Hwange National Park, which is the same size as Northern Ireland, is the largest reserve in Zimbabwe, easily accessible and also the finest. The park borders Botswana to the south west and is only 200km south east from Victoria Falls, along a good tarmac road. It is also possible to fly in by light aircraft.
Hwange is perhaps the best choice of safari destination, if you are looking to combine a visit to the impressive Victoria Falls with a high caliber safari with plenty of animals. Here you can find just about all the classic African savannah animals you can imagine. The park is home to all of the Big Five: around 30,000 elephants live here, which is the second biggest population in Africa after Chobe in Botswana. Buffalo can be seen nearly everywhere in the park and move around in huge herds, however sightings of black rhino have unfortunately become a much rarer occurrence over the years. Lions are commonly seen and the shy, largely nocturnal, leopard is also common in the park.
The nature of the accessible northern third of the park is a mix of flat, sandy areas with scattered vegetation, acacia savannah and a few more forested areas in the north east section of the park. In the north west section there are also areas dominated by more hilly terrain with granite outcrops. Around 60 waterholes can be found in Hwange, most of which are artificial. In the larger waterholes you see hippos, crocodiles and turtles. On the savannah, close to waterholes, live many giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, warthogs and countless antelopes, including some of the largest and most impressive species such as greater kudu, eland, roan, sable and waterbuck.
The park also houses large populations of baboons, spotted hyena and not least, the otherwise rare African wild dog. The cool, dry season from April to October is the best time to see big game animals, while the wetter months from November to February is the best period for birdwatching. Here the many species of hornbills, eagles and vultures dominate the picture. The primary focus in the park is on safari drives during the hours of daylight, when it is possible to leave your vehicle and vist the many hides that have been built near the waterholes. However other activities are also possible.
Outside the park, where there can also be many animals, walking safaris and night safaris, where you search for the nocturnal animals with searchlights, are popular.
High Season: June to October