Welcome to my little corner of Africa – Nantwich Lodge in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
My wife and I and some friends have taken the plunge and invested in in the rebuilding and redevelopment of Nantwich, an old Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Service camp that had fallen into disrepair and partly burned down.
This is what we started work with on the site of the old Nantwich Camp in Hwange National Park. This lodge was completely destroyed by fire. It looks a bit better now!
Opening in July, 2019, Nantwich Lodge offers nine luxurious double rooms set on a ridge overlooking a large dam, and a beautiful lounge, bar and dining area. Some rooms have interconnecting doors, making them perfect for families.
Please visit our website for more information on Nantwich Lodge by clicking the logo below:
I’m often asked: “what’s your favourite place in Africa?”
It’s a tricky question and I hedge my bets by saying I have different criteria for ‘favourite’.
But if you really pin me down and I think of the place that has inspired my writing; where I’ve had amazing wildlife experiences; a place with a lovely setting; and where I’ve experienced peace and solitude like nowhere else then I’d have to say Nantwich, in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
Built in the 1960s, Nantwich was a small, self-catering national parks camp located in the north-west corner of Hwange, near the Botswana Border. In the old days it consisted of three two-bedroom lodges set in a ridge overlooking a dam. On the vlei below was a rambling three-bedroom lodge, the privately-owned executive retreat of the Wankie Colliery Company.
I stayed in Nantwich for extended periods (up to a month) while I was writing some of my earlier novels. The first African scene of ‘Safari’ takes place at Nantwich and this general area features in ‘African Sky’ and ‘African Dawn’.
The camp was beautiful, a hidden secret, but its isolation and under-use were its downfall. The camp was closed to the public more than a decade ago and for a while it was used by a big game hunting operation, which hunted in the adjoining Matetsi Safari Area.
When the hunters moved out the camp fell into ruin. Things went from bad to worse when a fire swept through the area and one of the three lodges was burned down.
It would have been lovely to see Nantwich rebuilt and re-opened to the general public, just as it was in its heyday, but with the perilous state of the Zimbabwean economy that was never going to happen.
In 2018 Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Service offered a number of leases throughout Hwange National Park to private safari operators. A friend of mine was lucky enough to secure the lease on Nantwich (he’d asked me for advice and I told him this was the concession to apply for). When the time came to redevelop the lodge my wife and I and some friends took the plunge.
With an eye to minimising our impact on the environment we’ve re-used and re-purposed as much of the existing structures as we could. We even salvaged the old outdoor bathtubs, which have been re-enamelled and placed outside so you can bathe (in safety) under the stars. Nantwich will reopen for business as an intimate, exclusive safari lodge in July 2019