8 Best Hwange (Zambia) Safari Tours.

Hwange National Park is the biggest and best-known wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe. Almost ten times the size of London, Hwange is home to between 45 000 and 60 000 elephants, making it the second largest population in the world after Botswana’s Chobe National Park. Aptly known as ‘the land of giants’, Hwange delivers some of the best big game safari experiences in Africa, especially during the dry winter months (May to October) when animals congregate around the park’s shallow pans and man-made waterholes.

Here are our favourite Hwange safari tours and itineraries, best combined with the rest of Zimbabwe’s premier destinations and completely customisable around your personal travel wishes:

1.Vic Falls, Lake Kariba and a Big Game Safari.

Start your vacation at a luxurious lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River, just upstream from the colossal Victoria Falls. With an exclusive-use boat, temperature-controlled wine collection and private plunge pools, Thorntree River Lodge is one of Zambia’s most luxurious lodges. Then escape to a private concession in Hwange to enjoy walking safaris, night drives and game viewing from secret hides – special activities not permitted in the public park. Cap your safari at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, nestled in the remote hills that cradle the breath-taking Lake Kariba.

1.Visit the Zambian side of Victoria Falls
See elephant, buffalo, lion and giraffe in Hwange National Park.
2.Watch animals drink all day from a waterhole in front of Somalisa Camp
Sunset boat cruises on Lake Kariba.
3.Track the renowned Matusadona lion prides.
Best for:
Couples, honeymooners and special occasions

2.Hwange, Mana Pools and Zambezi River.

Stay at an elegant tented camp on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls before heading to the safari heavyweight, Hwange. Board a light aircraft for a short flight to Mana Pools, the gateway to the beautifully wild lower Zambezi. This itinerary is perfect for those who want to experience a safari away from the crowds and enjoy activities that showcase the natural beauty and wildlife of Zimbabwe.

1.Gorgeous Zambezi River views from the contemporary Toka Leya.
2.Photographic opportunities from Little Makalolo’s game-viewing hides.
3.Morning and afternoon game drives in Hwange.
4.Ruckomechi Camp’s wonderful setting beside the Zambezi See lion, wild dog, leopard and cheetah in Mana Pools.
Best for:
Couples and families.

3.Magical Matobo, Vic Falls and Lake Kariba.

Discover Matobo National Park: a surreal and hauntingly beautiful rocky landscape that’s home to an extraordinary collection of ancient rock art sites, as well as a thriving leopard population. Then move to the wonderful wildlife sanctuary of Hwange for thrilling big game encounters with elephant, buffalo, lion and giraffe while staying at a luxury safari camp. Next stop: Victoria Falls River Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River, within sight of the spray rising from the world’s biggest waterfall. Culminate your Zimbabwe safari within the blissfully laidback surroundings of Bumi Hills Safari Lodge above Lake Kariba.

1.Leopard sightings in Matobo National Park.
2.Matobo Hills, home to the world’s biggest collections of ancient Bushmen rock art.
3.The Hide, an intimate safari camp in Hwange.
4.Up-close game viewing from a waterhole hide.
5.See the spray of Vic Falls from your lodge
Best for:
Couples and families.

4.Family Adventure in Hwange, Matusadona and Vic Falls.

This itinerary is perfect for families looking for adventure and a good combination of safari experiences. You’ll begin at The Hide, a luxurious safari camp in Zimbabwe’s premier Hwange National Park, spending your time on classic game drives among the park’s huge elephant herds. Then you and your family will board a light aircraft to Lake Kariba and spend three nights at Changa Safari Camp, an intimate lodge set right on the water’s edge. Victoria Falls is your last stop, and if you’re travelling between about February and May, you and your family will gaze in awe at the Falls in thunderous full flood.

1.Private dining, guide and vehicle at The Private Hide.
2.Superb big game viewing in Hwange.
3.Game drives in a secluded part of the Matusadona National Park.
4.Tiger-fishing excursions and boat safaris on Lake Kariba.
5.Watch animals drink at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge’s waterhole.
Best for:
Adventurous families with children.

5.The Ultimate Armchair Safari.

Tick Victoria Falls and a Big 5 safari in Africa off your bucket list. Commence on the forested banks of the Zambezi River, a base from which to explore Victoria Falls. Enjoy superb game viewing from the comfort of Somalisa’s boma which overlooks a busy waterhole and on game drives guided by some of Africa’s best rangers. Mana Pools National Park crowns your trip with thrilling game drives, more armchair game viewing from Kanga Camp’s wraparound terraces, and relaxing river boat cruises at sunset.

1.Approach rhino on foot in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.
2.See elephant, buffalo, lion and giraffe in Hwange.
3.Watch elephants drink at a waterhole in front of Somalisa Expeditions.
4.Armchair game viewing at Kanga Camp – overlooks a permanent water pan.
5.See wild dog, leopard and lion in Mana Pools.
Best for:
Couples, honeymooners and special occasions.

6.Land- and Boat-based Safari for the Family.

This made-for-family itinerary starts at a luxury lodge overlooking the Zambezi National Park, from where you can enjoy the jaw-dropping beauty of Victoria Falls and revel in some of its thrilling activities like white-water rafting and bungee jumping. Then you journey to the heart of Hwange, the ‘land of the giants’, where you are guaranteed up-close sightings of elephant, lion and buffalo. End off watching the sun set over Lake Kariba from your luxurious houseboat, equipped with a dedicated crew and open-air Jacuzzi.

1.Visit Victoria Falls, the world’s biggest waterfall.
2.Somalisa Acacia’s family-friendly suites and kids’ club.
3.Game drives in Hwange – see elephant, lion, buffalo, kudu and sable..
4.Stay on a luxurious private houseboat with dedicated crew.
5.Water-based game viewing on Lake Kariba.
Best for:
Families with children.

7.The Ultimate Zimbabwe Safari.

This incredible itinerary covers Zimbabwe’s premier locations, offering everything from guided walking safaris in Mana Pools and canoeing on the Zambezi River to tiger fishing on Lake Kariba and sensational big game viewing in Hwange. You’ll stay at luxurious camps and lodges in unique locations while enjoying safari activities with seasoned guides – some of the best in Africa.

1.See rare wild dog in Mana Pools.
2.Sunset boat cruises on Lake Kariba.
3.Visit Victoria Falls on Zambia side.
4.Game drives and guided walks in Hwange.
5.Copper bathtubs and log-burning fireplaces in Somalisa Camp’s rooms
Best for:
Couples, honeymooners and special occasions.

8.Safari Heavy Hitters and a Hidden Gem.

Kick off your safari in the wild and remote Gonarezhou National Park, a little-visited region that boasts extraordinary landscapes in almost total exclusivity. Then enjoy two nights at The Elephant Camp, situated within a private concession only 10km (6 miles) from Victoria Falls – close enough to see the spray of the Falls from camp! You then continue to the luxurious Little Makololo Camp from where you will explore Hwange National Park, one of Zimbabwe’s premier wilderness areas. Your final destination is the magical Mana Pools National Park, where you are able to take to the wilderness on foot, by vehicle and canoe.

1.Stunning scenery and game viewing in undiscovered Gonarezhou National Park.
2.Interaction with elephants at the Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary.
3.Authentic, intimate and remote safari experience in Little Makalolo.
4.Superb game viewing in Hwange.

5.See big elephant and buffalo herds in Mana Pools
Best for:
Couples, honeymooners and special occasions.

By Louis Nel

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