Gonarezhou National Park is located in the south-east of Zimbabwe and forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park along wiht Kruger National Park in South Africa and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
Samalema Gorge, Gonarezhou National Park
Masasani Mananga, Gonarezhou National Park
Gorwe Pan, Gonarezhou National Park
Frequently Asked Questions
How do i get to Gonarezhou National Park
Not yet – although we are working on this as a possibility, it is not yet possible but you may travel from Kruger National Park through the Pafuri Border Post into Mozambique before turning left up towards Zimbabwe. There are two sand crossings on the route over the Limpopo River and the Mwenezi River before reaching Sango Border Post and into Zimbabwe/Gonarezhou.
There are 4 main tourist entrances to Gonarezhou National Park:
- The main Chipinda Pools Entrance in the North – accessible from Chiredzi Town via the Ngundu-Tanganda Road.
- Save-Runde Basecamp Entrance – accessible via a sand crossing over the Save River near Mahenye (close to Chilo Gorge Lodge) – 4×4 REQUIRED!
- Boli Gate – Accessible from Mwenezi via Boli on the Boli-Sango main road (tourists through this gate MUST report to Mabalauta Office before proceeding to their camp)
- Sango Gate – Accessible from Sango Border Post from Mozambique along the Sango-Boli Road (tourists through this gate MUST report to Mabalauta Office before proceeding to their camp)
- Malipati Gate – Accessible from the Sengwe-Tshipise Corridor up from the Limpopo River or from Beitbridge along the Beithbridge-Chikwararkwara-Sengwe road (gravel from Beitbridge)
Yes, with pre-authorisation, flights can access three registered airstrips in the Park (Chipinda Pools, Mabalauta and Malipati) and customs and immigration procedures are available for international charters at Buffalo Range Airport in Chiredzi.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org at least 7 days prior to arrival to arrange approval letters or to plan international arrivals.
This largely depends on where you are coming, please get in touch wiht our reservations team to assist with recommending directions and the most appropriate gate to enter from.
They can be contacted on email@example.com or +263 779 788 811
About Gonarezhou National Park
Each season in the Park has its own charm but overall, the best weather conditions for camping are between April and September.
- From November to March is the hot-wet season, day-time temperatures often reach above 35 degrees Celsius and thundershowers can be common making it more difficult to explore the Park.
- The cool-dry season from April to August are ideal, with comfortable day and night time temperatures.
- The hot-dry season from September to November is the peak of the dry season, although daytime temperatures are high, game viewing by waterholes can be spectacular!
The Park itself operates all year round but access to the National Park for tourists is limited during the hot-wet season. The more remote camps in the Park, that become inaccessible during the wet season, are closed from late-November to March/April each year and the whole park is closed to tourists from 10th January to the 1st March annually.
Yes – day visits to the Park are popular for locals or tourist staying in the area. Day visitors can enjoy a self-game drive and visit some of the picnic sites and viewpoints in the park.
At the very least, it is recommended you have a high-clearance vehicle. During the dry season, most of the park, apart from river crossings, is navigable in a high-clearance two wheel drive. However, we do recommend high-clearance four wheel drive vehicles where ever possible. In addition, if travelling to the more remote corners of the park or attempting sand-river crossings, we do recommend travelling with two vehicles and recovery gear.
Motorbikes require special permission to enter any National Park in Zimbabwe and thus are not allowed in Gonarezhou National Park.
We also restrict entry to large vehicles to the Park to protect our roads in the Park. Restrictions are as follows:
- Vehicles over 3 tonnes will be charged an entry fee appropriate to the vehicle size and access will be limited to primary roads within the Park
- Vehicles over 5 tonnes will need to provide advance warning to Gonarezhou, will be charged a special fee for access and travel will be limited to only the nearest main camp site along a primary road from where they will need to make use GCT game viewers and guides for activities.
