Going on safari in Zimbabwe during the Green Season (November thru April) means fewer tourists , incredible deals, dramatic lush landscapes...and of course, wildlife! Sure it might rain a little, but the bursts of rain are welcome - providing a break from the heat and settling the dust. On this handcrafted itinerary, you will have the chance to experience world-class game viewing by vehicle, on foot and even by canoe within iconic Hwange National Park. Observe the fascinating wildlife in their natural habitat, embrace the thrill of up-close encounters, learn about the unique local culture and conservation efforts, and bask in the luxuries of your memorable safari lodges. What are you waiting for?
You'll be met by an Imvelo Safari Lodges representative at VFA or at your Victoria Falls accommodation and then depart for your transfer Nehimba Lodge in northern Hwange. The first 2.5hrs is on a tarmac road to the northern Mbala gate of Hwange. From here, you'll board Imvelo's game viewing vehicles for a 2.5hr game drive exploring the scenic hills, kopjes and dams of northern Hwange, arriving at Nehimba Lodge in the late afternoon (As an alternative to a road transfer, contact us for charter flight rates from VFA to Nehimba's Giraffe Springs airstrip).
*Please note park fees are not included
After freshening up at the lodge, toast another magnificent day in Hwange with sundowners on the Nehimba deck, watching the sunset over the lodge waterhole as the herds of elephants and other game arrives for their own sundowner drink. A 3-course dinner under the stars follows, surrounded by elephant drinking from the pool just steps away from the dinner table!
After breakfast, we’ll depart for the morning exploring the Nehimba concession and the beautiful northern part of Hwange National Park. As you’ll see, the north is distinctly different from the southern part both in topography, habitats and species of wildlife. Nehimba is situated right on the edge of the mopane woodlands of northern Hwange and the Kalahari sandveld of the west, and so offers the full spectrum and diversity of fauna that Hwange has to offer. The elephant hunting lions of this area are famous. The area is well watered so is host to large numbers of animals throughout the year. We’ll return to the lodge for a leisurely lunch and then afternoon siesta or perhaps enjoy a refreshing swim in the lodge swimming pool.
Late in the afternoon, we’ll depart for a sundowner game drive ending at the famed “Nehimba seeps,” a specially designated conservation area and one of the only year-round, naturally occurring water sources in the massive Hwange National Park. The seep is an ancient source of surface water that was once used by the San Bushmen. Today the area is frequented by elephant, who can be found digging for minerals as well as enjoying the water. It is a magical place, often referred to as an “Elephant Cathedral.” The sunset photography opportunities with elephants is second to none in this unique and peaceful spot.
Back at the lodge, enjoy dinner and drinks around the lodge campfire watching the elephants slurp from the waterhole just steps away.
Enjoy an early morning tea or coffee on your private deck followed by a hearty breakfast in the main lodge. After breakfast, board a game viewing vehicle for a morning game drive exploring the dams (lakes) of Northern Hwange, ending at Mandavu Dam for a picnic lunch. Mandavu Dam is situated in a scenic hilly spot only 15-kilometres from Sinamatella Camp and is a wonderful location for both bird watching and game viewing, including many crocodiles and large pods of hippo!
Return to the lodge in the late afternoon, stopping for sundowners on the Nehimba concession, followed by a night drive back to the lodge. Filtered spotlights are used to pick out the various nocturnal species that can be found such as hyena, porcupines, civets, genet cats, and if you're lucky, perhaps even a leopard on hunt!
Early risers will depart for a sunrise morning game drive and walk, exploring the area around Nehimba Lodge.
After breakfast back at the lodge, embark on a 2-3hr game drive exploring the northeastern part of Hwange National Park before reaching Dete Railway Station just outside Hwange’s Main Gate. From Dete, we’ll board Imvelo’s one of a kind game viewing train, the Elephant Express, for the 2.5hr trip down the eastern border of Hwange National Park to Imvelo's Bomani Tented Lodge and Camelthorn Lodge located in the southeast corner of the park.
Southern Hwange is famous for the Ngamo plains, the largest savannah grasslands in the park, fringed with Acacia and Leadwood trees. Here this mix of open grasslands and woodlands provides the perfect mosaic of habitats for the full spectrum of plains game resident in Hwange including wildebeest, buffalo, kudu, waterbuck and sable. Predators are regularly spotted, especially lion, jackal and cheetah. Leopards and wild dog also known to frequent the area.
We'll arrive at Ngamo siding in the late afternoon, depart the Elephant Express and board 4 x 4 game drive vehicles for an afternoon game drive and sundowners. Following a beautiful Zimbabwe sunset, we'll night drive back to the lodge looking for nocturnal wildlife just starting their "day." Enjoy a delectable 3-course dinner out under the stars followed by coffee or a night cap around the campfire.
Note the Elephant Express will not operate between January 15 and March 14, 2022. During these dates, a full day game drive across Hwange will be offered, with a stop for a picnic lunch and a siesta around a waterhole enroute.
