Hwange National Park

Situated in North Western Zimbabwe bordering Botswana

Founded in 1928 and set aside as a National Park in 1929, Hwange National Park (formerly called Wankie National Park) was named after a local Nhanzwa chief. It became the royal hunting grounds for the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th Century. Hwange is the largest Park in Zimbabwe occupying approximately14 650 square kilometers. It is located in the northwest of the country about one hour south of the town of Victoria Falls.

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The first warden at Hwange was Ted Davison who was appointed to the role at the youthful age of 22. He became good friends with the English born James Jones who hailed from Manchester. James was the station master for the then Rhodesia Railways in Dete which is situated close to Hwange Main Camp. Jones managed incoming supplies for the park.

Hwange boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species recorded. The elephants of Hwange are world famous and the Park’s elephant population is one of the largest in the world.

The Park has three distinctive Camps and administrative offices at Robins, Sinamatella and the largest one at Main Camp. Hwange has two main seasons, one hot and wet season starting in mid November and ending in mid April. This is the season for migratory birds in Hwange ranging from the inter-African migrants like the Southern Carmine Bee-eater to the Palearctic Migrants like the Amur Falcons and the Ruff. The number of bird species found in Hwange exceeds 400 and this is largely due to migrants that take advantage of the huge numbers of insects and favourable conditions during the wet season.

The second season in the cold and dry season starting off in about mid April and ending when the rains break in mid November. The low temperatures occur for a brief period in May/June and July and then it remains dry but gets progressively warmer as the season progresses. Summer temperatures can reach into the 40s whilst winter overnight lows can be in the minuses but normally for only short periods. Hwange is on the edge of the Kalahari desert and as such guests are able see a number of desert specialist birds in this dry period such as Sand grouse, Coursers and Nightjars.

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At A Glance




Airfields & Road


An unlicensed airstrip exists at Main Camp for private/ charter aircraft. Prior permission to land must be obtained at Main Camp. Please note there are no hangars. Hwange National Park Airport is also situated nearby.

Victoria Falls Airport is approximately 22 kms out of Victoria Falls Town which is approximately 102 kms to Hwange.

Distances to individual lodges varies considerably. Pick ups from the airport can be arranged or with local transfer companies at an additional cost. You can fly into Bulawayo and it is approx four hours (337 kms) by road to Hwange. You can do self drive or a transfer can be arranged for a fee.

Distances from Hwange to:

  • Bulawayo 337 kms
  • Beitbridge 658 kms
  • Gweru 501 kms
  • Harare 776 kms
  • Kariba 557 kms
  • Masvingo 617 kms
  • Mutare 906 kms
  • Victoria Falls 102 kms

Hwange NP Road Access

Hwange NP is very accessible. Main Camp is 200km / 124mi south of Victoria Falls. The road is tarred. To reach some of the other camps within in the park a 4WD might be necessary, especially during the wet months from May to October. It is usually possible from May to October to enter the Park by any designated access road and to drive to any of the camps. During the wet season advice should be sought as to the best routes. The visitor reception at each camp will provide advice on the many game-viewing drives. 480 kms of roads traverse the Park.  Note that whilst the camps are connected by a road network, the roads are not always in the best of condition due to prevailing weather conditions.

To Main Camp: The turn-off to Main Camp is at the 264,5 kilometre peg on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road. It is a further 15 kms to the Park boundary at the railway crossing, a short distance from the Camp.

To Sinamatella Camp: The Camp is approximately 120 kilometres from Main Camp. A tar then gravel road branches off the main Bulawyo – Victoria Falls Road near the town of Hwange. The Camp is reached 45 kilometres further on via Mbala lodge in the Deka Safari Area. Vehicles are not allowed to travel between the two camps after 1400 hours. Sinamatella is an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ)

To Robins Camp: A gravel road turns off the main Bulawayo – Victoria Falls Road 48 kilometres south of Victoria Falls. From the junction it is approximately 70 kilometres to Robins Camp and en route there is a turn off to Matetsi Safari Area headquarters and to Pandamatenga. Robins Camp can also be reached by road through the Park from Main Camp and Sinamatella during the dry season. If proceeding through one of these camps obtain information about the route from the relevant camp.


Camping and Picnic Sites

Camping is permissible in Hwange National Park at:

  • Shumba,
  • Kapula,
  • Mandavu Dam,
  • Masuma,
  • Ngweshla,
  • Jambile,
  • Kennedy 1,
  • Guvalala,
  • Detema Picnic Sites.

