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