Hwange National Park
|Hwange National Park|
Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is a national and one of the oldest park in Zimbabwe. It is located in the Matabeleland North Province north-west of the resort town of Victoria Falls. Established in 1928, the park is managed by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority and is one of the tourist resorts not only in the country but also in the sub-Saharan region. It is famous for its wildlife diversity which includes the Big Five as well as its flora and fauna.
Hwange's abundant wildlife
Hwange National Park is a haven for over 100 mammal and 400 bird species, the park protects populations of all of Zimbabwe’s endangered species, elephants numbering in excess of 20,000 (up from around 4,000 when the park was proclaimed), and what is thought to be one of the largest populations of African wild dog left in the world. Large prides of lion and buffalo are frequently seen here and you have a good chance of spotting leopard in addition to cheetah and spotted hyena. The wild and woolly brown hyena also occurs here and is something of a rarity.
- When to visit: All year round Monday to Sunday 6 am to 6 pm
- Fee: Entrance and accommodation fees are payable
Main Camp turn-off is at the 264.5-kilometre peg on the (A8) Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road. From here a tar road (15 kilometres) leads to the Park boundary at the railway crossing, a short distance from Main Camp.
Sinamatella Camp is reached from Main Camp by a narrow tar then a gravel road. Another way is to take the gravel road that turns off the (A8) Bulawayo - Victoria Falls Road just south of the town of Hwange. Sinamatella Camp is reached 45 kilometres further on via Mbala Lodge in the Deka Safari Area.
Robins Camp is reached by a gravel road that turns off the (A8) Bulawayo - Victoria Falls Road 48 kilometres south of Victoria Falls. From here it is approximately 70 kilometres to Robins Camp and en route there is a turn off to Matetsi Safari Area headquarters and to Pandamatenga. Robins Camp can also be reached by road through the National Park from Main Camp and Sinamatella during the dry season.
Location and Size
The Hwange National Park borders Zimbabwe and Botswana. On the Zimbabwean side, the park is located on the edge of the Matabeleland North Province on the northeastern end of Bulawayo, the country second city. The park is also about an hour's drive from the mighty Victoria Falls which is one of the best natural wonders of the world. Named after a local Nhanzwa chief, Hwange National Park is the largest Park in Zimbabwe occupying roughly 14 650 square kilometres.
Hwange National Park is home to the Big Five animals of Zimbabwe which include the Black rhino and buffalo. It became the royal hunting grounds to the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th Century and was set aside as a National Park in 1928.
The National Park has facilities including self-catering lodges, cottages and chalets, camping sites and caravan sites. There are restaurants which serve breakfast, lunch and dinner; there are shops which sell a selection of beverages and foodstuffs. A petrol station is also at visitors disposal. 
Some of the activities visitors can participate in at Hwange National Park include:
- Game Driving
- Bird Watching
- evening spotlighting
- visit rock Paintings
Camping Sites and Lodges
Hwange National Park has the following lodges and camps:
- Bush Camps
- Lukosi Camp
- Bambusi Camp
- Robins Camp
- Nantwich Camp
- Isilwane Lodge
- Deka Camp
- The Hide Safari Camp Read More
- Bomani Tented Lodge Read More
- Camelthorn Lodge Read More
- Somalisa Acacia Read More
- Camp Hwange Read More
- Davison’s Camp Read More
- Ivory Lodge Read More
- Sable Sands Read More
- Little Makalolo Read More
- Elephant's Eye Read More
- Miombo Safari Camp Read More
Coal Mining Activities
The coal mining environmental impact in Hwange emerged this week after Bhejane Trust, a wildlife conservation group published evidence that some Chinese companies were already "drilling core samples for coal" after the government "allocated (them) two coal mining concessions" in the middle of Hwange National Park.
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) filed court papers warning that the park would turn into a "site for drilling, land clearance, road building and geological surveys" if coal exploration went ahead. And after the court application the Minister of Information, Monica Mutsvangwa, announced the ban on mining with immediate effect.
On 16 September 2020, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Owen Tagu has struck off the roll a case where the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) and a Hwange resident sought to bar a Chinese mining firm, Zhongxin Mining Group Tongmao Coal Company (Pvt) Ltd (Zimbabwe Zhongxin Coal Mining Group), from conducting coal mining operations inside Hwange National Park.
“Having considered the papers filed of record, it would seem while the necessary paperwork was done, some appear to have been done after the special grants were issued. While the matter on the face of it appears urgent on that basis, the application still is improperly before the court because the relevant parties were not cited and there are material disputes of facts.
“I have been asked to dismiss the application, however I feel the appropriate action at this stage is to strike the matter off the roll of urgent matters in view of non-citations of relevant parties and the existence of material disputes of fact,” Justice Tagu ruled.
Death of 12 Elephants
About 12 baby elephants are said to have died in the forest between Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls. The forest is close to where Chinese nationals are currently prospecting for coal. Interestingly, China is said to be one of the biggest buyers of elephants and its products such as ivory. Zimbabwe has been in the media before for selling live baby elephants to the Asian country. Currently, Harare is pushing CITES to allow it to dispose of off its ivory and rhino horns to China and Japan.
The ivory and rhino horns are currently valued at about US$600 million. Zimbabwe has been complaining that it has an overpopulation of elephants and the parks are not coping. It is believed there are 88 000 elephants in Zimbabwe against a carrying capacity of about 55 000. Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the deaths to Studio 7 adding that they are investigating the cause of death.
“It’s unfortunate that we have 12 baby elephants that were found dead between Victoria Falls and Hwange. “Our investigations show that it was not the work of poachers because they still had their tasks and there is no sign of cyanide that could have been used to kill them.
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- Tawanda Karombo, , Quartz Africa, Published: 3 September, 2020, Accessed: 15 September, 2020
- , BBC, Published: 9 September, 2020, Accessed: 15 September, 2020
- Andrew Kunambura/Desmond Chingarande, , Newsday, Published: 16 September, 2020, Accessed: 16 September, 2020
- Daniel Chigundu , Tourism Focus, Published: 6 September, 2020, Accessed: 16 September, 2020