About 100km south of Victoria Falls is Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's premier wildlife destination and largest national park. Hwange, originally proclaimed in 1928 as Wankie National Park, is renowned for its elephants and is the best place to try to see lions in the wild in the greater Victoria Falls area.
The 14 651sq.km park has more than 20 000 elephants and large populations of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, sable and impala.
Hwange has one of Africa's four viable wild dog populations and has reasonable numbers of the endangered brown hyaena and the rare gemsbok.
The park is made up of two main landscape types - the basaltic northern region, which is mostly mopane woodland with strips of riverine bush and lots of baobabs, and the Kalahari sands flatlands which cover two-thirds of the park's surface.
The flat-lands are mixed woodland and grassland savanna with the dominant trees being Zambezi teak, bloodwood, northern ilala palm and ordeal tree. According to Victoria Falls author Ian Michler, the best game viewing is in the private concessions of Linkwasha and Makololo in southern Hwange. However, within the reserve and closer to Victoria Falls, there is good game viewing around Shimba and Mandavu Dam. The Zimbabwe Parks Authority runs three public camp sites - Robins Camp, Main Camp and Sinamatella, which are all in the far north of Hwange.
Most operators can organise guided tours. For self-drive tourists, 4x4 are essential as the roads are very rough.Brett Hilton-Barber and Lee R. Berger. Copyright © 2010 Prime Origins.