Our Theory on Zimbabwe

by | June 27, 2024

Hwange National Park, the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, is famous for its large elephant herds and abundant wildlife, including lions, giraffes, and numerous bird species. The park offers a unique safari experience with its vast open savannas and thriving ecosystems. The park, named after a local Nhanzwa chief, was once the royal hunting ground for the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi before it was designated as a protected National Park in 1929. A very special thank you to African Bush Camps for hosting us at Somalisa Acacia!

Somalisa Acacia, located in the heart of Hwange National Park, offers a luxurious and intimate safari experience. The camp is renowned for its elegant tented accommodations that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, providing stunning views of the African bush. Tucked away under the dappled shade of an Acacia grove, along the edge of an ancient seasonal floodplain, the camp’s waterhole attracts elephants and other animals throughout the day. With personalized service and expertly-guided game drives, Somalisa Acacia promises an unforgettable adventure in one of Africa’s premier wildlife destinations.

African Bush Camps takes conservation to heart. A full solar power farm and water purity system allow the camp to recycle 80% water used, Somalisa Camp leads the way in eco-friendly safari accommodation. It has been awarded the first GOLD Green Tourism Certification in Zimbabwe.

Getting Here

The easiest and quickest way to reach Hwange National Park and Somalisa Acacia is by bush plane. You will fly into Victoria Falls International Airport where you will meet your bush pilot. These small planes (ours seated just us and the pilot) are why you need soft-sided luggage and why luggage weight limits are strictly adhered to while traveling within Africa. After a roughly 45 minute flight, you will touch down at Manga airstrip where you will be met by one of the staff at Somalisa. Then its off on your first bush drive as you make your way to camp!

Accommodations

Somalisa Acacia features luxurious, tented suites that offer a perfect blend of comfort and wilderness. Each suite is elegantly furnished in a style infused by natural woods and organic features of the bush. The swoon-worthy bathroom, deserving of special mention, boasts both indoor and outdoor showers and copper slipper-style bathtub offering endless views across the vast plains beyond. Private viewing decks at each tent provide breathtaking views of the surrounding bush. The camp’s design ensures an intimate connection with nature while maintaining a high level of luxury and privacy for guests.

Our tent was perfectly placed directly overlooking the waterhole. This provided for excellent wildlife viewing during the day from at our private deck, while at night, the area really came alive. Hearing the sounds of the waterhole visitors like elephants, lions, hyenas and more in the pitch black night was a truly unique and somewhat unsettling experience. When in the bush!

Dining

Each morning, camp staff brought freshly brewed coffee to our tent. Bless them…those early morning wake-ups were made all the more pleasant with a hot cup of coffee! Meals at Somalisa are a delight at every opportunity. Breakfast is served buffet style around the boma with more choices than one would expect in the bush. Some items were offered daily and other were rotated through the day so there was plenty of variety. Lunch was varied and on one day, we were lucky enough to experience a bush lunch which was magical. A table was set underneath a sprawling tree and we we treated to barbecue, bubbly and the tastiest desserts. Dinners were different each night and the staff was wonderful about dietary preferences…I’m a picky eater and they were graciously accommodating.

Opportunities to indulge aren’t just limited to camp! Bush coffee breaks are a welcome point to relax during morning bush drives, offering a chance to enjoy freshly brewed coffee with sweet and savory treats amidst the tranquility of the African wilderness. In the evenings, an absolute must is the quintessential African tradition of sundowners, where you’ll savor drinks while watching the sun set over the stunning Hwange landscape. Both experiences provide unique opportunities to connect with nature and enhance the overall safari adventure.

The Wildlife

Wildlife sightings are never guaranteed…they’re wild animals after all! However, for us, we had the very best sightings of any camp in Hwange. From our very first drive from the airstrip until we said goodbye to Somalisa, we were treated to sightings of zebra, lions, hyena, wild dog, kudu, elephants, cheetah and so many more. It’s thrilling and humbling all at the same time to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat, protected from the encroachment of civilization with no cages in sight.

Our guide, Godwin, was an absolute gem and his passion for guiding truly shines. While some of the animals were easily spotted, others you would never have seen without the help of an expert tracker. This was especially true of the cheetah which we would have never seem without him. I can confidently say that if you have Godwin as your guide, you are truly lucky!

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