Zimbabwe Family Safari Holiday
Embark on an adventure of a lifetime with your family on this Zimbabwe family safari holiday and make special memories that will last a lifetime. Combine the majestic Victoria Falls with Zimbabwe’s premier safari destination, Hwange National Park.
Prices: On request
Duration: 8 nights
Availability: Year round
Destinations: Hwange National Park, Victoria Falls
i) Partake in child friendly activities at Somalisa Acacia Camp
ii) Track the Big 5 in Hwange National Park
iii) Take a dip in the pool and watch wildlife visit the nearby waterhole
iv) Experience the unbelievable size of the elephant herds at Hwange National Park
v) Marvel at the magic of the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls
vi) Get your adrenaline pumping with one of the many adventure activities at the Falls
A superb family itinerary that takes you and your family deep into the remote Hwange National Park before experiencing one of the true natural wonders, the incomparable Victoria Falls. Hwange is an excellent park with abundant game and is one of the most biodiverse parks in the whole of Africa. Marvel at the Big 5 and be in awe of the size and number of elephants that call the park home. Victoria Falls will no doubt leave you speechless as you realise the grandeur of the world’s largest waterfall. Your family will thank you for the opportunity to experience the amazing activities on offer in and around the Falls. Somalisa Acacia Camp is specifically recommended for its family friendly approach. Safari activities such as wildlife tracking and making bows and arrows have been designed to cater for children whilst game drives are suitably adapted to keep your children entertained throughout.
Best time to visit?
So when is the best time of year to take this trip to maximise your overall experience? Without knowing you yet this is a difficult question to answer. With so many variables to consider we need to know what is important to you before we advise on the preferable time for you.
There are many variables to consider when attempting to recommend the best time to visit. Specific considerations include the whereabouts of migratory animals, the effect the density of the vegetation and height of the grass has on wildlife viewing, special wildlife moments such as the birth of baby animals, and the effect weather patterns has on wildlife behaviour. Other factors to consider are the variation in prices at different times of the year, visitor traffic, whether you prefer a lush or relatively arid environment and of course the annual climate, namely temperature and rainfall values.
For this reason we present detailed information for each individual destination in the locations section to help you understand what may work best for you. We will of course have an in-depth discussion with you prior to making a booking so you are completely happy with the time of year you decide to travel.
- Game drives
- Walking safaris
- Bird watching
- Cultural village visits
- Night drives
- Victoria Falls visit
- Safari activities in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
- Zambezi River canoeing and kayaking
- Scenic helicopter flights
- Zambezi River cruises
- Horseback safaris
- Bungee jumping
- Gorge swings
- White water rafting
- All airport transfers
- Road transfer Hwange to Victoria Falls
- 8 nights accommodation as stated
- All safari activities as stated in the included activities
- All meals as stated
- All drinks unless otherwise stated as excluded
- All relevant taxes and surcharges
- International flight to Zimbabwe
- Airport transfers in home country
- Activities listed as optional
- Meals not stated
- Drinks not stated
- Applicable VISAS
- Tips and gratuities
- Health innoculations and medications
- Items of a personal nature
Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure Begins
Board your overnight international flight from your chosen airport to Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA), Zimbabwe.
Somalisa Acacia Camp, Hwange National Park (L, D)
Upon your arrival in Zimbabwe you will be extended a warm Zimbabwean welcome by one of the guides from Somalisa Acacia Camp. You will transfer by road to Hwange National Park. The journey takes approximately 3 hours and provides you with an opportunity to experience Zimbabwean village life on the way. Depending on your time of arrival it is likely you will partake in a slow game drive en route to camp, stopping for any interesting sightings along the way. As you arrive in camp you will be welcomed and briefed about the camp facilities. Grab a drink at the bar whilst the chef prepares your evening meals. If you have the energy there may be an opportunity for a night game drive.
