Camelthorn offers a unique activity in which guests join guides on a “Pump Run”! Hwange National Park has no major rivers and for the past 70 years during Hwange’s dry seasons wildlife here has subsisted first on water pumped by windmills and later by diesel engines. In its heyday Hwange ran nearly 60 diesel engine driven pumps that still support nearly 40,000 elephant as well as most of Hwange’s other wildlife from May to November. In the southern portion of the Park Imvelo Safari Lodges shoulders responsibility for 8 pumped waterholes. The engines require diesel and oils and monthly services and the Pump Attendants who operate them require rations and pay.
A typical pump run starts in the morning at around 7 am when we hitch a trailer behind one of the land cruiser game viewing vehicles and load it with diesel drums, rations etc We also load up a picnic lunch and camp chairs and table. We then drive through the park game viewing from waterhole to waterhole and dropping off diesel etc . Depending on the particular schedule and time of month, engines will also be serviced and pump attendants issued with rations etc. Guests can either get involved in helping with the chores or take pictures of the wildlife around the waterholes. Around lunch time we reach the last waterhole for that particular pump run, usually 30 – 60 km into the park. We then stop under a shady tree, set up picnic table and chairs and enjoy a leisurely lunch overlooking one of the waterholes. Usually around lunch time the elephant in particular start coming down to drink and guests often have a short siesta after lunch in the shade.
Around 3 pm we pack up and start our drive back towards our lodge. Again we are travelling from waterhole to waterhole, and guests can enjoy the herds of elephant and other wildlife pouring into the waterholes that they have so recently resupplied. Pump runs usually end with sundowners at one of the waterholes close to camp.