Camelthorn Lodge is the newest addition to the Hwange National Park, located at the edge of the park and the Tsholotsho community concession in a refreshingly shady grove of acacia trees. The main stone-built thatched lodge is built in an open ‘U’ around the lodge’s splendid namesake Camelthorn tree. One side is an enclosed dining and sitting room with three fireplaces creating a warm and welcoming haven from the chilly summer nights.
The middle of the building is a dedicated reception area, whilst the other side has an open-fronted bar and lounge on a raised teak deck. Around the Camelthorn tree lies an open patio area where leisurely brunches and candlelit dinners are enjoyed on warm evenings. There is also a small plunge pool to cool off in.
The villas each have a double height ceiling, fireplace, fan, large glass sliding doors, minibar, lounge and en suite complete with shower, bath and double vanities. A unique feature of each room is an outdoor balcony which is accessed via a spiral stairway and provides an outdoor deck with hammocks ideal for a siesta, private dining or a night ‘under the stars’.
Less than a kilometre away from the lodge and inside Hwange National Park, we have built an underground hide in front of a beautifully located waterhole – elephants can be photographed from toe level silhouetted against the sky at a distance of 25 feet. Such close proximity to Hwange’s giants is truly breathtaking!
Our friendly and knowledgeable guides will take you on walks or drives inside this truly wild and remote region of Hwange National Park, famous for its giants, the elephants, as well as a plethora of different wildlife
Other activities include all-day‘ pump runs’, night drives and school and village visits. In-house spa treatments are available at an additional charge – prices and treatment options available on request
- 1 hour small plane charter from Victoria Falls or Bulawayo
- 4 hour road transfer from Victoria Falls or Bulawayo
- 2 hour road transfer from Victoria Falls to Dete and then a 2.5 hour rail car transfer from Dete Railway Station.
- Ceiling fans
- Fire place
- Stocked minibar facility
- Coffee and tea tray
- Hair dryer
- Mosquito net and repellent
- Emergency whistles
- Electronic safes
- Mobile LED lamp
- Free daily laundry (weather dependent)
Game drives at Camelthorn are structured to fit you, and are conducted by licensed guides in our specialised land rovers that seat 6 guests in 3 rows. There are storage units between the seats in which to store your cameras, bird books and other valuables during game drives. On your morning game drive breaks you will be served tea, coffee and biscuits and in the afternoons, cool drinks and cooked snacks are served at sunset in front of a waterhole.
At Camelthorn we love walking safaris and our experienced fully licensed armed guides conduct our game walks across the magnificent Ngamo Plains as well as deep within the fascinating and diverse woodlands that surround them. The perspective on foot changes dramatically, from close ups of Hwange’s famous elephant, to eye-to-eye with small reed frogs – these game walks will provide memories for a lifetime!
Whether conducted after returning from a sunset game drive, or after dinner when the lions are calling, a night drive using red filtered spot lights opens up a whole new world populated with species seldom seen in the daylight such as zorillas, selous mongoose and lesser bush babies and of course the thrill of driving at night amongst hunting predators is always a highlight.
All day drives and pump runs
Hwange National Park has no major rivers and for the past 70 years during Hwange's dry seasons wildlife has subsisted here on water originally pumped by windmills, but which were later replaced by diesel engines. In the southern sector of the Park, Imvelo Safari Lodges shoulders the responsibility for 15 pumped waterholes. This means Imvelo is looking after approximately 20- 25% of the waterholes that sustain Hwange's wildlife – a huge commitment of which we are truly proud!
The engines require diesel, oil and monthly services and the pump attendants who operate them require rations and pay. A popular activity is to take an all day trip into the Park visiting the waterholes to drop off fuel and oil for the motors as well as rations and supplies for the pump attendants. A picnic lunch is then enjoyed near one of the waterholes followed by a leisurely game drive back to the lodge in the afternoon. Our Pump run usually ends with sundowners at one of the waterholes close to camp. Please note this activity only happens in the dry season when the water is pumped (usually between June – October). In the green season an all-day game drive can be enjoyed roaming across a huge section of the park stopping for a picnic lunch and siesta under a cool tree near a lily-covered pan.
The Look up Game Viewing Hide
When we built Camelthorn Lodge deep in a patch of woodland, we didn't want to attract large numbers of tree hungry elephant, so we couldn't have a big waterhole in front of our new flagship lodge. But we still wanted a very special wildlife experience for our guests. About a kilometre (five minutes’ drive) from Camelthorn we installed our elephant-proof hide at toe level and within splashing distance of the grey giants that drink here. It boasts a flush toilet and water on both the sunrise and sunset sides. Strategically positioned in the shade of a Leadwood tree and disguised as an antheap, the sheer thrill of sitting in our blind in safety and comfort close enough to elephant to count the cracks on their toe nails has surpassed every one of our expectations.
Village visits and school tours
Camelthorn is built on communal land and royalties and concession fees from bed night revenues are paid directly to the local community. These funds are used for community development, usually of schools and domestic water supplies. On visits to these local communities, Camelthorn guests are always afforded an especially warm welcome. Guests have the opportunity to enjoy an authentic look at village life in rural Matabeleland. A fascinating experience of a variety of typical daily village activities is followed by a tour of one of the nearby schools, conducted by the Headmaster, where guests are welcomed with traditional songs sung by the children and then are encouraged by the teachers to participate in a class interaction with the children. This activity gives the school children a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with people from all over the world who have come to see the wildlife amongst which they live.
Not available during school holidays
Visit our Rhino sanctuary
2 white rhino bulls are being homed on our first mini sanctuary with a longer-term vision to link more mini conservancies together as more rhino are re-introduced to create a larger conservancy that then creates a self-sustaining viable wildlife conservancy on community land.
Guests staying at Bomani and Camelthorn potentially have the opportunity to now see the big 5 with this re-introduction of rhino which in a momentous achievement for Hwange and for our future guests coming on safari!
Tour of the sanctuary headquarters - Join the Cobras Community Wildlife Protection Unit for a display of their prowess on the parade ground, challenging physical fitness routine and a demonstration of their shooting skills. Hear a short talk describing the origins and ideas behind the formation of the Cobras unit, and recent developments which will enhance the security of the rhino.
Walking tour with the Cobras to view and spend time with the rhino – lots of time for photo opportunities and quality time to watch and enjoy the 2-white rhino in their new habitat.
*Price not included in all inclusive rate, please enquire with reservations on costs to visit the sanctuary.