Somalisa Acacia Camp, Hwange National Park (B, L, D)
These next four days will be completely dedicated to safari activities. The camp offers all-inclusive game drives, night drives, walking safaris, bird watching and cultural tours to local villages. A typical safari day will usually start with a warm cup of coffee and small snack before heading out into the bush for your morning activity. It is advisable to get out for sunrise as animals are still active in these cooler early hours and it is an opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the nocturnal creatures as they make their way to the safety of their dens. You will return to camp early to mid-morning where a much deserved breakfast will be served. Relax around the pool, explore the perimeters of the camp and eat lunch before heading out for the afternoon activity. Somalisa Acacia Camp offers night drives also which provides a new dimension to safari. You will see many nocturnal creatures which are difficult to almost impossible to observe by day. Safari specials such as aardvark, Cape porcupine, Cape pangolin, springhare and black-footed cat are possible night time sightings. There is also a much better opportunity to spot hunting behaviour from the big cats, especially lion and leopard.
Prepare the children’s checklists and see how many species of mammals, reptiles and birds they can spot. With Hwange being one of the most diverse wildlife sanctuaries in Africa you will be treated to some exceptional and unusual sightings.
Thorntree River Lodge (B, L, D)
Today you will say goodbye to Hwange National Park and this signals the end of the safari portion of your trip. A more sedate start to the day is welcome as you are afforded a relative lie in before heading for a filling breakfast. You have one last opportunity to consolidate your sightings, spot that one elusive animal missing from the children’s checklist or just to enjoy the peace and tranquillity for one last time. You will head to Victoria Falls by road which again is a little over 3 hours from Hwange but we will then cross over into Zambia as we prefer to utilise the more upmarket accommodations. Thorntree River Lodge is idyllically located on the banks of the Zambezi River. Relax by your own private pool and watch the world go by. This is your time to relax and reflect as a family after your hectic but rewarding safari.
Thorntree River Lodge (B, L, D)
The pace at Victoria Falls is much slower and flexible. You will be thankful for having complete control of how you spend your time. No doubt this will be dictated by the children. Maybe, just maybe (well, probably not) they will want to spend time relaxing around camp in the pool and wildlife spotting on the river’s edge. However, if they’re still bursting with energy there’s a myriad of activities available to suit all ages. Thankfully, your time at Victoria Falls offers the best of both worlds. Relax on a spectacular sunset cruise or go crazy downstream on a full day’s white water rafting adventure. Whichever you choose you can be sure it will compliment your safari perfectly.
The End Of Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure (B, L)
Today is the day you say goodbye to Africa in the knowledge you will be leaving with a heart full of memories and a camera full of images for you and your family to relive the dream for many years to come.
You will make the short journey by road to Victoria Falls Airport across the border in Zimbabwe. Here you will board your flight to your final destination.
Somalisa Acacia Camp
Hwange National Park
Overview: Somalisa Acacia Camp is a family-friendly safari camp located in the Somalisa Private Concession in Hwange National Park. It adorns an admirable setting in the heart of Hwange National Park, nestled in a stunning location tucked away on its own little acacia island along the edge of an ancient seasonal flood plain. Guests are treated to breathtaking views of the savanna plains across the famous Kennedy Vlei line. The lodge has recently been rebuilt and has upgraded its specification to that of complete comfort and luxury whilst still maintaining its core focus on superlative hosting and guiding to ensure the ultimate guest experience.
Accommodation: The camp is extremely intimate and consists of just 4 suites. Two of these are en suite family units with inter-leading walkways between the parent’s and children’s rooms. The other two are standard sail tents. Each tent is furnished with gauze sliding doors, a glass wood-burner fireplace for the cold winter nights and an overhead fan for the hot summers. En suite bathrooms come as standard and have facilities including flush toilets, an indoor and outdoor shower, and a copper slipper-style bathtub.
Facilities & Amenities: Public areas include a separate lounge and dining area, as well as a small splash pool and lounging deck overlooking the elephant waterhole. Game viewing continues in camp thanks to this natural waterhole attracting wildlife to drink.
Power & communication: The camp runs on electrical mains power and has electricity sockets in the room. This enables easy charging of batteries and electrical devices. WiFi is available at camp. Mobile phone network coverage is achievable but due to the wilderness location may be unreliable.
