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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Thanked: 0

    Default Zimbabwe trip report

    Just got back from Zimbabwe - what a place!
    Watch this space for the trip report and some video footage on the camps!


    We decided with all the goings on in Bots why not give its neighbour a try…..only problem was not too many people could give info on best sites and places to go….but thanks to the forum we managed decide on Hwange National Park and some other interesting places both ways.

    Port Edward to Kwanokeng
    Early wake up and depart at 1am we were hyped and my 9 yr old daughter hopped in the car and didn’t sleep at all until we arrived at Kwano-keng.
    We passed JHB at around 10am and had brunch at an Ultra Stop then headed off again.
    We arrived at the Border at 15h00 and glided through very easily and because we had arranged clearance with Kwano-keng Lodge the Botswana officials just stamped and let us through without interruption.
    We continued to Kwanokeng and booked in for our first night.

    Kwanokeng Lodge Details:
    Tumelo Selato

    Tel: +267 4915 908 Fax: +267 4915 928
    skype: kwanokenglodge
    e-mail: [email protected] website:
    GPS CO-ORDINATES: S 23 00 00.5 E 027 56 40.0
    PO Box 23 Sherwood Ranch Tuli Block Botswana

    Day 2
    Kwanokeng to Bulawayo
    This drive was very easy and we stopped in Francistown and had Nandos for late breakfast then headed to Bulawayo via the Plumtree Border Post
    It took 1h30min to the Border from Francistown and the road was easy – there were speedbumps that needed to be looked out for!
    Plumtree Border was more than I was expecting – something very militant and straight out of a war novel but if you followed the counters in sequence it was pretty easy and we were out there in 20minutes.
    We arrived in Bulawayo about 2hrs later as we took what we thought would be a shortcut through Matobo Hills area (WOW) what a great start – with this scenery our holiday was going to be great.

    We arrived at Granite Lodge in Bulawayo and the owners Clive and Gail were absolutely great and the units very clean and well kept …….4 star luxury.
    That night we went out for dinner to Cattlemans Diner, the steaks were good but they were what I thought was expensive around R120 without sauce.
    Contact Details for Granite Lodge
    Clive Moore

    [email protected]

    phone +263 9 285908 / 469983

    Day 3
    Granite Hills to Hwange National Park (Jambili then Shumba)
    We filled up with diesel and headed for HWANGE, the drive is very easy with tar all the way and a speed of 100km/h could be kept easily. We filled up with diesel approx 80kms before we entered the park in the gwayi community area at a nice petrol station with bar and picnic area.
    Just before HWANGE N.P Entrance we stopped at The Painted Dog Project and took a tour of the life of the Dogs – this was well worth a visit as they seem very passionate about their cause and we too realized why the dog population was running low (farmers –with due cause, lions,snares – it doesn’t stop….) we saw some dogs bought some curios that had been made from the snares recovered by the anti poaching teams and given to the local communities to bring in some income….
    We arrived at Main Camp at around 1pm and booked in, it is a camp and could be compared to many of our National Parks minus the shops ….
    We headed to Jambili where we would stay for 3 nights if the waterholes were anything to go by the animal sightings would be INCREDIBLE!
    We set up at Jambili Picnic Site and our Warden / Ranger was nowhere to be found!
    That night we had Scops owl, Pearl Spotted Owl, Hyena and elephant around he campsite – the sounds were magical and this is truly Africa at its best……
    In the South Eastern Sector we visited Manga1/2/3 Ngweshala and Kennedy Pans along with all the waterholes – WELL DONE FRIENDS OF HWANGE you guys are doing an amazing job….
    Every Single waterhole we visited in Hwange has large and full of water, running off diesel pumps. Each pump had its own dedicated pump technician who stayed a couple of meters away in a tin shack. Now that’s a scary job !!!!
    One thing is for sure, the animals had plenty of water to drink.

    During this stay we saw Sable, Lion, Roan, Hyena and Elephant daily – the impala and wildebeest were scarce (something we are not used too) and everything seemed very skittish but I suppose with what they have been through its understandeable! When packing up we even found a deathstalker scorpion underneath the ground sheet…………….luckily nobody met the wrath of this little but extremely dangerous little chap.

    We then realized that there’s more to worry about then LIONS eating the kids only!