For the next three days, you'll have the opportunity to experience world-class game viewing by vehicle, on foot and even by canoe! With your guide, you'll plan your itinerary each day - there is no set safari schedule here! You'll also have an opportunity to visit our neighbors in the nearby communities and experience the incredible hospitality and warm Zimbabwean welcome of our friends and neighbors!
This morning (or afternoon), you'll head to the Imvelo Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary where you'll meet our new white rhino bulls, Thuza and Kusasa, as well as the Cobra Rangers guarding them 24/7. Start with a behind the scenes tour of the Cobras basecamp, where you'll learn more about their work along with Imvelo's many other community and conservation programs. One of the Cobras will give a short talk describing the origins and ideas behind the formation of the Cobras unit and how they protect the rhino. as well as the future plans for our ground-breaking Community Rhino Conservation Initiative.
Then, you'll head off on foot or by vehicle with the Cobras to meet Thuza and Kusasa! There will be lots of photo opportunities and quality time to watch and enjoy our white rhino in their new home on the Ngamo plains! Note: how close one will be able to get to the rhino is subject to conditions on the ground
As a part of their stay, each guest at Bomani and Camelthorn Lodges, pays a $100 community and rhino conservation levy to visit the rhino. 100% of these funds goes into the rhino sanctuary along with community projects in the nearby villages. More information on the Community Rhino Conservation Initiative here.
Imvelo Safari Lodges is deeply committed to bringing together local rural communities and our safari guests, for their mutual benefit. Twenty minutes’ drive from the lodge our guests have the opportunity to enjoy an actual and un-orchestrated look at village life in rural Matabeleland.
This morning sees an early start with breakfast in the dining room before heading to nearby Ngunyana Village. Here you will walk from the village to nearby Ngamo School with the school children on their morning journey to school. Once you arrive at the school you will have the opportunity for some interactions and singing with the students before heading to Ngamo Village for an un-choreographed visit where you will see some of Imvelo's community initiatives firsthand, including a meeting with the headman of the village. On your visit to the village you will be able to gain insight into the day to day life of a rural Zimbabwean including information on thatching roofs, tilling fields, milling maize and weaving baskets.
Note that school visits are not possible in April, August and December through mid January during school holidays.
Per National Park regulation, vehicles must stay on the roads so we often combine a game drive with a spontaneous walking safaris to explore more terrain off the roads. Walking safaris are usually undertaken in the mornings or late afternoons and are conducted by a fully licensed and highly experienced armed Zimbabwean professional guide. In this remote and wild area, every walk provides fascinating insights into Hwange’s circle of life; watch Hwange’s elephants shake acacia trees to loosen and then eat the pods while on a smaller scale dung beetles roll up the elephant dung containing acacia seeds into balls. Dung beetles bury these balls and the acacia seed is now ready to germinate and grow into a new tree!
Just before sunset, we’ll stop at a watering hole to watch the sun sink beneath the horizon before heading back to the lodge to freshen up for your delicious dinner under the brilliant stars, the Milky Way and the Southern Cross.
Continue to explore the abundant wildlife of the Ngamo plains with your guide, both by vehicle, on foot and now by canoe! Watch the video below for more information on Imvelo's new green season experiential activity - canoeing from the Bomani concession!
Enjoy one last Hwange sunrise with tea or coffee on your private deck followed by a hearty breakfast in the main lodge. After breakfast, depart for your road transfer or Elephant express and road transfer up to Victoria Falls for your onward travel. We recommend two nights in Victoria Falls to enjoy the beauty of the area and to have any PCR testing that may need to be done for onward travel.
Nehimba is located in a large private concession in the game-rich northern region of the Hwange National Park. The nine spacious cabins on raised teak decks are thatched for coolness in the hotter months. All rooms overlook the lodge waterhole which is used by wildlife throughout the day in the dry season. The camp is fully solar powered and all rooms have an en-suite bathroom with an outdoor shower option. The open-fronted main lodge overlooks the best pool in Hwange as the elephants that drink at it will demonstrate - dining with elephants is our signature Nehimba experience! Activities include game drives, full-day excursions, night drives, and walks to better experience the signs, sounds and scents of the wilderness with your experienced guide.
In southeast Hwange National Park, teak woodlands open into the grasslands of the Ngamo Plains - frequented by herds of grazing herbivores and the predators which hunt them. Bomani Tented Lodge, on a private concession bordering the Park, was sited to maximize this iconic safari experience. Our Saddlebill tents on raised decks are combined with our Spurwing tents on ground level, complemented by the exclusive Sable Suite and the convenient Thatched Bungalow. The main lodge includes dining, lounge and bar areas with a pool deck overlooking the waterhole. Guests join their guide at the fireside at dawn for coffee before an early activity, and then again for drinks before dinner, where tales of Africa will hold them spellbound. Activities include game drives, night drives, walks, waterhole watches in our sunken hide, visiting the community for a glimpse of village life today, and of course, meeting the stars of our award-winning rhino sanctuary program.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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