Hwange

A Hwange safari offers spectacular big game country only two hours drive south from Victoria Falls.

Overview

Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s largest and oldest game park ranging over an area of 14,600 km². Its sheer size means that it offers a range of vegetation with a resulting diversity of game. This ranges, from the dry southern acacia bush bordering the Kalahari Desert to the mopane woodlands, valleys and granite hills characteristic of the north. Hwange is certainly big game country with massive herds of elephants. These are especially visible at the end of the dry season in September and October. They are joined by lion, buffalo, hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest sable, roan and other antelope.

Game-viewing in Hwange Park is made easier by the shallow salt pans throughout the park. These natural salt pans offer the perfect cooling mud bath for elephants. Ultimately the pans develop into small waterholes. However because of the deep Kalahari sands, these waterholes dry up as the dry season progresses. Hwange is unusual in that, right from the park’s inception, the rangers have pumped water into these waterholes in the dry season. This means that the park is a veritable mecca for game in the dry winter months. A Hwange safari between July to October will offer plenty of wildlife as animals flock to these pans for much-needed water.

staff image

Madelyn Nieuwoudt

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Spectacular big game country only two hours south of Victoria Falls and easily combinable with the Falls.
  • Range of Vegetation with resulting a diversity of game.
  • Alongside the usual morning and afternoon game drives, many of the lodges put a particular emphasis on walking with game. Some lodges offer full day game drives into the park to some of the more remote water holes. This has a double benefit. It allows you to go further into the park, enjoying a picnic by one of the watering spots. But it also allows the camps to check on the waterhole pumps and to give much needed supplies to the pump attendants who camp out in the park.
  • If you have some time to spare, you can also visit the Wild Dog conservation project.
  • Finally some of the lodges support nearby villages so can you can visit these villages and their schools in an uncontrived and natural way.

Explore the Hwange map

When to visit Hwange

Mid-November to March

Summer in Hwange

Somewhere in November, the summer rains start. This heralds the start of the low season in Hwange a animals can disperse widely across the plains (and no longer need to come to the waterholes to drink.) So the wildlife tends to be more dispersed and harder to spot. But the vegetation is lush and green, animals are being born and birding is superb. Afternoon thunder showers can also affect the safari activities. However the Ëmerald Season is also the time for lower safari prices in Hwange.
AVG RAINFALL 146 mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

April to May

Autumn in Hwange

This is the start of the dry season and the safari season in Hwange. The landscape is still green and lush but grasses start dying down. The sunsets are superb as the skies are clearer. The game-viewing is not as prolific as later in the dry season and the slightly lower safari prices reflect this. But it is still an excellent time to visit.
AVG RAINFALL 48 mm
MAX TEMP 27 ℃ / 81 ℉
MIN TEMP 13 ℃ / 55 ℉

June to September

Dry Season in Hwange

Traditionally this is the best time to visit as the dry season continues. The bush is less dense and the animals flock to the Luangwa River to drink. Mornings on the game drive vehicle can be cold in Hwange, especially in June and July so pack warm clothing.
AVG RAINFALL 5 mm
MAX TEMP 25 ℃ / 77 ℉
MIN TEMP 5 ℃ / 41 ℉

October

Spring in Hwange

Still an excellent time for safari. Temperatures start to hear up in late September and October prior to the start of the summer rains. Make sure you are comfortable with heat! Game-viewing remains very good though the higher temperatures in late October can make for some hot game drives.
AVG RAINFALL 45 mm
MAX TEMP 33 ℃ / 91 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 63 ℉

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Stanley and Livingstone Review

I was pleasantly surprised by the Stanley and Livingstone review. This is an unashamedly colonial lodge (rivalling Victoria Falls Lodge for period ambience). So it is a bit of a marmite experience. You either love it or you hate it. Personally I like a bit of the old colonial myself!

I was expecting it to be dated and tired but in fact it was looking surprisingly good. The new owners have begun some updating and yes there are areas where some updating would not go amiss eg. the bathrooms, but there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with them. However I would recommend the newer suites on the pool side of the lodge. These seemed to be brighter and lighter being less enclosed by dense foliage.

What the Stanley and Livingstone has going for it is period charm, if you like that, lovely tropical gardens and attractive pool, a feeling of peace and tranquillity, good food from an experienced chef, views over the game reserve and the choice of game drives into its own reserve.

The game drive was actually pretty good with sightings of elephant, black rhino, buffalo and lots of plains game, all on one drive. It seems from their sightings chart that lion are also often seen, but not guaranteed. You can choose between a morning game drive, afternoon drive and having a bush dinner followed by a night drive.

Cedarberg : Kate Bergh
 
Did you know
  • HistoryFounded in 1928
  • LocationThe park is close to the edge of the Kalahari desert