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

Sonja Brand

Africa Travel Specialist
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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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Bomani Tented Lodge review

Even though it is not as smart as Camelthorn Lodge, I think I enjoyed Bomani Tented Lodge as much because of its lovely setting overlooking the open plains of Southern Hwange. It also offers excellent value for money!

The guiding here and at Camelthorn was excellent led by Seps, their head ranger with game walks, game drives and night drives in search of lion. We also spent time at their amazing ‘elephant blind’ which is a semi-underground hide at a waterhole which gives you a ground level view of the elephants as they come to drink. Amazing for keen photographers!

Currently there are two styles of tent at Bomani even though everything is on one price level. The older tents are rather charming, smaller and on stilts. The newer Spurwing tents are on the ground and are very large but somehow less charming. However these would be perfect for families as there is plenty of space and each has two double beds. They would also be suitable for older, less mobile people as the steps up to the original tents are relatively steep. The older tents will be replaced (at the end of the year) with new tents which will also be on stilts and I suspect that these will then be my preferred option having the charm and new appointments.

There is no swimming pool at Bomani so perhaps think twice if you are wanting to visit in the hot late spring (such as October) or summer months. At that point, I would go for its sister lodge, Camelthorn as I think the chalets will be cooler than the tents.

The same activities are available at both camp: morning and afternoon game drives, bush walks, “pump” runs and visits to the community especially the local school. I really enjoyed the visit to the school and interacting with the kids.

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