Gonarezhou National Park

As the second largest park in Zimbabwe, Gonarezhou is an absolute wilderness filled with an abundance of animals, birds and breathtaking scenery. It forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which is devoted to conservation and sustaining the biodiversity of the land. This results in the massive expanses of pure, unspoiled land where rivers flow strong and wildlife can thrive. Gonarezhou has some of the most spectacular landscape views you will ever see. From the beautiful red sandstone ridges of the Chilojo Cliffs to the many pools formed by the rivers running through the land, it is one of the most scenic parks in Zimbabwe!

  • Best Time To Go

    June - October

  • Average Safari Cost

    $200 - $700 pp/day

  • Highlights

    Beautiful scenery and sunset views, excellent birding spots, walking safaris, full moon walks, great wildlife viewing at many water sources, the beautiful red Chilojo Cliffs and much more!

Why Visit Gonarezhou National Park?

Gonarezhou is part of an area determined to preserve the natural land and its biodiversity, and support the growth of nearby local communities. This results in the park being a vast, untouched stretch of land where you can see a multitude of different wildlife species as well as experience the beauty and tranquillity of the scenic views. "Gonarezhou" translates to "place of many elephants" and the park definitely lives up to its name. Elephants roam proud and free throughout the land leaving trails of trampled shrub and broken braches in their wake.

There are three main rivers that flow through the park and provide multiple pools and water points at which animals gather to drink. This results in some excellent game viewing opportunities as you can spot many animals including lions and leopards!

The Chilojo Cliffs are a truly magnificent sight to see as they tower over the Runde River and provide a beautiful backdrop for photography.

Travel through the park in a 4x4 and experience a true African safari as this beautiful stretch of land has much to offer!

Pros And Cons

  • Surreally massive expanse of untouched land
  • So many different wildlife species to see
  • Great destination for birdwatching
  • Experiencing true wilderness - it never gets too busy or crowded
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Elephants can be skittish due to poaching in the past
  • Low concentrations of wildlife

Best Time To Go

The best time to visit Gonarezhou for wildlife viewing is during the dry season, from June to October. During the dry months, vegetation is more sparse and animals tend to congregate at the pools and water sources which makes them easier to spot. Days are generally warm and pleasant with an average temperature of 81˚F (27˚C), while the nights are quite cold with temperatures lowering to about 52˚F (11˚C). It starts to get much hotter in October as the wet season approaches. There is also a lower risk of malaria during these months.

The wet season is from November to March. The most rain occurs from December to February, which can disrupt activities and certain roads may be inaccessible. The days are very hot and humid with temperatures of about 91˚F (33˚C) and nights are pleasant with temperatures around 68˚F (20˚C). The vegetation is much thicker and greener and there is a chance to see newborn animals during these months. This is also the best time for bird watching as migratory birds are present.

For more details about when to visit broken down by months/seasons see our Zimbabwe Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

Start your African Adventure

Wildlife And Birds

As the name if the park suggests, Gonarezhou is home to a large population of elephants but be careful not to get too close to them as they can be quite aggressive. In addition to elephants, the park hosts a wide array of different wildlife species. All the big cats can be found here as well as many interesting antelopes, such as sable, roan, nyala and the small suni. Animals can easily be found along the rivers and around many of the pools. The rivers in Gonarezhou are filled with many diverse aquatic species such as the Zambezi shark. The park is also an excellent birding destination, especially from November to April when the migratory birds can be found.
List Of Animals

Rare Animals

  • Lion
  • Leopard
  • Cheetah
  • Wild dog

Frequently Seen Animals

  • Elephant
  • Hippo
  • Buffalo
  • Zebra


Gonarezhou National Park has over 400 recorded species of bird and makes a fantastic destination for bird watching. From elusive Narina trogons and Pel's fishing owls to African fish eagles and peregrine falcons, the park supports an incredible variety of different bird species. Many birds can find food and nourishment along and in the rivers while others search the lands for their prey.

Endangered Birds

  • Saddle-billed stork
  • African skimmer
  • Lappet-faced vulture

Getting There And Safety


Charter flights to airstrips in Gonarezhou can be booked from Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls. Tour packages usually arrange for pick-ups or charter flights for travellers so check with your operator if this is a part of your safari package. You can also self-drive a 4x4 to the park, however it is not recommended in the wet season as the roads are wet and difficult to navigate.

If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Zimbabwe

If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Zimbabwe

For more details about flights see our Zimbabwe Safari - Complete Travel Guide.


All foreign visitors must have a passport, with a minimum of 3 blank pages, that is valid for at least 6 months after their visit. Foreign visitors of most nationalities may obtain a visa upon arriving in the country. You can check whether you can obtain a visa upon arrival or if you need to apply for one in advance here.


The vaccinations recommended for Zimbabwe are cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. There is also a risk for malaria, especially from October - May, so anti-malarial drugs are advised as well as bringing insect repellent.

It is better to check with your local medical authority which vaccinations are required.

Bilharzia can also be contracted from contaminated food or water and is present in the rivers so take the necessary precautions and be sure to only drink and use bottled water.

For more details about visas see our Zimbabwe Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

Travel Insurance

Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Zimbabwe. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.

Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of the safari trip cover.

What To Pack

Pack clothes for both warm and cool weather as it can get very hot during the day and quite cold at night depending on what time of the year you go. Try to pack neutral, earthy toned clothes and avoid bright colours and white. Other essential items are a hat, sunglasses, sun screen, toiletries, closed shoes, torch, batteries, insect repellent, first aid kit, binoculars and camera.

For more details on what to pack see our safari packing list.

The park is very safe as long as you follow all safety precautions with regard to the animals. Do not get to close to the elephants as they can be quite aggressive.
Do the camps stock food?
No, there are no shops close to the campsites so be sure to take all your supplies with you as you enter the park.
Can I get out of the car and walk in the park?
Unless on an organised walking safari, you may not get out of your vehicle. There are picnic and viewing stops where you may get out of your vehicle but these are usually within camp areas.