    Upon return to Hwange we will choose to stay at Kennedy or Ngweshla in the eastern sector….
    Day 8 - 12
    Jambili to Shumba
    The drive was very pleasant and the 108kms took us about 5krs – yes we did screen every waterhole for animals en route….and even saw 2 young lions walking away from the one waterhole.
    We lagged behind on the drive and couldn’t help staying a little longer at Shapi Pan, this in my opinion is the most amazing waterhole and you expect to see lions around the shade or Leopard in the huge green trees very close to the water ….. but alas nothing not even Elephant.
    We arrived at Shumba and were gobsmacked – this was our campsite, WOW…………..clean, grassy and two very helpful, armed attendants (DONALD and MIXTURE) for the next couple of days they made fire, stoked the donkey (boiled the water for showers) and cleaned the site.
    All the campsites were fenced, nothing major, just a 1m wire fence covering the perimeter.
    This however did give a sense of security at night especially with having young kids around.

    We setup the camps and chatted to the Lion Research Team who had just recovered a Lion Collar 12kms towards the border of the park, it had been snared (in error) but once the poachers found the Lion they chopped the collar off and removed hide to sell, teeth to sell and meat to eat
    Whilst at Shumba we visited Masuma Hide, Mandavu Dam and Sinamatella and definitely confirmed that we had the best sites by far…..
    During the stay here we saw 3 Male Lions daily and 1 Lioness along-with Meyer Parrot and loads of Buffalo and elephant.

    We wanted to go to Robins but the rangers said it would be a waste of time as there was ranger training going on and with all the gunfire there would be nothing left……?

    Leaving Hwange National Park to Matopo Hills N.P
    We departed the park at Sinamatella and continued to HWANGE Town then turned left and headed for Bulawayo.
    We diverted our plans and decided to spend a day or 2 in Matopo Hills – known for high Leopard Concentration and picturesque scenery – we were not disappointed the scenery is mindblowing!!!
    BUT the campsite ablutions are not good at all and we decided to leave the next day………we appeared to have lady luck on our side and that afternoon en-route to bathroom a Pells Fishing Owl landed in the nearby tree and allowed us to spend 1-2minutes with it before flying off! A BIRDERS DREAM?? Yes, I am 1000% sure it was a Pells Fishing Owl and it was confirmed by three Birding Books.
    There are a great deal of things to do in Matopo – Bushman Paintings / Granite Koppies / Rhodes Memorial / Fishing and horseriding and the Matopo National Park is 16kms from the campsite!

    The following day we packed up for the journey home, spellbound with what a wonderful place Zimbabwe is for tourists and we have only touched the tip of the ICEBERG……next trips are already being planned – Matusadonha, Mana Pool, Gonarezhou, Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe Ruins to name a few.

    In conclusion, Zimbabwe is an amazing country, prices were good, food and fuel freely available, very friendly and intelligent locals. The roads were all good, the police were fine (no corruption) and the towns were old but clean. This is a country on the mend.
    Hwange was amazing, wild and non commercial. After so many years of going to Botswana, we have found the answer and can’t wait for next years epic adventure.

    Bookings for Zim Parks can be made with

    Choice N. Mushunje
    Reservations Agent
    Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife
    Tel +263 4 706077/707624/8
    Fax +263 4 793867
    Mobile: +263 912 111 836
    Mobile: +263 11 662 016
    Email: [email protected]
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    Last edited by wildlifewanderer; 2010/10/08 at 07:55 PM. Reason: PHOTOS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanked: 3


    welcome back G!
    hurry up with your report!
    Toyota Prado 4.0l Petrol
    OME Suspension
    B'rakhah Ingonyama Offroad Camper

    Previously2002 Disco TD5

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Thanked: 0


    Pics and Video Clips to follow

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanked: 1

    Default Hwange

    Gary, we are so pleased that you ignored the naysayers and had such a good trip. Shumba is also our camp, so good it's hard to describe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Thanked: 0


    What's the current prices for camping in Hwange NP? Please inform

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanked: 1

    Default Hwange rates

    The link is painfully slow during the day but better at night.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Thanked: 0


    Hi Getalbo, yes Shumba is wildlife and best campsite.....then Ngweshla and then Kennedy!
    The rates are as follows:
    Camping fees @ 20 US per night p/p and a once off entry per person of 12 US

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Thanked: 0


    Some Pics but have many many more of nearly all the waterholes and pans - still loading video ......should be ready for viewing monday.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Thanked: 0


    Thanks for sharing your trip report - it was interesting to read about your adventures in Hwange NP!
    And great pics - I especially like the "Zebras at Dopi Pan" in that pink light at dusk - just beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    Planning for Botswana & Victoria Falls in March 2013!

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