Camp Hwange

Reviews of Camp Hwange

Excellent(96%) From 55 travellers
Excellent
47
Good
6
Average
1
Poor
1
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 55 of our travellers who have visited Camp Hwange, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mr BG from Newport Coast
Arrived on: 8-May-2018 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good

Camp Hwange review

We were quite early in the season(May) so wildlife wasn't as plentiful as we hoped, but the camp did a nice job overall.

Our guide Nigel was exceptional and contributed to us having one game drive that was just great, we saw everything from Cape Buffalo running to being surrounded by six lions.

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Mrs M from Japan
Arrived on: 28-Apr-2018 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Beautiful camp with great view

Camp Hwange is a beautiful camp. I like the view of wide plain and waterhole with an elephant from my room.

Food was excellent, I think one of the best food experience I have ever had at the camps in Africa.

Julian, who has wealth of knowledge, was my guide throughout my stay and I really enjoyed walking. It was an exciting moment facing an elephant. We happened to find Bat-eared fox while walking. And walking up to buffaloes was another exciting moent as well.

All of camp staff are very friendly and helpful.

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E from Canada
Arrived on: 26-Mar-2018 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Camp Hwange

Our experience at Camp Hwange was phenomenal! The guest rooms are simple yet elegant, and completely met our needs. The setting is peaceful and a perfect escape from the bustle of everyday life, where we were serenaded to sleep by the grunts of hippos.

The staff were thoughtful, professional and approachable, and anticipated all our needs. The guides, in particular, were second to none. The information they provided and the efforts they made were truly the highlight of our trip.

The food was also fantastic, and without our even mentioning it, they noticed our preferences and made an effort to meet those.

Overall, I cannot praise Camp Hwange highly enough, and it will be our first choice should we make another trip to Zimbabwe.

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Ms L - Queensland
Arrived on: 22-Mar-2018 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Poor
Poor
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Poor
Poor
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Average
Average

rough & tumble, guiding not up to expectation

Unfortunately this lodge did not live up to expectation. I was guided by Julienne the former manager twice, then a trainee twice, before Spike.

Julienne I truly didn't feel was very committed to or interested in guiding. He picked me up at the gate, and only pointed out a small number of animals we happened to come across along the road. I discovered later that there was a lake and hide half way to the camp that we could have gone to to see a good variety of birds and animals. Upon arrival I was given the closest room to the public area which could result in me hearing all the laughters and conversations in the dining room late at night when I want to go to bed early with my jetlag. I requested a move further away, and was told by him that I had requested the room closest to the dining area for mobility reasons. I never made such a request, and why would anyone come to a camp renowed for walking safaris if they can't walk from their room to the public area?

Expert Africa passed all the room requests to me to check, and the requests we ever made were for the quietest room possible, or the room with the best view for photography. He argued and argued about this non-existent request, and that all future guests coming were families and they want to keep them next to each other. I ended giving up and walked away. As it turned out the next guest was elderly and had mobility problems, and would have made such as request. So good the way they read their emails! As for keeping families together - all incoming guests were adults, and the cottages were spaced several meters apart. Do they expect guests to yell across that distance to have a family conversation? They did end up changing me to a different room but it wasn't a pleasant exchange. As for guiding, Julienne and the trainee Blyde (who is a nice bloke) drove up to the animals too fast, resulting in them running away. Their style of guiding was to drive up, tell you the name of the animal, give you a few moments to take photos, and then drive off to look for the next animal. As there had been alot of rain, game was very thin, and we spent alot more time driving around on bumpy roads than doing anything else. Blyde who was in training, was not in a position to give much information, but Julienne often truly seemed uninterested even when asked. I guesd it's no worse than guides I experienced in many other parts of Africa. But I was told the guides here were very knowledgeable and I was looking forward to much more.

I have read a review that some of their vehicles have seats (which are just old fashion benches) so high that nobody's feet could reach the floor. We made a request for the more comfortable type of vehicle as I have back problems. That didn't seem to be taken into account and I was given the back breaking vehicle. Even after using a tyre or a stool to raise the feet, after one and a half days my back flarred up very badly ( the worst in 20 years). I still wasn't offerred a different vehicle (they did have several vehicles), and given the disappointing safaris experience, I felt so depressed that I decided to give up the next 2 days of safaris, stay in my room to rest my back, and just go home to watch David Attenborough for a better experience. The next morning I went to breakfast when others are leaving for their safaris, and found Spike had a vehicle with proper seats same as the ones at the last lodge I stayed in.

