Game Drive through Hwange National Park

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Just beyond the main gates of Hwange National Park lies Makwe Pan, the initial oasis in the park’s southern expanse. Hwange’s vast boundaries dwarf even the entirety of Belgium, making the swift arrival at this initial watering hole a welcome sight upon departing from the park’s entrance. Upon arrival, we are introduced to four resident crocodile, who live at the Makwe Pan. Our guide informs us that one of the females gave birth to hatchlings just a few days earlier and carried them in her mouth across the pan to the other side, protecting them from nearby fish eagles. She is aware that, while she is a predator, her hatchlings are valuable prey. She appears relaxed on the bank, but is keenly aware of her surroundings. The serenity of Makwe Pan is palpable. A single a steenbok arrives – the smallest antelope in Hwange, solitary and smart, it defecates and buries its dung. At Makwe, we also see Gray and Bradfield hornbill, monkeys, and elephants in the distance.

Hwange National Park

This “elephant highway” presents proof of surrounding wildlife with dung and tracks from ellies everywhere. They are obviously habituated to this part of Hwange, and with great intelligence and memory, these elephants remember their favourite watering holes. Kennedy One is definitely one of them. The picnic site at Kennedy One is a tidy collection of four small buildings, recently painted and ready for visitors.; among them two thatch-covered picnic tables for 12. This is a great spot to stop for tea and absorb the sounds of birdlife around us: Myers’ parrot, Carmine bee-eater, a red-chested cuckoo and a tall Kori buster (the largest flying bird in the world). The Kennedy One Pan offers a lovely new lookout point, proof of the ongoing maintenance being done at Hwange National Park. Here we see several dab chicks swimming, cattle egrets, and a flock of vultures flying overhead. There are several tortoises in the road, and a black-backed jackal drinking at the far end of the pan. In this peaceful, pristine area of Hwange, ours is the only vehicle to be seen.

About Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park is the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe, located in the west of the country, on the border with Botswana. Here are some facts about Hwange National Park:

  • Size: Hwange National Park covers an area of approximately 14,600 square kilometers, making it the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe.
  • Wildlife: Hwange National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including over 100 mammal species, including the African elephant, lion, leopard, African wild dog, buffalo, and many antelope species.
  • Birdlife: The park is also home to over 400 bird species, making it an important bird watching destination.
  • Vegetation: Hwange National Park’s vegetation is mainly savannah, with scattered woodland and grasslands.
  • Climate: The park has a semi-arid climate, with hot temperatures during the day and cooler temperatures at night.
  • History: The park was founded in 1928 as a game reserve and was later declared a national park in 1961.
  • Conservation: Hwange National Park is an important conservation area and has several conservation projects, including anti-poaching initiatives and programs to protect endangered species such as the African wild dog.
  • Tourism: The park is a popular tourist destination, offering visitors a chance to see some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife and experience the natural beauty of Zimbabwe.
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