Named after a local Nhanzwa chief, Hwange National Park is the largest Park in Zimbabwe occupying roughly 14 650 square kilometres. It is located in the northwest corner of the country about one hour south of the Mighty Victoria Falls.
It became the royal hunting grounds to the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19 the Century and was set aside as a National Park in 1929. Hwange boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species recorded. The elephants of Hwange are world famous and the Park’s elephant population is one of the largest in the world.
Painted Dog Project Centre: Once having roamed through 39 countries, the Painted Dogs – also known as Wild Dogs – have seen their numbers drop from around 50 000 to just 3 000. With such a huge drop in numbers resulting from urbanisation and loss of natural habitat, a place like the Painted Dog Project Centre is an Eden for them.
The conservation facility aims to address the issue through the combined efforts of taking direct action through the protection and rehabilitation of injured or orphaned Wild Dogs while providing long-term education and development projects to the communities in the area
Bird Watching: As if the abundance of wildlife in Hwange wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, there are almost 400 different species of birds that can be found in the National Park – making it a twitchers’ paradise!
Make sure to keep your eyes directed at the sky and towards the treetops while you’re on a game drive so that you don’t miss out on an incredible opportunity to tick some awe-inspiring bird species off your list.
Wildlife: The elephant population in Hwange is one of the largest in the world. The number of elephants congregating around the waterholes at the end of the Dry season is a sight to behold. All of the Big Five are present and easily spotted, with the exception of the white rhino or the black rhino, which is shy and tends to stick to the bushes.
By Air: These are costly but obviously have the advantage of being quicker and can be useful if you have an extended itinerary that might include Kariba or the lower Zambezi valley. For the more remote camps in Hwange like Little Makalolo, Davison’s, Linkwasha, Bomani, Camelthorn and Somalisa flying is almost essential as trekking in by road just takes too long and is almost as costly.
By Road: These can easily be arranged but are not scheduled and therefore are tailored to your requirements. They are normally in air-conditioned minibuses. If you are travelling alone or as a couple they work out quite expensive as the transfers are quoted at a minimum of 4 people. These transfers can drop you at the Mbala boom from where Camp Hwange or Nehimba will collect you. Or they can drop you at Hwange Safari Lodge, Hwange Main Camp or Halfway House from where the camps in the south of the park will collect you.
Where to Stay: If I look at the quality of all the Hwange accommodation, the safari experience that you will get and the prices they charge compared to camps in Botswana or Zambia, I wonder why one would even consider going elsewhere. For details on these camps scroll further down this page.
We love Hwange and having spent so much time there feel well qualified enough to give good advice on the various camps, how they differ and what they offer.