General Information for the visitor to Hwange National Park
These sub-tropical thorn and sand flats on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, were once home to the nomadic San (bushmen) who lived off the land and feasted on great herds of migrating game. They were displaced by stronger African tribes, who in turn had their day. Chief Hwange of the Rozi tribe was ousted by the Matabele chief Mzilikazi, and his lands taken over as a royal hunting ground.
Through a twist of fate, the land gained National Park status and Hwange National Park became is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, noted for its massive population of elephants.
Animals and Birds
Hwange has Africa's Big Five and plenty of them! There are thousands of elephants and buffalo. Lions are commonly seen, but the elusive leopard and rhino are always a bonus to see. This park has such variety that one hundred different species have been recorded.
Dry season game-viewing is assisted by the shallow pans threaded throughout the park. The natural salt-licks provide elephants with favourite mud holes for wallowing and sixty man-made waterholes give much needed water during the hot parched winter months when everything else dries up. Several waterholes have raised wooden hides in which you can spend many hours observing animals and the interactions between them.
400 species of birds are found here making it a bird watchers paradise, particularly in the wet season.
Several of Hwange's safari lodges occupy a private concession and unlike the public park, night drives are allowed. One memorable after-dark sight is the Springhare, who hops around like a miniature kangaroo.
Dry Season: July to September is hot during the day but can drop to below freezing on particularly cold winter nights. During these dry months the animals are concentrated around the man-made waterholes, which provides excellent game viewing opportunities.
Rainy Season: Big fluffy clouds release the summer rains and the vegetation bursts into life. The area has a relatively low average rainfall of between 22½-25½ inches (570-650 mm) per annum. Temperatures can reach over 100°F (38°C), while on average they range from 65-83°F (18-28°C). Birdlife is most spectacular at this time. however due to the thick vegetation game viewing is more difficult.
• Thousands of elephants
• Over 100 different types of animals and 400 species of birds
• Strategically placed viewing hides
• Luxury safari lodges with their own 'off the beaten track' traversing areas
• Night drives - from the private lodges
Hwange National Park Facts
The park covers an area of 5,656miles² (14,651km²) with an average altitude 3,300 ft (1,000m) above sea level.
It is situated on the main Bulawayo to Victoria Falls road in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe and borders Botswana.
Hwange has a good selection of roads however some are in need of repairs and visitors must take special care when driving around. Many of the roads are all weather but some get boggy during the rainy season and are closed. There is no off-road or night driving in the National Park.
This is a malaria area so please tak ethe necessary precautions.
To download a map of Hwange National Park please click on the following link:Hwange Map