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Hwange – Zimbabwe’s Premier National Park

Hwange – Zimbabwe’s Premier National Park

Hwange National Park is one of Africa’s premier elephant strongholds and there’s nothing better than watching these splendid creatures as they come down to drink at one of the many life sustaining waterholes.

As well as its famous elephant populations, it is said that Hwange is sanctuary to 25 types of predator and more than 400 bird species.   Large predators include lions, cheetah and leopard and there are the exciting smaller nocturnal predators too of serval, civet and bat eared foxes.  Special sightings include the roan and sable antelope.  Hwange is also an important breeding ground for the African wild dog and where populations of the endangered white rhino reside.

Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest park and is well served by camps and lodges with a choice both inside and outside the park and often they have a waterhole right outside camp. Hwange’s network of game viewing roads is extensive.

For best game viewing, most of our selected camps are in private concessions within the park itself.  These locations time and again deliver exciting night game drives and close up encounters made possible by the proximity of waterholes to camp and from especially built hides.  Hwange is easily accessible from Victoria Falls whether by road or a fly-in safari.

at a glance

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Introduction

Regarded as one of the finest parks in Africa, Hwange is renowned for its incredible abundance and diversity of wildlife in one of Africa’s largest unfenced wilderness areas. Situated in North-West Zimbabwe, the area was home to the San Bushmen 10,000 years ago, a royal hunting ground of the Ndebele warrior chief Mzilikazi during the early 19th century and later proclaimed a National Park in 1929. Over 1.4 million hectares of sandy soils support extensive semi-desert scrub and salt pans on the edge of the Kalahari in the south, along with forests, granite hills and mopane woodlands in the northern valleys. With more than 100 species of trees and shrubs, the area is ideal to support an abundance of species in this pristine wilderness.

All the Big 5 can been seen at Hwange, however the park is most famous for one of the world’s largest populations of elephant, as numbers can reach 75,000 in the dry season. With over 180 species, Hwange is home to the greatest diversity of mammals in any National Park. Baboon, jackal and warthog are often spotted as are springhares hopping around like kangaroos on night drives in the private concessions (off-road and night drives are not permitted within the National Park). The park has 8 large carnivores including lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena, one of the largest packs of wild dog in Africa and reasonable numbers of brown hyena. Vast herds of buffalo are located in the North-west, whilst the South-East regions are most ecologically diverse, with relatively strong numbers of white rhino in addition to the elusive gemsbok and rare roan and sable antelope. During the summer, wildebeest, eland and giraffe are abundant on the open grasslands whilst the waterholes become a magnet for elephants to drink during the winter months. Hides and platforms overlooking the 60 man-made waterholes, shallow pans and reservoirs are perfect spots to view accumulations of the parks’ spectacular wildlife.

With over 400 bird species, including 50 types of raptor, Hwange is a birdwatchers heaven. Rare species range from Dickinson’s kestrels and Arnott’s Chat to crimson-breasted shrike and scaly feathered finches. Unusually high populations of Kori Bustards reside, along with vibrant crowned cranes which prance around in comical dances at the start of the mating season during the rains.

When To Visit

Hwange is a year-round game park but the dry months generally offer the best wildlife viewing.

April and May: At the onset of drier conditions causes vegetation to dry out and game species including herds of antelope, elephant and buffalo congregate around permanent water sources and waterholes in May, where temperatures are around 25°C and nights can fall below freezing. At altitudes of around 1,000m, winter evenings are chilly. Predator viewing is good.

June to October: The increasingly dry climate results in rising densities of game accumulating around waterholes. Elephant populations are particularly high and predator viewing is good. In October there are higher chances of seeing oryx. The months of August to late October are considered to be the best game viewing months. September and October are the hottest summer months, and the greatest densities of animals are located by waterholes. The saltpans are cracked and the vegetation yellow and dull.

November to March: The rainy season. In November, afternoon thunderstorms and temperatures reaching 38°C are common. The first rains attract migrant bird species which are most visible at this time. The rains transform the plains into luscious green expanses, with broad-leafed woodlands in a profusion of green in addition to well fed animals roaming the floodplains. There are excellent wildebeest, zebra and waterbuck concentrations along with rare species of eland, sable and roan. Predator viewing is good. Birdlife is most spectacular at this time as the start of the mating season brings comical dances by crowned cranes and red bishops in scarlet breeding plumage

Temperature & Rainfall

Climate Chart – Hwange

Hwange Highlights

Up Close Elephant Encounters

Up Close Elephant Encounters

Up Close Elephant Encounters

Some camps in Hwange have constructed hides in various forms that allow you to be so close to the ...

