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Many people overlook Zimbabwe and don’t consider taking a Hwange safari. Destinations like Kruger, the Mara and Serengeti are more likely to be reeled off by the less initiated.
The Hwange safari
But go on a Hwange safari and you’re rewarded with the sheer beauty, diversity and vastness of the National Park. Zambezi’s Africa specialist Mark Pearson describes Hwange as “one of the most beautiful places in Africa”. Mark goes on to say “Hwange has arguably the best guiding in Africa and the most diverse wildlife including the Big 5.”
Visitors who go on a Hwange safari are drawn to the wildlife inhabited plains, the park’s vast lakes and thundering waterfalls. More intense than the gentle waters of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Hwange provides an excellent game viewing experience with giraffe, lion, zebra. It’s also sanctuary for the country’s endangered wild dogs and is home to one of the largest surviving groups on the continent.
Top 10 reasons for a Hwange safari
- Wildlife: Over 100 species live here. More than any other national park in the world! Wild dog bred in the park. It’s home to many antelope species including the more illusive greater kudu and sable antelope. 500 different species of bird and of course, elephant!
- Elephant: Hwange is best known for its impressive concentration of elephant. Approximately 40 000 elephant including the Presidential herd roam from waterhole to waterhole during the dry season.
- Big cats: Predators include all three of the Big Cats, that’s leopard, lion and cheetah;
- Hwange is vast: Covering some 14,650km² – that’s eighteen times larger than New York City! Diverse areas such as Ngamo plains where you can stay at Camelthorn or Bomani in the east. From Sinamatella in the north, stop at the dams at mandavu and masuma and take in views over the vlei on your way to Camp Hwange and Nehimba.
- Private concessions: Far away from the crowds. There are no self drives and no other people apart from your fellow guests. Private concessions permit night drives so you can track nocturnal wildlife. You can also go off road, so if you see a leopard in the bush you can drive off the track and get a little closer. You can go on a walking safari and track wildlife by their footprints. finally, wildlife is generally better in a private concession because much of the money generated from your safari goes into the conservation of the park.
- Culture: Visit a local village and school. At camps such as Bomani you can experience village life in rural Matabeleland and visit one of the nearby schools where the Headmaster will show you round. The children love to entertain and will burst into song with a medley of traditional tunes. Teachers encourage the encounter because it’s a wonderful way for the school children to meet people from all over the world and to learn about it’s different cultures and countries. So both children and guests have a heart-warming and inspirational morning.
- Top guides: Explore with the very best guides in Africa and get the most out of your safari in Hwange. As well as the more experienced guides like Leon Varley, there are a number of young guides such as Busa from Bomani and Adam Jones at Camp Hwange who hosting game drives and walks. It’s of vital importance that they support the wildlife and the conservation of the park because they’re it’s future.
- Year round destination: Hwange has two seasons – April to October is the dry season. Temperatures dip down during the middle of the year and get warmer towards October which is very hot. The wet season is between November and March. This is when everything cools down at the start before finally warming up into a hot and humid weather pattern.
- Elephant Express: A unique way to travel between private camps and lodges on safari in Hwange. It runs between between Ngamo Siding near Bomani and Camelthorn, and the Dete Railway Station near Hwange Main Camp.
- Excellent value: Choose a safari in Hwange and you’ll pay lower national parks fees, Camps and lodges generally cost less than the equivalent in Zambia, Botswana and parts of South Africa. But, we can guarantee you’ll have an amazing safari experience!
So, to summarise
On your Hwange safari you won’t find 4×4’s lined up around a water hole. But you will find the best professional guides in the business and some of the best camps. Zimbabwe offers some of the best game viewing on the planet! The hot bush-lands are home to the most spectacular wildlife and dramatic scenery and who can beat Victoria Falls for a little add on safari after your Hwange trip!
Mark Pearson and Angela Mayger spent 5 nights in Hwange as part of a multi-destination safari. They stayed at Little Makaolo Camp in the South East of the park; Bomani Tented Lodge in a 5000 acre private reserve; Somalisa in the heart of Hwange and The Hide and Camp Hwange. Contact us for more details
Hwange Safari notes, hints and tips
- Tips on how to plan a safari
- What’s the “green season” all about?
- Fancy a little “experimental travel”?
- More from Wiki
Wherever in the world you are, our Zambezi community is full of easy-going travel-minded friends who take their fun seriously. Come and join the adventure.