Elephants at waterhole, Hwange, Zimbabwe


Hwange National Park is in the northwest corner of Zimbabwe, on the border with Botswana and is roughly the size of Belgium at 14,600 square kilometres.

The park lies in the west, on the main road between Bulawayo and the world-famous Victoria Falls. This vast wilderness area of Kalahari sands, grasslands and teak forests is home to one of the highest concentrations of game, especially elephant, which congregates around the waterholes.

There are only a handful of lodges allowed within the park itself but there are many on the borders in private reserves with wildlife roaming freely between the two.


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The elephant Express, Hwange, Zimbabwe

Elephant Express

Travel through Hwange National Park by train. Spot wildlife en route, even stopping when the occasional animal blocks the tracks, as the conductor serves drinks and snacks.

Elephant, Nehimba Lodge, Hwange, Zimbabwe


Visit Hwange’s prolific waterholes, which dot this predominantly dry landscape. Watch as thirsty animals come to drink, including the vast herds of elephants that roam the park.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Secretary Bird, Zimbabwe


Make the most of one of Zimbabwe’s best parks for birding. Look out for the more than 420 species found here, including the racket-tailed roller, kori bustard and martial eagle.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Mountain biking, Hwange, Zimbabwe

Mountain Biking

Accompanied by a guide, explore Hwange by mountain bike. Spot animals, including elephants, as you cycle beneath acacia trees, following winding dirt tracks.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Elephant’s Eye Hwange £££££

  • Zimbabwe
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Situated in a wildlife concession bordering Hwange National Park, Elephant’s Eye Lodge is a charming combination of bush camp feel and modern safari needs. Each of the eight tented and thatched rooms is raised off the ground to ensure a wonderful view over the waterhole and a cool breeze on hot days. The interiors are fresh, modern and clean with loads of space, a veranda which spans the length of the room and a very private outdoor shower and sumptuous indoor bath with a view. The integrated public areas face the fire pit, where stories are shared and this, in turn, overlooks the pan where elephants come to drink and watch you eat your dinner. The lodge gardens supply the lodge kitchen with fresh fare and the spa offer reviving treatment.

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Camp Hwange £££££

  • Zimbabwe
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Situated in a private concession inside the Hwange National Park, just three hours by road from Victoria Falls, is Camp Hwange. The camp consists of eight comfortable chalet-tents. Each spacious and airy thatched chalet-tent is furnished with stylish simplicity and has private en-suite bathroom facilities. The main lodge is made up of a big lounge and a beautiful restaurant where you will savour dinners. Camp Hwange reverts back to the concept of the original safari, where activities are centred on being immersed in the wild, with game walks being the main activity.

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Somalisa Camp £££££

  • Zimbabwe
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Somalisa is an authentic bush camp, a blend of old African charm and exclusive safari experience. Its location tucked away on an acacia island along the edge of an ancient seasonal flood plain ensures breathtaking views over the savannah plains of the famous Kennedy Vlei line. The camp comprises just six elegantly furnished canvas tents with en suite bathrooms, flush toilets and alfresco bush showers. The main area and pool overlook the pan where game congregates in large herds.

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Camelthorn Lodge £££££

  • Zimbabwe
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Camelthorn Lodge is tucked into the shaded ebony and acacia woodland in a remote corner of Hwange. Phenomenal game viewing is a short drive from camp and its brilliant sunken hide allows close-ups of huge herds of elephants frequenting the waterholes. Accommodation consists of eight large, split level private villas, each with private upstairs deck, perfect for a sleep out. Main areas are contemporary and welcoming and meals are often served around the lodge’s central feature, a huge Camelthorn tree. Imvelo Safaris Lodges have built each of its properties on local community-owned land, so have been able to develop villages from the grassroots up.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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  • 01285 880 980

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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  • 01285 880 980

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