Hwange National Park
Found in the north western corner of Zimbabwe, adjoining Botswana's Makgadikgadi and Chobe ecosystem, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's biggest and oldest game reserve and is named after a local Nhanzwa chief, Hwange Rosumbani. In 2009 the park celebrated its 60th anniversar as a national park. The area is one of the last great unfenced wilderness areas allowing uninterrupted large mammal movement as far as the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
The habitat in this 14,650km² park (roughly the size of Belgium or Wales) is mainly teak and mopane woodland, on Kalahari sands, interspersed with open plains along ancient river systems.
Just 2 hours drive from Victoria Falls it shelters over 108 mammal species, the highest diversity of mammals of any National Park in the world. Species include 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores.
Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in Hwange including around 50 different types of raptor. Notable birds spotted recently by our team included a pair of 'yellow morph' Crimson breasted shrikes.
It is home to one of the largest elephant herds in Africa who utilise Hwange National Park as well as Chobe National Park for feeding (population thought to be anything between 20000 to 75000 and up to 110 000 in Chobe during the peak dry season).
The park has low rainfall and most of the game relies on man-made waterholes, dams and boreholes during the dry winter months. In recent years it has become harder and harder to maintain the water facilities and "Friends of Hwange" perfom an incredible job keeping many of the pumps in working order from privately donated funds.
In the north of the park, the vegetation becomes sparser and natural pans make for great game viewing during the dry season. It's Hwange’s varied topography, arid semi-desert in the west to lush teak forests in the east, which allows the extreme diversity.
Mammal species include elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard, white and black rhino, painted hunting dog (thought to be the largest populations in Africa), cheetah, hyena, giraffe, sable, kudu, eland, waterbuck, wildebeest, impala, zebra, baboon, jackal, bat-eared fox, warthog and many other smaller species.
Accommodation ranges from safari lodges and tented camps to basic national park chalets at Robins, Sinamatella and Main Camp. The most popular area is around Main Camp during peak season (July/August), as this is easily accessible by self drive visitors.
For a more exclusive visit during this period stay on the private concessions which have the pleasure of easy access into the main park itself, as well as their own privately managed land. For a full circuit to Zimbabwe's prime national parks we combine Hwange National Park with the more remote parks of Mana Pools or Matusadona.
Hwange is an outstanding destination to combine with Victoria Falls offering an ideal safari which combines the thrills of Victoria Falls with the superb game viewing in Hwange.
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A week long safari starting in 4-star comfort in Victoria Falls followed by 3 nights deep within Hwange, Zimbabwe's biggest and best known wildlife park and home of the Presidential herd of elephants.
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