Hwange National Park


  6 reviews
Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park
About Hwange National Park
Country found in:
Parks total area:
14,651 km² (5657 mi²)
Anti-malarial:
Recommended
Park wildlife:
  • One of the largest concentrations of elephants in Africa
  • Close proximity to Victoria Falls
  • July through November are the best months to visit

Hwange National Park is located in the northwestern corner of Zimbabwe, on the border of Botswana. It was originally established as a game reserve in 1928 and was named after a local Nhanzwa chief, Hwange Rosumbani. The date it became a national park, however, appears to vary from one source to another, with some sources stating 1930, some stating 1949 and some stating 1961.The park is 14,651 km² (5657 mi²) in size, making it the 10th largest national park in Africa and the largest national park in Zimbabwe.

Wildlife of Hwange

Because of the park’s close proximity to the Kalahari Desert, the general landscape of Hwange is of desert scrub and grasslands. The foliage is not dense, particularly compared to other safari destinations, and the majority of forest is that of Mopane. Hwange is an excellent destination for wildlife viewing and boasts over 400 species of birds. It is also home to many large mammals and has one of the largest concentrations of elephants in Africa, with an estimated number currently around 30,000 to 40,000. It is estimated that four of the five ‘big five’ animals can be seen here: buffalo, elephant, leopard and lion. The rhino population has essentially been wiped out, although a few sources cite state that a handful may remain. For those putting a black or white rhino sighting as a top priority, Hwange should not be their first choice.

The safari lodging in Hwange tends to be concentrated around the waterholes and is generally of very high standard, with the majority being tented camps. It is an excellent safari destination due to its high concentration of wildlife and its well-established tourist infrastructure. It is also located two hours from Victoria Falls, making it an attractive choice for those wishing to combine a safari with a trip to the Falls. Hwange is recommended for all levels of traveler.

When is the best time of year to visit Hwange?

Hwange has two distinct seasons: a wet and a dry season. The wet or rainy season runs from approximately December to March. It is as this time that the local flora becomes green and lush, and bird viewing is at its peak. The animal viewing is less optimal as the animals tend to disperse a bit due to the increased availability of water sources. The rainy season also coincides with Zimbabwe’s summer, and days are hot and nights are warm.

Like the Serengeti, there are little to no off-road driving options in Hwange, which helps keep the animals less accustomed to seeing safari vehicles. The dry season runs from around July/August to October, with September and October being the driest months. The dry season is considered the best safari time at Hwange National Park as large concentrations of game, in particular elephant herds, must drink from the man-made and pumped waterholes. The dry season also coincides with Zimbabwe’s winter months, and while days are still warm and sunny, nights can get very cold and down to freezing temperatures.

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Reviewed by:

(5/5 stars) Written on: Jan 31, 2017   |   Visited: May 2016.
I didn't know what to expect when I visited Hwange National Park for the first time. Before I visited, I heard stories of big elephant herds, high quality guiding and exciting walking safaris. Nothing I heard or read before could have prepared me for the adventure and fond memories.

We started with a flight from Victoria Falls into the south of the park, when w... read more
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Feb 10, 2015   |   Visited: May 2014.
Hwange is particularly renowned for its great elephant herds. Extended family groups of close to a hundred elephant can be found. An excellent chance to observe interaction between the generations and peers. This is the place to see Elephant, and hundreds of them!! Enormous herds flow to the different water holes created in the area. read more
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Jul 21, 2014   |   Visited: Apr 2014.
Visited Hwange on the heels of my visit to Victoria Falls. I was pleasantly surprised with this park and really loved the lodging there. It wasn't high season for me, so they weren't over-crowded. I did a self-drive safari and found it fairly easy. I would recommend going with a group. I went with three other friends and felt safe. read more

I saw

Elephant
Giraffe
Zebra
Baboon
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Feb 08, 2014   |   Visited: Oct 2011.
Driving into Hwange National Park for the first time, I didn't really know what to make of it. The park was virtually devoid of any and all tourists, and this was made more apparent when my small party pulled into Sukumi Tree Lodge and we ended up being the only guests at the resort for three days. The apparent desolation aside, we headed into the park at the crack... read more
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Jan 24, 2014   |   Visited: Dec 2013.
One of the nice things about going on safaris is that it appeals to all ages. Young children, teenagers, parents and grandparents can all have fun doing something together.

Last December, my extended family and I spent two nights at Hwange National Park. The age range of our group was from 7 to 72, and we all had a wonderful time. We stayed at Main Camp. The ch... read more
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** Safari guru **

(4/5 stars) Written on: May 17, 2013   |   Visited: Mar 2010.
Hwange’s a brilliant park located not too far from Victoria Falls making it the ideal game park should you wish to get the best of Africa in one short visit. This was the first ever game park I visited, before returning to Africa to work for three years.

We’d originally planned to do a day trip here but were advised against it because the roads from Vic Falls w... read more
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Safari suitability: 9 / 10
All but the rhino are present, of the big five.
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Articles about the Hwange

Nearby parks and game reserves

Animals you can find

Leopard
Leopard
Lion
Lion
Wild dog
Wild dog
Elephant
Elephant
Hyena
Hyena
Warthog
Warthog
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Getting to Hwange

Activities you can do

Horseback riding
Horseback riding
Bird watching
Bird watching
Boating / canoeing
Boating / canoeing
Bush walks
Bush walks
Cultural / Tribal visits
Cultural / Tribal visits
Fishing
Fishing
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