Zimbabwe Profiles Local,Places Exploring Hwange: A Comprehensive Overview of the Zimbabwe Mining Town

Exploring Hwange: A Comprehensive Overview of the Zimbabwe Mining Town

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Hwange, originally known as Wankie, is a town in Zimbabwe located in Hwange District, Matabeleland North Province.

Exploring Hwange: A Comprehensive Overview of the Zimbabwe Mining Town

Exploring Hwange: Picture credit to 123RF

Situated approximately 100 kilometres southeast of Victoria Falls, it lies on the railway line connecting Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. Hwange sits at an elevation of 770 metres above sea level.

Name Origin

The town is named after the chieftain of Zwange, now known as Chief Hwange. It was initially known as Wankie until 1982.

The origin of the name “Hwange” depends on whether you’re referring to the town or the national park:

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Hwange Town:

  • The town was originally named “Wankie” after Chief Nganki (or Wanki), a local leader of the Lozi people.
  • In 1982, the name was changed to “Hwange” to honour Chief Hwange (born as Whanga), the dynastic head of the Abananza people and a descendant of Chief Nganki.
  • Therefore, the current name “Hwange” pays homage to the Lozi and Abananza communities historically inhabiting the area.

Hwange National Park:

  • The park inherits the name from Hwange Town, as it encompasses significant land within the Hwange District.
  • So, its origin aligns with the explanation above, ultimately tracing back to both Chief Nganki and Chief Hwange.

It’s worth noting that there are alternative interpretations of the name’s origin within local oral traditions. Some suggest it derives from the Shona word “hwani,” meaning “lion,” due to the abundance of lions in the region. However, the official recognition rests with honouring the historical chiefs.

Geography and Climate

Hwange is positioned in the southwest of Zimbabwe, between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. Covering over 14,600 square kilometres, Hwange National Park, located nearby, boasts a diverse range of wildlife, including over 107 species and more than 400 bird species.

The region experiences a winter season from mid-May to early August, characterized by cold evenings, while the summer months from September to May bring hot days and warm evenings.

The rainy season typically occurs between late November and April.

Hwange National Park:

  • Location: Northwestern Zimbabwe, bordering Botswana
  • Central coordinates: -19.00° S, 26.50° E
  • Extreme coordinates:
    • Northwest corner: -17°48′ S, 25°15′ E
    • Southeast corner: -19°52′ S, 26°42′ E
  • Area: 14,651 km²

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Hwange Town:

  • Location: Hwange District, Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe
  • Coordinates: -18°32′ S, 26°29′ E
  • Distance:
    • ~100 km northwest of Bulawayo
    • ~100 km southeast of Victoria Falls

Hwange National Park

Exploring Hwange: A Comprehensive Overview of the Zimbabwe Mining Town

Exploring Hwange: picture credit to UAU

Hwange National Park, declared a game reserve in 1928, covers vast areas and is known for its rich biodiversity.

Initially facing a decline in wildlife population, the park underwent rejuvenation efforts led by Ted Davidson, who drilled boreholes to create water pans, attracting animals back to the region.

In recent years, the park faced challenges with an overpopulation of elephants, leading to culling initiatives to maintain ecological balance.

  • Its main features are the vast Kalahari savannah, mopane woodland pockets, abundant wildlife (including the Big Five), seasonal waterholes, and stunning landscapes.
  • Wildlife viewing options: Game drives, guided walks, horseback safaris, and boat cruises on Makgadikgadi Pan.
  • Accommodation options: Luxury lodges, tented camps, camping sites.
  • Best time to visit: Dry season (June-October) for optimal wildlife viewing, but the park offers unique experiences year-round.
  • Getting there: Flights to Victoria Falls or Bulawayo followed by a transfer, self-driving from Bulawayo or Victoria Falls.
  • Activities beyond wildlife viewing: Birdwatching, cultural experiences with local communities, scenic drives.
  • Conservation efforts: Anti-poaching initiatives, habitat restoration, community engagement.

Accommodation at Hwange National Park

The National Parks camp at Main Camp offers lodges, chalets, and camping facilities. Commercial Safari Lodges also provide high-quality accommodation options.

Environmental Concerns

The sustainability of Hwange National Park relies heavily on water management. Artificial water pans, maintained by organizations like “Friends of Hwange” and “Save Hwange,” are crucial in sustaining the park’s diverse ecosystem.

Hwange Coal Mine

Hwange Colliery to increase underground coal production – The Zimbabwe Mail

picture credit to The Zimbabwe Mail

Hwange is home to Hwange Colliery, the largest coal mine in Zimbabwe, with estimated reserves lasting over 1,000 years.

Discovered in 1895, the Wankie Coal Field, located here, is one of the largest globally.

The coal extracted is transported to Thomson Junction via a mining railway, contributing significantly to Zimbabwe’s coal industry.

Hwange Football Club

Hwange Colliery F.C. (formerly Wankie Colliery F.C.) is a football club based in Hwange, playing in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League.

The club has a history of success, winning titles such as the Castle Cup in 1972 and the Zifa Cup in 1991.

Ah, that makes sense! So you’re interested in Hwange FC, the football club based in Hwange Town. Here’s some information for you:



  • One of the oldest football clubs in Zimbabwe
  • Won the Castle Cup in 1972 and 1973, and the Zifa Cup in 1991
  • Experienced relegation and promotion between the top league and second division over the years
  • Most recently promoted to the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League in 2018

Recent performance:

  • As of January 30, 2024, Hwange FC is placed 7th in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League
  • Their current form is decent, with their last five matches resulting in 2 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss
  • They’re known for their passionate fans and attacking style of play

Players and staff:

  • Notable players include goalkeeper Njabulo Ndlovu, defender Erick Chipeta, and midfielder Newman Sianchali
  • The head coach is Sheperd “Shakespeare” Chimwemwe

Where to follow them:

Hwange Town Council Contacts

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For inquiries related to Hwange Town Council, the following contact information is available:

  • Address: No. 4 Sandalwood Crescent, Baobab Hill, Box 140, Hwange, Zimbabwe
  • Telephone:
    • Head Office: (+263 8128) 32460-1
    • Housing Office: (+263 8128) 33157
    • Town Secretary: (+263 8128) 32462
    • Engineering: (+263 8128) 33260
  • Email: info@hwangetown.co.zw


  1. Hwange National Park – Victoria Falls Guide, Published on [Date]
  2. Hwange – Wikipedia, Published on [Date]
  3. Hwange Colliery F.C. – Wikipedia, Published on [Date]
  4. Hwange Town Council Contacts, Accessed on [Date]

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