Mosi oa Tunya National Park | Zambia Travel Tips & Reviews | Africa Point
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Mosi oa Tunya National Park
Victoria Falls, Border of Zambia & Zimbabwe
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Mosi oa Tunya National Park

Snapshot

Hear the roar and watch in awe as the majestic plume of spray rises high into the sky!  Mosi oa Tunya, or The Smoke that Thunders, is the local name for one of the world’s most dramatic Natural Wonders, the stunning Victoria Falls, which form the backdrop to one of Zambia’s most scenic and charming National Parks.  Come for the views, enjoy the action sports, but definitely stay for the wildlife – welcome to Mosi oa Tunya National Park.

 

Best Time to Visit:

This is a year-round destination.
 

How to Get There

Fly into Livingstone International Airport.
Check out the full details below
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Jewel of the Zambezi

The lovely Mosi oa Tunya National Park is a tiny gem of a Park which includes the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls and stretches about 12km up-stream from the Falls, all along the North bank of the Zambezi.  It is just 66km sq, but what it lacks in size is more than compensated for by the delightful wildlife experience it offers, especially for keen photographers.

The Park is divided into two separate areas, The Falls section and the Wildlife section.  In the Wildlife section you are able to drive around the perimeter of the Park in a few hours and are never too far from the very scenic Zambezi River which is an absolute magnet for many species of antelope, Giraffe, Zebra, Buffalo, Elephants and Monkeys, as well as a great number of birds and other small mammals.  Because there are no Big Cats in this Park the animals are very relaxed and there are excellent close-up photo opportunities.

 

 

The Victoria Falls, the Rhino’s and other Highlights

The Victoria Falls (Mosi oa Tunya)

The Falls section of the Park is the main draw-card! You simply have to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site at least once in your life – it is a humbling experience that will remain with you for years!    For one of the most impressive vantage points you can take an exciting walk across the swaying Knife-edge Bridge to a viewpoint where you have the best view of the Eastern Cataract, the Main Falls and the Boiling Pot, where the river makes a turn and heads down the Batoka Gorge.   Some other excellent view points are the Falls Bridge, the Devils Pool and the Lookout Tree.  The Devils Pool is probably the world’s ultimate infinity pool – only accessible in the dry season via a hair-raising walk along the lip of the falls, while the raging waters of the Zambezi crash over the cliffs mere metres away – definitely not for the faint-hearted!

 

The White Rhino

Rhino are critically endangered all over Africa as they are being systematically poached by very determined criminal syndicates, so catching sight of them in the wild is becoming a very special treat.  After having been previously completely wiped-out in Zambia, a group of White Rhino were re-introduced to the region and are now protected and thriving in this Park.  Because this is such a small Park, you have an excellent chance of seeing them, or even being able to track them on foot with a guide.

 

The Bird Life

There is an abundance of up to 750 bird species to keep all the Twitchers happy in Zambia.  The Zambezi River is the lifeblood of the Mosi-oa-Tunya birding environment and the proximity of the river to dry bush on either side provides a great diversity of habitats.  During the wet summer months from September to March the endemic species are supplemented by a profusion of visiting European migrants making this the best time for Birders to visit.  (However, the rising waters sometimes cause ground-nesting species to the leave the area during this wet season).  Some interesting species to look out for include the African Fish Eagle along the river, and Verreaux’s Eagle in the gorges around the Falls.

 

Safaris in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Game Drives - Although it is possible to drive yourself around the Park in a few hours (the terrain is suitable even for sedan cars) you will be missing out on a brilliant wildlife experience if you do not go on one of the organised Game Drives with an experienced guide.  The guides are very knowledgeable about all the animals in the Park and also have a very good idea where to find them!  Game drives usually last about 2,5 hours and are conducted in open-sided 4X4 vehicles to give you a great view and excellent photo opportunities.

 

Walking Safaris - You can also go on a walking safari with an armed guard – an excellent way to see both the larger and smaller animals at a relaxed pace.  It is possible that you may be able to track the Rhino and watch them from a safe distance. Just across the border lie numerous other National Parks in Botswana and Zimbabwe, making Mosi-oa-Tunya a great starting point for a multi-country Safari into Big-Five territory.

 

 

Other Activities

Horse-riding trails – keen equestrians can enjoy riding through the forest and wilderness areas, crossing rivers and camping along the banks of the Zambezi – one of the most amazing ways to enjoy the natural beauty of this outstanding region.

 

Adventure Activities – there are enough Thrills and Spills activities to keep the most energetic and fearless endlessly entertained.  Try White-water rafting, Bungee and Gorge Swings, overnight Canoe safaris and Micro-light flights over the Falls.  For the slightly less brave there are relaxing sundowner cruises on the River or Helicopter flights over the Falls.

 

History and Culture – if you would like to increase your knowledge of the history of the area and the culture of the local people there are quite a few activities to choose from.  You could visit the “Old Drift”, where the earliest settlers lived prior to 1904 and see the Old Drift cemetery where many found their final resting place. There is also a tour of The Falls Bridge which includes a rare chance to walk on the catwalks below the bridge and learn all about its’ construction.  (This is on the Zimbabwean side of the border, so bring along your passport – no visa or border-crossing fee is applicable if you are going on the tour, and you will also get to see the full width of the Falls from the Zimbabwe side).  Finally, you can visit a local village to learn about the culture of the local people and buy some of their beautiful crafts.

 

 

Accommodation in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Because this is a semi-urban National Park – it borders the town of Livingstone – there are a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, both in the town and on the River.  The River-front lodges and camps near the Park are set in idyllic positions with wonderful views of the river and the wildlife along the banks. For the ultimate in luxury try Tongabezi Safari Lodge, just upstream from the Falls, where each cottage has a private river-frontage terrace – perfect for honeymooners.

 

 

Best Time to Visit

The falls are at their spectacular best from May to June after the summer rains, however many viewpoints will be too misty for good vision and photography at this time of year (aerial views are wonderful!), and fewer water-based activities are available.  The best time to visit is generally from around July to September, when there is less mist, more action activities, and the Elephants cross the river from Zimbabwe.   Birding is best in summer, from October to March.  

 

 

How to Get There

You can fly into Livingstone International Airport from South African and London and there are daily connections to Lusaka.  Alternatively you can fly into Victoria Falls and cross the border into Zambia at the Zambezi Bridge.  Visitors arriving overland from Botswana, Namibia and Angola can cross into Zambia on the pontoon at Kazungula.


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