The Falls-not just an adrenaline pumping destination!

Photos and article by: Lesanne Dunlop

A mere 5 kilometres from the centre of town, the Park is an absolute must-see experience. Teeming with game and boasting unbelievable birdlife, it’s a wonder that this Park isn’t inundated by people, but that is the absolute beauty of it!

The National Parks fees are very reasonable: $5 for locals, $12 for SADC residents and $15 for internation-als. After you have paid you have the place to yourself to spend the day, stay the night, drive, walk or even canoe.

If you enjoy fishing there are 76 species of fish found along the banks of the River, where four fishing spots allocated by the National Park also offer camping fa-cilities. If you want to do a quick day trip, throw a rod in the water, splash in the rapids or simply sip a G&T under a fig tree, you can choose from 25 picnic sites.

Go with a guide on a game drive or on foot and observe some of the 400 different species of birds that live in this area. The rare Pel’s fishing owl has been spotted, along with other riverine specials, such as the African Finfoot and Collared Palm-thrush. The wildlife in this area is also fantastic. You’ll certainly see something fabulous on your excursion, be it various species   of antelope, large herds of elephant or buffalo and maybe even a leopard. A painted dog pack which recently had pups, can also be found roaming around on occasion!

A couple of nights’ camping is also a thrilling experi-ence. Lying in your tent, tightly wrapped up in a sleeping bag, you hear the ever powerful rumbling of the Falls, a nightjar whistling away, a cackling hyena in the distance and, if you’re lucky, the shuddering roar of a lion downstream!

Another wonderful way to see the Park is by water. Various companies in Victoria Falls offer multi- day ca-noe trips, where you can paddle the River by day and camp in the Park by night. Just watch out for those ever- opportunistic crocodiles and hippos!

What’s unique about the Park is that in five minutes you can go from being in the middle of Vic Falls town to the middle of the bush, and not just any bush, it’s extremely diverse in flora and fauna.  You move from the Mopane woodland on basalt to Kalahari sandveld, to grassland in the south of the Park. Then of course you have the River, which is not just any River; it’s the Zambezi!

So for those who are apprehensive about the adren-aline junkie activities, give them a skip, and your heart a rest. Whether you’re an avid birder, on a mission to see the Big Five or enjoy a spot of fishing, the Zambezi National Park is a unique, beautiful part of Victoria Falls that shouldn’t be missed.

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