Activities: The camp has an excellent choice of activities all lead by highly-trained guides. Activities include bush walks, game drives and night drives, as well as bird watching. Safari vehicles accommodate 6 guests therefore you are guaranteed a ‘window’ seat. You are also invited to partake in a local cultural village visit to support the African Bush Camps Foundation’s work with local people.
Children: Kids of all ages are permitted in camp and it is very family friendly.
Thorntree River Lodge
Overview: Thorntree River Lodge is set in Zambia’s Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, just a short distance from the famous Victoria Falls. It has been completely rebuilt with an environmentally-conscious design. The design is modern contemporary with tented roof structures to maintain the feel of authentic Africa.
Accommodation: The lodge boasts 12 twin rooms with 2 sets of inter-leading units. Each unit has its own indoor and outdoor bathrooms, as well as a luxurious private plunge pool. The room is loaded with facilities and amenities including air-conditioning, complimentary mini bar, safe, and tea and coffee making facilities.
Facilities & Amenities: The main lodge consists of a lounge with an open dining area, where the fine dining experience of African cuisine will come to life. A gym and spa overlook the mighty Zambezi River, and there is a small library with WiFi for your use. The communal deck is set on the edge of the stunning riverside, and is home to a boma area and infinity pool. A spectacular wooden decking, the scene of moonlit dinners, floats on the edge of the water and helps to achieve a seamless feel between river and lodge.
Power & communication: Full mains electrical power. WiFi throughout the property. Available mobile phone network coverage.
Activities: There are so many activities and things to do here you could spend a month and not get bored. Within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park you can enjoy typical game activities such as walking, boating, game drives, canoeing and rhino tracking on foot. It must be noted this national park is very tame in comparison to the areas we usually recommend. Those guests who are in the area for the adrenaline type activities the Falls and surrounding areas have become famous will be in awe of the variety on offer. Activities include canoeing and kayaking on the Zambezi, helicopter scenic flights, river cruises, horse-back safaris, bungee jumping, gorge swings, and exhilarating white-water rafting, amongst others.
Children: All ages are welcome.
- Special Status: N/A
- Location: South-west Zimbabwe
- Land mass: 14,651 km²
- Mammal species: 100+
- Bird species: 400+
- Big 5 reserve: Yes
- Game drives
- Night drives
- Walking safaris
- Cultural village visits
- Mega herds of elephants
- Unique waterhole game-viewing circuits
- Excellent variety of activities
- Huge biodiversity
- High quality camps and guiding
Hwange National Park is the flagship wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe. With a land mass of 14,651 km² it protects a huge area of pristine African wilderness. To gain perspective this is almost 10 times the size of greater London.
It is located in the south-west of Zimbabwe and is within driving distance of Victoria Falls. It also combines well with Mana Pools as the parks are well connected by excellent domestic aviation infrastructure.
Hwange is renowned for its pumped waterholes. These are especially productive in the dry season and provide a lifeline for the resident and migratory animals that take refuge in the park at this challenging time of year. Indeed, the main activity on offer is what is known as a pump run. Game drives concentrate on moving between waterholes in an attempt to observe as much wildlife abundance and variety as possible. Night drives and walking safaris are also available to provide an exciting and alternative perspective.
Hwange is well recognised as an exceptional destination for a wildlife adventure. It has a large diversity of wildlife thanks in no small measure to its differing habitats, including teak forests, sandveld, savannah and acacia woodland. It is renowned for its huge abundance of elephants and is recognised as one of the best places in the world to interact with these magnificent giants. With an estimated 44,000 individuals in herds of 300-strong around the waterholes it really is an elephant lover’s paradise.
With over 100 reported species of large mammals Hwange is certainly a park with an abundance and large diversity of game. Predators are well represented by lions, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and the elusive African wild dog. Other smaller, but no less impressive, carnivores include African wildcat, caracal, honey badger, common genet and serval to name but a few.