I joined them at the last minute and found in Spike the most considerate person towards guests and animals. He is one of a small number of guides who truly knows how to approach animals, and particularly birds which require alot of care. With him I had good sightings and was able to get many good bird photos. He had a true love of nature and was ready to impart his extensive knowledge to guests at all times. Even with the late turnaround, I cannot recommend this camp as there is no guarantee that one would get Spike for their stay. I actually preferred guides from Namibia to most of the ones here. They were more communicative and approachable. I cannot comment on the quality of walking safaris here as there wasn't really much game around to attempt that.

And for the accomodation, this place was set up and run on a shoe string. Lighting is the dimmest in all lodges I've stayed in for this trip. They could have mounted the lights lower and it would have been brighter. There's no light in the bathroom whatsoever. Basically one has to use a torch throughout the cottage, and in the dining room to see what food is being displayed, and to eat. Expect Africa made a couple of food requests on my behalf. Some weren't brought in until I was half way thru my stay. Even then they were of such low quality (rotten) that some had to be thrown out and recooked.

This place, unlike most lodges, made no attempt to cover their food. Virtually everything was consumed by insects of all kinds, before by humans. They could see I was bothered by flies, and made attempts to use a fly net to cover my food. But what about other guests? Even with their attempts, I still found a dead fly in my food and dead ants in my honey. Since such issues seemed insignificant compared to other things I had to deal with, I just scooped them out and continued the eat the rest of the meal. If insects in your room and food bothers you, definitely don't consider this place.

Kim who looked after guests' daily needs made a genuine attempt to accomodate my dietery needs. But as was the case across Africa in general, only half the instructions were followed as they got passed down the chain.

The best thing about this lodge was their meat was the tastiest I 've ever had anywhere (even with no favoring).

In summary, I experienced the lowest standard in accommodation and vehicle comfort at this lodge. Another lodge with the same uncomfortable vehicle had built metal footrests across to fix the problem. Here you are expected to rough everything. For me, it just wasn't worth it.

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Expert Africa comments

We’re sorry that this traveller didn’t enjoy Camp Hwange. We recommended it because of our experience of the high-quality guiding there, and their knowledge of birds, which she hoped to see and photograph.

We were very sorry and somewhat surprised that she didn’t gel with Julian, who we’ve known for many years. Julian was one of Camp Hwange’s first guides, and has guided our guests since around 2012 when the camp opened. He’s an experienced professional guide, having passed Africa’s toughest guiding exam some years ago.

We’d advised the camp this traveller had some back and ankle issuses, and so she was initially given the closest tent to the camp’s public area; the camp thought that a shorter walk between her room and the main area would be best. However, she was unhappy as she felt she might hear voices from the main area and once she explained this, the camp swiftly arranged a room further away.

Good camps like Camp Hwange can usually cater very well to most dietary requests, even requests that they haven’t come across before, if they are instructed in enough detail and the ingredients are available in-country. Amongst this traveller’s requests was a list of cooked vegetables which she could eat; a stipulation for wholwheat/wholegrain items – which excluded brown rice and brown bread; and a request for no salad.

We passed these on to all the places that she was visiting, including Camp Hwange, and later we asked her for more detail on the diet and its origins – so that we could give this to the camps to help them to understand her needs better. We received a relaxed response from the traveller, with little more detail, including: “Don't worry about the bread, I will just have whatever they can get for me.”

In hindsight, we should have followed this up and insisted upon a more comprehensive understaing of these requirements. We regret not pushing harder for more detailed, definitive dietary instructions as these could have helped the camps to better prepare for her.

Camp Hwange confirmed that they did speak with her in detail about the menu and meals prepared for her. However, it seemed to them that even when they thought that they had followed her instructions, she wasn’t happy with the resulting food. Whatever the root cause, we remain very sorry that her time at the camp, and her meals, didn’t live up to her expectations.
Overall this stay was part of a trip which this traveller commented ‘she wanted to forget’. To put it in it’s proper context, it’s important that readers also see this traveller's whole trip review.

Clearly Expert Africa must take some blame. One of our key tasks is to ensure that travellers' expectations are as close to reality as possible. On her return, this traveller noted that her expectations of her destinations were inappropriate – so clearly in this case we failed.

