Reviews of Camp Hwange
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
camp hwange feedback
I think a great mistake has been made re our reservations at Camp Hwange for 3 nights. This was to be our last safari before leaving Southern Africa perhaps for the last visit we will ever make. You originally had offered us something for $500/nite/person and we said it was too much . You then said you would find a more reasonable rate but came up with the same price but a different camp. We never paid this much but thought it would be like the top lodge in Sabi Sands so we decided to treat ourselves. Now here we are and I tell you at the most this is a $200/nite/person. It has wonderful food, very nice staff and knowledgeable guides. But…..the camp itself is pretty average. For instance no tub, , no pool, they Said they would do laundry but not underwear!!! There is a waterhole but it is not lighted and there is no glass on the windows facing the hole just screen so you cant look out at night. The tent room and bathroom were average. We stayed at a top lodge in Nambiti a private game park just outside of Ladysmith and it cost $200 per night per room! It was top notch. 4 star, called Nambiti Plains. I could name others as well.
Now let us get to the game. ….We took two 5 hour drives and saw 3 impala and 2 jackels and some nice birds. When asked about lions they said the pride left almost a year ago and they have one male and two female somewhere. We did a walking tracking for 2 hours which was wonderful but no lion. When asked about Rhino they told us the Rhino are off limits to visitors. When asked about elephants they told us there is a bull elephant that we spent hours trying to find to no avail. When asked about Wildebeasts we were told they are at the other end of the park. An on and on and on. We were told it is hard to spot game because of the tall grass but in the last three weeks we have been to three game parks and all had tall grass and we saw many animals.
The worst part was it was cold and rainy. Everyone had to eat in three layers of clothes and a fleece. The firepit was outside but it was raining.there was no source of heat inside the boma so we couldn't sit in the lounge and relax and talk. There was no source of heat in our room so the only way we could get warm was to go to bed! Finally on the last night we suggested to the staff that they pull down the canvas to close off the open spaces. That cut the wind and cold a bit but meant we couldn't look out.
We do want to say the staff was wonderful, the food excellent and the guides great! Also, I understand we can't control the weather or the animals.I just went on in the above paragraphs to tell you how it was. I guess the big issue here is how much we paid for average accommodations. Everything I said above was just to tell you how it was. Even if weather etc was perfect the rate is way too high. It is possible that Zimbabwe is more expensive that South Africa or Kenya or Tanzania but not this much. Hopefully, it was an honest mistake and there will be a refund.
I do want to reiterate that staff, food, guides were all outstanding. On the last night the manager even gave us hot water bottles for our bed. also, the walking trips were great.
I do hope we can settle this to everyone's satisfaction We will be back in the US in 2 days.
One other thing. When in vic Falls we met several people who stayed at Little Mokoro (sp?) and because it was off season they were given 1/2 price !! Plus they saw huge prides of lion, Wildebeast, elephant etc.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa are sorry that these guests didn't enjoy their stay at Camp Hwange. We have responded fully to them, and wanted to note a few general points here too:
Camp Hwange is not a luxurious lodge - nobody has ever claimed that it is; we recommend it for exceptional guiding and a great wilderness experience.
These travellers felt that Camp Hwange was poor value compared with South Africa's Sabi Sands area. We feel that these two areas offer such widely contrasting experiences that direct comparisons are difficult to draw. In general, South Africa's reserves are much smaller; the animals and environment are more managed; densities of visitors are much higher; and game viewing is more predictable, sometimes to the point of being controlled.
In retrospect, we should have talked to these travellers rather than just accepting this booking over e-mail. Had we done so, we would have explained that nowhere in Hwange offers a Sabi Sands experience - thus this was the wrong trip for these travellers. We're sorry that we didn't insist on at least one telephone conversation before we accepted this booking.
Camp Hwange is like many other lodges in southern Africa: laundry won't accept underwear for cultural reasons - but washing powder is provided.
These guests were very unlucky with weather and the game. This year (2014) Hwange had very heavy, late rains that continued into April, when these travellers visited. This made it unseasonably cold and wet, and the game viewing was difficult. These guests did see game, including elephant and lion, but the viewing wasn't as good as they, or we, would have expected - even at this time of year.
A great safari experience at Camp Hwange
We were picked up as we had been told and enjoyed a great ride (game drive) all the way to the Camp. Our guide, Dharmesh, is surely one of the best as he gave constant comments on every animal or bird that we saw. Lunch was quite tasty, and we enjoyed watching animals at the pan where we ate.
What a wonderful experience we had at Camp Hwange. The staff were waiting to welcome us as we drove to the main lodge, and a refreshing glass of juice was handed to us as soon as we left the truck. The lodge and surrounding area was very neat and clean. Our chalet was so very comfortable and also quite clean. The shower with hot water was welcome at the end of each day. The mosquito netting was dropped while we were gone--we were never bothered by mosquitos.
Dinners were varied and always good as were the lunches when we stayed out all day. We felt like we were receiving a college education with all the information Dharmesh gave us. We learned so much from him. He explained what might happen and what our behavior needed to be. He knew where the animals were usually found so we saw many each day--we have no complaints about experience with him or Camp Hwange. We highly recommend Camp Hwange!!!
