Hideaways was blessed with the opportunity to build and develop two of our flagship lodges in Hwange National Park; Nantwich and Elephant’s Eye, Hwange. Distinct in character, one can spend time at each lodge and leave having had two very different experiences – location, ambience, personality and wildlife specific to the area.
What is the difference between Nantwich and Elephant’s Eye, Hwange?
Situated in northwest Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the country’s largest park – deeming it ecologically diverse from one end to the other. With an area of 14 651 km sq, the park holds a number of various landscapes, ecosystems, water sources and animal populations. It is highly recommended to spend time exploring more than one area of the park – discovering its natural seeps, its open plains, its woodlands as well as the favourite waterholes for wildlife.
Nantwich is located a mere hour’s drive from Victoria Falls, on the north western wing of Hwange. The lodge sits on the borders of both the Matetsi concession as well as Chobe National Park in Botswana, animals migrating freely between the areas – a veritable animal intersection. Remote, refurbished and resurrected from a bygone era, the lodge is built from the foundations of responsible tourism, simple yet refined, with a personal twist.
The lodge is steeped in history. Originally a farm, then a rangers station for national parks, turned self catering accommodation, and finally nurtured by Hideaways into a bespoke eco-lodge. The main area is the original farmhouse, stories of the past evident in the authentic fittings from the old buildings – copper taps and wooden doors indicative of a time before.
Nantwich encourages presence and curiosity, calling travellers to engage, immerse and interact with their environment. Walking safaris led by a professional guide awaken your inquisitive side, leading you through wildlife corridors, gifting the understanding of the interwoven and fragile nature of our ecosystem. Gin bars invite personal creations for specific palettes and the pool with a view time to observe the view beyond.
The surrounds of Nantwich are known for its large herds of buffalo which come to drink at the waterhole in front of the lodge. With buffalo, come predators, following in the footsteps of their prey. The area has an extremely healthy cat population – a sighting of lions in and around the lodge a common occurrence. Nantwich Lodge offers the wild fringed with holistic and interactive experiences, taking adventure into your own hands.
Elephant’s Eye, Hwange
A 2.5 hour drive from Victoria Falls will deliver you to Elephant’s Eye, Hwange; an invitation for education in community and conservation tourism. Located on the eastern border of Hwange National Park in a private concession, the lodge is known for its herds of elephant and community conscious projects, a holistic safari combination.
The lodge is made up of 8 raised tented chalets – open and spacious, each with a view of the waterhole from bed as well as from the outdoor shower. With water being scarce in Hwange, especially in the dry season, this waterhole is a favourite for wildlife; especially elephants. Living true to its name, the lodge is a magnet for large herds of elephants, arriving to not only drink from the waterhole, but from the swimming pool as well! Many visitors have shared an evening with a herd of elephants, quenching their thirst while guests sip on sundowners or finish dinner. Their low rumbles of communication orchestrate the night, adding to the symphony of African sounds.
Our sleep-out deck, affectionately called The Eye, allows guests the rare opportunity to fall asleep under a starlit sky. After dinner, guests are escorted to The Eye to experience a private performance of African sights and sounds. The experience is enchanting, the romance of being enveloped by stars with the thrill of wildlife moving beneath you, fully immersed in nature.
Elephant’s Eye, Hwange works very closely with the nearby community of Dete, promoting and supporting its local craft and trade. Taking guests to visit various small businesses within the town not only educates clients on life in rural Zimbabwe, but generates an income for locals, with purchases made by the travellers. A tour around Dingani, the local primary school, is an insight to the need for funding, lacking from government, showcasing how much of an impact tourism and donations can make in these children’s and teachers’ lives. Before guests arrive, they are given the option to make donations in the form of school supplies, sporting equipment or clothing – something small which can fit in their luggage, yet will leave a big impression on the community.
Despite being in the same national park, the two properties embrace and celebrate different parts of an African safari experience. Emanating their own characters, they each invite you to visit, experiencing their unique qualities for yourself.