Hwange National Park Area - Seasonal Information

Hwange National Park

The flora of the park is mostly Acacia woodland set in Kalahari sands, which have blown across from the Botswana desert over many decades.
Interested? Book Your Stay   Download PDF  

 
January

January

Rainy Season: 20° - 30°
Rate Category: Green Season

February

February

Rainy Season: 20° - 30°
Rate Category: Green Season

January Information
January in Hwange is a very green affair. As the rains hit the desert sands, the vegetation comes to life turning the landscape into a photographers dream. Generally the rainy season consists of dramatic afternoon thunderstorms with large billowing clouds. The rains can continue into the night, but this does cool things down from the usual hot temperatures during the day. January is a great time of the year for birders as the migrants are in full breeding plumage to attract mates for the season. There are lots of baby impala and other animals around that are now a month or 2 old. The larger family herds of elephants have moved off into the deeper Mopane woodlands as have the younger bulls. Older bulls and some family herds remain and will still frequent the waterhole and pool in front of both camps. With less competition at the waterholes, now that the larger herds of elephants have moved off, it gives the smaller animals a chance to come out and be seen. Things like African wild cats, bat eared foxes, steenbok other shyer animals are seen more often at this time of the year. The lion, leopard and cheetah are resident and so remain in the area, but may still be tricky to see as they patrol their territories which may extend past the concession boundaries. Wild dog are seen occasionally as they move large distances each day in search of prey. January is a great time for photographers with green vegetation and often very dramatic cloud formations and clear air. Walking safaris may not always be possible as the vegetation may be too thick, which can be dangerous. Birders will also love this time of the year with the extra numbers of species due to the migrants in the area. With the mixed habitats of Hwange, the bird numbers are quite high. Day time temperatures can go into the high 30s, but with the rains this can drop down making it quite cool and so a light jacket or fleece is advisable.
Wildlife Sightings
Great birding
Vibrant colours and clear visibility for photography
Good predator sightings
No large herds of elephants and buffalo
Lots of young antelope
February Information
The rains continue into February keeping everything green and alive. The rains still fall mainly in the afternoons in the way of dramatic thunderstorms which can make for some exciting nighttime and afternoon viewing. With the rains come more surface water in areas deeper in the Mopane woodlands and this tends to draw the larger herds away from the waterholes in the vleis. Smaller family herds and older bulls still remain and will still frequent the waterholes and pools in front of the 2 camps. With the larger herds out of the way, it opens up opportunities to see some of the smaller, shyer animals like African wild cats, bat eared foxes, steenbok and if you are very lucky, aardvarks. The predators are territorial and so remain in the area patrolling their boundaries. Lion remain the most commonly seen big cats, but the leopard and cheetah are still around. With the thicker bush it makes it slightly harder to see them. Wild dogs move huge distances each day and so there is a chance to see them in February if they are in the area. Birders are in their element as the migrants are still around making the most of the abundant food in the area. February is a great time for photographers as the bush is lush and green and the skies are often dark with dramatic storm clouds on the horizon. Daytime temperatures can reach into the high 30s, but with the rains it can also be quite cool, so a light fleece or jacket is a recommended.
Wildlife Sightings
Great birding
Vibrant colours and clear visibility for photography
Good predator sightings
No large herds of elephants and buffalo
March