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Up Close Elephant Encounters

Up Close Elephant Encounters

Some camps in Hwange have constructed hides in various forms that allow you to be so close to the wildlife that an elephant foot will fill your whole view!

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Sleep Out

Sleep Out

Sleep Out

For a remote wilderness experience – do a sleep out on a raised platform overlooking a watering ...

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Sleep Out

Sleep Out

For a remote wilderness experience – do a sleep out on a raised platform overlooking a watering hole. Perfect for romantic couples who want to do some star gazing.

Photo credit: Mike Myers

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Village Visits

Village Visits

Village Visits

An authentic village experience to enjoy cultural exchanges with the villagers and their community ...

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Village Visits

Village Visits

An authentic village experience to enjoy cultural exchanges with the villagers and their community in a respectful manner to all parties can be arranged from some Hwange camps.

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Night Drives

Night Drives

Night Drives

The beauty of choosing a camp on a private concession is the ability it gives you to experience ...

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Night Drives

Night Drives

The beauty of choosing a camp on a private concession is the ability it gives you to experience night drives. This freedom allows you to see predators hunting and a whole host of exotic nocturnal creatures.

Photo credit: Dana Allen

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Walking Safaris

Walking Safaris

Walking Safaris

Hwange offers walks with experienced guides who will track and follow some of the most feared ...

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Walking Safaris

Walking Safaris

Hwange offers walks with experienced guides who will track and follow some of the most feared animals of Africa, secure in the knowledge that your guides and trackers are competent in all aspects of this exciting adventure. Call us for details.

Photo Credit: Dana Allen

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Hwange Waterholes

Hwange Waterholes

Hwange Waterholes

All of the water sources in Hwange originate from pumped waterholes and this makes for excellent ...

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Hwange Waterholes

Hwange Waterholes

All of the water sources in Hwange originate from pumped waterholes and this makes for excellent game viewing during the winter months.

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Palm fringed Private Concessions

Palm fringed Private Concessions

Palm fringed Private Concessions

For an exclusive safari experience in Hwange National Park we have selected camps that allow for ...

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Palm fringed Private Concessions

Palm fringed Private Concessions

For an exclusive safari experience in Hwange National Park we have selected camps that allow for exciting game drives, day and night and walking safaris without the crowds.

Photo credit: Mike Myers

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Roan & Sable Sightings

Roan & Sable Sightings

Roan & Sable Sightings

Two antelope species that are special sightings in Hwange National Park are the majestic sable and ...

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Roan & Sable Sightings

Roan & Sable Sightings

Two antelope species that are special sightings in Hwange National Park are the majestic sable and roan – both highlights for the seasoned safari traveler.

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Authentic Safari Camps

Authentic Safari Camps

Authentic Safari Camps

We offer a select number of authentic “bush” camps in Hwange run by top Zimbabwean Guides. High ...

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Authentic Safari Camps

Authentic Safari Camps

We offer a select number of authentic “bush” camps in Hwange run by top Zimbabwean Guides. High on the list is guide knowledge and a flexibility to offer our guests a first class safari adventure.

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camps & lodges

Bomani Tented Lodge

Bomani Tented Lodge

Bomani Tented Lodge is located at the southeast corner of Hwange National Park near Ngamo Gate, Hwange National Park, Matabeleland North ... Read More

Camelthorn Lodge

Camelthorn Lodge

This flagship lodge is nestled in a patch of pristine woodland just west of Ngamo on the edge of the south eastern corner of Hwange National ... Read More

Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange is an eco-friendly camp situated in the Shumba area of Hwange National Park, overlooking a perennial waterhole and is part-owned by David ... Read More

Davison’s Camp

Davison’s Camp

Davison's Camp is a classic African tented camp nestled under a grove of ancient false mopane trees deep in the Hwange National Park in the private ... Read More

Ivory Lodge

Ivory Lodge

Ivory Lodge is a charming safari lodge located on a private concession of 2,400 hectares adjoining the Hwange National Park. One of the original ... Read More

Khulu Ivory

Khulu Ivory

Khulu Ivory “Grandfather of Ivory” is located on a private concession of 6,000 acres. The entire camp overlooks an ancient ... Read More