Gonarezhou National Park is a lowveldt region of baobabs, scrublands and sandstone cliffs. It forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
Gonarezhou National Park
Gonarezhou National Park is situated in the south eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe
and covers an area in excess of 5 000 square kilometres. It consists mainly open
grasslands and dense woodlands. The park is divided into the Chipinda Pools in
the north and Mabalamata in the South.
It forms a natural migratory triangle with the wildlife population from the
adjoining Kruger National Park.
Safari options in Gonarezhou are still limited, but there are a few new luxury lodges that have opened recently. A camping safari is another alternative.
Gonarezhou means 'Place of many Elephants'. Alternative folklore suggests the
area was named for the herbalists who would stock their medicines in tusks
(known as gona in the Shona language).
The region has 3 main rivers, namely The Save, Runde and Mwenezi. These
sustain the park and a wide variety of wildlife and birdlife. As its name
implies, Gonarezhou is famous for its elephants, and many of the largest-tusked
elephants in the region may be found within the Park. This is despite years of
uncontrolled poaching. Fortunately, poaching is now under control. The Park was
declared a National Park in 1968.
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP)
Gonarezhou National Park is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP),
a massive Pan-African Park that includes South Africa's famed Kruger National
Park and Mozambique's Limpopo National Park. This huge area is set to become one of the finest
'peace parks' in the world and is dedicated to conservation, biodiversity and
the economic development of the surrounding local communities. The vast and
diverse nature of the mega-park will provide world-class eco-tourism to the
visitor and strive to re-establish historical animal migration routes and
fragile regional ecosystems.
The combined Park will include more than 500 species of birds, 147 species of
mammals, at least 116 species of reptiles, 34 species of frogs and 49 species of
Lion, leopard, cheetah (including the rare king cheetah), buffalo, giraffe,
zebra and many species of large antelope are present within the Park. The rare
nyala and smaller suni are two of the highlights of the Park's smaller antelope.
In addition, hundreds of species of birds may be spotted in the Park. Unique
species of aquatic wildlife such as the Zambezi Shark, Freshwater Goby, Black
Bream and the unique turquoise killifish can also be found in the park.
One of the most prominent and enduring natural features of Gonarezhou National
Park is the beautiful Chilojo Cliffs. These magnificent red sandstone cliffs
have been formed through eons of erosion and overlook the scenic Runde River
Gonarezhou experiences mild, dry winters and warm, wet summers (temperatures in
excess of 40 degrees Celcius can occasionally be expected). Mabalauta and
Chipinda areas are open throughout the year. During the rainy season (November-
April), access to certain parts of the Park is restricted and the visitor should
consult with the Park?s offices before undertaking game drives.
Bilharzia is endermic to all lowveld rivers and visitors should take
appropriate precaution. In addition, malaria can be present within the region so
visitors are advised to take prophylactics before, during and after their stay
in the Park.