Reviews of Camp Hwange
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Eyeball to eyeball with elephants
A new camp set up by top Zim guide Dave Carson. It has a lovely relaxed atmosphere with the tented rooms and open dining area set around the waterhole.
It's described as simple but we found it really comfortable with lovely airy rooms well kitted out. It felt refreshingly different to some of the bigger camps we'd been to. The managers were away when we stayed but Tony Marsh, Washington and Gareth and all the staff did a great job in making everyone feel at home. We were there in the hottest month (October) and so there was plenty of game at our waterhole and we were eyeball to eyeball with elephants as we sat behind the boma made of branches and dead trees and they came to drink.
Our guide Tony, took us walking and on game drives and was a great source of information. The only drawback at Hwange is that at this time of year the only game is around the pans and driving between can take quite a while. We've never seen so many elephants in one place. Other game was more limited although we did see lion at a distance and also sable and roan. Three nights felt just right.
Very knowlegable guiding
This camp is a long drive if you come from Little Mak and so I would say better to go there from Victoria.
Please see above for travel time related problems.
As we only had two nights and had essentially missed the first day Julian, the Manager and Guide took us out for the whole of Wednesday so that we could see as much of the area as possible. Julian could also turn his hand to a cooked picnic lunch which was a bonus on a long day out. We were the only guests at the Camp and I don't know whether he would have been able to go out for the day if there were other guests.
He and the apprentice guide were very knowledgeable and it is a pity we did not have the time to do any walking here as this had been an aim of this particular trip and choice of safari. I think given the quality of the guiding that this would have been a good experience at this camp.
The area is very different from Mana and the Eastern side of Hwange NP so a good contrast.
Good food, accommodation and guiding make for a good combination with good game viewing.
New Camp - Lots of Potential
Camp Hwange has only been in operation since May 2012 and already they deserve to be better known.
The Camp is well laid out - the six Meru style Chalet-tents are very spacious and comfortable and are well appointed with a ceiling fan and an in-room charging point. The camp is designed in a curve with all of the tents facing a waterhole and the sunset. Food is excellent and service is good. Julian and Ashley run the camp extremely well and they are working towards making this one of the top camps in Zimbabwe. They are well on their way. Julian's skill and enthusiasm make him an excellent guide and host and Ashley's cooking is superb.
The waterhole attracts a lot of elephants and other game during the dry season but unfortunately the local large pride of lions had moved elsewhere just before we arrived and this meant we spent a lot of time on the road getting to where the game and predators were congregating.
We would come here again.
Great & flexible guiding in charming new camp
We stayed at Camp Hwange for four nights and had a great time. Travelling with my elderly mother could have been something of a challenge but Dave Carson and the Camp Hwange team pulled out all the stops, even building a bespoke set of wooden steps so mum could climb more easily in and out of the Land Rover.
Because of mum's somewhat impaired mobility, we weren't able to spend as much time walking as we would have liked but in all honesty, this wasn't a big deal. We were lucky to have Dave himself guide us for our visit and he was outstanding, spotting prodigious amounts of game at sometimes implausible distances from the vehicle (although much of it was extremely close!).
Having spent time in Somalisa a couple of years ago (another excellent camp), we felt this was the better location in terms of game (lots) and people (we saw maybe three other vehicles in four days which was great). All the animals were in fine condition and very good densities, especially elephants which numbered concentrations in the hundreds as well as Dave's beloved lions. Our only regret on the game front was missing the Aardwolf but we did see a spitting cobra which was a nice treat (honestly!)
The camp itself is very new and we found it hard to find much to fault. Spacious rooms, hot water bottles and good en-suite facilities. It didn't matter much to us (as we didn't try to start too early) but maybe it would be worth considering bringing tea or coffee to the rooms in the mornings at wake up call. And though I loved the long morning drives (much longer than in most other camps we have stayed at), I did miss the full safari breakfast although we had that (and enjoyed it) on our last morning.
Julian and Ashley were also great and one of the things I really appreciated at the camp was their flexibility and willingness to work around our slightly different schedule, given mum's slow starts in the morning (and my own!).
I would certainly return again. I suspect that later in the season it will be difficult to walk to and from the rooms (even with an escort) given the number of elephants in the area but I never felt anything but well looked after with the safety protocols in camp so am sure that Dave and the team will have a plan in place if one becomes necessary.