Hwange National Park
About the size of Belgium, the Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s largest conservation area. It is about a 1-hour drive from Victoria Falls. The park was once the royal hunting ground of Mzilikazi, the king of the Ndebele people before it was designated as a national park in 1929.
The park is home to one of the largest elephant populations in Africa with around 50,000 elephants. Seeing large herds of elephants and buffalo is common in the park. The park has been under increasing pressure from surrounding populations. Zimbabwe’s economic and political decline led to a decrease in tourism revenue and the economic situation impoverished local communities who turned to poaching as a source of income.
In recent years, tourism has been making a comeback. There are several private concession areas of the park such as that by Wilderness safaris which has a lovely lodge. These conservation areas are well managed and offer an excellent safari vacation.
The park and the surrounding conservation concessions are a last refuge for the highly endangered African Wild Dog. The park is also home to rare antelope species like sable and roan antelope. Predators such as cheetah, lion and hyena are also commonly seen. In the dry winter months, the wildlife congregates around manmade waterholes offering really good game viewing from hides.