March

Mid Season: 20° - 30°
Rate Category: Green Season

April

April

Mid Season: 17° - 30°
Rate Category: Shoulder Season

March Information
The later in March you travel the less chance you have of receiving rain as we move closer towards the dry season. When it does rain, it is usually in the form of an afternoon thunderstorm which can be quite dramatic with an impressive lightning show! The rains cool the temperatures down, and so a light fleece or jacket is recommended. The larger herds of elephants remain in the thicker Mopane woodlands where there is enough surface water to ensure less competition at the main waterholes. Older bulls and smaller family herds remain in the area and still frequent the waterholes and pools in front of the camps. With the larger herds out of the way, it allows the smaller, shyer animals to make an appearance; bat eared foxes, steenbok, African wild cats and if you are very lucky, aardvarks are seen more often. Lion & leopard and cheetah are territorial and so remain in the area patrolling their boundaries and so can still be seen. Lion remain the most commonly seen predators. Leopard and cheetah are shyer and with the thicker bush are harder to see. Wild dogs move huge distances each day in search of prey and so are seen very infrequently as they cross between the national park and the concessions in the area. April to June is traditionally the rutting season for the impala and so can make for some exciting viewings as the males fight to keep the females within their patch of grass. It can be fascinating to watch the dominant males fend off rivals and try and “herd” the females into his little territory, whilst trying to mate. This is still a great time for birders as the migrants remain in the area. Photographers will enjoy the lush green vegetation, open vleis and dramatic skies.
Wildlife Sightings
Good birding
Vibrant colours and clear visibility for photography
No large herds of elephants and buffalo
April Information
April is a transitional month as the rains slow and we move into the dry season. The vegetation remains lush and green and there are still the occasional afternoon thunderstorms to cool things down. The larger herds of elephants remain in the thicker Mopane woodlands, although smaller family herds and older bulls remain in the area and still frequent the waterhole and pools in front of the 2 camps. With the larger herds out of the way, it opens up opportunities to see the smaller, shyer animals like bat eared foxes, steenbok, African wild cats and if you are very lucky aardvarks. The large predators remain in the area patrolling their territories, although leopard and cheetah are harder to see as they are shyer than the lions. The migrant birds start to disappear as they make their way back north. The temperature starts to drop as we move towards the end of the month which is the start of winter. As Somalisa and Somalisa Acacia are on the Eastern edge of the Kalahari Desert, the night time temperatures can drop to freezing and so warm clothes are recommended, especially for the morning and afternoon game drives in the open vehicles.
Wildlife Sightings
Still good for photography
Good predator sightings
No large herds of elephants and buffalo
May

May

Dry Season: 12° - 28°
Rate Category: Shoulder Season

June

June

Dry Season: 5° - 25°
Rate Category: Shoulder Season

May Information
May is traditionally the start of the dry winter season and so the chance of rain is minimal. Temperatures can drop to below freezing on rare occasions and so you need to be prepared for that, especially towards the end of the month. As the surface waters in the Mopane woodlands start to dry up, so we start to see more and more elephants frequent the waterholes in the vleis and in front of both camps. Towards the end of the month the vegetation starts to dry up which can make it easier to see the animals. Lion remain the most commonly seen large predator, although leopard are in the area as they patrol their territory boundary. Cheetah are sometimes spotted too. Wild dogs will start to look for a den site closer to the end of the month. If the site is on the concession then there is a chance of more frequent sightings. The air is still clear and the vegetation still fairly green and so May is a great time for photographers. Birders will always love Hwange due to the varied habitats which attract a variety of species.
Wildlife Sightings
Still good for photography
Wild dog denning season
June Information
June is traditionally the dry season which can make it some of the best for game viewing as the bush thins out and the surface water dries up. It is also the start of winter, which can mean temperatures can drop to below freezing, especially at night. Very warm clothes are recommended, especially for the morning and evening game drives in open vehicles. Being a desert environment the temperature range can be extreme as the sands of Kalahari do not retain the warmth from the day. When it is very cold the animals tend to stay in the thicker bushes until things start to warm up. The larger herds of animals start to make their way to the permanent waters of the waterholes along the vleis as the surface waters in the thicker Mopane woodlands start to dry up. More and more elephants frequent the waterhole and pools in front of the 2 camps. Lion remain the most commonly seen predator, although cheetah and leopard are resident they are shyer and so are seen less frequently. Wild dogs continue to look for a den site and if we are lucky to have this on the concession it can mean more frequent sightings of these endangered animals. The birding in Hwange is great throughout the year as there is a mixed habitat which attracts varied species. In June be prepared for cold nights and early mornings, but comfortable, sunny days.
Wildlife Sightings
Still good for photography
Herds start to form
Wild dogs emerge from den
July

