Hwange National Park is a protected area in Matabeleland North
Province of Zimbabwe. It was dedicated as a national park in 1961 from a Game
reserve that was formed here earlier in 1928. Hwange National Park is a protected bio reserve that covers a total area of 14,651 km².
It is one of the largest such areas in the country. Hwange National
Park is inhabited by numerous herds of antelopes, elephants, giraffes, rhinos,
hyenas and many other inhabitants. Hunting in the protected bio reserve is
strictly prohibited although there is always a threat of poaching by the
local population that try to make ends meet. Elephants are particularly
threatened as their ivory is still valued for its esthetic appearance. In
addition to large mammals Hwange National Park is inhabited by dozens of
species of reptiles and over 400 species of birds. Hwange National Park contains several
campsites on its territory reserved for the tourists who want to
spend a night here.
The park houses 105 species of
mammals, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores.
All Zimbabwean protected species can be found in Hwange, and it is
the only protected area where there are African antelopes and brown
hyenas in reasonable numbers. The population of African wild dogs in
Hwange is believed to be one of the largest groups in Africa today .
The elephants have been hugely successful in Hwange and the
population far exceeded what the area can maintain. Lately there
have been several consecutive years of drought, so the population of
elephants has put a lot of pressure on park resources.