- Location: South of Victoria Falls on the borders of Botswana
- Attraction Type: National Park and Game Reserve
- Significance: Largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, and has the largest concentration of wild animals among all Zimbabwean reserves
- Best time to Visit: July to October
- How to reach: By road from Victoria Falls
- Nearest Airport: Victoria Falls Airport
Hwange National Park is among the most wondrous game reserves in Zimbabwe if not in Africa. A biosphere of great contrasts and great conflicts, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is an abundance of games, an expanse of sub-tropical vegetation bordering a desert, and a glorious display of salt pans. Having the densest distribution of wildlife, it is a thrilling adventure to view the ‘big five’ and other exotic animals in this Zimbabwean national park.
This protected game reserve extends to an area of more than 5,600 square miles and is situated at an altitude of 3300 feet. Located on the route to Bulawayo from Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is covered by a 300 miles roadway network.
Zimbabwe Hwange National Park gets its name from Chief Hwange of the Rozi tribe who inhabited these tracts before being attacked by the more powerful Mzilikazi tribe led by their leader Matabele. Subsequently, in the 19th century, the Europeans arrived and lay claim to these lands driving the local tribes and the animals away towards the Kalahari Desert. After the formation of a National Park about 70 years ago, the wildlife population has increased to a healthy level as of now. Here you would get the rare opportunity of viewing over 100 animal varieties and more than 400 species of birds.
Hwange National Park boasts of the largest number of elephants in the entire Zimbabwe, and its buffalo count is also impressive. Rhinos, lions, and giraffe complete the ‘big five’ games. In case you are fortunate, you could view the elusive leopard. Among the birds, you might view the kori bustard, crowned cranes and red bishops. Wildlife viewing is easier in the dry months from July to September when the animals and birds gather around the water holes for drinking water. Many of these water holes are man-made to ensure a continuous supply of water to the animals even during harsh and dry winter months.
Hwange National Park Activities
Apart from day safaris, many of the jungle lodges arrange night safaris. The night safaris take you to strategically located water holes, where animals assemble to drink water, and to salt pans which are used by elephants for their mud bath. In the dark, you might also see the springhare hopping around.
Staying in Hwange National Park
For a thorough viewing of this Zimbabwe national park bordering the Kalahari Desert, it is advisable to stay in any of the jungle lodges. Little Makalolo, Makalolo Plains, and Linkwasha are some of the comfortable lodges to put up for the night.