Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange: Our full report

Rooms
8 canvas-walled chalets
Traveller's rating
Excellent (96%) From 14 reviews
Children
16 +
Open
All year

Camp Hwange opened in April 2012 and is the latest safari offering from David Carson: a top ZimPro guide with enormous experience in the industry. Comfortable rather than opulent, the camp is set on a rise in a private concession of Hwange National Park, overlooking a waterhole in the Shumba Pans complex which is pumped year round.

A member of the Expert Africa team stayed at the site of Camp Hwange for a couple of nights in December 2011. Building materials for the camp were still being delivered but camping here gave us a great feel for the area as well as another chance to experience Dave's flexible and adventurous style of guiding, and to get a feel for the hospitable service which we’re hoping for at the new camp.

The spacious main area at Camp Hwange is set under a thatched roof with supporting timber pillars opening the whole building up to 180° vistas. As well as a large dining table and a side table where food is served, there are a couple of seating areas with very comfortable settees and chairs around a coffee table, and a small but well-stocked bar. It’s a great spot to watch animals that come to drink from the waterhole.

In front of the main area is the firepit, which forms a focal point for pre- and post-dinner discussions of the day’s events and sightings. Set slightly further away from the main area there are also a couple of 'loos with views'.

Accommodation at Camp Hwange comes in the form of eight canvas-walled chalets with thatched roofs, all overlooking the waterhole. Gauze windows allow a breeze to blow through but keep insects out, while a free-standing fan in each tent also helps to keep the air circulating. Double or twin beds are curtained by mosquito nets; each has a wooden storage trunk at the foot, and there’s an electronic safe for securing valuables. Solar-powered bedside lights give enough light to read by, while in the evenings, a little extra light is provided by a paraffin storm lantern. On the polished concrete floors, rugs and mats add warmth and a little colour to each chalet.

The en-suite bathrooms are simple but provide everything you’ll require during your stay, including flush toilets and solar-heated showers.

Activities at Camp Hwange focus on walking and 4WD game drives. The beauty of these is their flexibility, something which we really enjoyed. There was a genuine sense of adventure on every drive/walk we took and this, together with Dave’s enthusiasm and knowledge, results in a truly authentic safari experience. Whilst Dave won’t be guiding all of the time, we’re assured that guiding standards will be maintained through the use of fully-qualified ‘Zim pro’ guides.

The wood pile in front of camp is a great place to spend a couple of hours in the early morning or late afternoon, too, waiting patiently to see what comes down to drink from the waterhole. The area around camp is particularly good for lion and elephant.

In recent years Hwange National Park has been visited by relatively few self-drive travellers. Thanks this, and to Camp Hwange’s location, which is much further west than most other lodges in the park, the camp’s activities seldom see any other vehicles. As Zimbabwe starts to show tentative signs of economic recovery we have our doubts that this exclusivity will last, but for now Camp Hwange offers an exceptionally private game experience in one of Africa’s most diverse national parks.

Our view


We've been sending our travellers on mobile safari with David Carson for a number of years now and are very excited by his latest project. Camp Hwange is all about experiencing the wilderness first-hand. If you’re looking for five-star luxury then this is not the place for you. If, however, your emphasis is on flexible, knowledgeable and charismatic guiding in comfortable surroundings, then give us a call to discuss Camp Hwange in more detail.

Geographics

Location: Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Ideal length of stay: At least three nights here is recommended; four would probably be optimum.

Directions: Camp Hwange is a three-hour drive from Victoria Falls or about 90 minutes from Hwange Main Camp.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Independent/Owner run

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: We visited Camp Hwange while it was still under construction and before there was a fully functioning kitchen. Despite this the food, all cooked over an open fire by the camp’s chef, Washington, was outstanding.

One evening we started dinner around the campfire with chicken wings in a piri-piri sauce. We then had minted lamb chops with couscous and salad, all freshly prepared. Dessert was a fruit salad. The chef clearly benefits from his experience working on mobile safaris and we have no doubt that he’ll excel working in a static kitchen at Camp Hwange.

Meals during the day were no less tasty and filling.

Breakfast is an early affair, usually taken on the game drive in order to get out before first light. We were offered cereal and toast with a selection of sweet and savoury spreads, but guests can now expect something much more substantial.

Lunch is also usually taken out on the day’s activity. We enjoyed a selection of cold meats and cheeses with freshly made bread and one day, a three-bean salad with a dressing that was probably the best we’ve ever had.

In addition, coffee or sundowners and snacks are always on hand during the morning and afternoon activities.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Soft drinks and wines, spirits and beers are included in the price. High-end liqueurs, champagne, imported wines (except most South African wines) and spirits are not.

Special interests

Walking: Dave is an excellent walking guide. We thought he had an exciting mix of adventurous spirit and respect for the animals and the bush. Activities are flexible here, so they can offer some more general walking in Zimbabwe.

See more ideas for Walking in Zimbabwe

Children

Attitude towards children: Flexible

Property’s age restrictions: Camp Hwange has an official age limit of eight years old but is always willing to consider younger travellers on a case-by-case basis.

Special activities & services: None

Equipment: None

Notes: Camp Hwange is an open safari camp and big game is likely to pass through; children must be supervised by a parent at all times.

Infrastructure

Communications: There is no cellphone reception and no internet. Guests at Camp Hwange should consider themselves completely out of contact with the outside world (although there is a satellite phone in case of emergency).

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Borehole

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is a first-aid kit on site and the guides are trained in first aid. The camp has access to Medical Air Rescue Service (MARS) for very serious incidents.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: All guests are accompanied to and from their rooms at night by an armed guide.

Fire safety: There are fire Extinguishers in all of the rooms at Camp Hwange.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Included, but for cultural reason no smalls will be washed.

Money: There is a safe in each of the rooms.

Accepted payment on location: Any additional payments must be made in US dollars cash; credit cards are not accepted.