The program for the Summer of 2018

Hwange (formerly Wankie) is a town in Zimbabwe, located in Hwange District, in Matabeleland North Province, in northwestern Zimbabwe, close to the international borders with Botswana and Zambia. It lies approximately 100 kilometres, by road, southeast of Victoria Falls, the nearest large city. The town lies on the railway line from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, to Victoria Falls.

The town houses the offices of Hwange Town Council, as well as the headquarters of Hwange District Administration. Hwange and the surrounding countryside is a centre for the industry in Zimbabwe. Hwange Colliery is the largest in the country, with proven reserves that are estimated to last over 1,000 years, at current production levels. The Wankie Coal Field, one of the largest in the world, was discovered here in 1895 by the American Scout Frederick Russell Burnham. Today the coal for the whole country is transported by the mining railway to Thomson Junction, where it is handed over to the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) for onward transmission. In 2010, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique signed an agreement to develop a railway for the export of coal to Technobanine Point near Maputo. The cost per tonne of rail transport to the coast amounts to ten times the coast of extraction.

Hwange is also a tourism centre due to the presence of the nearby Hwange National Park, the largest National Park in Zimbabwe. The national park is home to a vast number of elephant, giraffe, lion and other wildlife. Royal Bank Zimbabwe, a commercial bank, maintains a branch in the town.[5] Zimbabwe's biggest power plant, Hwange Thermal Power Station, was built here in the 1980s.

Hwange National Park

Hwange, one of the world's last great Elephant sanctuaries, is the largest national park in Zimbabwe.Covering more than 14,600 square kilometers(5,863 square miles) or 1,460,000 hectares it has more animals and a greater variety of species -107- than any other park in the country, and more than 400 species of birds.

There are two distinct geographic zones, neither are able to support viable agriculture. The flora of the well drained northern area, part of the Zambezi watershed, is dominated by mopane and mixed terminalia, which is distinctly different from the rest.

Elsewhere the Kalahari scrublands, covered with stunted, scattered woodlands of teak and umtshibi trees, drain into Botswana's Makgadikgadi Depression. This habitat is characterised by marshy depressions, vleis and fragile open grasslands on shallow soils.

In the nineteen century this land was the royal hunting reserve of Mzilikazi and his successor Lobengula. But the arrival of the first white hunters and settlers signalled the slaughter of its wildlife by the thousands. As their blood soaked deep into the sparse soils, it left empty, useless wasteland, denuded of wildlife, unfit for farming.

Hwange Climate and Best Game Viewing Months

Winter Months - Mid May, June, July, early August, although the days are warm with beautiful blue skies, the evenings can get extremely cold and temperatures below freezing are not uncommon, so definitely bring warm clothing. It's cold I promise you!

Summer months - September through to May. Hot to extremely hot days and warm evenings.

Rainy season - Generally between late November and April although the occasional rain can occur out of these dates.

August, September, October and early November are by far the best months for game viewing in this park. Water becomes extremely scarce and the animals congregate around the few pumped waterholes. Sitting patiently and quietly at one of these water holes will reward you with very good game viewing.

During the rainy season from late November through to April, a completely different park emerges to that of the dry season. Parched savannahs turn into lush fields with an abundance of grazing. The animals disperse and game viewing becomes limited. It's called the green season and has it's own magic as this is when the park and all the animals rejuvenate themselves, feeding like crazy on the abundance of food. Newly born animals can be seen everywhere and the birdlife is absolutely prolific.