In the west, the hides at Mandavu, Deteema, Shumba, and Masuma, for example, are all on water, with short fences, camp attendants, and bathroom and kitchen facilities. You also get the chance to camp in the picnic sites or at the selection of hides – some of which are unfenced and unattended. The mystique of overnighting at a hide is quite powerful in Hwange, with The Hide Safari Camp taking this idea to a new level with a luxury safari offering based on the architecture of a hide.
We started our Hwange safari in the west at Sinamatella. Perched on the edge of a koppie overlooking enormous plains, this is the hide and seek of space and distance. To me, this is surely one of the most tremendous views in Africa. We arrived in scorching heat to see the plains below alive with a herd of around 500 buffalo – a murmuration of black spots extending across the grassland in front of us. We later heard that this was merely a splinter herd, with the different groups uniting in a mega herd of more than 1300 of these watchful, snorting beasts.
This rocky terrain, dotted with sharp mopani, hints at why the park was established in the first place. The land has its origins as a wilderness area that was devoid of any permanent water sources. With the coming of the railway, so some of the land became privately owned and farmed. This land was royal hunting ground for the Ndebele king. A trickle of early explorers and hunters; the gentle, transient trails of the San – these people were all this land had seen. The park was set up to conserve dwindling wildlife species through intensive management, involving the establishment of permanent water supplies through the park. →