Hwange National Park dominates nearly 15,000km² of western Zimbabwe. The areas’ status as the royal hunting ground of Mzilikazi, King of the Matabele people, in the 1800s testifies to its superior quality as a wildlife destination. Previously well known particularly for lion, elephant and wild dog, the area is still teaming with game, assisted by a number of waterholes which act as a bit of a game magnet. This is the best place to go if you want to see the Big 5.
As you can imagine given its size, the scenery is quite varied from camel thorn thickets to teak forests and open vleis with pans that resemble lily ponds in the green season. There are areas where the sand is white and beach-like and the Ilala palms are silhouetted against the sky rather like some Bedouin oasis. As varied as the terrain, the seasons project their changing faces on the landscape across the year. In March the bush is thick and lush with long grass, wild flowers and green, green everywhere. In October, the Park wears it's Kalahari desert face and it can be parched and dusty.
The weather too is extreme. In the winter months (June - August), temperatures at night can drop to -100C, while in the height of summer, day-time temperatures will be nearer 400C.
While many camps and lodges haven’t made it through the last tough period, there are a number that have and, as they say, survival of the fittest... There are also a few new little gems springing up as a testament to local optimism. There's a choice of tented camps, luxury lodges and mobile safaris. This is also one of the only National Parks where you can safely view the wildlife on foot or from the back of a horse (fortunately not a matter of survival of the fittest, although it helps).
Hwange is actually very accessible as part of a safari in Botswana and Zambia as well as Zimbabwe since it is only two hour’s drive from Victoria Falls and combines well with other spots in both Zambia and Botswana.