Hwange National Park Animals


The phrase “A wildlife extravaganza” can be used to describe the Hwange National Park animals. The park is known for its extraordinary variety of animal species. Visitors to this wildlife haven can expect to spot the Big Five as well as many other animals. The Hwange National Park animals have endured major hardship but with excellent conservation efforts the wildlife is flourishing.

Elephants and Rhinos

The majestic elephant serves as an integral part of the park’s history. In the 1970s a large number of elephants were heavily poached. In 1990, President Mugabe decreed that elephants could not be hunted or culled, and thus the Presidential Herd came to be. Thanks to the protection of the species, Hwange National Park now has one of the largest elephant populations in the world, with about 44,000 elephants. Historically, Hwange National Park animals were abundant, but trophy hunting led to the demise of many species, including the rhino. However, in 2022, white rhinos were reintroduced to the park. While the chance of spotting a rhino in Hwange is low, it is possible. Visitors who go on the Rhino Track and Trail Safari are guaranteed to spot a rhino. This safari package takes place in both Matopos and Hwange National Park.

Hwange National Park - Shumba

Big Cats

Hwange National Park is home to a healthy lion population, with about 700 lions in the area. Thus, making spotting a lion in Hwange very possible. Cecil’s pride is a famous pride in Zimbabwe, named after the male of the pride who was killed in a trophy hunt. Cecil’s brutal death brought attention to the issue of trophy hunting, and his interesting relationship with another male lion made him an admired figure. Today, Cecil’s pride can still be seen near Nantwich Lodge. Leopards and cheetahs are also found in Hwange, but are trickier to spot than lions.

Hwange National Park animals

Wild dog

The incredible wild dog, also known as the painted dog, is a heavily endangered species which can be found in Hwange. With an estimated 66,000 wild dogs left on the African continent spotting them is real pleasure. Thankfully, Hwange has the highest population of wild dogs, making it possible to spot one in the park! These incredible dogs live and hunt in large packs of 10 or more and prey on medium-sized antelopes such as kudu.

Zimbabwe - Hwange - Wild Dog
Zimbabwe – Hwange – Wild Dog


Hwange is home to many incredible feathered species, making it a great spot for birdwatching. Racket-tailed rollers, purple rollers, Lilic-breasted rollers, Hornbills, Arnot’s chat, the long-legged Kori Bustard, and the secretary bird are just a few of the species you may spot. Interested in a birding safari? – The Hideaways Zimbabwe birding expedition will take you on an extraordinary safari led by top birding guides.

More Hwange National Park animals

In addition to the Big Five, Hwange National Park is also home to a significant buffalo population of about 10,000. When you Visit Hwange, you may be lucky to see these incredible herds in the northern region around Nantwich Lodge. You are often treated to seeing many lions as they prey on these large herds! Visitors can also expect to see giraffes, Hwange is one of the only areas in Zimbabwe where you can spot this tall species. Various antelope species, wildebeest, hippos, zebras, aardvarks, sable, and hyenas can also be spotted on safari. Hwange National Park animals are incredibly diverse and abundant allowing for a spectacular safari experience in the wonderful Hwange National Park.

Read the full Hwange National Park travel guide

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