Each site consists of an enclosed picnic area (usually with shady trees or thatch cover) and a small ablution block with running water. Groups of up to 10 people may camp overnight at these areas but the sites are also open to all visitors during daytime.

See ZIMPARKS rates above.

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National Parks Lodges

Main Camp:

Main Camp has self-catering lodges, cottages and chalets (4 beds and 2 beds), a camping and caravan site, bar and restaurant, grocery store, curio shop and petrol station.

Lodges have a bathroom, fully equipped kitchen with refrigerator and stove, lounge and verandah. Cooking utensils, cutlery and crockery are provided.

Cottages: Cooking facilities are communal, with electric hot plates provided. The cottages have a centrally located thatched, open dining area with refrigerators available for communal use. Normally no cutlery or crockery is provided

Chalets: These have a verandah and cooking facilities are available on wood or charcoal braais. An electric refrigerator and sink are provided in each unit. Ablution and toilet facilities are provided in a communal block.

Camping and Caravan sites: These have piped water to each stand. Cooking facilities are available on wood or charcoal braais. Ablution and toilet facilities are provided in communal blocks. Note: tent and camping equipment are not available for hire

Sinamatella: There are a number of 2 bedroom and 1 bedroom Lodges and Chalets which have 4 beds and 2 beds respectively. Facilities are similar to those described for Main Camp above and includes a restaurant, bar, shop. Fuel is available. There is also a campsite.

Nantwich: Here there is a 2 bedroom Lodge which has 4 beds.

Robins Camp: There are a number of 2 bedroom and 1 bedroom Lodges and Chalets which have 4 beds and 2 beds respectively. There is also Isilwane Lodge which has 3 bedrooms and 6 beds.

Attractions and Activities

Main Camp

  • Ngweshla Pan – the loop road is a pleasant day-drive
  • Nyamandhlovu Platform – prime game viewing area at a pumped water hole
  • Dom waterhole – an exceptional view of the African Sunset
  • Amenities: •    Restaurant and bar  •    Grocery store  •    Curio shop  •    Fuel station – please note petrol deliveries are not reliable so visitors have to take precautionary measures

Sinamatella Camp  Restaurant, bar and shop. Fuel is available.

  • Mandavu Dam – provides a beautiful viewing hide to watch animals coming to drink, 27 kilometres from Sinamatella
  • Masuma Dam – excellent hide for game viewing about 15 kilometres from Sinamatella
  • Detema Dam – exceptional game viewing hide
  • Wilderness trails
  • Walks
  • Fishing

Exclusive Camps:

  • Bumbusi Camp Bumbusi is situated 24 kilometres northwest of Sinamatella and consists of 4 “A” frame accommodation units, a cottage and a central lounge area. The kitchen is fully equipped with freezer and stove. A central ablution block comprises 2 toilets and 2 bathrooms. Maximum number of people is 12. There are no electricity facilities available. The access road is rough, but can be negotiated by low clearance vehicles in the dry season.
  • Lukosi Camp Located 11 kilometres from Sinamatella. Facilities similar to Bumbusi. Maximum number of people is 10. Lukosi Camp is only available for bookings from November through April
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Animals: The Dry season (from July to October) is the best time for game viewing when animals gather around predictable water resources.

Animals include: Lion, Elephants, Hyena, Giraffes, Kudu, Sable Roan, Cheetah, Leopard Hippos, Buffalo, Zebra, Wildebeest, Wild Dogs, Hartebeest, Baboon, Impala, Warthog, Pangolins, Vervet monkeys.

Birds: Over 400 species have been recorded in Hwange which has the largest occurance of birds in Zimbabwe.

Migratory birds are present from November to April. There are two main birding areas: the one around Main Camp and one to the north of the Park, around Robins and Sinamatella Rest Camps. Both areas are linked by a network of roads which take visitors through a variety of habitats, including many waterholes that attract large numbers of animals and birds.

Birds include: Ground Hornbill, Yellow Hornbill, Lilac Breasted Roller, Spur-winged Goose, Rufous-naped Lark, Red-billed Spurfowl, Bronze-winged Courser, Sandgrouse, Yellow-crimson Breasted Shrike, Kestrel, African Hobby, Kori Bustard, Yellow Billed Kite, Cape Griffon Vulture, Carmine Bee-eater, Martial Eagle, Pearl spotted Owlet, Swallow Tailed Bee Eater, Arnot’s Chat, Racket-tailed Roller, Crimson-breated Shrike, Red-creasted Korhaan, Secretary Bird, Kalahari scrub Robin etc

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