​User Reviews – Hwange NP

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Swenglishnick & Zimgirl   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: December 2007 Reviewed: Oct 10, 2011

Email Swenglishnick & Zimgirl  |  35-50 years of age

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.

Alison   –  
Australia AU
Visited: January 2012 Reviewed: Jun 11, 2012

Email Alison  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

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

bastian birk   –  
Germany DE
Visited: September 1996 Reviewed: Dec 4, 2011

Email bastian birk  |  50-65 years of age

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.

Simone   –  
United States US
Visited: January 2008 Reviewed: Sep 26, 2011

20-35 years of age

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.

Tami L. Wendell Visited: April 2012 Reviewed: Aug 6, 2012

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.

BrianIron   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: November 2016 Reviewed: Apr 26, 2017

Email BrianIron  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

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.

CharlesGangas Photography   –  
United States US
Visited: March 2016 Reviewed: Mar 28, 2016

Email CharlesGangas Photography  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

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.

Michelle Welch   –  
New Zealand NZ
Visited: November 2019 Reviewed: Dec 28, 2019

Email Michelle Welch  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating

Hwange is a vast area and requires patience and travel over great distances to see the wildlife. There is no fencing so the animals wonder over large areas.
We prefer to get away from volumes of commercial tourism so Hwange is the ideal place for us. We love it and will return as often as we can.

AT   –  
Singapore SG
Visited: August 2019 Reviewed: Sep 17, 2019

Email AT  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Overall rating

Huge herds of animals ... would have wanted to see rhinos though...

Luke   –  
United States US
Visited: July 2019 Reviewed: Aug 13, 2019

Email Luke  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Overall rating

Hwange was amazing! Not at all crowded, and got to see lots of wildlife.

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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