Having reached the height of its popularity as a safari destination in the 1990s, Zimbabwe suffered a slump in tourists during the first few years of the 21st century, but it is now rising in favour again as visitors come from all around the world to see the wonders of the country.
Hwange is the country's largest national park and is home to one of the last elephant sanctuaries in the world. That alone would be reason enough to visit this spectacular place, however there is more to this area, which covers over 5,863 square miles, than just elephants.
This area of Zimbabwe has two distinct seasons, with the dry season between August and November being the optimum time to visit to see big game. Visitors during the rainy season, however, will find a completely different experience of the park as the varied bird population explodes.
Hwange National Park is home to three camps, all with their own excellent facilities including self-catering lodges, sites for camping and caravanning, bars, restaurants, petrol stations, souvenir shops and grocery stores. There are plenty of activities to take part in, including guided day time walks, wilderness trails to follow, and opportunities to go out and view game during the night during the time of the full moon. The park is full of excellent viewing spots with plenty of hides offering wonderful views of the waterholes.
Anyone thinking of visiting Hwange National Park will no doubt be curious as to the kind of wildlife that they may be able to see. Of course, the area is famous for its elephant population, however there are other big game living in the park that can easily be spotted.
In fact, the park is home to over 100 species of mammal and over 400 types of bird, and is the only area in Zimbabwe to boast large numbers of gemsbok and brown hyena. Hwange is also a great place to spot African wild dogs, as one of Africa's largest surviving groups of these creatures lives here. The park houses several big cats, with lions, leopards and cheetahs all being seen during the dry season.
A visit to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority website reveals a wealth of information about the park, with details about accommodation, facilities and packages available.
Zambezi National Park
This National Park is close to the border with Zambia, and is part of the Victoria Falls region, known for its spectacular waterfall which is one of the seven wonders of the world.
The Zambezi National Park is bordered by the Zambezi River, which in itself is home to a astounding amount of fish. Over 75 species can be discovered here including the fighting tiger fish. The river is also a great spot for canoeing, and trips can be arranged along the Upper Zambezi to see the park from a different perspective. The river is also a great focus for many of the animals in the park during the dry season, and elephants, hippos and crocodiles are a common sight on its banks.
Although this park is not as famous for its big game as some of the other popular safari areas, there are still plenty of opportunities to see some amazing wildlife, and bird watching here is a stunning experience.
The park is home to many fascinating species including warthogs, baboons, impala and bushbucks. Although there are fewer chances of seeing predators here than in some other areas, visitors have quite frequently spotted leopards, spotted hyenas, wild dogs and even lions in the park.
All of the Big Five species are represented in the Zambezi National Park, with elephants, buffalo and white rhinoceroses as well as lions and leopards making their home here. With its two main game viewing stations, the park offers lots of potential for seeing and photographing some spectacular wildlife.
There are plenty of activities available to visitors as well as game viewing. Fishing is a very popular activity, as are boat cruises down the river. There are some beautiful walks in the surrounding area to take in the scenic views, and thrill seekers can enjoy a host of exhilarating activities from bungee jumping to white-water rafting.
The Zimbabwe Parks Wildlife and Management Authority offer plenty of information about taking a safari in this park on their website, where visitors can discover the amazing opportunities that this region has to offer.
(Photo by pjah73 via Flickr)
Article written by Dhmhtrhs