Mari’s recent visit to Miombo Safari Camp in Hwange National Park

Mari and Gloria from the Cedarberg African Travel office in South Africa recently visited Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Here’s what she said:

Hwange National Park
Leopard in Hwange National ParkHwange National Park in Zimbabwe offers great value for money especially  in comparison with a Botswana safari and yet it’s only a two hour easy drive from Victoria Falls. Hwange National Park has earned a world-wide reputation for its large herds of resident buffalo, its predators & particularly its huge numbers of African elephant, especially during the dry winter season from May to October when the animals are drawn to the waterholes. It’s also conveniently situated for continuing south to Bulawayo (only 3 hours drive) and the nearby Matopo National Park.

There are a number of Hwange lodges to choose from. We stayed at Miombo Safari Camp which lies the boundary of Hwange National Park only a few kilometers from Hwange park entrance gate.

The Presidential Elephant Herd
We were privileged to meet Sharon Pincott. She works closely with the Presidential elephant herd on a daily basis.   In March 2001 Sharon left her home in Australia, and began working with the “Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe” (as they are known) on a full-time voluntary basis, on land bordering Hwange National Park. (Back in 1990 President Robert Mugabe had decreed  that the 400+ elephants which roam this unfenced land – known locally as the Hwange Estate – should never be hunted or culled, and that they should symbolize Zimbabwe’s commitment to responsible wildlife management. )

On our drive with her we spotted a newly born baby elephant and as it was part of the “W” family we named her Whisper. You can read all about Sharon’s cause to save the Presidential elephants here

If you are staying at any of the Hwange lodges, we also really recommend a visit to the Painted Dog Centre.  (This is included in the fully inclusive rate at most Hwange lodges).  The Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) centre works to save the endangered African wild dog it is an African wild dog research project in Hwange NationalPark.  (These wild dogs has been in Matusadona but crocodiles kept eating their young so relocated here!)

Miombo Safari Camp
We stayed at Miombo for 2 nights and were really impressed: a first class experience for a very reasonable price.  We really liked the tree houses  overlooking the waterhole though there is also a honeymoon tented suite and chalets (for those on a real budget).  Prices include all meals (simple tasty country cooking) and you all eat together at a large dining table which encourages meeting new people and comparing game sightings.  As a special treat they arranged the Ingonyama performing troupe after dinner on our last night and I was very impressed with their true and artistic impersonation of wild animals.

A great option to get closer to the wild life inside the park is also to combine your stay at Miombo with a Mobile safari inside the Hwange Park (which needs to be pre-arranged).  I suggest at least one night at Miombo before and after your mobile safari nights.  Please note that the Hwange National Park entrance fee must be paid by each safari guest at the Parks office in Hwange Main Camp. A stop will be made here prior to entering the National Park for this purpose. Presently the per day entrance fee is set at USD20 for International visitors.

I would say the best time to visit Miombo is during the dry winter season between June and October- but May is also good and offers great value for money. April and May are a good time to also view the Victoria Falls at its best. We can arrange transfers from Victoria Falls and also from Bulawayo.

Have a look the blog post on Kate’s visit to another of the Hwange lodges, The Hide Safari Camp, for another option in Hwange…

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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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