Hwange National Park: An Unbeatable Wild Elephant Sanctuary in Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park, located just south of Victoria Falls, is the largest reserve in Zimbabwe. Hwange National Park is home to one of the highest concentration of game: the park boasts more than 100 different animal species and over 400 species of birds. Moreover, Hwange is world famous for its 30,000 elephants, making it one of the few great elephant sanctuaries left in Africa.
Hwange National Park Location
Located between Victoria Falls and Bulawayo, bordering Botswana, Hwange National Park covers a 14,500 km2 plateau with an average altitude of 1,000m above sea level. The flora of the park is mostly Acacia woodland set in Kalahari sands, which have blown across from the Botswana desert over many decades. There are 63 man-made water holes in the park due to it’s arid climate, which pump calcium rich waters to the surface from 60 meters below ground level. With 480 km of game viewing roads network connecting waterholes and outstanding animal concentrations, the park is easily accessible and most visited Zimbabwean park – although not overcrowded.
History of the region
These sub-tropical thorn and sand flats were once home to the nomadic San (bushmen), who could profit great herds of migrating game. As in many other areas of Africa, they were displaced by stronger African tribes. Serving as the royal hunting grounds to the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th Century, the area was set aside as a National Park in 1929 and named after a local Nhanzwa chief.
Wildlife at Hwange National Park
This unbeatable wild sanctuary is known for its large herds of elephants, one of largest concentration in the world (30,000).
Hwange National Park will also enchant the Big Five’s hunters, as it has them all: beyond elephants, there are great herds of Cape buffalo, and lions are commonly seen – leopards and rhino are present but more elusive.H wange is home to over 100 species of mammals including elephant, white rhino, buffalo, zebra, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, giraffe, eland, Gemsbok, sable, Roan antelope, hippo, hyena, aardvark and various other nocturnal species.
The park is also a bird watchers paradise, particularly in the wet season: it holds over 400 species of birds from teak woodlands as well as dry Kalahari habitats.
Best seasons to visit Hwange National Park
The dry season (from July/August, and driest in September and October) is the best safari time at Hwange National Park, as large concentrations of game, in particular elephant herds, must drink from the man made & pumped waterholes to survive in a very hot and dry environment.
The rainy season (December to March) will see the wildlife dispersing across the park, and thus making it more difficult to spot them. The summer rains cause vegetation to burst into life, birdlife is spectacular at this time of the year due to the migrants coming down from the Northern hekisphere. This is a malarial area.
Be our Guest
Explore Hwange National Park’s wildlife from Somalisa Camp, a small intimate tented camp tucked away subtly under a canopy of an acacia tree’s which are on an island formed by an ancient river system, or perhaps stay at Somalisa Acacia for its definite charm & privacy.
If you choose to travel around the region, besure to include Hwange in your safari itinerary somewhere between Victoria Falls, Bulawayo and Matopos, Mana Pools and Chobe.