Travellers flock to the north-east corner of Zimbabwe to tick off their bucket list and view one of the World’s 7 Natural Wonders, the Victoria Falls. The famous falls are a wonder to behold and visitors can experience it by land, water and air. There are also a host of activities around the falls from bungee jumping to sunset cruises. Once travellers have exhausted their options they may want to explore the region further, here are 5 destinations to combine with a trip to Victoria Falls:
- Hwange National Park
Zimbabwe’s largest national park and home to over 30 000 elephants. Hwange National Park is generally considered to be the most mammal diverse park in Africa with over 108 species. This is because it is the transition zone between the Kalahari and the Mopane Woodland of Zimbabwe. The park has super herds of up to 350 elephants that can be observed at the man made waterholes dotted throughout the park. Hwange is only 3 hours from Victoria Falls and is absolutely not to be missed on a visit to Zimbabwe.
- Mana Pools
There are very few places in Africa where you can have a safari on a major river like at Mana Pools. The park is a World Heritage Site and is known for excellent wildlife viewing beside the river and in the flood plains. The animal density, especially elephant and buffalo are very high in this area, while visitors can also see plenty of lion, leopard and wild dog.
- Kariba Dam
Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake (by volume, not surface area), covering almost 5,600 square kilometers and this vast expanse of fresh water is home to some fantastic fish species including the famous Tigerfish, as well as Tilapia bream, Catfish, and the mighty Vundu. For most of the year, Lake Kariba is truly one of the greatest places in Africa for fishing.
The birdlife is prolific as well with in excess of 240 species having been identified. Of particular interest are the many different species of waterfowl seen busying the shoreline or perched on one of the putrefied and partially submerged trees that have stood since the creation of the lake some 50 years ago. These airy trees, remnants of great hardwood forests, provide homes for bats and insects, vantage points and nesting sites for fish eagles, darters, cormorants and kingfishers.
Zambia is just on the other side of the Falls, in fact, the Falls and the Zambezi River form a natural border. It’s possible to get an entirely different view of the Victoria Falls on that side. The small tourist town of Livingstone is named after the famous explorer and first European to see the Falls, David Livingstone. The market here is a bit less frantic than the one in Vic Falls. Travellers who venture further up into Zambia also have some exciting safari options with unique boutique lodges to stay at. Don’t forgot to try the local Mosi beer, named after the local name for Victoria Falls “Mosi Oa Tunya” The Smoke That Thunders.
Visitors to Vic Falls can also combine their trip with a visit to Chobe, Botswana. There are full day trips to Chobe as well as overnight camping trips. Guests can visit the Chobe River and stay right on the banks of the river, not to be missed is a makoro ride on the river for excellent birdwatching as well as other wildlife viewing. The Chobe area has special significance as it is where four African countries meet: Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The close proximity to Victoria Falls International Airport, Livingstone International Airport, and Kasane International Airport makes it easily accessible, with daily road transfers or charter flights connecting all these airports with Chobe.