Hwange National Park is a great value for money safari destination. It’s a convenient 2.5 hour drive from Victoria Falls, making it an excellent option for travelers wanting to include a bit of Zimbabwe as an add-on to their itinerary.
Hwange National Park is the oldest and largest National Park in Zimbabwe and lies on the ancient migration route towards Chobe and the Linyanti in Botswana. There are no natural watercourses in the park so game congregates around the many waterholes and pans throughout the park, which are supplied with borehole water throughout the year. (Friends of Hwange, one of the organizations we regularly support, helps to manage and maintain these boreholes. Solar power is being incorporated into this process.) Most of the camps tend to be concentrated in the southeast of the park, either as concessions within Hwange or on conservation areas bordering the national park. The north of Hwange tends to be hillier and more remote, with a few properites, such as Camp Hwange and Nehimba, on large concessions.
The best time to visit Hwange is between the months of April and October, which is the dry season and guarantees large concentration of game. It is also a cooler time of year and can get VERY cold in the evening and early morning, although days warm up to 77° F. The rains tend to come in November and lasts through February or March; they come in the form of summer thunderstorms rather than lengthy periods of rain. They fill up natural pans and vleis allowing for game to disperse throughout the park, making sightings more sporadic. During this time, the north is scenically beautiful with hills, water lily-filled pans and plentiful bird life, but the south has better game viewing in the more open plains.
Hwange offers exceptional elephant herd and lion pride sightings. Cheetah, sable, and roan antelope are also common, as well as plentiful plains game. Leopards occur in good numbers, but they’re incredibly shy and sightings are rare. There are very few rhino left in the park and they are hardly ever seen.
The guiding in Hwange is terrific and they will surely add great quality to your safari experience, leading both well-informed game drives and walking safaris.
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