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Overview

Situated along the Botswana border south of Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, and the country's most popular safari destination. Relatively inexpensive and easy to access, the public part of the park is best known for elephants, up to 20,000 of which may be present at the height of the dry season. But the general game viewing is excellent, with lion, cheetah and hyena regularly sighted in the roads around Main Camp, along with grazers such as giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, wildebeest, impala and sable antelope. Several dams and waterholes that attract enormous numbers of wildlife in the dry season are ...

Situated along the Botswana border south of Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, and the country's most popular safari destination. Relatively inexpensive and easy to access, the public part of the park is best known for elephants, up to 20,000 of which may be present at the height of the dry season. But the general game viewing is excellent, with lion, cheetah and hyena regularly sighted in the roads around Main Camp, along with grazers such as giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, wildebeest, impala and sable antelope. Several dams and waterholes that attract enormous numbers of wildlife in the dry season are overlooked by viewing towers or hides, and spending time at these fixed vantage points is a good way to see elephants play like children in the water and otherwise interact. Hwange is at the far eastern extent of the Kalahari biome, and the varied birdlife is notable for several species more normally associated with neighboring Botswana. Away from the public sector, several private concessions offer high-paying visitors a near-exclusive bush experience in one of Africa's top parks, as well as the option of guided game walks and night drives.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie Game Reserve) is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe. The park lies in the west, on the main road between Bulawayo and the widely noted Victoria Falls and near to Dete.
  • Language: English, Shona and Ndebele (two Bantu languages)
  • Currency: Zimbabwe Dollar
  • Research: Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Wildlife numbers are highest in the dry southern winter, peaking over July to September. This is also the lowest risk season for malaria. The wet summer months of November to March are best for birding and are most attractive scenically.