Hwange National Park
Packs of Cape wild dogs (a subspecies of the African wild dog), stealthy leopards, herds of gemsbok, roving spotted hyenas, prides of lions, and, of course, families of elephants (among all other animals) are protected within the massive confines of the park.
Most guided tours of the national park are a single- or multi-day trip from Victoria Falls in which visitors are taken on exhilarating game drives and, in some cases, camp overnight in the sparse scrublands. If camping is not your style, there are a handful of other accommodations including well-maintained safari lodges.
Things to know before you go
- Be sure to check out the north portion of the park where vegetation is sparse and thus makes for the best game viewing.
- Stay within your safari vehicle at all times unless your accompanying guide says it is safe to exit the vehicle.
- If your tour does not provide lunch, pack a picnic and bring plenty of water as you will be gone all day during your game drives.
- Some tours are wheelchair-accessible.
How to get there
Located 73 miles (118 kilometers) south of Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is best reached by car. The approximately 1.5-hour trip will put you at the main gate off the Bulawayo-Vicotria Falls road before you off-road it into the park.
When to get there
For the best game viewing, consider planning your trip for August through early November when water is scarce and the animals congregate around two main watering holes. However these months are Zimbabwe’s summer season, and the weather can be extremely hot. For a completely different experience, you might want to visit during the rainy season (late November through April) when the savannahs transform into lush fields, newborn animals abound, and the birdlife is prolific.
Conservation at Hwange National Park
The National Parks Scientific Services coordinate two long-term conservation and research projects in the park: the National Leopard Project and the Painted Dog Project. The National Leopard Project surveys and studies the big cats’ hunting areas in conjunction with Oxford University and Dart Animal Rescue Trust, and the Painted Dog Project aims to protect and increase African wild dog populations in Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.