Hwange Lion © cardamom
There are three primary national parks to explore while on holiday in Vic Falls - the Victoria Falls National Park, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park on the Zambian side of the falls and, about 120 miles (193km) further south, the Hwange National Park. These parks feature a vast selection of wildlife including elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and various antelope; there are also occasional sightings of lion and leopard. There are a number of operators in Vic Falls town offering safaris to these national parks, as well as elephant-back safaris on Nakavango Estate and the 'walking with lions' experience at Masuwe Estate.
The Victoria Falls National Park incorporates the iconic falls - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and is therefore an absolute must for travellers in the region. Apart from the falls, and the gorgeous rainforest beneath, the national park includes varied landscapes populated by diverse game, including the Big Five: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino.
The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is situated along the upper Zambezi River, on the Zambian side, and also incorporates part of Victoria Falls. Travellers will find that crossing the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia at Victoria Falls is generally very pain-free as border officials are totally accustomed to people popping over for a few hours to view both sides of the falls. Naturally both countries want to encourage tourism.
The largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park covers more than 5,637 square miles (14,600 sq km) of land in the western tip of Zimbabwe, near the Kalahari Desert. The park contains large numbers of gemsbok, hyena, African wild dogs, and elephants, and safari lodges within Hwange offer a range of safaris on foot, 4x4, and horseback.