Days 4-9 of our trip took the four of us from Victoria Falls to Hwange National Park, one of my all-time favourite places on earth to date :).
For some context, the park is Zimbabwe’s largest national park at around 14,000km2 which is approximately half the size of Belgium.
Map of Hwange National Park
We have previously stayed at a lodge called The Hide on a private concession around the eastern side of the park twice, and we loved it both times, so decided to head back there again to share the experience with Jim and Erin. However, we also wanted to see more of the north-western part of the park, so we tested the waters with two nights at another lodge called Nehimba before moving onto three nights at The Hide.
Once again, Fortune transferred us from Vic Falls to the Main Camp at Hwange (the main entry point into the park), and after doing some formalities of paying park fees (and getting some sneaky shots of a wedding happening there) we were met by a guide, Julius, who was to transfer us from Main Camp to Nehimba, with a bit of an extra game drive thrown in.
Wedding at Hwange Main Camp (complete with ‘sexual healing’ played over the loud speaker :))
Of course, we couldn’t let the game drive go by without some excitement, which in this case involved our vehicle breaking down in the middle of the bush (I was starting to see a theme here!). I wasn’t too concerned to start with as game guides are usually pretty resourceful with their vehicles, but when the truck did not seem to be kicking over at all after a few attempts, I did start to wonder if we’d be stuck in the middle of the bush with no cell phone network, and what appeared to be no radio (again, starting to see a theme!).
But as we watched storm clouds roll in, and were starting to wonder if we would have the pleasure of being stuck in a storm in the middle of the bush, Julius managed to get the truck to kick over and we were off headed towards Nehimba again, which all up took us approximately 2.5-3 hours to reach from Main Camp.
Once at Nehimba we were greeted by our hostess, Musa, our waiter, Given, and our guide for our stay, Forest. We soon were advised that we were the only guests in camp for our stay, so we would effectively have the run of the place…score! After being shown to our rooms, and being fed a generous and delicious lunch, we then headed out for an afternoon game drive, and sundowner drinks.
Our digs at Nehimba
We didn’t see a huge amount of game, but between our drive into Nehimba and our afternoon game drive we did see baboons, water buck, wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, a large owl, crowned cranes, the ‘day time, night time’ bird (for those who don’t get that reference watch this video https://youtu.be/EQ1HKCYJM5U), and zebra.
Baboon on the move
Female water buck
Wildebeest and calf
Owl (can’t remember the exact species)
Day time, night time bird (Black Heron)
Sunset at sundowner drinks
It was a late return to camp, followed by another delicious dinner and drinks, before we all wearily headed off to bed.
Given that we were the only guests in camp, on Day 5 we decided to forgo the standard early morning game drive, followed by a lunch break back at camp, and then an afternoon game drive, for a whole day drive with a packed lunch. We decided to head out to Sinamatella as our general destination (approximately 60km from camp), with stops along the way, including a lunch stop at Mandavu Dam, before heading back to camp in the afternoon.
Given that that area of the park had had some rain, there were not as many animals coming to the pans to drink, and so a full day drive allowed us to see more animals that we may not have gotten to see if we had done shorter morning and afternoon drives.
We did manage to see more zebra, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, water buck, impala, dung beetles, giraffe, a snake, and stein buck, as well as watching some local fishermen appear to take their lives into their own hands fishing extremely close to areas that no doubt contained crocodiles and definitely contained hippos. But thankfully we didn’t see anyone get taken!
Pretty sure this guy thought he was hiding
Elephant close up
Female water buck
Snake at our lunch stop at Mandavu Dam
Fishermen at Mandavu Dam
Female stein buck
Zebra at the camp watering hole
It had been a scorcher of a day, and we were all feeling the effects of the heat, so we headed back to camp for sundowner drinks and snacks in the pool 🙂 We were even lucky enough to see an elephant, and a hyena, come down to the camp watering hole whilst we were relaxing with drinks in the pool.
Not a bad way at all to essentially end our stay at Nehimba 🙂
The following day, after checking out some local wildlife hanging out at the camp watering hole (buffalo and impala), and a final yummy breakfast, Forest transferred us back to Main Camp for our pick-up from The Hide staff, and there ended our Nehimba experience, and saw the start of our experience at The Hide.
Peace and love xo