Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's largest and most popular game reserve; arguably the best safari destination in Zimbabwe. There is a wide variety of habitats and vegetation types, including dry Kalahari-type bushveld, mopane shrubland, acacia savanna, huge open grasslands, vast wetlands and teak forests. This diversity attracts a variety of wildlife, making Hwange an excellent choice for an African safari. It's also close to Victoria Falls and the two destinations can easily be combined in one safari itinerary.

Highlights
  • Largest game reserve in Zimbabwe
  • Home to the Big 5 (although the rhino population is almost extinct)
  • Famous for its large elephant herds
  • Great place to see wild dogs
  • Fantastic diversity of species
  • Great choice of camps
  • Close to Victoria Falls

Climate

Hwange enjoys a mild to warm climate. Summer months extend from September to March. The days average 32°C/90°F and October can be extremely hot, reaching over 40°C/104°F. Winter months are between May to August with days around 26°C/79°F and chilly nights at around 7°C/40°F. The rainy season is during the summer months from November to March and generally consists of afternoon showers, followed by clear, bright evenings.

Best time to visit

Dry Season
  • July to September is an excellent time to visit and for game viewing. Water sources are scarce so animals have to visit perennial waterholes, where you can sit and wait for them to arrive. Grasses are dry, brown and trampled which makes game spotting much easier. Humidity is also at its lowest, and mosquitos are few and far between.
  • May to September is also the best time for viewing Victoria Falls.

A note of caution: June to October is peak season, so you'll need to book ahead as some of the camps get booked out quickly. Also remember your winter woollies (scarves, jackets, beanies and gloves) for early morning/late afternoon game drives as it can be really chilly.

Wet Season
  • From November to April, the scenery is fresher, greener and lusher. Rates are often lower and camps less crowded. It's baby season so game viewing is often very rewarding and predators are more active. It's the best time for bird watchers as all the migratory birds are returning in droves.

Bear in mind: It can be very hot and humid (October particularly) and some roads become impassable after heavy rains.

Wildlife

Hwange National Park is famous for its large herds of elephants. It's a Big 5 national park, but rhinos are, unfortunately, very rare and virtually extinct. You'll often be rewarded with sightings of wild dog packs, however. All the larger, less common antelope can usually be seen – greater kudu, roan and sable.

Hwange elephant somalisa

The elephant experience at Somalisa

(Image: African Bush Camps Somalisa Acacia Camp)

Getting there

By road - Hwange National Park is some 200 km from Victoria Falls, easily accessible by a tarred road. Some of the remote camps within Hwange can only be reached by 4x4 during the rainy season.

By air - Regular flights connect from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls Airport (VFA). Road transfers can easily be arranged. Chartered flights are also available to some of the lodges which have their own airstrips.

Camp Hwange
Camp hwange waterhole sunset view

Perfectly positioned on a rise overlooking a perennial waterhole, Camp Hwange is professionally run by one of Zimbabwe's leading safari guides and offers an excellent safari experience filled with fascinating bush lore and a wealth of safari stories. Informal, yet with all the creature comforts, Camp Hwange offers the added benefits of a private concession from day and night game drives and off-road driving to walking safaris with an experienced ranger.

The Hide Safari Camp
The Hide Elephants Hwange - Zimbabwe

Situated along the eastern side of Hwange National Park, The Hide is about two hours' drive south from Hwange's main camp. It's one of the oldest, most established camps in Hwange. All tented suites and the main camp with its upper-level hide overlook an active vlei and waterhole. One of the best features of this camp is the eye-level game viewing hide right at the waterhole.

Hwange National Park
Feature Hwange National Park Zimbabwe Christine Donaldson I Unsplash

Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's largest and most popular game reserve; arguably the best safari destination in Zimbabwe. There is a wide variety of habitats and vegetation types, including dry Kalahari-type bushveld, mopane shrubland, acacia savanna, huge open grasslands, vast wetlands and teak forests. This diversity attracts a variety of wildlife, making Hwange an excellent choice for an African safari. It's also close to Victoria Falls and the two destinations can easily be combined in one safari itinerary.

Somalisa Camp
Somalisa Camp Hwange National Park

Somalisa Camp is reminiscent of bygone heydays ... luxury and elegance coupled with untamed, pristine Africa. It offers sweeping views out over the grassy plains and overlooks an ancient, seasonal floodplain with a perennial pan where animals often congregate. As part of a concession, flexible game viewing activities are allowed, including night drives with huge spotlights and bush walks with a knowledgeable, expert ranger.

Victoria Falls
Feature Africa Travel Guide Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls is the most spectacular sight anywhere in Africa. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, this huge curtain waterfall lies on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, where the mighty Zambezi River plunges 108 metres down into a narrow gorge, creating a waterfall that is a mile wide. A visit to Southern Africa is not complete without a trip to Victoria Falls. The falls can be visited from the Zambian or from the Zimbabwean side. The town on the Zambian side is called Livingstone, and the town on the Zimbabwean side is also called Victoria Falls. Both locations are safe, popular tourist destinations with good infrastructure and a variety of accommodation options.

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