Hwange National Park
Wankie Game Reserve was established in 1929 and is the largest park in Zimbabwe (14,500 Km²). It’s roots stretch back to the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi, an off-shoot of the Zulus, who had it as a royal hunting ground. Its change of name is a much more recent occurrence.
Hwange National Park has always been renowned for its incredible diversity of wildlife and still has more varieties of mammal and bird species than any other Zimbabwean National Park. There are at least 100 species of mammals, including 19 large herbivores such as buffalo, eland, sable and wildebeest, and over 400 bird species. But Hwange is particularly famous for its population of elephant, some 40,000 strong and combined with the elephants of northern Botswana form the world’s largest concentration.
Scattered throughout Hwange are the ancient fossil lakebeds which are now large, flat savannah grasslands. These areas are perfect for the grazers and this abundant larder means predator action is right up there too: the lions’ roars can often be heard from camp, leopard territories surround the plains, wild dogs den in several spots and during the dry season it’s not uncommon to see prowling cheetah and hyena.
During the wet season, the prehistoric lake systems fill with water: the open grasslands become giant shallow lakes attracting migratory birds from all over Eurasia and Africa.
The wonderful thing about Hwange is that the game has the freedom to move between neighbouring Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. Refer back to the weather page to check what you can expect to see and when.