Located on the main road between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is one of Africa’s largest game reserves.
Set aside as a national park in 1929, Hwange National Park, pronounced ‘Wang-ee’, was named after a local Nhanzwa chief and was once the royal hunting grounds to the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th Century. It encompasses 5,657-sqaure miles and is one of the ten largest parks in Africa. The park’s landscapes are varied, ranging from desert sands to sparse mopane woodland to grassland to vast slabs of hard granite rock. The western edge of the park borders the Kalahari Desert, while the park’s southern end supports immense forests. Manmade waterholes are scattered throughout the park as a means of providing water to the animals throughout the dry season. Unfortunately, some poaching incidents and the death of Cecil the Lion has given the park some bad press. But Hwange has been working hard to protect its wildlife including two important conservation and research projects: The National Leopard Project and the Painted Dog Project.
Being such a large park, there is an abundance of animals to be spotted here. In fact, Hwange has 107 types of wildlife living here including lion, buffalo, cheetah leopard, spotted hyena, cheetah, giraffe, sable, roan, blue wildebeest, impala, waterbuck, and reedbuck. But what the park is famous for is its elephants. Hwange is home to some 40,000 elephants, boasting one of the world’s largest populations of pachyderms. In addition to which, the population of Cape wild dogs is believed to be the largest surviving group in Africa.