User Reviews – Hwange NP

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Enjoying a great park on a budget
Overall rating

We visited Hwange in December which is a little far into the rainy season to see the most animals. The best time to visit is in September when the water holes are great places to spot the wide range of animals in the park.
We stayed in the rustic National Parks cottages which, even in the middle of shortages that were affecting Zimbabwe, were great places to stay and very cost-effective.
We did not have a 4x4 but found there to be ample routes around the park for a normal 2 wheel drive car. We saw a wide selection of antelope, giraffe, cheetah and zebra. We were sad to miss out on the elephants but they had disappeared off into the bush because of the rains. We also got great views of the Black Rhino at the nearby Hwange Safari Lodge.
When we were not self-driving, we went on some excellent guided drives with extremely knowledgeable local guides.
At that time of year, the birding was excellent and could fill in the periods when the larger game was not visible.

It was amazing, everything as I imagined an African safari would be.
Overall rating

We stayed at Ivory Lodge, which is on the border to Hwange National Park, I was a part of a tour group so we camped, but some of my fellow travelers upgraded into the tree houses and they said it was some of the best accommodation of the trip. At Ivory Lodge they have a water hole with a hide, so we spent most of the night watching for what would come to the water hole. We saw a herd of greater kudu and two bull elephants, the elephants were so close you could hear them breathing it was one of the best moments of my trip.
We spent two days at Ivory Lodge, on the first day they took us to the Painted Dog Conservation Centre. At the centre they has 3 rehabilitating dogs and its a place were they take local schools to educate the children and visitors about the plight of the Painted Dogs. Its very rare to see Painted Dogs in the wild so being able to just see some who one day will again be wild was wow. That afternoon we went on a sunset game drive in Hwange and we actually saw real Painted Dogs, so that was my unexpected highlight of the trip, we also saw a breeding herd of Elephants, Buffalo, lots of birds and a cheetah.
On the second day we spent on a whole day game drive, and saw much of the same animals, as well as three lions, and we ran into another herd of elephants they were so close you could have touched them and they weren't afraid they just checked us out and kept eating.
We went during the rainy season, but thankfully it didn't rain, but the park was all green and in full bloom, it was some of the best scenery in Zimbabwe. Our guide were all locals and new everything and always had an answer to our questions.
I would definetely go back it was an amazing couple of days

If you're into bush vibe, this park is a great destination; not so much so if you're into wildlife.
Overall rating

Hwange National Park is quite a large national park, which gives off a really nice bush vibe since it is definitely not overrun with tourists at all, neither in minibuses or private vehicles. Due to the vegetation of rather dense miombo woodland, you can see wildlife practically only at the many waterholes; safaris consist therefore of driving from waterhole to waterhole. Due to the overpopulation of elephants you'll see a lot of these! It seems the mismanagement of Zimbabwe by the current regime has had a surprisingly limited influence on the park in terms of wildlife. Conclusion: if you're into bush vibe, Hwange National Park is a great destination; not so much so if you're into scenic beauty or wildlife.

The best safari experience I had in Africa
Overall rating

While I was volunteering in Africa, myself and several other volunteers took a week-long trip to Zimbabwe to go on outdoor adventures. The game drive in Hwange National Park was my personal favorite.

We saw ostriches, zebras, impala, elephants, giraffes, kudu, rhinos, but best of all were the lions. We came across lions in the midst of a hunt. It's rare for them to hunt during the day and even though we didn't witness the inevitable conclusion, it was interesting to watch from a viewpoint designed for tourists as the lions stalked and chased after zebras and impala.

Our guide was clearly very experienced and far better at spotting wildlife than any of us, but he was also endlessly patient, stopping the car for everyone to get a look at each sight. We also only encountered one other group of tourists the entire day, which added greatly to the atmosphere.

