The tendency to overhype this attraction just to the south of Livingstone (tel: 03 324470) means that you could be disappointed, but it does offer the opportunity to see some huge crocs at close quarters – from behind the safety of a chainlink fence or from covered walkways – and to get some great photographs. Well-informed and friendly guides offer explanations about behaviour and the history of the animals, and feeding times, usually early afternoon, are posted at the entrance. The owners – the Brooks family – have a crocodile farm on Lake Kariba, specialising in exporting meat and skins. There is little conservation element here, although the occasional animal is a 'rogue', collected from the river at the request of the Zambian Wildlife Authorities (ZAWA). However, the park does have a valuable educational role, with visiting groups from local schools and the wider community learning about these dangerous creatures, and in many cases developing a new-found respect for them. Picnic tables are set in the landscaped grounds,
The adjacent 'reptile park' features some of Zambia's snakes. Although when we visited this was a sorry display, there are plans to improve the enclosures. Additional plans relate to the establishment of an activity centre here where visitors can book any of a wide range of activities.
Open all year. Entry fee: adults US$2, children under 12 US$1 Victoria Falls Crocodile Park
On the Zimbabwean side, outside of Victoria Falls town before the entrance to Zambezi National Park, is another crocodile park that also has a few lions, a leopard, duikers and ostriches. A visit here too makes for a memorable excursion for young and old alike. Set amongst shady trees and lush tropical gardens are several ponds containing crocs of various ages and sizes, the smallest of which (less than a year old) visitors may hold during a guided tour – and find out just how strong even a baby croc is. The complex has several walkways and bridges leading this way and that – to the restaurant, over small manmade streams and pools filled with lurking crocs, to the large lion enclosure or game cages, to the small auditorium and back to the entrance where there is also a gift shop. The big cats, all grown orphans and raised in captivity, are housed in fenced enclosures but are about as close as you'll safely come to a face-to-face encounter with big predators.
Open all year. Entry fee: US$5