Overview – Hwange NP
Hwange NP is the largest and most popular park in Zimbabwe. It offers excellent wildlife viewing, and most big safari animals can be seen, including the Big Five. Hwange is most known for the impressive concentration of elephant that are attracted to the park's waterholes during the Dry season.
Pros and Cons
- Top wildlife viewing with all of the Big Five present (rhino are rare)
- Wide variety of animals
- Night drives and walking safaris are available at most camps
- Proximity to the popular Victoria Falls
- Accommodation options for all budgets
- Excellent park for self-drive and self-catering
- Roads which were previously tarred, and in good condition, have mostly disintegrated
With over 100 species present, Hwange has the widest variety of mammals of any national park in the world. Its claim to fame is one of the largest elephant populations in the world. There are 20,000 to 70,000 individuals that congregate around the waterholes toward the end of the Dry season. Predators, including all three of the big cats, are regularly spotted. The park has an impressive variety of antelope, including some of the unusual species such as sable antelope and greater kudu. The park is an important breeding ground for wild dog.
The park is situated on the eastern edge of the vast Kalahari sands and scrublands. Habitats in the park include teak forest, thornveld and mopane woodland, with scattered hills in the northwest. There is little natural water in the park and animals are dependent on artificial waterholes.
Weather & Climate
Hwange’s two clear-cut seasons cause the local temperature to move around a bit. The Dry season (April to October) starts off warm before temperatures dip in the middle of the year. Then the heat quickly gets turned up, culminating in the blazing heat of October. The Wet season (November to March) cools things off at first with its stormy weather before settling into a pattern of hot, humid days.
Best Time to Visit
You pretty much have Hwange to yourself in the Wet season (November to April). But the scattered animals and lack of accommodation don’t make this the most appealing time to visit – not unless you’re a keen birder. Otherwise, forsake the persistent drizzle and oppressive heat and travel to Hwange in the drier months, when animals crowd the waterholes.
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Paul is a travel writer, author of the Bradt guidebook to Zimbabwe and is closely involved in promoting tourism to Zimbabwe.
Big Game Metropolis
Hwange, the size of Belgium, is Zimbabwe’s premier park, one of Africa’s finest. And these days with Zimbabwe’s low tourism figures, you’ll have the park to yourself giving an excellent, uncrowded, wildlife experience. And with 108...
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