Zimbabwe's game reserves are managed by the government. They were initially founded as a means of using unproductive land. Little regard was given to modern conservation values, but once these evolved, the country became a world leader in wildlife management.
The Parks and Wildlife Act of 1975 was a quintessential breakthrough for conservation. The core philosophy of how people perceived wildlife was changed. Under the act, ownership of wildlife passed from the state to whoever owned the land the animal lived on.
When the landowners (both communal and private) became custodians of the wildlife, a change in mindset occurred. People began to see their wildlife resources as an asset to be nurtured, ensuring their benefits continued into the future. Gradually, fence-breaking elephant and zebra were not viewed as nuisances to be eradicated; herds of impala were no longer a quick, easy meal.
Within the Parks and Wildlife Act, various levels were defined at which state-owned land was to be protected and utilised. Gone was the old Game Department that issued hunting licences which, for a nominal fee, allowed settlers to hunt wildlife in all areas but a few game reserves. A system of national parks, botanical reserves and gardens, sanctuaries, recreational parks and safari areas was set firmly in place. Since 1975, the act has been amended and refined, allowing the evolution of a dynamic wildlife-protection process.
Many African countries have since adopted this philosophy. So far-reaching was the concept of the original act that it now enshrines many aspects of grassroots conservation being implemented worldwide. Communal or traditional tribal areas and privately owned land were also categorised for different levels of utilisation.
Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie Game Reserve) is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe. The park lies in the west, on the main road between Bulawayo and the widely noted Victoria Falls and near to
Matusadona National Park is a game reserve park in northern Zimbabwe. The park takes its name from the local Matuzviadonha Hills and is a stunning combination of flat plains and rugged mountain country.
Mana Pools National Park is a 219,600 ha wildlife conservation area and national park in northern Zimbabwe.
The Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo or Matopos Hills, an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 35 kilometres south of Bulawayo, southern Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Zambezi is Africa’s fourth largest River system, after the Nile, Zaire and Niger Rivers. It runs through six countries on it’s journey from central Africa to the Indian Ocean.