Surrounded by 35 national parks and game reserves across five countries, Victoria Falls is central to the finest wildlife estate in the world - commonly known as Southern Africa.
In Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, there is the Zambezi National Park, while across the border in Livingstone, Zambia, is Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Slightly further afield but within a two-hour drive of Victoria Falls, is Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and Chobe National Park in Botswana.
Zambezi National Park
So close to the Victoria Falls that one can see the spray of water in the distance is the Victoria Falls River Lodge, a private game lodge in the Zambezi National Park.
“Our guests seldom have to travel too far from their private decks, as the lush foliage around camp offers ample opportunity to enjoy a spectacular array of animal and birdlife,” says South African Representative, Kim Beyers.
Trained field guides offer several safari options with a choice of two game-viewing activities – namely morning and afternoon game drives and sunrise and sunset river cruises.
Additionally, the lodge’s proximity to the Zambezi River permits waterborne activities. A canoe safari is one option, with guests being accompanied by specialised river guides. Fishing from a private jetty or a boat is another, suitable for both novice and experienced anglers. The Zambezi hosts over 75 fish species, the most renowned being the ferocious Tiger Fish, which keen anglers hope to catch.
Victoria Falls River Lodge is birder heaven, with more than 400 species recorded in a comparatively small area around the Falls. Birding enthusiasts are able to view a great diversity of birds within rain forest, riverine, gorge and savannah habitats.
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
A 20 minute drive from the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls is the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which includes among its wealth of game some rare White rhino.
Situated on the banks of the Zambezi River is a boutique owner-run lodge with sweeping views over a river bend, 11 private suites and the opportunity for late afternoon river safaris.
Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma is another Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park lodge, operated by Sanctuary Retreats. Year-round canoeing on the Zambezi is a major game-viewing activity here, and two-hour morning or afternoon trips can often be combined with a game drive in a custom-built safari vehicle, or a boat cruise.
Two-hour walking safaris – conducted at a leisurely pace and accompanied by an armed National Parks Ranger – are also held twice daily at 06h30 or 16h00. The morning walk includes a snack and coffee break, while the late afternoon one winds up at a sundowner spot for drinks and canapés.
Fishing season is from March until the end of November. The sport is done on a ‘catch and release’ basis from the river bank in front of the lodge, or by river boat.
Sundowner cruises, a walking tour of Vic Falls on the Zambian side, and a local school and village tour are included in the stay. At extra cost come options such as a Flight of Angels, Livingstone Island visits, white-water rafting, spa treatments and a tour of the Zimbabwean side of the Falls.