First proclaimed a non-hunting reserve in 1958, the National Park was gazetted to give sanctuary to wildlife driven out of the Zambezi Valley by the rising waters of Lake Kariba.
Together with the neighbouring Chete Safari Area, Chizarira is the fourth largest wildlife estate in Zimbabwe, covering almost 300,000 hectares.
The Chizarira escarpment rises 500 metres from the Zambezi Valley floor and extends southwards in a series of rolling hills and valleys to eventually merge with the low-lying Busi region. Springs and seeps provide water and surprisingly lush pockets of vegetation are hidden between long ridges of mountain acacias and Prince-of-Wales feathers. To reach the area requires a 4×4 drive inland from the western edge of Lake Kariba.
Major Attractions: The rocky terrain is excellent for animals that thrive in that kind of environment, such as klipspringer – often found standing like statues on balancing rocks. The rock hyrax is very common but usually noticeable only while scurrying away as one of the many raptors, such as black eagle, passes overhead. Leopard also loves this habitat and sightings of these elusive predators are remarkably frequent.
Wildlife: Chizarira National Park is one of the country’s wildest and remotest regions. Superb walking country, it boasts good wildlife and excellent birding. As it’s so difficult to reach and logistically difficult to supply, it has always had very few visitors and most people visit the area in self-contained safari vehicles.
There is a good variety of wildlife in the park, but animal densities are rather low. Animals tend to be skittish due to poaching issues. Chizarira is home to elephant and buffalo. The park was once a stronghold for black rhino, but they have become locally extinct.
Zebra, greater kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck and impala are all quite common. Roan antelope and grysbok are rare but might be spotted as well. Lion and spotted hyena are around but are more often heard than seen.
Where to Stay: Chizarira Wilderness Lodge is currently closed and is therefore not an option for visitors to Chizarira National Park. We will continue to monitor the situation with the lodge and update this write up as soon as there are any developments.
Chizarira National Park is very remote, and therefore 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 of 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.