Elephants Crossing The River By Chilo Gorge Tented Camp

Gonarezhou National Park Safaris

Elephants crossing the Runde River

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Abundant wildlife, majestic cliffs and no-one else in sight

If you prefer to have your wildlife sightings to yourself, whilst surrounded by true pristine wilderness, then Gonarezhou National Park is the place to be.

Many places in Africa claim to be its “last true, unspoilt wilderness” but very few can deliver on the promise. Gonarezhou is one that truly can. Found in the remote south-eastern corner of Zimbabwe, on the Mozambique border, a tailor-made Gonarezhou safari holiday is a must for those looking to get way off the beaten track, safe in the knowledge they are sharing the park with just a handful of other visitors, if any at all.

At slightly over 5,000 square km, this is one of Zimbabwe’s larger parks but is home to just three permanent safari operations, meaning your chances of seeing other visitors, other than at mealtimes, are as remote as the park itself. One of the most prominent features of the park is the Runde River which flows through its heart and is overlooked by the towering red rock Cholijo Cliffs which always feature in photographs you will see of the park. A luxury Gonarezhou holiday is often combined with Victoria Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools, and works equally well with visits to the Eastern Highlands and Matobo National Park.

Wildlife is found in abundance and, importantly, is improving month on month as more as more money is invested in restocking the park. Lion, leopard and cheetah are amongst the predators found here and whilst wild dog remain elusive, they are seen from time to time. Huge herds of buffalo roam the plains and elephant are seen daily, especially along the Runde River where they will often be found drinking and wallowing in the shallows. Birders will love Gonarezhou as the river is a magnet for the huge variety of species found here, including African skimmers, Southern Carmine Bee-eaters and Purple-crested Turacos. Accommodation in Gonarezhou is reasonably limited, with two lodges and a camping operation in the park itself and a stunning luxury lodge found nestled in an adjacent private concession. What might be perceived as a lack of choice is actually a huge bonus as visitors can count themselves as one of just a few visitors within the park at any one time – a unique experience that can be enjoyed in so few parts of Africa these days.

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