Camp Hwange is a Classic Safari Camp on a private concession in the Hwange National Park. This is Zimbabwe’s largest park and is truly one of its best and the best place to see huge numbers of elephant as well as 100 other types of animals and 400 types of birds. The camp is a 3 hour drive from Victoria Falls, one hour on a very good tarred road and the final two hours through the National Park.
They can accommodate 16 guests at a time in eight well spaced thatched chalets with canvas and gauze sides which all over look a large water hole. En-suite flush toilets and solar heated showers and lighting in the rooms runs on solar power to lower the environmental foot print. In each room there is a charging point for recharging digital cameras, laptops etc.
The main living area includes a dining area, bar, spacious lounge and a curio shop. The open air fire pit in front of the main building has an incredible view of the stars. Our wholesome cuisine includes a good selection of meats, vegetables and fruits.
We can cater for vegetarians or anyone with food allergies.
Camp Hwange is a very intimate camp, perfect for guests who want a truly wilderness experience and a wonderful feeling of being in the open. Their activities are centred on game drives and walks or a combination of the two, in their private concession and in the park as a whole.
Walks are especially exciting and our guides pride themselves on their knowledge and experience. They also offer night drives on their concession and this can be a good time to see some of the more nocturnal species.
We visited in October 2012. October is the very end of the dry season so we had great game viewing with wildlife concentrated around the water basins and sparse vegetation. It is worth noting that once the rains come, usually early in November but coccasionally in October, it is much harder to find game, and the Camp is more suited to bird watching through until May or June.
The lodge owner, Dave Carson, built up his reputation running mobile safari camps with a company called Kazuma Trails – and through the course of his guiding he identified the perfect spot to set up a permanent camp at the edge of a water basin on the north west side of Hwange National Park. Dave continues to run Kazuma Trails leaving Julian and Ashley, ably assisted by apprentice guides Gareth and Washington, as hosts at Camp Hwange. The team were involved from the early concept right through the building stages, and all clearly love being here.
Julian holds a Zimbabwean Professional Guiding License – the most rigorous of all the African certifications and one awarded to less than 5 guides per year – which enables him to safely guide on foot as well as in vehicles. An ability to fell a 6 ton charging elephant at short range is not only desirable but essential before leaving the safety of a vehicle.
The emphasis here is on having a great wilderness experience. The camp consists of an open fronted lounge and dining area with a fire pit big enough for the 16 guests the camp accommodates. Four luxurious thatched canvas lodges fan out on each side of the central lodge with double or twin beds and a huge open plan bathroom with shower. Bore holes and solar panels ensure a plentiful supply of electricity and hot water – an unexpected luxury at such a remote spot. The bedrooms, bathrooms and main lodge all have perfect views of the many elephants and other animals that visit the water basin throughout the day and night.
Meals are healthy, wholesome and homely, with freshly baked bread at every meal and fresh cake for tea.
With such a small number of guests the lodge is able to offer complete flexibility when it comes to game viewing. The usual routine is a morning game drive from 6am to noon followed by lunch, siesta, tea and a second drive from 4pm until after dark, however this is varied to suit each group of guests and can incorporate full day drives with a picnic, night drives, walks and even the occasional lie in!
Expect to see elephant, zebra, kudu, impala, warthog, baboons, hippos, lions, jackals, giraffe, steenbok, spring hare, buzzards, eagle, guinea fowl. If you are lucky you may also see wild dog, hyena, leopard, cheetah and ostrich.
The guides’ knowledge is extensive and we learned everything from identifying different types of buzzards to the breeding habits of termites, with lively debates on poaching, culling and wildlife management at meal times.
This is not the place to come to if you are looking for the full on luxury spa experience, but for a very comfortable base for an exceptional wildlife experience, you won’t find better.
To contact Camp Hwange direct:
Web site: www.camp-hwange.com
We were introduced to Camp Hwange by The Zambezi Safari and Travel Company Ltd.
They have offices in both London and in Victoria Falls, which makes booking easy, with the added advantage of totally up to date local knowledge.
All itineraries are designed specifically to your needs, and by using local transfer companies they are able to keep prices very competitive.
T: +44 (0) 1548 830059 (UK head office)
T: +27 (0)33 343 4329 (Victoria Falls)
M: +27 (0) 72 330 3440
Getting close to wild elephant with guide Julian