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



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Zimbabwe has 16 official languages: English, Shona, Ndebele, Shangani, Sotho, Venda, Kalanga, Nambya, Chewa, sign language, Tonga, Chibarwe, Ndau, Tswana, Koisan, and Xhosa. Shone, Ndebele and English are the most widely spoken languages. While travelling in Zimbabwe in tourist areas you’ll find a lot of people who speak English. ...

Zimbabwe in March

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Wildlife in Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe in October

Nicknamed “Suicide Month” for its brutally hot temperatures, October is the hottest month of the year, with day time temperatures sometimes peaking above 40C. It’s the last month of the dry season, so wildlife viewing is at its best, and it’s the ideal time to see huge herds of elephant in Hwange National Park. ...

What to pack for Zimbabwe

Bring all the medication you need to take for your whole trip from home. You should also bring along a comprehensive first aid kit that includes antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidiarrheal medication, antibacterial ointment, antimalarial tablets, rehydration electrolyte sachets, insect spray and repellent, water purification tablets and bandages. ...

Family safari in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s astounding natural wonders, untamed wilderness areas, abundant wildlife and plethora of exciting outdoors activities and adventures make it a wonderful choice for a family holiday. In the country’s most popular destinations, you’ll find a host of family-friendly lodging options, from well-equipped campsites, rustic lodges and self-catering chalets to luxury camps.…

Travelling as a couple in Zimbabwe

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Your health in Zimbabwe

There’s a high risk of malaria in most of Zimbabwe, and the highest risk months are during the rainy season from October to May. Consult your doctor or travel clinic about getting malaria prophylactics before your trip. Even if you do take prophylactics, you should take care not to be bitten. To prevent mosquito bites, always use repellent on your skin and clothes, wear long trousers…

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