Hwange National Park is one of the great wildlife parks of Africa and one of our most favorite. We’ve returned again and again to this African Eden just south of Victoria Falls in northwest Zimbabwe. There is no better place in Africa to have up-close encounters with wild elephants - Hwange is home to some 50,000 elephants!
Led by the highest trained guides on the continent, wildlife enthusiasts can stalk these giant animals on foot or get amazing photos from toenail-level at one of the specially designed “lookup” underground wildlife blinds. Hwange also boasts impressive prides of lions and coalitions of cheetahs. Wild dogs and leopards are often seen, as well as hyenas, buffalo, eland, kudu and sable too.
History - Protecting wildlife with water
The park was established as a wildlife reserve in the late 1920’s but a crucial oversight set the boundaries in an area without a reliable water source during the dry-season. Wildlife that migrated out of the park in search of water during that time of the year were at-risk of human-wildlife conflict. In an effort to better protect the wildlife under his care, park warden Ted Davison installed a series of windmills to pump waterholes during the arid months. It was wildly successful with wildlife conflicts outside of the park decreasing and their populations flourishing inside the park. Today some of those original windmills can still be seen in Hwange.
Today - Bringing the benefits of wildlife tourism to communities
The windmills of Hwange were replaced by diesel generators in the 1960’s and 70’s and now these machines are reaching the end of their lifespan. Imvelo Safari Lodges has spearheaded the conversion of these pumps over to solar and solar-diesel hybrids which are much more efficient and environmentally friendly. Imvelo has also expanded their solar pump installation program to the villages along the eastern edge of the park. Long overlooked by the government, these are some of the benefits that everyday Zimbabweans are seeing from the growth in tourism. Imvelo also leases land from the communities for its lodges, funds the construction of school buildings, provides school meals during the dry season, hosts dental and vision clinics and employs many locals across it’s camps and lodges. Their visionary model of using upmarket wildlife tourism to conserve wildlife and support local communities is being replicated across Africa. Moraway is proud to support Imvelo in these efforts.
So many activities!
Part of what makes Hwange such an amazing destination are the array of activities that you can do. Walking safaris are an exceptional way to immerse yourself in the wild and Zimbabwe pro guides are highly skilled at reading and interpreting wild animal behaviors. Go for a ride on the Elephant Express for a unique rail-car safari and sip cocktails as you watch for sable and lions.
In the far southern wilderness areas of the park you can ride a mountain bike along ancient elephant footpaths while staying at Jozibanini, one of the most remote camps in Africa. You can even roll your bed out on the deck and sleep under the stars if you prefer. At the end of your safari time, you are only a stone’s throw from Victoria Falls - the perfect place to relax, do some curios shopping and tour the Falls before heading for home.
Your friendly safari expert,