July

Dry Season: 5° - 25°
Rate Category: High Season

August

August

Dry Season: 10° - 28°
Rate Category: High Season

July Information
As we move deeper into the dry season so we start to see more and more herds of elephants as they make their way from the dryer areas of Botswana and Zimbabwe. Hwange has permanent waterholes that are pumped and this attracts and also keeps the herds in the area through the dry season. The waterholes and pools in front of camp attract more and more elephants as the surface water dries up in other areas. This can make for some spectacular elephant interactions and viewing from right there in camp. It is not just the ellies that come to the waterholes in camp as things dry up. Through the month more frequent sightings of lion, kudu, zebra, buffalo and if you are very lucky wild dog and even leopard can take place right in front of the camp. Wild dogs have denned, but are still reliant on the site as they need to return to feed the pups as they are too young to leave. If we are lucky to have them den on the concession it can mean more frequent sightings of these endangered animals. This is a great time for a safari in Hwange as the game numbers increase, the air is still fairly clear and the days are still fairly cool. Night-time temperatures can drop below freezing and so you do need to be prepared for this, especially for the open vehicles on morning and evening game drives. Birding is still very good as the resident birds remain throughout the year. The park can be crowded with vehicles from other lodges and also self-drives, especially during the South African and Zimbabwean school holidays. This is when you'll experience the advantage of being on a private concession.
Wildlife Sightings
Herds start to form
Wild dogs emerge from den
August Information
August is probably one of the busiest at both camps as it is peak dry season and great for game viewing. The elephant herds continue to grow in size at the waterholes in front of camp making for some spectacular elephant interaction. As the surface water in the bush dries up, so we see more and more animals frequent the waterhole. Zebra, impala, kudu, buffalo and sometimes lion, leopard and wild dog can all be seen drinking from in front of the camp. The bush is really thinning out now making it easier to spot the animals and also making August one of the best months for a walking safari. The wild dogs traditionally start to leave the den site and move greater distances in search of prey, which can make sightings less frequent, unless they remain on the concession. Lion remain the most commonly seen predator. Leopard and cheetah are seen occasionally, but are shyer than lions, so tend to hide away. Daytime temperatures are generally warm, especially towards the end of the month, but night and morning temperatures can be very cold and so please be prepared for this. Hwange is a year round destination for birders as the mixed habitats ensures a variety of species for twitchers to tick off the lists. The park can be crowded with vehicles from other lodges and also self-drives, especially during the South African and Zimbabwean school holidays. This is when you'l experience the advantage of being on a private concession.
Wildlife Sightings
Herds get bigger
Wild dogs emerge from den
September

