Gonarezhou National Park
In the far southeast of Zimbabwe, lies Gonarezhou National Park, a remote and undeveloped wilderness varying from open plains to dense bush.
It’s hard to sum up Zimbabwe. Especially its scenery because it changes and inspires at every turn. This beautiful country offers dramatic landscapes, warm people and wildlife that easily matches that of its more visited neighbours.
The quality of guiding is key on any holiday but especially on safari – Zimbabwe is home to some of the most qualified and best guides in Africa. Added to this it is currently great value for money. Who would not like it?
When we began selling safari holidays in the early 90s, we sent more people to Zimbabwe than any other country in Africa. This changed dramatically in 1999 and since then one cannot ignore the fact that it has since been plagued by dubious politics and economic instability and as a result, tourism has suffered.
Recently, however, there has been a noticeable revival. Reinvestment and positive changes are taking place, new lodges are being built, existing dams restored and a quiet optimism prevails that Zimbabwe will once again regain its rightful place as one of Africa’s great wildlife destinations. We think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
What do you really love doing? We’ll tailor your itinerary to suit you.
Join Clive Stockil, Tusk-Award-winning conservationist and renowned guide, on safari in Gonarezhou. Having dedicated his life to conserving the park, there is no better person to explore it with.
Visit the beautiful Chilojo Gorge, where red-and-white-banded cliffs rise dramatically above the river.
Stay at a private bush camp in the remote southern sector of the park. Spend days exploring the wilderness, joined by one of Zimbabwe’s best guides.
Visit the annual Mahenye Festival, which takes place just outside the park. This week of festivities is a celebration of the culture of the Shangaan people – the hunter-gatherer tribe who have traditionally inhabited this area.
Canoe on the Zambezi River, dodging hippos and crocodiles, as well as spotting elephants that come to the water’s edge.
Walk across the rich floodplains that border the Zambezi River, with views of Zambia on the opposite bank. Encounter bull elephants, herds of buffalos, prides of lions and numerous antelopes.
Join John Stevens for a privately guided safari. Born and raised in Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands, John has spent his entire life exploring some of the wildest parts of his homeland.
Visit ‘the smoke that thunders’, walking between viewpoints for different perspectives of this natural wonder.
Take to the skies for a bird’s-eye view. A helicopter offers the best way to appreciate the sheer scale of the falls.
Visit the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, built between 1100 and 1450 and once a great trading capital.
Our Zimbabwe experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.
Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.
Chilo Gorge has breath-taking views over Gonarezhou National Park and provides an elegant and tranquil environment with access to one of the few remaining wilderness spots in Africa. Each chalet is has a private balcony from which to soak in the view and has easy access to the central dining area, bar and swimming pool. Activities at Chilo Gorge are varied and include game drives and walks, as well as highly recommended full-day trips or a three-night sleep out adventure to visit the Chilojo Cliffs.
Situated in a wildlife concession bordering Hwange National Park, Elephant’s Eye Lodge is a charming combination of bush camp feel and modern safari needs. Each of the eight tented and thatched rooms is raised off the ground to ensure a wonderful view over the waterhole and a cool breeze on hot days. The interiors are fresh, modern and clean with loads of space, a veranda which spans the length of the room and a very private outdoor shower and sumptuous indoor bath with a view. The integrated public areas face the fire pit, where stories are shared and this, in turn, overlooks the pan where elephants come to drink and watch you eat your dinner. The lodge gardens supply the lodge kitchen with fresh fare and the spa offer reviving treatment.
Located within Mana Pools National Park, this small tented camp is positioned on the banks of the Zambezi. From underneath the canopies of gnarled mahogany and trichelia trees, it looks out over the meandering, sandbank-dotted river, towards Zambia. A seasonal, semi-permanent setup, John’s Camp only operates during the drier months, between April and November. It is made up of just five canvas Meru-style tents, each one with an en-suite bathroom containing a shower and flushing toilet. Inside, the tents can be set up as doubles or twins, whilst outside, each has a small veranda that faces the river.
Elephant Camp is situated just 40 kilometres west of Victoria Falls on 14,000 hectares of privately owned wildlife estate. The camp accommodates a maximum of eight people in four thatched chalets. It has a dining area, swimming pool and bar/patio area, all with sweeping views of the plains. Many of the activities here are about spending time with the camp’s elephants – be it game-viewing from their backs, picnicking with them on the estate, grooming, feeding and swimming with them, or just experiencing the pleasure of being so close to such magnificent animals.
Situated in a private concession inside the Hwange National Park, just three hours by road from Victoria Falls, is Camp Hwange. The camp consists of eight comfortable chalet-tents. Each spacious and airy thatched chalet-tent is furnished with stylish simplicity and has private en-suite bathroom facilities. The main lodge is made up of a big lounge and a beautiful restaurant where you will savour dinners. Camp Hwange reverts back to the concept of the original safari, where activities are centred on being immersed in the wild, with game walks being the main activity.
Ruckomechi Camp is on the boundary of Mana Pools National Park, which is home to an abundance of wildlife – including lion, wild dog, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, zebra, impala and elephant and a plethora of bird species. The camp has ten spacious en-suite tented units, including a honeymoon suite, all of which overlook the Zambezi River. Each tent has both indoor and outdoor showers, while the camp’s outdoor ‘bath-with-a-view’ in a secluded, scenic spot is always a favourite.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.
Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.
25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.
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