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What wildlife can I see in Victoria Falls?

While you explore the paths around Victoria Falls, you’ll be able to spot many birds – look out for hornbills, fork-tailed drongos, African paradise flycatchers and Goliath herons – and some mammals in the lush forest under the spray of the falls, such as chacma baboons, vervet monkeys, banded mongooses and if you’re lucky, warthog and elusive bushbuck. Hotels on either side of the falls also attract animals including warthogs, zebra and giraffe to graze on their manicured lawns, so depending on where you stay, wildlife spotting can actually be done from the comfort of your balcony. For more wildlife and big game, there are two national parks, one in Zimbabwe and one in Zambia, where you can do a variety of safari experiences.

The African paradise flycatcher can be seen in and around Vic Falls

On the Zimbabwean side of the falls, the Zambezi National Park has the Big Four (only rhino are missing), as well as many more animals in beautiful mopane woodland and forest landscapes, including African wild dog, giraffe, waterbuck, bushbuck, impala and sable antelope, and lots of hippo and crocodile in the river. It’s easy to drive yourself around the park, but you can also do walking safaris accompanied by a guide, which will get you to close to animals on foot.

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia, while the smallest in the country at only 23 square kilometres, boasts an impressive range of species, including buffalo, elephant, Burchell’s zebra, giraffe, bushbuck, and sable antelope. The star highlight of the park is tracking white rhino (which were reintroduced from South Africa) on foot. Rhino are absent from many parks, so this is a great chance to see them, and tracking these fascinating creatures is a memorable and thrilling experience you won’t easily forget.

Sable antelope strikes a majestic figure amidst the stark bush

Birding is a highlight of a trip to Victoria Falls: 470 species of birds have been recorded in both these parks and in the Victoria Falls area, including Pel’s fishing owl, African skimmers, Taita falcon, African finfoot, Verreaux’s eagle, African fish eagle, Miombo pied barbet, collared palm thrush, Lanner falcon, Goliath heron, osprey and half-collared kingfisher.

The Zambezi River is home to more than 75 species of fish, including the famous tiger fish: fishing trips on the river allow anglers to try their hand at catching this toothy predator. Meanwhile, relaxing river cruises and canoeing trips (which can be multi-day adventures) in both Zimbabwe and Zambia are a great way of seeing the area’s wildlife, including hippos and crocodiles in the water, elephants drinking and bathing on the banks, antelopes and lots of birds.

A hippo basks on the banks of a waterhole

Only an hour’s drive away from Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s flagship reserve and one of the top safari destinations in Africa, home to 40 000 elephants, as well as buffalo, rhino, leopard and lion, one of the continent’s largest African wild dog populations, and antelope such as roan and sable. The park is easily accessible and can be explored in a sedan car – you don’t need to rent a 4x4.

Less than 100 kilometres away from the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, just over the border in northern Botswana, Chobe National Park has one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in Africa and, with 50 000 pachyderms, the largest elephant population in the world. There’s plenty more to see, from the rest of the Big Five to roan and sable antelope, cheetah and hyenas, wild dog and zebra.

Cheetah play during a brief thunderstorm

Both Chobe and Hwange are popular safari destinations to combine with a trip to Victoria Falls, but if you’re short on time, you can also do day trips to both parks from either Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or Livingstone in Zambia.

Popular Victoria Falls Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Luxurious Cape Town and Victoria Falls Tour (8 days)

Luxurious Cape Town and Victoria Falls Tour (8 days)

Two countries in 8 days may seem like a lot but with this well thought out itinerary you will see some of the regions most iconic destinations without feeling like you are rushing through it…

Boating on the Chobe River | Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park...

 | Journey through the Highlights of Southern Africa (13 days)

Journey through the Highlights of Southern Africa (13 days)

Exploring these areas of the Southern African continent should on top of your bucket list...

 | Botswana and Zimbabwe’s World Wonders (7 days)

Botswana and Zimbabwe's World Wonders (7 days)

Experience the best of Africa, from the Okavango Delta – to the diverse game viewing at the Chobe National Park and ending at the thundering Victoria Falls...

 | Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Africa safari adventure will take you to the tip of the African continent...

 | Victoria Falls and Chobe Encounter (5 days)

Victoria Falls and Chobe Encounter (5 days)

Encounter the smoke that thunders and explore the land of giants in the Chobe National Park...

 | Affordable Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls Luxury Safari (10 days)

Affordable Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls Luxury Safari (10 days)

Visit the most popular destinations in Southern Africa on this luxury tour for the budget-conscious...

 | Jewels of Zimbabwe and Zambia Safari (9 days)

Jewels of Zimbabwe and Zambia Safari (9 days)

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools ...

 | Wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe (10 days)

Wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe (10 days)

Why not visit more than one exciting African destination? See the Great Migration, Victoria Falls and wildlife-rich Hwange National Park...

Victoria Falls | Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Combine water and wildlife in a journey that takes you from the Victoria Falls to Kafue and South Luangwa national parks – Zambia at its best...

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