Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie) is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe. The park lies in the west, on the main road between Bulawayo and the world-famous Victoria Falls.

It was founded around 1928 by a 22-year-old game ranger, Ted Davidson. He befriended the Manchester-born James Jones who was the stationmaster for the then Rhodesian Railways at Dete which is very near Hwange Main Camp. Jones managed incoming supplies for the park.

Hwange National Park covers over 14,600 square kilometres. The park is close to the edge of the Kalahari desert, a region with little water and very sparse, semi-arid vegetation.

The Park hosts 105 mammal species, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores. All Zimbabwe's specially protected animals are to be found in Hwange and it is the only protected area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in reasonable numbers. The population of African wild dogs to be found in Hwange is thought to be of one of the largest surviving groups in Africa today.

Elephants have been enormously successful in Hwange and the population has increased to far above that naturally supported by such an area. However there have been consecutive years of drought in the Hwange region and this population of elephants has put a lot of strain on the resources of the park. There has been a lot of debate on how to deal with this, and culling may well be the only solution.


The park has three permanent camps.

  • Main Camp: south, easily accessible by tarred road from the main BulawayoVictoria Falls road.
  • Sinamatella: north, several hours' drive through the park from Main Camp, or a shorter journey on a dirt road from the main Bulawayo–Victoria Falls road. Set on an escarpment above a waterhole, overlooking miles of bush.
  • Robins Camp: north, remote and may not have provisions or fuel.

In addition, overnight camping is permitted at some of the platforms overlooking waterholes; bookings must be made in advance with the National Parks board.

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