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“Still a good place to stay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hwange Main Camp

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Hwange Main Camp
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Main Entrance, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe   |  
Hotel amenities
Esigodini, Zimbabwe
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Still a good place to stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

Staying in a Zimbabwe National Park has always been basic but perfectly adequate and comfortable. Staying at Main Camp last weekend (10-12 Nov 12) proved an interesting experience for judging the state of the camp. We checked into the camp, unpacked and then discovered a large window was broken. Reporting this, they immediately moved us into a vacant lodge. The point here is that the lodge we were originally due to stay in has clearly been renovated and upgraded. The furniture was new, the cooker much more modern and there was a proper kettle. It was a 4 man lodge and had both a bathroom and shower. This is Lodge L for anyone interested. We were moved to Lodges J1 and 2, two 2-man lodges which can be joined together. This left us with older furniture, an older cooker (oven didn't work in one end) and no kettle but really it did not make any difference! Please check my comments on other accommodation at the end.

Self catering is something of a challenge, more because the kitchen is fairly small than anything else. The fridge is fine and the hotplates were certainly hot and even heating water didn't take too long. Bring your own food if possible because the little store, whilst stocking basics, does not have (much if any) fresh food (it also has drinks and toiletries) and is also very expensive. We brought food for our first night and also rolls, cold meat, chips/crisps, biscuits and fruit to make picnic lunches (and mealie meal to make porridge for breakfast which may not be to everyone's liking!) and ate our remaining evening meal at the restaurant.

The restaurant is a little smarter than it was 15 months ago when I was last there. Service is not quick. I suggest you order a meal in advance and give a time of arrival if you can. The menu is reasonable. Not surprisingly it is relatively expensive unless you eat the traditional meal which I highly recommend by the way, not only for being cheap but tasty and filling too. There is a more snack menu for lunch if you wish but I didn't test it. Attached is a bar and TV area (now with satellite). Fuel is also available again at the camp but I imagine it is not cheap!

A few more quick notes on the lodge : the hot water is heated by log fire boilers in the afternoon/evening and was very hot. I found the beds very comfortable and there are mosquito nets and an overhead fan.

There is an attendant who will wash up, make beds, sweep etc and I have always found these national parks workers friendly and efficient though you may need to understand that they service several lodges not just your own!

I also add in that you can have cheaper accommodation at main camp in chalets or cottages (or indeed camping). These again are comfortable and clean but ahve more basic equipment than lodges, perhaps lacking crockery for example and in the case of cottages you have to use a communal fridge and cooker.

Overall, I well recommend a stay here.

Room Tip: If you are a party of 3 or 4 ask for Lodge L which I know has been upgraded. Some others may have be...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
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English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
20 reviews 20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2012

I'd heard a fair bit about Hwange National Park and was keen to check it out, so it was a stop on my recent trip to Zimbabwe. We decided to stop at the Main Camp rather than one of the lodges in the area, and that decision proved sound.

You don't come to Hwange for the accommodation, of course. But it was perfectly adequate for what we wanted and all the facilities were on hand. The unit was a good size although missing a couple of things perhaps - a kettle and a shower would have been nice rather than pots on the stove and a bath only. Still, small gripes and nothing that impacted on our stay.

If you've come to see the animals - and why else would you be here - you'll see plenty. From impala wandering through the grounds to the ever-present baboons, who have to be guarded against (remember to lock the door at all times), there was always some sort of activity in the grounds. Outside the fence you could see almost everything in a few minutes.

We took advantage of a game drive (of course) but our timing meant it had to be a dawn rather than afternoon one. Still, we saw a lot even if it was freezing until the sun came up (warning here: this was in June and it was about -1 when we went out, and that's cold in the back of one of those jeeps. You will need warm gear in winter). But the rewards came as we went through the bush and then at one of the water holes, where there was plenty to see and the animals were not stressed by crowds; there was only us and Henry, the guide, and we were ignored by the wildlife.

The camp also includes a nice restaurant and bar, which offered a good menu. The fire was pleasant at night - it was cold outside - and there's also a TV area. The staff were friendly and helpful without ever being in-your-face or trying to press ever more trips and attractions upon us. Even if, as a foreigner, I pay a premium on the rate I consider the money well worth spending as the park is really quite something and, at $80 for the night (for two, and my partner is a Zimbabwean and therefore gets a discounted rate) it's hardly going to break the bank. In a country where things are tough, spending a few bucks to preserve something like this park is only right.

Access is fine to the camp - sealed road all the way - but beyond that 4WD or a charter is the only way to get around. The guided tour was inexpensive and a memorable experience; Henry saw and pointed out a great deal that we might have missed in the bush and long grass.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Hwange; the only disappointment was that few other tourists were there. Perhaps it's a hidden gem but, if you're in Zimbabwe, one well worth checking out.

Room Tip: They're all pretty much the same and nicely spread out. Always remember the baboons - they could...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ghent, Belgium
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2011

We stayed here 2 nights while visiting the Hwange National Park.
The lodge had a small kitchen with most equipment available, a somewhat oldfashioned bathroom and a double bedroom. Unfortunetaly the bathroom had only a bath and no shower.
There was a private braai available for our lodge and firewood was available.
Main camp also has a restaurant and a small shop for groceries.

If you want to go view the wildlife early in the morning or late in the evening, camp in the park itself because the gates at the main camp are only open from 6am till 6pm.

Overall we had a decent stay here.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hwange Main Camp

Address: Main Entrance, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Location: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Hwange National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Hwange National Park
Number of rooms: 21

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