HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s biggest game reserve and covers 14,651 sq km south west Zimbabwe between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. The Park’s saltpans, Kalahari Desert sand, acacia woodlands and grassy plains support an abundance of game, but this has not always been so the Zambezi river has been a source of life within the park.
The park has an interesting variety of landscapes with one part running alongside the North-eastern end of the Kalahari Desert. The south is sandy with extensive forests and open grassland. A feature of the area is ancient fossil dunes – ancient sand dunes held together by vegetation.
Hwange park history
Hwange came about almost by chance – Hwange was an early African chief who was ousted by the invading Ndebele people and huge areas of his land was taken over for hunting. White settlers arriving in Zimbabwe continued on the hunting practice but with less challenging weapons.
As the human population pressures increased, the country’s animals were pushed further and further into the inhospitable western reaches of the country where Hwange lies and finally it was realised the game was worth protecting. Seventy years ago it was proclaimed Wankie National Park and with independence its name was changed to Hwange Zimbabwe National Park.
Hwange Wildlife safaris
Hwange Zimbabwe Game park is home to several herds of wildlife with great herds of buffalo and elephants, leopards, lions and hippos. Other predominant species include giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lion, cheetah, Painted Hunting Dog, kudu, hyena, Impala, Roan Antelope, Waterbuck, Tsessebe, Black-backed Jackal and Bat-eared Fox. Enjoy the park’s wildlife on wilderness trails, safari walks, game drives and fishing
This is also one of the best places in Africa to see the beautiful and elusive Sable Antelope. In all Hwange is home to over 100 species of mammal and 400 species of birds. Not far from Sinamatella camp are water holes that attract many animals and birds. Mandavu, Detema and Masuma dam have unequalled game viewing.
Generally, there are no seasonal animal migrations. The best time to view wildlife is during the dry season, from July to October, when the game concentrates near permanent water. Game viewing is also good during May, June and November and fairly good from December through April. During the rainy season, from January to March, the game is widely dispersed.
Hwange National Park accommodation
Main Camp is actually the most popular camp site with self catering lodges, cottages, grass thatched cottages, well stocked bar, restaurants, curio shops and many other facilities. Game viewing is excellent around this camp with several pans and waterholes often visited by different animals during the dry season.
Other popular Game lodges in Hwange National park include Ivory lodge with 6 luxurious thatched chalet suites. Flame Tree lodge and Wild Geese Lodge offer splendid service although they are some 100km form Hwange park.
Find exclusive camping and backpacking at Bumbusi Camp located a few kilometers from Sinamatella , a former cattle ranch with 4 overnight units, self catering kitchen and en-suite bathrooms. Other camps include Lukosi camp, Bush Camp and Robins camp.
How to get there
There is an airstrip near Main Camp if you are travelling by charter aircraft but you need prior bookings at the camp. Using the road, the park is accessed on 4wd via any of the safari camps; from Main Camp-it is 254km on main road from Bulawayo to Victoria falls, from Sinamatella camp, the park is just 45km of gravel road from Bulawayo-Victoria falls road.