She commented that she "wasn't prepared for how backward Africans were” and that she’d found this trip to be "very taxing”. We’re very sorry that this was the outcome. As a company we would rather not organise a trip for someone to Africa than send them with the wrong expectations – but that seems to have been what happened here.

Ms L. from Elma
Arrived on: 19-Oct-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Camp Hwange review

This was an unbelievable experience for us.

It was OVER THE TOP.

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Mr H - Michigan
Arrived on: 26-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Camp Hwange review

We really enjoyed our time at Camp Hwange.

The staff was great and wonderful experience on safari.

We stayed 4 nights which we thought about right for starting our trip and the guiding was superb and very educational.

We were lucky enough to see a second leopard and a pride of lion staying the fourth night!

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Mr A. from Glasgow
Arrived on: 25-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent

An unexpected wonder

The drive to Hwange through the Park was at first quite uninspiring, through an open cast coal mine, then mile after mile of quite burnt out scrub land. After a long drive through the park reaching the camp was a great reward and the warmth of the reception by staff was very welcoming. The chalets were very good but in the heat of the day, would really have benefited from some form of aircon.

Adam,our guide and host did a fantastic job. we had an amazing walking safari, tracking lion several unforgettable encounters with elephants, including a heart-stopping close encounter from behind some fallen tree stumps with an older bull and then a younger more nervous one. And our last night dinner in the bush (a birthday treat) lit by candles was a true highlight of our trip.

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Mr A & Mrs L - Norfolk
Arrived on: 20-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Average
Average

It's all about the Game

We had absolutely excellent game and bird viewing at Camp Hwange. Our guide, Washington, was one of the best we've had over several safari trips. A local man, he has come up through the ranks and is absolutely passionate about what he does. Ideally for us he was a mine of information about birds and keen on photography. Not yet 'Zim Pro' but he soon will be and we would always ask for him if we were to re-visit.

We were very appreciative that they set up a table on the small 'patio' in front of our room each evening and served our dinner there. Those doing the serving were delightful.

A few constructive comments - the 'back of house' was not as strong as the front. Our time of departure from the Victoria Falls Hotel was never confirmed and we spent too much of our all-too-short stay there running around during the evening and early morning trying to get the phone answered to find out. Comparing the housekeeping and laundry service with other equally remote camps, it left a lot to be desired. They have a known problem with dormice seeking food during the night. If we had been advised we could have avoided a luggage bag and a flight bag having holes eaten through them and the contents shredded.

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Ms N - San Francisco
Arrived on: 25-Aug-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Beautiful camp with incredible amenities

We visited Camp Hwange for a 3 night safari and enjoyed our stay. Our decision to visit Camp Hwange was based on their solid reputation and ability to do walking tours. During our stay, a good amount of their guides were on leave which made for a crowded first day. The 2nd day improved significantly when we had a very long and full day of walking and saw a lot of great game with less people in the vehicle.

The facilities are beautiful. Of all the camps we visited, Camp Hwange had the most beautiful rooms and the best food. It was all delicious!

We did find some of the staff a bit stuffy and awkward. Maybe it's because their dining table is very wide and long that meals can feel uncomfortable. During one interaction, a manager gave me the wifi details and told me if too many people are using it in the common area they will "shut it down" because they want their guests to be social. The social aspect felt a bit forced at Camp Hwange and not natural as a result of their staff.

Overall, I'd recommend Camp Hwange because Julian is an excellent guide with an incredible amount of knowledge and the facilities are beautiful.

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BJB from Los Angeles
Arrived on: 29-Jun-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Camp Hwange Hidden Gem

While not easy to reach, Camp Hwange is a hidden gem. It is small and intimate with an outstanding staff.

The rooms are large and comfortable with great views of the game gathering at the watering hole. In addition to game drives in a jeep, there are many opportunities for walking.

During the day, we tracked lions, followed a cheetah, and experienced outstanding night drives.

For easier access, an airstrip is being built in the vicinity and should be completed in the near future.

Expert Africa arranged for Julian Brookstein as a private guide here; these travellers commented:

We had the privilege of being guided by Julian Brookstein. In addition to his vast knowledge of the animals in the bush, Julian has a particular interest in lion conservation. As we sat observing two lionesses and their two year old cubs, Julian shared the most fascinating lineage and history of the lions in the area. We also had the opportunity to track lions on a seven mile walking safari. Hwange offers the opportunity for night drives and Julian did not disappoint. His ability to spot small game was remarkable.

On our final day, we tracked a cheetah who cavorted and "posed" for us for over an hour.

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