Hwange National Park - Safari and Accommodation Options around Main Camp
In the midst of the wilderness - Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's largest game reserve with almost 15 000 km². Only a small part of this huge area is open to the public. The lion's share of Hwange National Park consists of wilderness that are only patrolled by gamekeepers. You can read more general information about the park under this link: Hwange National Park
As a visitor you have various possibilities to enjoy the wildlife and Zimbabwe’s wonderful nature on your safari. Even if you think you have experienced enough safaris and don't want to get up early anymore, read on. Hwange National Park and Zimbabwe have more to offer than a large part of the more famous parks in southern Africa! Some of the many options can be found in this and the following articles.
The classic self-drive safari in Zimbabwe - Hwange National Park Main Camp
As in the more famous national parks in southern Africa, there are self-catering camps in Hwange National Park. Main Camp is the most easily accessible rest camp in the park. It can be reached from the main road Victoria Falls - Bulawayo. From Victoria Falls it's a 2.5 hour drive. From the junction of the main road it is about 25 km.
A four-wheel drive vehicle or at least a vehicle with good ground clearance is necessary for your safari in the park. You can easily reach Hwange National Park’s Main Camp with a normal sedan car. Within the park, in the area of Main Camp there are a few quite sandy stretches and also a few areas with bumpy, stony ground and potholes.
Self-catering at Main Camp
Main Camp in Hwange National Park has self-catering accommodation with a variety of facilities, from simple cottages with shared bathrooms and kitchens to fully equipped lodges. I say the latter with reservations, however, because the quality of the accommodation cannot be compared with e.g. Kruger National Park or Etosha at the moment. Time has stood still here since the 50s of the last century. It's all clean, but old and heavily used. There is also a camping site, with equally old but clean washrooms.
From Main Camp you have a wide radius for game drives with your own vehicle. You can effortlessly spend 2 full days without travelling longer distances twice.
If you don't have your own vehicle that can cope with the conditions of Hwange National Park, you can book tours into the park from Main Camp with various operators. If you are not yet a very experienced safari traveller, this can make sense anyway because you can learn a lot about the animals, plants and tracks of the wilderness from the guides.
Exciting camping adventures just for you
If you are equipped for camping, there are even more exciting alternatives. Hwange National Park offers various picnic areas with toilets and showers, which you can rent exclusively as a camper. This means that only you or in a few cases only a very limited number of campers can rent these places for the night.
You are then in the middle of the huge wilderness of Hwange National Park with only a small fence between you and the African bush. Some of these places are also very close to waterholes or even have a great view of a waterhole. It makes sense to book in advance for these places. If you can’t manage to do this, you can enquire at the reception of Main Camp. If no one with a reservation shows up by a certain time of day, they can give you the picnic spot.
Safaris with everything taken care of in Hwange National Park
There are several lodges at the edge of the park and on private concessions in the midst of Hwange National Park in the Main Camp area that offer accommodation, meals and guided safaris at various levels. Prices start with all meals, local drinks and 2 safaris daily at approx. US$ 200-270 per person per day for a cosy, very personally managed lodge, such as Sable Sands Lodge or Miombo Safari Camp.
For the camps within the park, which are also much more luxurious, you pay considerably more. Rates start between US$ 400-500 per person per day and the end is open. These are "all inclusive" experiences with exquisite service and excellent guides who will immerse you in the world of the African wilderness. You will also spend your nights close to the wild animals, some of which come very close to the lodges. The swimming pool of Somalisa Camp, for example, is regularly besieged by elephants in the dry season. The camps are also located in areas of the park that are teeming with game.
Walking safaris: in the bush on foot - for the adventurers among us
Wouldn’t you like to leave the roads of Hwange National Park and follow the tracks of animals on narrow game and elephant trails deep into the wilderness? Hiking safaris are your chance to do just that. You will stay overnight in comfortable 3x3 meter dome tents with camp beds and mattresses in the middle of the wilderness. Every day you will set out on foot with your experienced guide into the bush searching for wild animals. You might also start out by car for a while and then continue on foot. On such a safari you are as close to nature and the African wilderness as possible.
Your guide can now show you not only the large animals, but also trees, herbs, insects, birds, tracks and much more. You probably won’t even see any other people except a few Rangers. Here, you can find an example of such a safari: Walking Safari in Hwange National Park Zimbabwe.
In southern Africa, this way of going on safari is unique and only available in Zimbabwe.