One of the most remarkable facts of Hwange, Zimbabwe’s largest National Park, is that if it were not for pumped water holes this area would be an unpopulated, sandy mopane forest. At the tender age of 22, Ted Davison became the first park warden of Hwange. From the early 1930s he began the process of drilling boreholes deep into the Kalahari sand, bringing life giving water to an area previously characterised by its absence.
This area of mopane forest that runs up the border with Botswana was historically a migratory corridor through which animals, elephants in particular, would pass on their way from the mineral rich areas of central Botswana to the lush areas in the north along the Chobe and Zambezi rivers. This migratory path brought elephants into regular conflict with humans. Through the formation of the park, and with the dedicated pumping of water, Hwange has become a year-round conflict free zone for a vast population of the great pachyderms.
There is much more to Hwange than the elephants, a great diversity of mammals and birds fill this national park with life. The different habitats of the park, from wide open grasslands to thick forest, provide opportunities to see a great range of game on drives. While elephants are a given on all drives in Hwange, it is not uncommon to come across good herds of buffalo and healthy prides of lion. If you get lucky you may spot an leopard hanging in the trees or a coalition of cheetah sunning themselves on the side of a termite mound. The park is rich in plains game, and again, you may be lucky and see the magnificent sable or roan that live here.