Please contact reservations if you are unsure on firstname.lastname@example.org or +263 779 788 811
Gonarezhou is a big-5, wilderness area and whilst game viewing is somewhat of a game of luck, we can, with almost 100% certainty say you will encounter an elephant at some stage – after-all, this is Gonarezhou – “the place of elephants“. You may also chance upon a number of other species if you are lucky, including Black Rhino, African Wild Dog, Lion or Leopard. The rivers are home to crocodile and hippo, and an impressive diversity of aquatic species. The Park also hosts over 450 species of birds, including some rare and endangered species.
The elephant of Gonarezhou have unfortunately developed somewhat of a reputation for being aggressive, a legacy issue from the difficult times they have been through. This is changing daily and although, as with all wild animals, there are some negative encounters, by far the majority of encounters wiht elephant in Gonarezhou are positive. The key to good elephant interactions are:
- Give the elephants space – do not push them, rev your engine or hoot, particularly in a normal encounter, they are only likely to react negatively to that, perpetuating the problem.
- Ensure you have a plan to move away – make sure you have an exit to move away should the situation warrant it.
- Remain calm – Speeding past, revving engines, shouting or panicking is only likely to worsen the situation and perpetuate bad behaviour. Remain calm, keep your eyes on the elephant, watch their body language.
A variety of activities are on offer, mostly being self-led activities such as game drives, photography, picnics, camping, bird watching and fishing (see Activities). Registered operators (see Guided Safaris in Gonarezhou) in the park also conduct guided-safaris in the Park. From July 2022, Gonarezhou will also be able to offer half, full or multi-day game drives with our local learner professional guides based on a minimum of six guests.
Currently, there are no convenience facilities in the Park. The town of Chiredzi is approximately an hour drive from Chipinda Pools and has supermarkets and other facilities for resupply.
Staying in Gonarezhou National Park
- All our self-catering facilities have running water available. Water is untreated and pumped from boreholes or abstracted from the sand in the river bed thus we suggest bringing your own drinking water.
- Developed campsites have running water available that comes from either boreholes or abstracted from the sand in the river. All other campsites do not have running water and campers will need to collect water for camp from the river (safety first – be careful of crocodiles and other wildlife) and also ensure they bring their own drinking water.
- Most of our self-catering facilities are unfenced. Swimuwini Camp has a small, two-strand fence around the camp but the other camps are completely open allowing wildlife to pass through.
- Campsites are unfenced, Gonarezhou National Park is a wilderness where animals are allowed to move freely. Guest are encouraged to take necessary precautions always!
Fishing is restricted to certain sites within the Park. This is for several reasons:
- To ensure our guests can fish in relative safety from crocodiles, elephants and other wildlife – the braided river means the channel is often far across the open sand from the camp;
- To limit disturbance to other guests staying in the same camp – ensuring that Gonarezhou is a wilderness that is shared & guests do not negatively impact on each other’s stays in this wild place;
- To protect fish stocks – our policy of no fish leaving the Park, recommending catch & release and limiting fishing zones is also aimed at protecting aquatic life in the rivers.
Enquire with reservations as to the status of fishing at your camp.
Planning your trip to Gonarezhou National Park
- For camping in Gonarezhou, you need to bring everything needed for a camping trip to a remote area – tents, bedding, lighting, cooking equipment, water, food, clothing etc. It is also recommended that you carry recovery equipment in case of getting stuck, a portable compressor, spare tyre(s), insect repellant and sun cream!
- The self-catering camps are largely self-contained with a kitchenette/kitchen, fridges/freezers (check the fridge sizes above), braai area, beds, linen and towels. You will need to ensure you bring your food and drinks, personal items, toiletries and we recommend an extra camping fridge/cooler box(es) with ice (particularly in the summer months).
Self-drive safaris in Gonarezhou are mostly designed to be self-led. However, from July 2022, Gonarezhou will be able to offer guided game drives in open safari vehicles for a minimum of six people per drive. These could be morning or evening drives or full-day drives.
Coming to Gonarezhou with a registered operator would enable you to enjoy game drives, walking safaris, fishing as well as catered picnics and other safari activities.
Yes – our registered operator partners or private guide partners can outfit the perfect safari for you to Gonarezhou! Safaris to Gonarezhou are built on the foundation of being an exceptional wilderness experience where exclusivity and space are one luxury in abundance, the wildlife and hospitality add the finish to it all!