There’s a reason Zimbabwe ranks so high on places to visit among tourists, and a lot of it is thanks to Hwange National Park’s wealth of wildlife and stunning nature. The park is the largest natural reserve in the country at more than 5,600 square miles wide, giving you plenty to see including elephants, lions, wild dogs, cheetahs and hundreds of other species. But where can you stay to take in the full splendor that is Hwange National Park? And don’t feel like the only way to see the park is to stay at a hotel in a nearby city, instead, you can camp out right in the heart of it all at some of these fabulous lodges. So get up close and personal with nature while grabbing a night cap in luxury. Here are the best lodges of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
Gwango Elephant Lodge
A surefire way to see elephants up close is to book a chalet at Gwango Elephant Lodge, an accommodation that’s also a sanctuary for elephants. What makes this place stands out is that the lodge works hard to fight poaching by having staff safeguard the elephants. Guests will stay in chalets and enjoy the full perks of safari rides on a 4×4, go on night excursions, guided walking tours, and meet the nearby Nambya people, where you can learn all about their culture. While there, enjoy the open-air dining room overlooking the free-roaming elephants. That way, you’ll be enjoying your breakfast and other meals with them.
Ivory Safari Lodge
Operated by the Amalinda Safari Collection, Ivory Safari Lodge is a pristine camping experience where guests stay in elevated chalets with thatched roofs and a panoramic view of the park. Activities offered by the lodge include guided game walks, a cultural tour to Dete village to visit a rural school, and of course, a guided game drive to see more of stunning Hwange National Park. The lodge is part of the Mother Africa Trust, an organization that works to raise awareness about protecting the environment and the people of Zimbabwe, so you’ll know you’re staying with people who are passionate about conserving the park.
Bomani Tented Lodge
Are you tired of arriving at hotels and finding out you only have an hour before a program or safari tour departs? At Bomani Tented Lodge, you’ll find that there’s no strict schedules and everything is tailored to your time and interests. There are only 11 tents available per night, making it easy for staff to accommodate anything you need including waking you up with a batch of fresh coffee, doing a private safari ride at sunset, or driving you to visit a nearby tribe. The park isn’t exactly “in” Hwange National Park, instead it’s in a private 500 acre wide game reserve 15 minutes from the park, meaning you’ll enjoy both the perks of visiting Hwange and accessing a private park that’s off limits to the public.
Malindi Safari Lodge
Bordering Hwange National Park is Malindi Safari Lodge, a place with accommodation unlike anywhere else. Guests can stay in one of the vintage railway carriages (yes, you read that right) and for meals, are treated to traditional English breafkast, lunch and dinner. The lodge overlooks two watering holes so you’ll get exciting visitors from time to time like elephants, buffaloes and lions. In addition, the lodge has a Jacuzzi pool, a perfect spot to unwind after a full day of safari rides (offered by the lodge).
There is paradise on Earth and it’s at The Hide, right outside of Hwange National Park. The Hide is a small and independently owned accommodation where visitors can stay in luxury tents (there are only 10 per night) to enjoy the lush surroundings of the park. While all of the tents are highly-praised, you can take your overnight experience up a notch by staying in one of its two more secluded tents that are further away from the main camp, giving you a total isolated feel (perfect for honeymoons or a romantic retreat). The lodge is located by a watering hole, so it’s common to be visited by a family of elephants. Not to mention, you’ll especially enjoy the open-air tub that overlooks the watering hole. Amenities include game drives in the day and evening led by a skilled guide.
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