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. It 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. Which you'll see plentiful numbers, especially at the end of the dry season in September and October. These are joined by lion, buffalo, hyena, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest sable, roan and other antelope.

The shallow salt pans throughout the park actually make for easier Game-viewing in Hwange National Park. These natural salt pans offer the perfect cooling mud bath for elephants. And gradually 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. So a Hwange safari between July to October offers plenty of wildlife as animals flock to these pans for much-needed water. A veritable mecca for game in the dry winter months!

Safari in Hwange National Park

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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Nehimba Lodge Review

Nehimba is a luxurious camp situated in the relatively remote north-west part of Hwange National Park. It would be a great camp to sell in the dry winter months from say late June onwards. It is close to the famous Nehimba seep which is one of the only permanent water sources in this part of the Park. This means excellent game-viewing especially later in the dry season when elephants and other wildlife are in desparate need of water. However earlier in the season, the bush is quite thick and the grasses are high making game-viewing less rewarding than at the southern camps of Camelthorn and Bomani.

However there are plenty of plus points at Nehimba such as luxurious chalets with an indoor bath and outdoor showers, good food, a stunning setting overlooking a large dam, and best of all - regular (and I mean regular) - visits from elephants coming to drink from the water and even the swimming pool. We were sitting at the fire having drinks and the elephants kept coming to visit, silently arriving, silhouetted by the moonlight. It was a truly magical experience!

I am not sure about the outdoor showers in the winter months of June/July. Could be a bit chilly!

The road transfer into Nehimba is from the north and very attractive. It is one of the few camps that you could come to straight off the Vic Falls flight (preferably with SAA) as you would leave the airport at 1.30pm, get to the gate at 3pm and then have a game drive transfer into the camp.

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

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Gloria Darvall

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I’m Gloria, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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