Hwange National Park is the largest wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe. The area is an invitation to explore and fully immerse in nature. The park is 100km from Victoria Falls and may be accessed by road or private air charter.
Four out of five of the Big Five can be spotted during game drives – the park abundant in wildlife. It is mostly known for its elephant population – estimated to be around 40 000 – huge herds naturally migrating between water holes. Home to over 100 species of mammals, (including sable, roan, gemsbok and wildebeest), 400 birds and at least 10 different carnivores in its 14 651 sq km, the park is a highly recommended safari destination.
Among the apex predators, lion, leopard and hyena may regularly be seen, with the endangered wild dog a high possibility.
There are three different sections of the park – Robins (North West), Sinimatella (Central) and Main Camp (East). Each has their own distinct characters, pans, dominant species and ecology. The one noticeable and consistent feature throughout the park is the lack of water – most pans are man made in a conscious conservation effort for the survival of the park and its inhabitants. Water is pumped into the pans during the dry season, a saviour for many species. Some of the more frequented water holes and game viewing platforms are:
Robins area has the highest concentration of lions in the park. A variety of must see pans and hides in this area are:
- Little Toms & Big Toms – (Hides)
- Salt Pan
- Crocodile pools
- Mahohoma Seeps
- Reedbuck Vlei
- Detema Dam
- The Sinamatella area has an expansive view over the park, as well as some surrounding pans and dams worth visiting for wildlife sightings:
- Mandavu Dam
- Masuma Pan
- Shumba Pan
The central area of the park is Main Camp, where you pay your entry fees for the day or the duration of your stay. Its pans and viewing platforms are some of the most wildlife-rich areas in Hwange, all year round. It also boasts a healthy birdlife, with carmine bee-eaters arriving for the rainy season, pairs of crowned cranes as well as the pennant nightjar. Recommended pans to visit when in Main Camp area:
- Nyamandhlovu Pan
- Ngweshla Pan
- Dom Pan
- Makwa Pan
To fulfil cultural curiosity, take a trip off the beaten track to the miniature version of Great Zimbabwe to the Mtoa Ruins and pan.
Hwange is in a malaria area. Consult your doctor on any malaria medication before your trip – as well as ensure to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants in the evening, and apply mosquito repellent to your skin.