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Gonarezhou National Park

Why visit Gonarezhou National Park?

The name Gonarazhou means 'place of elephants', but it's not just the wildlife that is attractive here, it's the unspoiled wilderness, rugged and beautiful scenery and the lack of mass tourism.
The park is 5000 sq km park of dense bush, open grasslands, spectacular cliffs and giant trees, laced with the winding waters of three rivers Mwenze, Save and Runde.  Gonarezhou was closed to the public for a while but reopened in 1994 and together with the Kruger NP in South Africa and the Limpopo NP in Mozambique, it forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.  It is dedicated to conservation, biodiversity and the economic development of surrounding communities.  
Reasons to visit Gonarezhou NP include:

  • The stunningly beautiful towering red sandstone Chilojo cliffs which overlook the Runde river valley make for stunning photographs.  
  • Wildlife in the park is good. There are plenty of elephants, but do be wary, they have a reputation for being more aggressive than elephants in other areas. Also present are lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo and zebra amongst others. 
  • Gonarazhou is home to the rare nyala antelope and you may also be lucky enough to see king cheetah here. 
  • Birding in the park is good with hundreds of species present.  
  • Aquatic wildlife also thrives in the park with freshwater goby, black bream and the unique turquoise killifish
  • The Save and Runde area in the north is very picturesque with a stark beautiful landscape stretching out before you. 
  • The Mwenzi region in the south is dotted with pools and pans and has good wildlife viewing.
  • Exploring Gonarezhou can invoke a feeling of the pioneers of yesteryear, it seems to remote, wild and totally unspoiled.

When to visit Gonarezhou

The winters in Gonarezhou are mild and dry and the summers are wet and warm, temperatures can reach 40 degrees C.  From November to April, when it’s wet, some parts of the park have restricted access for self-drivers.

How to do it

Gonarezhou’s remoteness is part of the charm, it’s not on the usual northern Zimbabwe safari circuit, but if you are looking for somewhere a little more wild and less visited then this could be the place for you.  It’s easiest to reach the park by light aircraft, although if you have time and you have opted for a self-drive holiday then it’s accessible by road too.

Accommodation in Gonarezhou

Aside from camping and national parks rudimentary chalets the accommodation available is limited. Chilo Gorge and Pamushana, both are upmarket options and are well run.

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Gonarezhou National Park accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT + 2 hours

Flight time:

Flights from UK to Harare or Victoria Falls are usually via Johannesburg and can take 12+ hours, although once the new Victoria Falls airport is fully operational there may be an option of direct flights – watch this space.

Language: English is the official language of Zimbabwe. Shona or Ndebele are also widely spoken by the majority of the population.

Visas:

Visas are required for UK passport holders and can be obtained on entry into Zimbabwe.  

Health:

Malaria is a risk in many areas of Zimbabwe.

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