Gonarezhou National Park is the second largest park in Zimbabwe, covering 5000 sq. km (1900 sq. mi) in the southeast of the country. Gonarezhou lies 519km (322mi) from the major cities of Harare and Bulawayo. Gonarezhou means ‘place of the elephants’, and although it is the country’s least visited park, this is set to change following the creation of a transfrontier park with neighbouring countries and a public-private partnership to oversee its commercial and conservation interests. The range of habitats equates to a massive diversity of species which, along with the jaw-dropping scenery, makes Gonarezhou well worth the effort to visit.

Essential Traveller Information

Given the remoteness of Gonarezhou, self-drive visitors will need to bring all provisions with them. The roads within the park are not well maintained, so 4×4 is essential, as is a good map. Charter flights are available, with transfers to various camps. Given its vast size, visitors should spend a minimum of two nights, although more is recommended. Activities in the park include game drives, walking safaris, birding and canoeing. The landscapes vary from riverine to mopane and acacia woodland – each supporting a great diversity of fauna and flora. Three rivers bring water to the park, with the Chilojo Cliffs along the Runde River being a must-see attraction.

Self-drive visitors will need about 7.5 hours to reach Gonarezhou from either Bulawayo or Harare.  A 4×4 vehicle is essential, as the roads within the park are not well maintained, particularly in the Wet Season (November-April).  Access the north of the park via Chiredzi, and the south via Mwenezi and Chikombezi.  Alternatively, arrange for a transfer into the park from Chiredzi with your tour operator.  There are no scheduled flights to Gonarezhou.  Charter flights can be arranged to Buffalo Range International Airport, from which road transfers to the various lodges are possible.  Africa’ Eden Travel will gladly assist with your travel arrangements.

Like many parks, visits to Gonarezhou vary according to the time of year one is visiting.  The Dry Season (June-October) is regarded as the best for game viewing and weather.  This is also the high season, but given the low visitor numbers generally, it does not really affect the experience.  The vegetation is sparse, making it easier to spot animals and the scarcity of water means water holes are productive for sightings.  There are fewer mosquitoes, and the temperatures are pleasant to cold in the early mornings.  The Wet Season (November-April) is known for lush conditions, young animals and excellent birding.  However, with many roads impassable, some camps close for the season.  Heat, rain and mosquitoes are a challenge.

MAP OF Gonarezhou National Park

Luxury Camps & Safari Lodges