KAZUMA PAN NATIONAL PARK
Kazuma Pan National Park is situated in Zimbabwe’s extreme north-western corner, lying on the Botswana border a short distance north-west of Hwange national park. Some 77,345 acres (313 km²) in area, it provides one of Zimbabwe’s few areas of plains scenery, with good visibility and sparse but important mammal populations.
Flora and Fauna.
Kazuma Pan is virtually unspoilt wilderness with an open landscape of grassy plains which is reminiscent of the great East African plains and is thus dissimilar to the usual Zimbabwean bush or woodland landscapes. Within the Park there are a series of pans, some of which are kept continuously filled by water pumped from boreholes during the dry season. This permanent water source causes large concentrations of wildlife to seasonally migrate between Botswana and Zimbabwe, especially towards the end of the dry season from September through to the first rains of November or December.
Wildlife to be seen in Kazuma Pan National Park include lion, leopard, Southern giraffe, common zebra, gemsbok, roan antelope, sable antelope, tesssebe, common eland and Southern reedbuck. African elephant and Cape buffalo are present in large numbers towards the end of the dry season when water is scarce elsewhere. White rhinoceros can also be frequently seen. A special species to the Kazuma Pan National Park is the Oribi, a small antelope, which is rather rare in Zimbabwe. Cheetah or African wild dog are still present though rare but lions are fairly common.
Much of the park consists of grassland, fringed by mopane and Kalahari sand woodlands. There are a series of seasonally flooded pans in the south-west of the park attracts a wide variety of waterfowl. The pan systems are also ideal habitat to a large variety of water birds, with a number of species including storks, crowned cranes, stilts, cormorants, ducks and kingfishers occurring throughout the area.
Kazuma Pan was proclaimed a National Park in 1949, but was de-proclaimed in 1964 as no development had taken place. It regained its National Park status under the Parks and Wild Life Act (1975). There is no accommodation within the park but camping is allowed at two undeveloped camp sites, with permission from the Department of National Parks and Wild Life Management
Only two groups of visitors can stay in the park at any given time as there are only two camp sites available in the park at Insiza Camp and Kasetsheti Camp. The camp sites each have bush toilets, braai points and water supplies. Each camp site can comfortably take 10 persons. These sites are located in different habitats: Insiza, which overlooks the Kazuma Depression and Kasetsheti, near some natural springs.
Visitors should note that Kazuma is an extremely remote area and visitors must be entirely self-sufficient; only water is available here and adequate provisions for fuel, food supplies and other basics should be provided for. Kazuma Pan National Park is closed to the public in January and February each year due to the wet conditions over this period that make the roads impassable.
HOW TO GET TO KAZUMA NATIONAL PARK
Take the Robins Camp/ Pandamatenga turn-off from the main Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road and proceed for 25 kilometres along this gravel road to the Parks & Wildlife offices in Matetsi where visitors are required to check-in. The journey continues along the Pandamatenga road for a further 39 kilometres to the border post. These roads are gravel and can be rough. As access to Kazuma is along the Zimbabwe/ Botswana border road, visitors are again asked to check-in with the Zimbabwe Republic Police at Pandamatenga. Kazuma Pan National Park is some 25 kilometres further along, north-west of Pandamatenga. Access via Kazungula is strictly prohibited.
Visitors must be entirely self-sufficient as only water is available here and access is only by 4WD vehicles as the roads are rough and sandy in some areas. Access via Kazungula in some areas, though accessing this national park via Kazungula is highly prohibited.