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Gonarezhou

Gonarezhou

Gonarezhou means “place of many elephants’!  It is a jewel of a wilderness area in the south east low veld adjoining the Mozambique border.

It’s been described as “one of Africa’s last remaining secrets” and likely to best suit the seasoned safari traveller who seeks untamed Africa!

Gonarezhou is Zimbabwe’s second largest national park and home to species considered rare such as pangolin, bat eared fox, nyala, suni, roan antelope and cheetah.  Also as many as 448 bird species have been recorded here.  Not only is there huge diversity of wildlife, but due to the small number of visitors every year, the animals interaction remains wonderfully natural and un-habituated.

The Chilojo Cliffs are one of the most prominent features of Gonarezhou and the sandstone cliffs vary in colour throughout the day.  The park is also blessed with a large variety of habitats and topography, providing a perfect pristine wilderness to explore.

 

 

at a glance

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Introduction

Gonarezhou is a remote, underdeveloped wilderness in South-East Zimbabwe which adjoins Mozambique and South Africa. Spanning over 5,000km², this is the second largest park in the country after Hwange. From open pans of tall grasses to dense bush and mopane woodlands, this scenic region is dotted with beautiful mahoganies, tall acacia trees and majestic baobabs. The impressive red sandstone Chilojo Cliffs overlooking the scenic Runde River are bathed in light at dawn and dusk providing unique photographic opportunities. The Save, Runde and Mwenezi rivers cut their course through the park, forming pools, natural oases and wildlife havens, ensuring good game viewing however the central highlight is the ambience of unspoilt wilderness.

In Shona, Gonarezhou means ‘place of elephants’ as 7,000 of the largest tusked elephants reside in the park. With 147 mammals, 166 reptiles and 49 fish species, the area does not fail to deliver a wide breadth of viewing opportunities. Along with a wide range of antelope species, in particular healthy populations of the beautiful yet secretive nyala and the small rare suni, the wildlife are frequently spotted along the riverine regions and close to springs and recurrent pools. The park is also home to lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, buffalo and zebra. The region is also famous for the endangered wild dog along with extensive marine life in rivers and pools including the Zambezi Shark, turquoise killfish and black bream. The main highlight however is the wide variety of aquatic birdlife. With the biggest variety of birds in Zimbabwe, over 400 species inhabit the park, with specials ranging from African finfoot to Pel’s fishing owl. Chindhlambai and Tembahata pans are renowned for exceptional birding especially during the wet season when thousands of migratory birds arrive.

A further highlight of Gonarezhou is the daytime and full moon walking trails which enable visitors to experience the African wilderness in addition to 4WD game viewing. The 600 meter wide Chibilia Falls on the Runde River are worth seeing as is the Duguvi Falls on the Pambazi River during the rainy season.

When To Visit

The park is usually open from April to October during the dry season, with peak months being May to August.

November to March – The rainy summer season brings rain once in every 5 days. Greenery is lush and wild flowers begin to emerge, however this can make wildlife viewing difficult. The abundant food supply attracts thousands of migratory birds. Temperatures can exceed 40°C, particularly in November, and access to certain parks can be restricted. However, this is the best birding season as birds are in full plumage. The Duguvi Falls are most attractive at this time.

April to August – During the dry winter season temperatures average 23 to 28°C. By late June, leaves fall from the trees, and game viewing is easier as the grasses have been trampled. Birdlife is prolific after the rains in acacia and albida tree regions.

September and October – These hot dry spring months are peak game viewing time. With temperatures averaging 34°C, this is regarded as suicide month, however humidity is low.

Temperature & Rainfall

Climate Chart – Gonarezhou

Gonarezhou Highlights

Chilojo Cliffs

Chilojo Cliffs

Chilojo Cliffs

The magnificent red sandstone Chilojo Cliffs are one of the most prominent natural features of ...

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Chilojo Cliffs

Chilojo Cliffs

The magnificent red sandstone Chilojo Cliffs are one of the most prominent natural features of Gonarezhou National Park and an atmospheric place to enjoy a safari

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Gonarezhou Culture

Gonarezhou Culture

Gonarezhou Culture

The intimate working relationship between the lodge and the local Shangaan community makes a visit ...

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Gonarezhou Culture

Gonarezhou Culture

The intimate working relationship between the lodge and the local Shangaan community makes a visit to Mahenye Village a rewarding and educational experience.

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Walking Safari

Walking Safari

Walking Safari

For those with a penchant for something a bit more active, the 3km walking trail from the lodge to ...

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Walking Safari

Walking Safari

For those with a penchant for something a bit more active, the 3km walking trail from the lodge to the beautiful Chivilia Falls is a great way to start or end your day. Trekking through a rugged landscape will lead you to a viewpoint overlooking the falls.

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Save River

Save River

Save River

Three major rivers including the Save cut through the park forming pools where unique species of ...

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Save River

Save River

Three major rivers including the Save cut through the park forming pools where unique species of aquatic wildlife such as the Zambezi(bull) shark and turquoise Killifish can be found.

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Elephant Herds

Elephant Herds

Elephant Herds

Gonarezhou means “place of many elephants” and their presence is everywhere - families travel ...

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Elephant Herds

Elephant Herds

Gonarezhou means “place of many elephants” and their presence is everywhere – families travel along routes passed from one matriarch to another in search of food, safety, and water.

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Conservation

Conservation

Conservation

Chilo Gorge Lodge also has impeccable conservation and environmental credentials which is evident ...

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Conservation

Conservation

Chilo Gorge Lodge also has impeccable conservation and environmental credentials which is evident in the approach taken by its guides. Chilo’s founder, Clive Stockil was awarded Tusk Trust’s first Price William Award for Conservation in Africa.

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camps & lodges

Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is located on a gorge overlooking the Save River and Gonarezhou National Park.  Gonarezhou is located in Zimbabwe’s ... Read More

Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana Lodge

Singita Pamushana exudes an air of complete tranquility and calm, with a bold design incorporating the majestic scale of the terrain. The lodge ... Read More