Our drive was cut a bit short by an incoming storm, but that's a risk you take in the middle of the rainy season, which I would still argue is the best time to go on safari, despite the fact that it eschews traditional logic. Also known as "the emerald season," the scenery is much more colorful, vibrant, and abundant, but finding accommodations may become somewhat more difficult. Still, it's worth a try and Hwange has a great deal more to offer than wildlife alone. Simply being there was a joy.

The Africa of my dreams.
Overall rating

In my mind, I always pictured Africa as expansive grassy plains, watering holes where animals gathered to drink, and the sun setting in a final sigh of purple and orange hues as it disappeared behind stands of acacia trees. Hwange National Park delivered all of this and more. From a pride of lions stalking unconcerned through tall grasses, to elephants wandering the park stripping leaves and branches as they passed, to the loping grace of giraffes nibbling as they moved from tree to tree, their heads rising up to survey the landscape, to the magnificent and varied species of birds, there was never a day without the breathtaking magnificence of animals in their natural environment. The abundant wildlife and diversity made daily photo safaris a much anticipated adventure. With so much to see, I’d have to remind myself to listen as well and breathe in all that Hwange National Park has to offer. The call of the birds, the rustling of the grasses, the myriad scents carried on the breezes, the thrum of insects, all made for a memorable African experience. I hated to leave. Now, whenever I think of Africa, I cry to think of what I left behind, and the images that come to mind are the treasured images from my visit to Hwange National Park.

A real wildlife experience
Overall rating

Hwange is a superb destination to experience a real wildlife adventure. The guiding is of an exceptional standard, the best I have experienced on a number of trips to Africa including Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania. The use of concessions allows for walking safaris which add another very enjoyable element to the experience.
I visited during November which is a season of change in Hwange, we only had one day when it rained in the 8 nights we spent in the park. 2016 was the second year of drought in southern Africa and the landscape and scenery were affected by it and clearly animals had suffered. However we saw excellent wildlife and were lucky enough to see a Leopard at the waterhole at one camp one evening.
The camps are all of a good standard with good food and service. None of the camps we stayed in were fenced so perhaps not for the nervous or first time safari.
Roads are rough so be prepared to be bounced about a bit.
Overall an unmissable destination if wildlife is your thing.

Thrilling Odyssey
Overall rating

Hwange National Park offered wonderful opportunities to view and photograph amazing wildlife. We found eight large mammal, three of the Big Five, in just our first morning game drive. As an avian photographer on my first trip to Zimbabwe I was thrilled at the species I saw and recorded, which included Bateleur, African Fish, Wahlberg's, and Tawny Eagles. We found several species of Hornbill, and of course numerous Lilac-breasted Rollers and Southern Carmine Bee Eaters. We saw elephants, hippos, zebras, antelope, lions, and a cheetah.

Our stay at The Hide was comfortably luxurious, with excellent food and service and great views of visiting wildlife to the watering holes. The game drives were thrilling each morning and afternoon, and I was delighted with the knowledge and expertise of our safari guide, Daffy. We're planning of a return visit in the very near future.

Absolutely one of the best National Parks in Africa
Overall rating

I just made my second trip to Hwange National Park in June. It was just superb again. I stayed at Little Makalolo Camp and Camp Hwange each for four nights. The wildlife viewing was just phenomenal. I saw everything from elephants to wild dogs,lions and cheetahs. I also saw plenty of roan and sable antelope.

Zimbabwe is famous for having the highest standards of guiding in Africa. I have to say that all my guides at both Little Makalolo and Camp Hwange were just superb. I also felt that both the camps I stayed at were terrific in every way.

Couldn't have been more amazing
Overall rating

Spent two nights at Elephants Eye lodge and had an amazing full day game drive through Hwange National Park. We saw so many animals and had such a great day. Would go back in a heartbeat!

HNP is one of the best compare with others in Zambia and Zimbabwe
Overall rating

I did electrification of Hwange NP as Chief Electrical Engineer visited many times with wife & twin sons from May 93 to Jul 89

Average User Rating

  • 4.7/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star 12
  • 3 star 2
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 0
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