Hwange National Park – visit to The Hide Safari Lodge

I am surprised when some people are still concerning about staying in Zimbabwe, either by visiting on the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls, or in Hwange National Park, which is only 2 hours drive south.

Both these areas are very much open for business as are many other parts of the country (See the link to my article on Zimbabwe safaris below).

Here’s a report on Hwange National Park and The Hide Safari Lodge where I stayed in December.

Hwange National Park
Hwange is an easy 2 hour drive from Victoria Falls town, slightly less from the airport. The scheduled transfers stop at Hwange Main Camp on the edge of the park and then each of the Hwange lodges collect you in their 4×4 vehicles. Depending on which camp you are staying at, this might be anything from 10 mins to some of the hwange lodges on the edge of the park to over an hour to one of the private concessions in Hwange National Park. This takes the form of a game drive (and so can be even longer depending on what you see en route).

Hwange is vast – 14,000 sq km (half size of Belgium!). Approx 150km by 150km, Hwange has no major rivers so dry season game-viewing is VERY concentrated around the pumped waterholes. However in the wet season, the water stays in the depressions/pans and the animals spread out over this vast area, especially in early summer just after the rains. Later in the summer, they start coming back to their usual haunts.

The Hide Safari Lodge
The Hide Safari Lodge is looking great. It remains  very much an authentic safari lodge but the new tents are very luxurious – spacious and well appointed.  They also have their original tents which are in the more traditional Meru-style. These are fine but given the greater space and style of the new ones, we strongly recommend opting for these!

Outside bath at The Hide Safari LodgeThe Hide offers 4 activities each day and has 3 professional fully qualified Zimbabwe guides (qualified to do walks etc) which is very impressive  as most places have 1 or 2 such guides plus more junior guides. As you may know, the Zimbabwe guiding standards are extremely high and thus known throughout the guiding industry of Africa.

Typically their pattern of activities is an follows: an early morning drive/game walk (walking on their land)  from 5.30am/6am to breakfast time. After breakfast there’s a mid morning game drive – typically from 9am to 12pm, lunch and siesta time followed by a mid afternoon game drive/walk – from approx 4pm. Then after dinner there is a night drive (on their private concession time) from 9pm to 10pm or later. So if you are keen to get the most from your safari, The Hide will be the perfect destination.

Alternatively they are happy to do full day game drives to travel further into Hwange National Park with packed lunch. There’s also an underground hide (excellent in dry season) overlooking the waterhole. In the dry season you may need to be driven back to camp – even during the day – as sometimes there are too many elephants around the camp between the hide on one side of the water and the camp on the other!

Back at camp there’s also a small swimming pool for relaxing during the day, a lovely sitting area overlooking the waterhole and a large festive communal table for dining. Overall The Hide has a lovely ambience and I don’t hesitate to recommend it!

Other blog posts/articles you may be interested in:

Coming back to Zimbabwe – why choose a Zimbabwe safari?

Mari’s visit to Miombo Safari Lodge, Hwange National Park

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Kate Bergh is co-founder of Cedarberg African Travel, a specialist tour operator for Southern and East Africa.

She heads up the South African office, having lived in South Africa since 1993. Her home looks up to the Cedarberg Mountains, where she enjoys hiking and cycling, when she’s not out discovering new places to visit, with her three children in tow. Kate has travelled extensively throughout the region to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as most areas of South Africa. She also loves history, meeting people and a good thriller...

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