Winter In Hwange

Article and Images Hannah Rudland

Prior to booking this holiday, I considered a lot of different places around Zimbabwe that would allow for a two night adventure for two. Considering neither of us had been to Hwange, we decided this was the perfect time to scratch it off the bucket list.

I had always seen the most breathtaking pictures of a camp by the name of “Somalisa” in Hwange. We can all admit that when we are looking for holiday locations it’s the referrals or stunning photos on social media that influence the final decision. Even though I was looking into other camps in the area, Somalisa seemed to tick all the boxes. However, there was one major detail that sealed the deal.

I had emailed one camp in Hwange that refused to take local currency, therefore, fingers were crossed that Somalisa would accept a bank transfer. This, for most Zimbabweans, is a major factor in choosing any local camp or hotel. After liaising with a lovely representative from African Bush Camps the decision was made because we could pay local currency for the full stay at Somalisa. What a relief!

We arrived at Manga Airstrip in the late afternoon of Friday where our guide picked us up for a twenty-minute drive to Somalisa Camp. With luck on our side, we managed to see three beautiful cheetahs just before approaching the camp. What a phenomenal welcome!

We were checked in after a short tour of the communal area. Stunning rooms coupled with the very accommodating staff made us feel like we were off to a great start. The sun was lowering over the waterhole directly in front of the camp, with a G&T in hand and an abundance of elephants it was the perfect first sunset in Hwange.

If you want a relaxing sleep in, this is most certainly not a holiday I would recommend. Alarm clock buzzing, we were up at 5am ready for our first game drive. We were only in Hwange for a short period of time so we desperately needed to make the most out of it. The bird life was incredible on our drive. The landscape of golden colored fields of grass was nothing like I had ever experienced before. While we sipped on our morning coffee, we managed to see some kudu, giraffe, zebra, more beautiful elephants, and one lonely jackal.

After the morning snacks and seeing wonderful game, we decided to make our way back to the camp. On the way back our very knowledgeable, young guide spotted some fresh leopard tracks and decided we would follow them. After driving slowly for a few minutes that seemed like forever, we spotted a leopard walking casually on the main dust road.

It was a breath-taking sight! We were in absolute awe. As we drew closer to the leopard, it veered off into the thick bush. Not being more than three meters away, it was shocking how camouflaged the leopard was, almost impossible to notice. By then, it really was time to head back to camp. After having a shower and relaxing for a short while by the main area, we had lunch on the deck with the other guests. Time for the sunset drive was approaching.        

We were joined by another Zimbabwean couple from Bulawayo and a foreign couple for a short game drive to the sunset location. Unfortunately, we did not see any new game but nothing beats an open truck with the dry dust on your skin and the wind in your hair. It was the last magical sunset in Hwange. Overlooking the fields of grass with the sunset reflecting on the waterhole, this was my idea of a perfect ending to our short adventure. Dinner came and shortly after that we shared stories around a campfire and getting to know the other guests. An early yet satisfying evening concluded the day.

We finally had our first sleep in of the trip followed by a swift check out. Soon we were bound for the air strip. With elephants surrounding the right side of the runway and the runway and African Bush Camp staff waving us goodbye to the left, it was a fantastic and heartwarming end to our trip.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top