Hwange National Park

Zimbabwe’s biggest and best-known protected space, Hwange National Park is one of southern Africa’s foremost safari destinations despite flying somewhat under the radar.

Approximately two hour’s drive from Victoria Falls, its 5,657 square mile area is the meeting point of Kalahari Desert sands, stands of hardwood trees, savanna, and even seasonal wetlands, providing a range of habitats which in turn draw in a wide array of animal species.

Of these, the Big Five take most of the attention. Not only is Hwange a Lion Conservation Unit (and in the former range of Cecil the lion), but the size of its buffalo and elephant herds are legendary. An estimated 40,000 elephants criss-cross the park’s ancient migration routes alone. They’re easiest to spot between July and October.

In total, Hwange has a mammal count entering three figures, including one of the largest surviving groups of Cape wild dogs, a species brought back from the brink of extinction. The park’s birdlife is four times larger, and incorporates everything from wading birds to owls. Birds flying in to avoid the winter in the northern hemisphere makes December to March the best time to visit Hwange for birders.

Whatever time of year you’re able to visit, you’re sure of an exemplary safari experience. Zimbabwe’s guides face the toughest examinations of any on the continent, and are highly-respected in the industry as a result. Meanwhile, Hwange’s accommodation options are equally first rate. Most are located on the eastern edge of the park, close to watercourses attractive to both human and non-human visitors.

Top Zimbabwe Travel Destinations

Great Zimbabwe / Harere / Lake Kariba / Mana Pools National Park / Matobo National Park / Victoria Falls

The Big Five

African Elephant / Cape Buffalo / Leopard / Lion / Rhino

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