September

Dry Season: 15° - 34°
Rate Category: High Season

October

October

Dry Season: 19° - 35°
Rate Category: High Season

September Information
September is the peak of the dry season. The bush has completely thinned out and there is very little to no surface water for the animals which makes them more reliant on the waterholes that are pumped on a daily basis. Huge herds of elephants can be seen at pretty much every waterhole in the park, including the 2 in front of the camp. This makes for some very exciting elephant interaction as herd after herd move down to have their turn. Buffalo, zebra, impala, kudu and sometimes lion and wild dog can also be seen drinking from in front of the camp, making this the place to be for the action! Lion remain the most commonly seen predator, although leopard and cheetah are in the area, they are shyer and so tend to hide away. The wild dogs are seen occasionally as they move through the concession in search of suitable prey. They move huge distances each day and so sightings are rare and unpredictable. With the bush being so open, it is an ideal time of the year to do a walking safari which opens up a whole new insight into the African environment. Daytime temperatures can reach into the 30s, especially towards the end of the month, so be prepared for this. Evenings and mornings can be cooler as the desert sands do not retain this heat. As the month progresses on, so the air becomes more and more dusty which makes for some spectacular sunsets.
Wildlife Sightings
Herds get bigger
Wild dogs no longer dependent on den
October Information
October is the very end of the dry season which makes this one of the best for wildlife viewing as there is NO surface water around meaning the animals rely very heavily on the pumped waterholes. Huge herds of elephants are seen at every waterhole, including those in front of the camp. There seems to be a constant flow of elephants and other animals from the woodlands and sand dunes around camp, down to the waterhole and pools in front of camp. This can be a very interesting time to see the interaction of different elephant herds as well as different animals species as they fight for their space at the water. Lion, buffalo, zebra, impala, kudu and occasionally wild dog can be seen at the waterholes throughout the month. Lion remain the most commonly seen predator, although leopard and cheetah are in the area, they are shyer and so tend to hide away. Wild dogs move huge distances in search of prey and so sightings are difficult to predict. October is probably the best time of the year for wildlife sightings, BUT daytime temperatures can reach into the 40s, and with very little wind to cool things down, it can be quite uncomfortable. If you can stand the heat, then October can offer some of the best wildlife sightings around and with the thin bush, it is also a great time for a walking safari!
Wildlife Sightings
VERY HOT
Herds get bigger
Best time for wildlife sightings
November

November

Dry/Rainy Season: 20° - 35°
Rate Category: Shoulder Season

December

December

Rainy Season: 20° - 35°
Rate Category: Green Season

November Information
November is a transitional month as we move from the dry, hot season into the rainy season. The rains are sporadic and generally start around the middle of the month. Afternoon thunderstorms cool things down, clear the air and cause the desert to transform into a green oasis. When the rains do start the surface water that collects in pans around the park means the animals tend to move deeper into the Mopane woodland where there is less pressure from other animals. Smaller family herds and older bull elephants remain and still frequent the waterholes in front of the camps. This is a great time to see lots of baby elephants which are born around the start of the rains. It is fascinating to watch them as they try and keep up with the adults, but also learn how to use their trunk to drink. Towards the end of the month the impala will start to drop their young which can be an exciting time to travel as hundreds of babies can be seen waddling around in the nurseries. With the easier prey around the predators take full advantage which can make for some exciting predator / prey interactions. Wild dogs seem to be the most successful with the baby impala and so make the most of it. Sightings are still fairly rare as they move huge distances each day. Lion remain the most commonly seen predator as they are king of Hwange. Leopard and cheetah are there, but are shyer and so tend to hide away more. Daytime temperatures can reach into the 40s, especially at the start of the month, but as the rains start, so things cool down. This is a great time for birders as the migrant species are seen more often.
Wildlife Sightings
Herds disperse due to the rains
Vibrant colours and clear visibility for photography after the rains
Baby impala are born towards the end of the month
December Information
December is the true start of the rainy season, but this usually means afternoon thunderstorms that cool things down, clear the air of dust and turn the vegetation green. The larger herds of elephants have moved deeper into the Mopane woodlands, although some of the smaller family herds and older bulls remain and still frequent the waterholes in front of the camps. As the elephant numbers drop, so you will start to see some of the smaller, shyer animals like African wild cats, bat eared foxes, steenbok and if you are lucky aardvarks. Lion and leopard are territorial and so remain in the area to patrol their boundaries. Lion remain the most commonly seen predator, although leopard and cheetah are still seen occasionally. Wild dogs move through the concession in search of prey and so are difficult to predict. The baby impala that are still trying to find their feet are still their favored prey species. Birders are in their element as the migrants arrive in force, in full breeding plumage and ready to attract a mate for the season. December can be hot during the day, although if there are rains it can cool down quite considerably and so a light fleece or jacket is recommended.
Wildlife Sightings
Herds have dispersed
Vibrant colours and clear visibility for photography
Good for predators
Baby impala around
Good for birding

Agent's Reserve