If you are looking forward to an excellent sight of the elusive cat (leopard), Chizarira national park is the place to be.
One last thing; do you love walking safari? If your answer is yes, then the beautiful, dramatic, and rugged scenery at this game park offers the best experience. The only caveat is that there is no accommodation in the park. Be sure to check out alternative accommodations below.
9. Kazuma Pan National Park
If you are looking for an adventure, then Kazuma Pan-national park is one of the best destinations.
The park is an ornithologist’s paradise due to its vast species of water birds. Its remote and preserved wilderness is one of the reasons why tourists flock the park. Bird watching, camping, and game drives are some of the popular activities in the park.
However Zambabwe also has the following games reserves.
These game reserves are open to the public and they are good places for day outings or camp weekends, Nature tours or wilderness excursions. Here is our pick of the main wilderness places of interest in Harare and its environments.
Umfurudzi Park is located in Madziwa in Mashonaland Central, approximately155 kilometres from Harare. It is a large park which was opened in 1981. Umfurudzi is home to several animal species such as Buffalo, antelope, and zebra. It boasts of a diverse environmental profile with granite outcrops, grassy plains which make distinct walking trails, Mopane woodland, and several small rivers run through it.
Activities on offer include; Game drives, Nature walks, Camping, Fishing, Picnics, Swimming, Hiking and Elephant Interactions.
11.Hippo Pools Wilderness Camp
Hippo Pools is a private wildlife camp situated in the Umfurudzi Game Park. It is a nature unbound location with wide open space, clean air and picturesque views of the Mazowe River. There are several interesting leisure activities for children and adults and it is just a great place to go when you want to escape from it all. Activities include Fishing, Biking, Nature walks, Birding, Game walks and Horse riding. Besides the animals in, the park there is much to see including, Bushman rock paintings, the Big Baobab tree and so on. For lunch and refreshments, there is a bar and restaurant open to guests. Visitors should note that there are National Park fees to be paid at the Park entrance.
12.Wild is Life
Wild is Life is an Animal Sanctuary which houses orphaned, abandoned and distressed wild animals that need a home. They have a rehabilitation programme which nurses the animals back to health and gives them a home, and in some cases finding similar feathered friends for companionship. The Centre is well known for its Elephant Nursery but they have opened their doors to monkeys, giraffe, cheetahs, lions and other types of animals. Visitors to wild is life will have the opportunity to have close encounters with the animals, take a tour of the Sanctuary and later relax and take refreshments. It is a Non-profit organisation and guests can hear more about how to assist the trust in their work. An afternoon at Wild is Life will be eye-opening and is definitely great fun for young and old.
13.Imire Game Reserve
Imire Game Park is a Wildlife conservancy area that is coupled with Imire Lodge and Bush Camp. It is a lovely location for a weekend in the heart of nature, where you can enjoy some peace. Imire is located just over one hundred kilometres outside Harare, therefore, it is perfect for day trips with the family. Imire offers accommodation on a self-catering or full board basis. They have the capacity for groups as well and the rates for overnighters include a few activities. A day trip pass includes; a game drive, lunch and refreshments. Animals to look out for in the park are rhinos, zebra, lions and elephants. Their exciting activities include horseback safari, Fishing, Walk with rhinos, cave exploring, bird watching and nature walks.
Kuimba Shiri is a Private Bird Park that is located within the Lake Chivero Recreational Park. The only park of its kind, (in Zimbabwe) Kuimba Shiri is the perfect place for birders to visit and see some rare species and enjoy a relaxing yet informative day outing. Some birds that have been sighted include; Falcons, swallows, weavers etc. A day visit is suitable for the whole family as there is room for the children to play.
Visitors to the park can choose from the variety of activities on offer such as Fishing, boating, game viewing and Horse riding. The park offers accommodation facilities in the form of chalets and a campsite which is ideal for school groups or clubs. They also have a small conference centre which can accommodate up to 20 people. On a day trip, guests can sit down to some lunch at the Admiral Cabin Restaurant.
15.Lion Park and Snake World
The Lion Park and snake World or Lion and Cheetah Park as it is commonly known is a popular park which has been open for over 20 years. The park comprises a Lion enclosure a Snake section and a game park which can be accessed from private vehicles. Visitors can drive through the park to see the wildlife which lives uncaged in the park. The park is open daily including Holidays. There is a kiosk which sells snacks, drinks and fast food but guests are welcome to have picnics or barbeques.
16.Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary
Twala Animal Sanctuary is located in the Goromonzi area, just an hour drive from the capital. It is a private property which focuses on animal rehabilitation. Twala is a home to a variety of animals that were rescued from one misfortune or another. Some of the animals housed at Twala are; cats, donkeys, squirrels, lions, birds, monkeys, antelope and so forth. After rehabilitation, some of the wild animals are released back into the wild. The animals dwell in various enclosures but many of them have managed to bond and play together like a big happy family. Visitors should expect some friendly ones who freely mingle with humans. There is a picnic area where guests can enjoy the afternoon. Bookings are essential for a visit to the sanctuary and the number of visitors is limited for the sake of the animals.
Bally Vaughan Bird and Game Sanctuary is a game ranch and animal rescue centre. The centre is situated around 23 kilometres outside of Harare along the Shamva Road. It has operated as a conservation and rehabilitation centre since the 90. It is more than just a place where people can visit to view animals as Mwanga Lodge is a fully fledged retreat which offers bed and board for those who would like to stay longer. Bally Vaughan has extremely affordable gate fees and it perfect for school trips or group retreats. It is open for day visitors who can enjoy guided game drives, lunch and refreshments. They can also host small events such as Birthday parties. Visitors are free to bring their own picnic baskets or have braais. Other leisure activities at Bally Vaughan are canoeing, elephant rides, close encounters with the animals when guests can feed the predators.
18 .Chengeta & Pamuzinda Safari Lodges
Chengeta and Pamuzinda Safari Lodges are luxury lodges located over 70 kilometres from Harare on the Bulawayo Road. A part of the Dunhu Ramambo group, these two lodges are uniquely placed in this bush setting which makes them appealing to many. They both provide accommodation facilities as well as banqueting for conferences and weddings.
The lodges have all the makings of urban luxury, with features like a Jacuzzi, Satellite television, luxury rooms and modern bathrooms.
They make it on our list as they also make great places for a day trip with family or loved ones. A time to take in some fresh air, appreciate wilderness beauty in the flora and fauna as well as take part in some fun activities. The activities to look out for are Elephant Interaction, Horseback safari, Lion Encounters, Fishing, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Canoeing, game drives and Nature walks. There is so much to do for the young and old and the day visitors can enjoy a great lunch at the lodge and recharge before more activities later in the day.
20.Mbizi Game reserve
Mbizi Game Lodge is a comfortable home away from home that is nestled in a wilderness paradise. The lodge is an old farmhouse converted to accommodate nature lovers who want to spend the day enjoying the outdoors and then spend the night. The park has a number of different animals such as zebra, kudu, warthog and giraffe. Besides game viewing, there are several outdoor pastimes for relaxation at Mbizi. These are; Fishing, Picnicking, Horseback safari, Bush walks, (including exploration of old ruins and cave paintings) and Canoeing. Over- nighters can choose to stay at the lodge where rates include all meals or the self-catering section, the bush cottages.
This list is by no means exhaustive and each park has its own unique qualities. We encourage our readers to go explore for themselves but most importantly to enjoy!