Zimbabwe - Hwange National Park
At 14,000 square kilometres, roughly the size of Wales in the UK, Hwange is the largest of Zimbabwe's national parks. The area was designated a game reserve in 1928, and through a careful game management system, large herds of wildlife now roam the park.
The easternmost tongues of the Kalahari desert extend across the border from Botswana, blending with the teak forests of Zimbabwe's interior. The meeting of these two environments creates an unusually rich variety of habitats and supports both desert-adapted animals and woodland species, making a visit to Hwange a particularly rich game-viewing experience.
Hwange is home to some of Southern Africa's last great herds. If you love elephants, you'll be happy to know that an estimated 40,000 elephants make their home at Hwange, and huge herds of buffalo can also be seen. There are a number of shallow pans scattered throughout the park that make for very rewarding encounters during the dry season.
The park is arguably the best place in Africa to see sizeable herds of the rare, magnificent sable antelope. Roan antelope can also be seen at Hwange.
Other species that may be observed at Hwange are the elusive African wild dog, which seems to be breeding and growing in number here, lion, leopard, zebra, eland, kudu and waterbuck, buffalo, and giraffe.
Safari camps in Hwange are open throughout the year. Morning and evening game drives in open 4x4 safari vehicles explore the park's wild areas.
Zimbabwe's walking safari guides set the standard throughout Southern Africa, and Hwange is one of the few national parks in Africa where walking safaris are allowed, enabling you to experience the bush and its residents up-close.
Spending time at hides or platforms near waterholes allows you to watch nature unfold at its own pace, and can provide superb opportunities for observing and photographing interaction between animals.
When to Go
Hwange offers excellent game-viewing year-round. Early in the year after the rains, the vegetation is green and lush. Colourful wild flowers and newly born animals provide unforgettable scenes and photo opportunities. This also is when you'll see migratory birds returning home. Later in the year, water becomes harder to come by, and animals gather at watering holes, a scene that also offers a great setting for photos.