Herbivores are well represented and include antelope specials such as roan, sable and eland. Buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, impala and the dry country gemsbok are also present and relatively easily seen. Unfortunately, white rhinoceros have been driven to extinction through poaching. However, the presence of black rhinoceros ensures Hwange is a Big 5 park but sightings of these endangered animals are more luck than a given.
Hwange is an excellent choice of destination for many types of safari guests. Accommodations are top quality and on par with esteemed camps and lodges over the borders in Botswana and South Africa. Guides and activities are sensational and the wildlife is reliable and abundant.
However, Zimbabwe’s political woes have inadvertently provided Hwange with its ultimate selling points. It offers great value financially and the mammal species you are least likely to encounter in abundance is your fellow human beings.
Best Time To Visit
The climate of Hwange National Park can be simplified by dividing it into the dry season and wet season with two transitional shoulder seasons. Each season, and indeed the months within each season, offers you a different experience. There is no time of year that offers you the best of everything so we provide you with a balanced account throughout the year so you are able to make an informed decision on the best time to visit based on your preferences.
The dry season runs from June to October. It is at this time of year wildlife viewing is at its best. The season, as its name suggests, is characterised by blue skies and no rain. A perfect time to be on safari. As Zimbabwe is in the Southern Hemisphere this time of year is winter. The coolest months are July and August when night temperatures drop enough to necessitate warm clothing for early game activities. However, the sun quickly raises the mercury so expect to be basking in 30 degrees Celsius by lunchtime. Temperatures increase as the season draws on with October being extremely hot and dry and uncomfortable for those who do not enjoy such high temperatures.
Wildlife viewing is at its best in the dry season as the animals migrate towards permanent sources of life-giving water. This makes game viewing much more reliable and predictable. Huge volumes of wildlife can be seen in one place which makes for great photographic opportunities.
The negative aspects of the dry season are the premium price tags the camps carry at this time of year. Also the dry and dusty park isn’t as beautiful as it is in the wet season.
The wet season runs from December to March. Rainfall is a feature of most days in the form of heavy showers and thunderstorms yet it rarely rains all day. Travel can be difficult at this time of year and some roads may become washed out. The presence of water throughout the park and beyond its boundaries allows wildlife to disperse into the hinterland, making wildlife viewing generally more of a challenge. However, many species of animals give birth at this time of year so it is the best time to travel for the cuteness factor.
Prices are at their lowest at this time of year but it must be noted most of the remote camps are closed. The permanent lodges stay open and offer attractive rates.
The wet season is definitely the best time if you are looking for an exclusive safari where other tourist vehicles are a rare sighting. Although Hwange National Park certainly isn’t a busy park it can suffer occasional crowding around water sources in the dry season.
The transitional shoulder seasons are November and April and May. These times of year represent a transition from dry to wet and wet to dry respectively. Guests are offered a kind of half-way house between the negatives and positives of the main seasons.
- Special Status: UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Location: Borders South Zambia and West Zimbabwe
- Height: 108 metres
- Width: 1708 metres
- Volume: 500 million litres per minute
- Did you know: Victoria Falls is recognised as the largest waterfall on earth due to having the largest curtain of falling water in the world.
- Bungee jumping
- Helicopter flights
- Microlight flights
- Devil’s pool swimming
- High wire activities (gorge swing, flying fox, zipline)
- Tandem skydiving
- Canoeing on the Zambezi River
- Sunset cruises on the Zambezi River
- Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park game drives & rhino tracking on foot
- Spectacular views of the world’s largest waterfall
- Take to the sky and view the Falls from a unique vantage point
- Relax at one of the lodges or camps on the edge of the Zambezi
- Navigate the raging Zambezi on a white-water rafting trip of a lifetime
- Take to the water for a more gentle approach canoeing or sunset cruises
- Test your nerve for heights with a bungee jump
Mosi-oa-Tunya as it is known locally, or more commonly recognised as Victoria Falls, lives up to its Zambian name, it is quite literally The Smoke That Thunders.
