“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH
Victoria Falls National Park
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Victoria Falls National Park is located within the town and includes the Victoria Falls Rain Forest, a unique diversity of flora and fauna, and the major viewing points of one of the most spectacular natural seven wonders of the world.
Zambezi National Park
The Zambezi National Park is located upstream from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, stretching for some 50 kilometres along the Zambezi river. Split off from the Victoria Falls National Park in 1979, the 56,000 hectares of pristine wilderness and wildlife habitat has been a National Park in its own right ever since. The park is home to a variety of larger mammal species including lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and several antelope species such as eland, kudu, waterbuck, impala and Zimbabwe’s national animal, the majestic sable.
KAZA Transfrontier Conservation Area
Victoria Falls sits centrally as the hub to the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, a world-class transfrontier conservation and tourism destination area in the Okavango and Zambezi River Basin regions of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This vast expanse is richly endowed with a great diversity of ecosystems and landscapes, and provides both range and opportunity for extensive species diversity.
Africa’s fourth largest river, The Zambezi, takes centre stage in the landscape surrounding Victoria Falls. Not only does it cascade over the basalt cliffs creating the waterfall that gives the area it’s name but it also provides life-giving sustenance to the multitudes of flora and fauna species that adorn it’s banks as it meanders alogn it’s 2,500km long journey towards the Indian Ocean.
The Upper Zambezi river margins support a lush forest fringe, offering shade and shelter for bushbuck and duiker, whilst waterberry trees overhang the river and provide perches for the kingfishers, herons and fish eagles. Wildlife is regularly seen drinking along river bank in the late afternoons. Along the river, pods of hippo wallow during the day, emerging from their watery retreats at night to graze along the riverbanks.
Apart from riverine bands running along the Zambezi where the erosive power of the river has formed a depression, the majority of the landscape surrounding Victoria Falls is dominated by Teak Woodlands which thrive on the fragile Kalahari Sands present in the area. These forests have a marked seasonality of plant production, growth and reproduction, driven directly or indirectly by the strongly seasonal rainfall and the biomass of herbivore activity.
Chamabondo Vlei forms part of the southern section of Zambezi National Park and stretches for 25 kilometers. The terrain is completely different to that of the river section of the park, where roads leading down the ancient sand-dunes arrive into the open grassland depression of the vlei Over the years with the collaborative work done by Zimparks, Bhejane Trust and Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit, the Chamabondo Vlei has flourished with a diversity of wildlife and become a popular game drive for those visiting Victoria Falls.
Together with Zimparks, Bhejane Trust established a number of solar pumped boreholes in and along the Chamabondo Vlei and other inland areas of the park to alleviate pressure along the river frontage during the dry season, and to ensure that during years of drought, there would be alternative sources of water for wildlife. The pumped waterholes have allowed for wider distribution of wildlife throughout the park, some of which have now become permanent residents in these inland areas.
The region forms an essential and vital role to the KAZA Transfrontier Conservation Area, and contains a number of important wildlife corridors connecting protected wildlife landscapes which prevents the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity that often occur within isolated populations. Corridors may also help facilitate the re-establishment of populations that have been reduced or eliminated due to random events such as fires and disease outbreaks.
A variety of different species call the urban Victoria Falls environment their home, having adapted their behaviour to fit in with, and in some cases become dependant on, human activity for their survival. Bushbuck, Warthog, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys and other species have all taken up residence in the town and, for the most part, co-exist harmoniously with the human inhabitants