Verney’s Camp (Machaba)

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Why photographers love Verney’s Machaba

Verney’s Camp is in an extremely remote area othe massive 14 651 square kilometre Hwange National Park and unless you venture off on public roads you will not see vehicles from other camps. This park which extends into the Kalahari is renowned for its elephant herds which come to drink in their hundreds during the dry season. You are unlikely to get better elephant viewing anywhere.

It is owned by Machaba which has won many awards for its simple but luxurious tented camps, fine food, great hospitality.   This flagship camp has an excellent waterhole and is situated in a teak forest within close proximity to some excellent waterholes at Manga 1 and 2. The camp has great staff and the interactive dining experience makes you feel like you are in a home from home.

How we rate Machaba

Elephants starstarstarstarstar
Birding starstarstarstar
Lodge & Dining starstarstarstar
Value for money starstarstarstar
Guides starstarstarstarstar
Landscapes starstarstarstar

Verney’s  at a glance

  • Verney’s has 8 luxury classic tents with en suite bathrooms, on raised decks with great views
  • There are 8 double rooms and 2 family rooms.
  • There are two public areas, one for indoor dining and another library with a fire pit
  • The camp is set in a teak forest and looks onto Verney’s Pan. During our June visit we saw roan, kudu, elephant, giraffe and other game coming to drink. This activity is likely to increase signficantly as the dry season progresses.
  • The camps depend on solar power.

The area

Hwange was founded in 1923 with the first warden being Ted Davidson. Since the 1930s, the herds of elephants here have been sustained through the dry season by artificial waterholes and their numbers in the dry season are now estimated to be 40 000 or more. Verney’s is establishing itself as a drinking area for animals, especially elephant, and game is going to get better and better.

Aside from elephant, kudu, sable antelope, zebra, wildebeest, gemsbok, the rare and endangered roan antelope, buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, hyena and many other wildlife species. The Hwange game viewing experience in the dry season is mostly about waterholes and watching game come to drink.

The camp is in a private concession and in a thick stand of teak forest and most drives are on public roads to Mangwa 1 and 2, Ngwehsla Pan,  Kennedy 1 and Kennedy 2, which are two very well-known waterholes where elephant numbers can reach 800 during the dry season.

Cecil, the lion, which was shot by hunters to the consternation of world conservationists, roamed these parts, and his offspring can still be heard roaring into the night. They are also very good areas for seeing lion.

The seasons

It’s best to visit Hwange when it’s very dry, from June onwards when game and especially elephants concentrates at waterholes. The summer season from January to March is also excellent for birds but there is less activity around waterholes. Ass there are all weather roads, it’s easy to get around in this season and predators are  use the same roads.

Getting there

Manga airstrip is a 30-minute flight from Victoria Falls and a further 40 minute drive to camp.

Photographers need to know

Hwange provides excellent elephants and lions are around as are leopards. You should not expect to see masses of cats however and be focused on the awesome elephants and other special game such as roan. The birding is outstanding.

There is no off-road driving in Hwange and that includes the private concession. Make sure you are able to go on drives with a registered professional guide as this allows you to walk and, within safety constraints, to get ground level shots of elephants.

The good news

Machaba has won awards for its tented camps and also supports the local communities. Visits to schools supported by the camp are on offer.

If you are looking for a great camp and a wilderness experience, Verney’s Camp in Hwange is a wonderful option and can be combined very well with Victoria Falls and Machaba’s other great properties in Zimbabwe such as Deteema Springs  and Deka  as well as Gomoti and Machaba in Botswana.