Camp Hwange review
Camp Hwange was my first ever Safari experience and was utterly magical. Zimbabwe is such an amazing country and Camp Hwange is the perfect setting. The Camp is beautiful and I cannot fault the place.
Wildlife was sublime (you may not necesaarily tick off "the big 5) but what you do get is a much more authentic game watching trip with far fewer people. We barely saw another soul. The guides are incredibly knowledgable and you get to do "walking safari." Getting out of the jeep is liberating. You can analyse footprints and then go and track elephants (for example). You feel almost intrepid and it's amazing to get so close to the animals and they don't know you are there.
In terms of food, I can honestly say it was excellent. Not a bad meal. The accomdation is also perfect. Would recommend this place to the most discerning of clients.
Fantastic location with excellent guides. We particularly enjoyed a full day out visiting different locations which included a walk and lunch cooked al fresco.
Knowledgeable guides give so much to the whole safari experience. We even managed to pack in an additional early morning safari on the day of our departure which was unexpected and thoroughly enjoyable and to add to the pleasure, there was a full English before we departed!
Wonderful 3 days at Camp Hwange
We spent three wonderful days at Camp Hwange in October. The lodge was fantastic, the rooms comfortable and open, and absolutely loved the view over the watering hole from the shower. The staff were great, and the food was arguably the best we'd had amongst all our lodge stays.
In terms of guiding, Julian and Washington were simply exceptional. It didn't feel like a tickbox trip at all, and we found ourselves in front of a scene for an hour or more many times, be it Goose with the lionesses or the about 70 elephants having a mudbath in the moonlight. The walks and drives were always interesting, engaging and very educational.
Camp Hwange was a brilliant experience, and we can't wait to go back.
game, knowlege of wildlife and hospitality
Put together hours spent with passionate knowledgeable guides following and viewing a very wide variety of game with a charming and very hospitable dining room and relaxation lodge and you have the recipe for delighted guests.
The individual chalets were far from sparse, as they were described in one write up, and this camp is bound to be very successful.
Camp Hwange review
You drive for about 1.5 hours from Vic Falls airport to Hwange national park entrance, only comment is you do drive through an open cast coal mine for about ten minutes which isn't a problem but a bit of an eye opener as the lorries spill a lot of dust which unnecessarily pollutes the nearby bush, why not put a cover on the load and problem solved ?
Met by Stephen our guide for the tour and in my opinion the best most helpful guy you could want.....say no more!
After a long drive/safari we arrived at Camp Hwange. The open air dining room bar and lounge are really lovely nicely furnished and well thought. There was a camp fire to the front and ahead of this a large watering hole with resident hippos, excellent. Dinner was delightful, all guests and guides present which we liked as we could hear others stories and swap ideas for the next day. The staff were fantastic and we loved the table design they clearly spent time creating and was much appreciated thanks.
It was our first safari so not sure what to expect, more seasoned veterans we met said the game is not abundant here but they thought this added to the thrill when you did encounter game. Each drive we did whilst quiet for long periods was always eventful in the end. By the end of each day we had seen enough game to satisfy us at least and can include Lions, Baboons, Buffalo, Giraffe, numerous antelope species, vultures etc in our sightings. We also got a fleeting view of a leopard. The big thing is elephant ! loads of elephants ! This was the best thing for us just observing dozens of different herds all over the watering holes and bush was fantastic.
Our room was great, a large tent like structure very nicely done with lovely bedding and mossy net, big open shower and everything you needed. Just one thing is it could really do with a mini bar so you can have a cold drink when you return to the room. The single thermos flask they leave in your room doesn't do it for me although I know this may not be possible due to power supply but it would be great for spoiled travellers.
All in all a very nice stay just what we had hoped for and compared to many others not too deadly cost wise.
Camp Hwange review
This place is bliss - can I go back please?
Long drive from Main Camp (6 hours) but it was a game drive. We saw a leopard so what else matters?
Our guide, Andrew, was excellent. We have travelled a lot and he is without question, the best guide we have had.
The staff were very welcoming, personally greeting us after every outing and seeing us off each time.
Camp Hwange review
We very much enjoyed the fact that gamedrives in this camp where often combined with short walks to check out something interesting. We also liked the ability (and flexibility) to go on (unplanned) night drives, even after a full day out on gamedrive.
The camp is located in a nice spot overlooking a waterhole and has a very relaxed atmosphere. Especially when Dave is in camp.
The area is probably more spectacular later in the dry season as then there will be more game at the waterholes. Outside of the waterholes a large portion of the area surrounding the camp is covered in mopane.
Best Off-Road Adventure Guide Ever!!!
Julian and Ashley run a great camp in Hwange National Park. They are on a private concession that is about 5 miles in diameter. Julian is absolutely fearless in tracking lion here in thick brush, with us along for the thrill ride. Every day we explored a different area of the concession or the park. We saw kopies, salt pan dams, hides, crocodile pools, Robbins Camp, and hidden water holes. During night drives we even found owls!
Ashley and Sheema did a fine job with a brand new cook. Washington, a guide trainee is a delight.
We would highly recommend this camp