Set in the rugged, beautiful wilderness of the Zambezi Valley escarpment, Chizarira is one of Zimbabwe’s least known parks. The diverse range of habitats found within Chizarira contributes to the wide range of animals and plants that live here. Elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard are common as are kudu, bushbuck and sable. Bird watchers will delight at the sight of crowned eagles, black eagles and Pel’s fishing owl.
A highlight of a visit to Chizarira is a walking safari with a licensed guide. These unrestricted walking safaris are for the nature enthusiast looking for a genuine wilderness experience.
Chizarira’s mild climate is subject to two distinctive periods. The Dry season (April to October) is marked by generally warm days, but the cold nights can test the effectiveness of your thickest clothing. Everything changes with the coming of the very warm Wet season (November to March), especially in October when the park’s lower altitudes bake in temperatures of up to 40°C/104°F.
Chizarira National Park is very remote and difficult to access. It is located in the northwest of the country, just south of Lake Kariba and about 200km/124mi from Victoria Falls. It is at least a four to five-hour drive. The condition of the access roads is often very bad, and a good 4WD is essential. In the Dry season, the road is often a 4WD challenge, with indistinct tracks, washed out river beds and deep ruts, while in the Wet season, the road often becomes impassable.
Your main point of entry into Zimbabwe is Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) located near the town Victoria Falls. Normally, your local tour operator will pick you up at the airport and arrange your further transportation throughout the country as part of your tour.
Elephant and buffalo are regularly seen. There are good populations of antelope including klipspringer, impala, greater kudu and even roan. Lion, leopard and spotted hyena are around and might be seen.
Chizarira is a bird watcher’s paradise and has over 360 species on its checklist. About 70% of Zimbabwe’s birds can be found within the different habitats of the park. The rare Taita falcon is often spotted roosting on the cliffs. The Angola pitta, one of Africa’s most sought after birds, can be found hopping among the undergrowth around the entrance of the park. These Serengeti specials are easy to locate and identify within their restricted range. The grey-breasted spurfowl is a common roadside bird at the Seronera area, in the center of the park. In woodland areas, parties of Fischer's lovebird draw attention to themselves and the rufous-tailed weaver is a fascinating bird placed in its own genus. The other two Serengeti-Mara EBA endemics are the Usambiro barbet and the grey-crested helmet-shrike. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Best Time to Visit
The middle and end of the Dry season (July to October) is best for watching wildlife in Chizarira National Park. Wildlife is more easily seen at this time because the vegetation is thinner and animals gather at water sources. Roads can become impassable during the Wet season.