Wildlife in Zimbabwe

hwange national park zimbabwe safari elephants

Northern Zimbabwe is the country’s most popular region for wildlife safaris, as it’s home to a number of game-rich wilderness areas. In the northwest, Hwange National Park is the biggest reserve in the country, conserving one of Africa’s largest elephant populations (an estimated 40 000 animals), as well as the other four of the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo), one of Africa’s biggest wild dog populations, and unusual antelope such as sable and roan. It’s also one of the only places in the country where you can see giraffe.

Next to Zimbabwe’s most visited attraction – Victoria Falls – the Zambezi National Park is a convenient safari destination for visitors to Zimbabwe who are short on time and aren’t able to visit some of the country’s other reserves. The park is home to the Big Four (there are no rhino), as well as a wide range of other animals, from giraffe and wild dog to sable antelope and eland.

buffalo in lake kariba zimbabwe

Also in the north but further east of Hwange, Matusadona National Park lies on the shores of Lake Kariba National Park, and offers fantastic Big Five sightings – particularly buffalo, lion and leopard – as well as the rare roan and sable antelope and lots of hippos and crocodiles in the water.

Near to Matusadona, Mana Pools National Park is a rugged, untamed wilderness area where the game viewing is superb. The park is known for its big herds of elephant, large numbers of buffalo, high density of endangered wild dogs and regular sightings of cheetah, leopard and lion.

wild dogs in zimbabwe wildlife safari

South of Lake Kariba, Chizarira National Park is an off-the-beaten-track wilderness of dramatic gorges and ravines where you can spot four of the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo) as well as some rare antelope, although the density of animals is low, and many people visit the park more for its scenic beauty and walking safaris than for wildlife viewing.

matobo national park in zimbabwe

In southern Zimbabwe, Matobo National Park isn’t a prime wildlife destination (animal density is low, and the park doesn’t have elephant or lion), it does have some highlights: great sightings of white rhino – black rhino is present but harder to spot – the greatest concentration of leopard in the country and more eagle species than anywhere else in the world.

gonarezhou national park birding tour

In remote south-eastern Zimbabwe, Gonarezhou National Park boasts an incredible diversity of animal life: 500 species of birds and 150 mammal species, including growing numbers of wild dogs and lions, rare species such as nyala antelope and 11 000 elephants. It’s also the only park in southern Africa which has all six of the smallest antelope species.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 1 to 3

Arrival in Africa
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 4 to 6

Matusadona National Park
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 7 to 8

Victoria Falls
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 9

Heading home

View Full Itinerary

Popular Zimbabwe Safaris

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

 | 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...

 | Highlights of Botswana Tour de Force (14 days)

Highlights of Botswana Tour de Force (14 days)

The ideal safari to capture Botswana's unrivalled beauty and abundance of flora and fauna through the lens...

 | Wild Zimbabwe Safari (7 days)

Wild Zimbabwe Safari (7 days)

A Zimbabwe safari offers beautiful landscapes and fantastic encounters with wildlife in the famous Hwange National Park and Matusadona 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...

 | Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Zimbabwe Water and Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Discover the wild beauty of Zimbabwe with a luxury safari...

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

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

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

 | Waterfalls and Wildlife: Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park Journey (7 days)

Waterfalls and Wildlife: Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park Journey (7 days)

Experience the smoke that thunders and enjoy spotting elephant, buffalo, lion and hippos on the Chobe River...

 | Best of Namibia, Botswana & Victoria Falls

Best of Namibia, Botswana & Victoria Falls

Travel from enigmatic red sands and surreal pans to rugged coastline and open plains, before exploring pristine waterways and scenic rivers - Kwando, Chobe and lastly, the mighty Zambezi River...

 | 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…

 | Expedition to Zimbabwe and Botswana (8 days)

Expedition to Zimbabwe and Botswana (8 days)

Explore the thundering Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the wildlife wonderland of the Okavango Delta...



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