Wildlife lovers, photographers, younger travelers, families and value-oriented travelers
Game drives, walking safaris and visits to the Ngamo village
It’s no secret that safaris can be expensive, so at Mango Safaris we have spent 21 years seeking out our favorite properties that punch well above their weight in terms of experience, without a hefty price tag. These are the places that give you access to the best wildlife areas and have fantastic guiding – the two elements you really need for a great safari – without any unnecessary frills in camp. Located in the heart of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, Davison’s Camp is the perfect laid-back hideaway for those seeking the rejuvenating tonic of nature away from the noise of modern life.
A Classic Safari Bursting with Life
With open savannah, vast pans, acacia forests and scrub, Hwange is classic bushveld scenery at its best. Sunsets illuminate the sky every night in a melting gradient of coral, blush and dusty blue. During the chilly mornings mist pools in the subtle dips and valleys of the landscape, glowing orange in the early morning light.
The real heart and soul of Hwange is the waterholes though. In this incredible arid land, the park management have made the decision to pump them with water to supply reliable year-round water for the wildlife. The result has been a stable ecosystem where animals thrive, and ecotourism provides employment and other benefits to nearby communities.
These waterholes offer some of the best game viewing opportunities, especially during the drier winter months. Elephants gather in the hundreds, giraffes dip low in their sprawling stoop, zebras kipper to each other and impala tiptoe nervously between them all. You can spend a whole afternoon at the same waterhole just watching the theater of life unfold before you.
Alongside the impressively robust population of elephants and plains game, Hwange is a fabulous destination for predator action. With the open savannah and pans, cheetahs thrive. Lions are also doing very well, with numerous prides ruling the land, including the offspring of the famous Cecil.
Everything You Need and Nothing More
Right in front of Davison’s Camp is the Ngamo Plains, one of the liveliest habitats in Hwange. Wildlife congregates around camp, so the sightings are prolific and memorable. Lions often roam right through camp, and it’s not uncommon for them to make kills in the open pan directly in front of the camp. On top of the main lounge area is a shady deck overlooking the pan and the Davion’s waterhole where you watch the action unfold. With a drink from the bar below and a good book in hand, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon.
With such a beautiful setting and plentiful wildlife by camp, the camp has a simple but comfortable design, so the focus remains on the magic of Hwange. With all the creature comforts and nothing more, Davison’s is a very affordable option that we absolutely love. The national park itself is very close to the iconic Victoria Falls, so accessing the camp on light air transfers is also very budget friendly compared to other regions. For families or younger travelers who have an insatiable wanderlust but need to make their dollars stretch, Davison’s is an ideal safari stop.
The cozy tents have proper shower and flush toilets, electricity overnight and your own little deck for you to enjoy the panoramic views of the bush. The main lounge is an open-air space so even when you’re sitting on soft armchairs with a gin and tonic in hand, you still feel fully immersed into the bush. The staff have struck the perfect balance between welcoming and professional, but without any pretension.
Even though this camp is pared down and relaxed, it delivers big on the safari activities. Venture out into the wilderness with your guide on game drives or walking safaris. With open-air 4x4 vehicles, you can explore the many regions of the park both by day and in the evening. We especially love the time when the sun is setting because you can see the start of the nocturnal wildlife waking up and preparing for their nightly hunting.
Another unique activity that Davison’s offers guests is the chance to visit the nearby Ngamo village. Completely removed from the busy tourism circuits, the village visit has a very open and authentic format, so it never feels voyeuristic. Step into village life for an afternoon with a visit to the school and clinic supported by Davison’s Camp and others in the park. This is also home to a creative project proposed and run by local women whereby they collect empty wine bottles from the camps for free and turn them into beads they can sell to pay their children’s school tuition. A lovely insight to the power of ecotourism for transforming the lives of local communities – we strongly recommend this if you are interested in culture.
Check out our Hidden Gems of Africa itinerary, which starts off with three action-packed nights at Davison’s Camp before stopping at the magnificent Victoria Falls and finally venturing into the heart of the Okavango Delta for three more wildlife-dense nights at Gomoti Plains Camp, another of our Top 20 Favorite Camps.
Wildlife intensive itinerary combining an impressive number of days in the bush with diverse activities
What this itinerary gives up in luxury, it more than makes up for in authentic, high quality experiences that are excellent value
Properties located in prime wildlife areas that include all the comforts you need and nothing extra
Extend your trip with a visit to Cape Town for a splash of culture, fantastic restaurants and stunning coastal scenery