Hwange National Park
The park is close to the edge of the Kalahari desert, a region with little water and very sparse, xerophile vegetation. The Kalahari woodland is dominated by Zambezi Teak, Sand Camwood (Baphia) and Kalahari bauhinia. Seasonal wetlands form grasslands in this area.
Although it has been argued that elephant populations cause change in vegetation structure, some recent studies suggest that this is not the case, even with the large increases in elephant population recorded in the late 1980s.
The Park hosts over 100 mammal and 400 bird species, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores. All Zimbabwe’s specially protected animals are to be found in Hwange and it is the only protected area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in reasonable numbers.
Grazing herbivores are more common in the Main Camp Wild Area and Linkwasha Concession Area, with mixed feeders more common in the Robins and Sinamatella Wild Areas, which are more heavily wooded.Distribution fluctuates seasonally, with large herbivores concentrating in areas where intensive water pumping is maintained during the dry season.
The population of African wild dogs to be found in Hwange is thought to be of one of the larger surviving groups in Africa today, along with that of Kruger National Park and Selous Game Reserve. Other major predators include the lion, whose distribution and hunting in Hwange is strongly related to the pans and waterholes, leopard, spotted hyena and cheetah.