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.
Madelyn NieuwoudtAfrica Travel Specialist
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
April to May
Autumn in Hwange
June to September
Dry Season in Hwange
Spring in Hwange
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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.
- HistoryFounded in 1928
- LocationThe park is close to the edge of the Kalahari desert