Wildlife Activities

The principal wildlife activity has to be a game drive through the local Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

Although small by Zambian standards, the Park is replete with game, although lacking the presence of predators such as big cats.

Providing much more direct contact with wildlife are the opportunities to ride elephant-back, and walk in the bush with lions and cheetahs, albeit we have reservations about these..

Game Viewing in Mosi-oa-Tunya    ($50)

Game viewing by vehicle is of course the major African safari experience, and the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Livingstone, although much smaller than Zambia's other National Parks, nevertheless offers a wonderful game-viewing opportunity. Encompassing The Falls themselves, and stretching some 12 kms along the riverbanks of the upper Zambezi, it is home to wildlife such as buffalo, elephant and antelope, as well as a host of bird life. And being able to observe the massively endangered white rhino here is a particular treat. The main absence is that of predators (that is, the big cats), but this, in turn, makes it possible for walking safaris to be undertaken here in a very relaxed manner, although the usual age limit of 14 years old is still in operation.

Some people might, however, find Mosi-oa-Tunya to be a bit of an anticlimax after undertaking some humungous game viewing in, for example the South Luangwa National Park. But if Livingstone is chosen as the start point of your visit then Mosi-oa-Tunya provides an absolutely excellent introduction to the treats that lie in store for you. A brief example of the many experiences that we have enjoyed here is given in our Safari Diary website. It is also possible to experience game viewing and walking safaris from the Zimbabwe side, in the Zambezi National Park.

Elephant-back ride    ($150)

This is an activity that can be carried out on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides. In both cases it can be booked through Bushtracks Africa, and transport is provided from hotels situated within Livingstone and Victoria Falls Town.

The trail goes through the pristine bush with the opportunity to sight numerous species of wildlife and bird life. At the end of the ride the guests are able to interact with and feed the elephant that they have just ridden. Our 'Safari Diary' website gives a more detailed description of what is involved here, on both the Zambia side, and the Zimbabwe side, although certain misgivings about the whole activity are beginning to emerge. Further elephant interactions, including dining in their presence, can be experienced on the Zimbabwe side.

Walking With Lions    ($150)

Again this is an activity that can be carried out on both sides of The Falls. The experience includes walking side by side with them, unencumbered by either collars or leashes, through the bush, sitting down with them, and patting them - under the careful supervision of the accompanying guides. A truly memorable experience, which we describe in more detail, as experienced by us, both on the Zambia side, and on the Zimbabwe side.

However considerable doubts have been raised as to the validity of this activity also. This is a matter on which you will need to take your own decision. It can be argued that the activity will be taking place anyway, and, especially for a cat-lover such as myself, is a supremely memorable experience. But whether or not I am comfortable encouraging our guests to participate remains another issue!

Walking with Cheetahs    ($120)

Once more, we have experienced walking with cheetahs in both Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Zambia it took the form of a (rather too well organised) walk through the bush with a number of cheetah controlled on leads and by harnesses, following an interminable safety briefing. In Zimbabwe, though, while we were staying the night at the superb Elephant Camp, we were fortunate to meet Sylvester, a beautiful cheetah who had been orphaned at a day old and rescued by the owners of the lodge. During a marvellously relaxing walk in the bush with Sylvester the next morning, the route being determined by him, I had the memorable experience of being licked all the way up my arm, and then up my cheek, by this eminently gentle pussy cat (see picture below, right).

Meeting Rhinos

Following our elephant-back ride on the Zambian side, we then took an hour’s walk through the bush, within the Mosi-oa-Tunya Park, to reach a white rhino sanctuary, where we were able to get quite up close, on foot, to what was actually quite a docile herd, made up of both adults and young. Obviously we weren't allowed to get up close and touch them, as with lions, but it was fascinating to watch them from only a few yards' distance.

Close up with Crocodiles    ($50)

Both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides offer the opportunity to view the fearsome Nile Crocodile close up. In Zambia this takes place in the Livingstone Reptile Park, with a variety of snakes on view as well, housed in glass-fronted cages. In Zimbabwe your tour takes place within the confines of Spencers Creek - a working crocodile farm. Elsewhere in Zimbabwe, by the side of the Zambezi River, it is possible to get up close and personal underwater, protected by a wire cage, rather like the shark cage diving that can be experienced in South Africa.

There are of course numerous other opportunities to observe the local wildlife whilst undertaking other activities, such as the Upper Zambezi river cruises, or whilst horse-riding and so on.