In the Shona language, the word ‘Gonarezhou’ means ‘place of many elephants’. Certainly, this national park boasts impressive herds of the beautiful animals, some with the largest tusks in the region!
With two other national parks – South Africa’s Kruger and Mozambique’s Limpopo – it is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. This is a peace park, a protected area, and wildlife is able to travel freely among all three safe havens. What makes Gonarezhou an even more attractive proposition is the extreme lack of camps and lodges and therefore human traffic. It is likely that other than the other guests from your lodge you will not see another soul whilst on safari!
Wildlife in Gonarezhou
In addition to elephant, Gonarezhou is home to lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and several antelope species including very good numbers of the secretive and elusive Nyala. The terrain is lowveld, with plenty of baobabs dotted around scrublands and sandstone cliffs, but there are three rivers too – the Mwenezi, Runde and Save. These rivers produce a wealth of waterholes for wildlife, not only mammals but hundreds of types of bird. Aquatic life also thrives here – black bream, freshwater goby, turquoise killifish and even the Zambezi shark, to name just a few!
Gonarezhou’s abundance of wildlife makes the park a brilliant destination for game viewing, walking safaris and fishing. It is also excellent for hiking, with the majestic red sandstone Chilojo Cliffs well worth the trek for breathtaking views over the Runde River valley. Additionally, there are a number of other viewing points – at Guluji and Chamuchanzi, for example.