Most international visitors to Zimbabwe arrive at Victoria Falls Airport in the north-west of the country. From here, it’s an easy commute to Hwange National Park, the biggest national park in Zimbabwe and only three hours away. Hwange is a year round destination. And it’s the perfect starting point to visit other wildlife areas in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries. Hwange is generally considered to be the most mammal diverse park in Africa with over 108 species. This is because it is the transition zone between the Kalahari and Mopane Woodland of Zimbabwe.
But before you head on your journey to Hwange, spend a day in the quaint town of Victoria Falls, which is roughly 2 hours from our lodge Elephant’s Eye. Every year hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world descend on Zimbabwe’s most famous natural phenomenon, Victoria Falls. The Falls that border Zambia and Zimbabwe are recognised as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. With Victoria Falls accommodating so many tourists every year, it’s a great town with many accommodation options, top restaurants, and adventure and cultural activities.
Hwange can also be combined with other beautiful regions in Zimbabwe. There are very few places in Africa where you can have a safari on a major river like at Mana Pools. Spend a few nights at Little Vundu. The lodge is literally 10 meters from the banks of the Zambezi from where you can go on land rover game drives, walks, canoe- or boat trips. The animal density, especially elephant and buffalo are very high in this area, while visitors can also see plenty of lion, leopard and wild dog.
Hwange is a unique landscape with dry mopane bushlands in the dry season and lush vegetation in the rainy season. It’s nice, to therefore to combine a holiday in Zimbabwe with a different landscape, like Lake Kariba. A charter plane gets you to Lake Kariba, and allows you to see the area from up high. Lake Kariba is the world’s largest man-made lake, covering almost 5,600 square kilometers and this vast expanse of fresh water is home to some fantastic fish species including the famous Tiger fish, Tilapia bream, Catfish and the mighty Vundu. For most of the year, Lake Kariba is truly one of the greatest places in Africa for fishing.
The birdlife is prolific with in excess of 240 species having been identified in the Park. Of particular interest are the many different species of waterfowl seen busying the shoreline or perched on one of the putrefied and partially submerged trees that have stood since the creation of the lake some 50 years ago. These airy trees, remnants of great hardwood forests, provide homes for bats and insects, vantage points and nesting sites for fish eagles, darters, cormorants and kingfishers. How to get there: There are several chartered flight options from Harare, Hwange, Mana Pools and Victoria Falls.
Matobo National Park
The almost perfectly round boulders and hidden caves of the Matopos National Park lend themselves to a dramatic and mysterious aura that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Zimbabwe. Discover ancient rock art in cavernous caves, or track rhino on foot in an area that provides a perfect refuge for the endangered species. Matopos National Park is also the home of Cecil John Rhodes’ final resting place, he chose the rocky outcrop because of its “World’s View” and watching the sunrise from this spot is incredibly moving. The locals also refer to it as the “dwelling place of the generous spirits” as it is sacred ground with spiritual significance to the Ndebele. The round boulders are said to resemble bald heads and that is where the name Matopos comes from, Matobo means “bald head” in Ndebele.
Chobe National Park
Visitors to Zimbabwe can also combine Hwange with Chobe: there are full day trips to Chobe as well as overnight camping trips. Guests can visit the Chobe River and stay on the banks of the river, for example at Chobe Safari Lodge that is situated in Kasane. The Chobe area is a special place because right on the doorstep is the meeting of four African countries: Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The close proximity to Victoria Falls International Airport, Livingstone International Airport and Kasane International Airport makes it easily accessible, with daily road transfers or charter flights connecting all these airports with Chobe.