It is amongst the most spectacular of earth’s waterfalls. A result of the contents of the Zambezi River, 2 km wide at this point, plunging over the rock face to produce spray that can be seen more than 20 kilometres away.
Victoria Falls is recognised as the largest waterfall in the world. Although it is neither the tallest nor the widest its combination of both these dimensions ensure it is the planet’s greatest sheet of falling water. An astonishing 500 million litres each minute pass over the precipice to continue its journey towards the Indian Ocean.
Visitors flock to this natural wonder of the world for obvious reasons. The sheer magnitude of the Zambezi River, the waterfall itself and the surrounding vegetation make for spectacular viewing. However, this area is also known for being a bit of an adventure playground with a huge variety of adrenaline-fuelled activities to keep you busy. There are of course much more relaxing ways of passing your time for those who want to relax before or after a safari.
The activities are highlighted above and can either be organised by your agent at Ultimate Wildlife Adventures or arranged locally upon arrival at your lodge or camp.
The Falls are easily accessible via the airports close to Livingstone in Zambia or the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This ensures it is logistically easy to combine safari in these two countries with times at the Falls. The waterfall’s proximity to Northern Botswana ensures it is often combined with an overland safari. Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls works as an excellent combination.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the spectacular Victoria Falls is dependent on what it is you personally want to gain from experiencing the world’s largest volume of falling water. In essence, there is no one time of year that offers you the best of everything the Falls has to offer. Each season, and indeed the months within each season, offers you a different experience. Therefore, we provide you with a balanced account throughout the year so you are able to make an informed decision on the best time to visit based on your personal interests.
As with all locations the climate is a huge consideration when deciding the best time to visit. Price of accommodations and the volume of other tourists is also important to most. A huge factor to consider when planning a trip to Victoria Falls is the water levels as this dictates the experience massively and also which activities are available.
The seasons at Victoria Falls are uniform with the surrounding game viewing parks with regards temperatures and rainfall. The wet season runs from November to April and is characterised by daily temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, daily rainfall and inevitably high humidity. November sees the start of the rains with December to February being the wettest months before a drop off in March and relatively little in April. May is somewhat a shoulder season before the onset of the long, dry winter beginning in June and running through to October. Here temperatures drop considerably to lows of around 7 degrees Celsius so warm clothing is advisable for evenings and early mornings. Temperatures quickly recover to 26 degrees during the day thanks to the reliable presence of the sun above clear skies.
The water level is obviously dictated by the rainfall and the ferocity of the water cascading over the Falls is largely dictated by rainfall ‘collected’ in the Zambezi River in the preceding months. Therefore, water levels are highest after the longest unbroken period of rainfall and lowest after long periods of dry weather.
The water level is at its lowest from October to December following the dry winter period. This really isn’t the greatest time to visit for those expecting to see Victoria Falls in all its might as the falling water is reduced to a relative trickle and may have even stopped cascading on the Zambian side. March to June are the months where water levels are at their highest, producing the spectacular show that one expects to see. Walking amongst the Falls is spectacular but expect a drenching. The Falls are spectacular by air and live up to their local name Mosi-oa-Tunya, The Smoke That Thunders, being visible from miles away. July to September sees a drop in water levels but this may be a good time to visit for those wanting a clearer view of the Falls to take photographs.
Activities are dictated by the water levels. White water rafting is seasonal and is divided into the low water rafting season and high water rafting season. The former runs from July to roughly mid-February and is the best time to visit as all the rapids can be navigated with excitement but safely. Mid-February until July is the high water season. Operations will still run at this time of year but the first 10 rapids are skipped as they are deemed too dangerous to navigate. In years of extreme water levels operations may cease in this period. Devils Pool and Livingstone Islands are also seasonal and only available in the lower water level months. Activities from the sky are arguably best when the Falls are at their most ferocious.
As with all locations the surrounding vegetation is at its most beautiful at the end of the rains and is reduced to an arid, dusty landscape by the end of the long dry season.
Visitor volume is at its greatest in the dry season months of June to October, peaking in July and August and this is reflected in the prices charged by the lodges and camps.