Friday, June 11, 2021

The Hide, Hwange National Park - Zimbabwe

Hwange National Park is in western Zimbabwe, adjacent to Botswana and the Kalahari Desert. It covers 5,657 square miles and is the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe. The Hide, where we stayed in early June, 2018, is a privately operated tented camp with ten luxury tents and a concession of 5 square kilometers with the only waterhole for a good-sized area.  It is located in the mid-eastern part of Hwange, south of the Main Camp, which was our access to the park, and north of the Linkwasha Concession Area (see the map below).  We were driven from Victoria Falls for three hours to the Main Camp where we were picked up by someone from The Hide for a 45 minute drive into our camp. We got there late-afternoon and missed the afternoon safari, but got a shortened version of a safari for just the two of us, near camp. The next day we had a long morning safari with several other couples, which included a packed lunch at the Kennedy 1 Picnic Site. Late-afternoon we had a private walking tour with a guide who carried a rifle and had an amazing experience on-the-ground seeing giraffes up-close. That was followed by a "sundowner" and then later that evening I went out on a night safari with several other guests and got the best view of the Milky Way I've ever had. We left early the next morning for a ride back to the Main Camp and then another driver to us back to Victoria Falls. 
A map of Hwange NP from Wikipedia.

Our walking safari guide.

One of the safari vehicles.

View from one of the safari vehicles.
Following are some photos from our stay at The Hide:
On our drive from the Main Camp to The Hide, I spotted a southern ground hornbill which is apparently quite rare. Several days later we spotted another one on our drive back to Victoria Falls but were not able to stop for a photo. 

We saw this beautiful bushbuck right near The Hide on our shortened safari the day we arrived. 

We also saw these common or elipsen waterbuck near camp. 




Secretarybird standing in a tree. 

Gray-footed chacma baboons.

On our safari the next morning I spotted a roan heading into the trees. The guide told us it was only rarely seen. 

Several tawny eagles.

A number of southern yellow-billed hornbill sightings, one of my favorites. 

Some wonderful lilac breasted roller sightings. 

Lots of secretarybird sightings, another favorite. 

A red-crested korhaan or bustard

Several kori bustards

Hooded vultures

Amazingly long-tailed magpie shrikes.


Cape glossy starling

Gray go-away birds

Bradfield's hornbill

Crested barbet

Senegal coucals


A chacma baboon

African bush elephants

Burchell's zebras

Warthogs near the waterhole near camp. 

Late afternoon we headed out on our walking safari. Right near the waterhole at camp we saw a huge troop of chacma baboons. 

We saw some vervet monkeys at a distance and nearby saw a mongoose popping in and out of a huge termite mound but couldn't get a photo of it. 

We got quite close to these impala.

Some wildebeest.

Then as we walked slowly, stopped, walked slowly, we saw giraffe after giraffe, probably 30 in all, walk by us. It is probably in my top five of animal experiences. Just amazing. 

We eventually joined the rest of the camp at a sundowner in the bush where chairs were set up with a table holding drinks and snacks. We watched two African wildcats walk stealthily past us in the dark, looking like two regular house cats that you think would be goners with all of the danger out there. Later, I went on a night safari wearing a lined poncho and wrapped in blankets as it got very cold. We saw an aardvark, about 40 springhares, an animal I'd never heard of before, like a miniature kangaroo. Then one of the other guests asked the guide to stop and turn out the lights of the vehicle. The Milky Way lit up the sky way more than I've ever seen before. We were a long way from any light pollution. 

We got up the next morning and headed out early to visit the Painted Dog Rehabilitation Center at the edge of Hwange. 
Along the way we stopped to photograph a gorgeous saddle-billed stork. 

How evolution came up with some of these animals I'll never know. 

We also saw a tiny deer called a steenbok. 

Finally, we saw a captive wild dog at the Painted Dog Rehabilitation Center. 

Hwange was a blast. There was an amazing variety of birds as well as mammals.

1 comment:

  1. Being in the field with giraffes was one of those unbelievable experiences like the time we were in the tall grasses of Olympic National Park hearing the elk bugling around us. Incredible.