If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve gotta do something you’ve never done

Fed up of being thrashed around on yet another bumpy game drive? Feeling guilty that at the end of your holiday you will have put on some pounds? Tired of going back to the same old place? Interested in seeing some new terrain? Up for some fun and exploration? Keen to be in the category of one of the first? If you are up for an active adventurous holiday to a wilderness destination unspoiled by mass tourism, then you have come to the right place.

Gonarezhou Walking Safaris offers multi-day walking safaris through some of the wildest, most rugged and scenically beautiful areas of Gonarezhou National Park in South eastern Zimbabwe.

Having been operational in Gonarezhou since 2007, we have walked hundreds of kilometres through the Park and recced routes that will take you through some of the most breath-taking scenery to be found anywhere on the continent. We will walk you down elephant trails wide enough to mountain bike along and onto the edge of cliffs that will give you glimpses of tomorrow (well almost); We will show you worn down rubbing posts near remote pans and give you privileged sneak previews into secret worlds; we will take you along migration routes that have been in existence for eons and camp you under the boughs of ancient trees whose limbs have provided shelter to generations of pachyderms.

We will take you far enough off the beaten track to truly appreciate pristine, raw wilderness yet throughout your adventure you will be lapping it up and continuously wanting more. We will give you freshly prepared wholesome food and a comfortable place to rest your head for the night. A few little luxuries here and there will help to give some perspective into what is really important in life.

Safari Options

Owing to the nature of our walking safaris typically covering quite a bit of ground, and thus having the camp move on a daily basis, both of our accommodation options are such that the camp can easily be taken down moved to a new location and put back up over the course of a couple of hours. This being the case guests have two accommodation options to choose from; our fly camp OR our mobile camp.

Essentially more comfort equates to a higher cost owing to the logistics of additional staff and equipment required.

Rather than being weighed down by heavy backpacks which makes exploring rugged terrain unpleasant, to maximise guests enjoyment we prefer to have camp taken ahead and geo-cached at a pre-arranged GPS locstat.

How cool is it to arrive at a remote site in the bush and find your camp nestled under the arms of an ancient Baobab – or right on the very edge of a cliff that gives you vistas over hundreds of square kilometres of pristine wilderness?

Whilst this does not give us complete freedom to camp absolutely anywhere we might want to, it makes the walking very enjoyable. Travelling so lightly gives us heaps more flexibility and it is the ability to spontaneously change our, or follow up anything interesting that is more  exciting … fresh lion tracks bisecting our trail or a 100 pound elephant viewed from the top of a cliff, etc.

Usually we are up at first light and after having a light breakfast we set off on foot with a day pack with lunch and sufficient water for the day. Depending on the day’s route we will only arrive in camp in the mid- to late afternoon which usually leaves sufficient time to relax and bathe before sunset.

In order to get into the rhythm of the bush we recommend a minimum of four nights and a maximum of seven nights.

Wildlife

If you want to tick off the Big-5 then Gonarezhou is certainly not the place for you. However, the quality of each wildlife sighting far makes up for the quantity of game and a typical day’s walk will usually produce at least a dozen mammal species. Owing to low numbers of visitors to the Park, wildlife is not habituated to people, which makes searching for game by treading lightly and scouting from vantage points an extremely rewarding experience.

The majority of large mammal species are found in the Park and we have personally recorded 36 different mammal species, including charismatic species such as lion, leopard and painted hunting dogs.

Whilst there is no shortage of game (if one knows how and where to look for it) Gonarezhou’s main attraction is that it is a vast and pristine wilderness area where it is possible to get away from the hustle and bustle common to other popular National Parks, and engage in an active adventure.

You may see lion and leopard as well as the usual antelope, mongoose and other mammals … but this is the real Africa where game is not served on a plate, but searched for, tracked and enjoyed on foot. 

About Our Fly Camp

Our fly camp uses Tatonka Double Mosquito Domes which are large enough to fit two people in each of them. The mesh is green which means that at night they are virtually transparent so once you are prostrate, it gives you the feeling of staring into the centre of the Universe. Our beds consist of 2-inch thick foam bedrolls with cotton sheets, duvets and pillows. Breakfasts and dinners are usually had on camp stools whilst lunch always consists of a picnic somewhere out in the bush.

Location dependent, toilet and showing facilities consist of bathing in a river or having a bucket shower whilst toilets are short drops.

Owing to our fly camp being geo-cached at a prearranged GPS locstat, guests will need to assist with the setting up of the camp on arrival at the campsite in the mid- to late afternoon.

About Our Mobile Tented Camp

The main difference between our fly camp and our mobile camp is that our mobile camp uses 3m x 3m canvass dome tents with single bed mattresses placed on the floor rather than the Tatonka Mosquito Domes with bedrolls.

Bucket showers and short drop toilets are also provided as part of the mobile camp and meals can be chosen to be taken on camp stools or seated at a table with directors chairs.

Owing to the time required to set up our mobile camp, it is fully staffed and on our arrival in camp it will already have been set up by our crew.

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About Gonarezhou

Gonarezhou National Park is situated in the south eastern Lowveld of Zimbabwe and covers an area in excess of 5 000 square kilometres which, to put it into perspective, is about the same size as Mana Pools, Matusadona and Chizarira National Parks put together. Yes, it is that big – there is plenty of bush to explore and contrary to popular (but mostly uninformed) opinion, there are heaps of animals and it is spectacularly beautiful.

“Gonarezhou” meaning “The place of many elephants” is estimated to have a population in excess of 7 000 elephants and we have seen several bulls with ivory weighing not much less than 100 pounds a side. You don’t find these kinds of elephants just anywhere, and even in Gonarezhou these big tuskers haven’t got that big from being stupid. Without doubt, Gonarezhou’s Grey Ghosts possess an enigma that has kept them safe through civil wars, severe droughts and poaching.

Being away from major tourist attractions, Gonarezhou is seldom visited and until recently only attracted the most intrepid of travellers.

Apart from its scenic beauty and incredible diversity of wildlife, the Park’s most important attraction is its wilderness character which makes it one of the very few areas left in Southern Africa that can offer genuine wilderness experience. No boat motors, no aircraft engines, no permanent camps and few other tourists makes Gonarezhou quite unique to anywhere else.

Gonarezhou is an extremely scenic Park comprising some of the most rugged and beautiful landscapes to be found anywhere in Southern Africa, honestly you will struggle to find a backdrop more spectacular than Gonarezhou ANYWHERE in Africa.

The dominating features of the Park include incised sandstone cliffs, rocky basalt river gorges, extensive tracts of Mopane, Ironwood and mixed broadleaf woodland, riverine floodplains, wetlands and wide sweeping sand rivers.

Gonarezhou has another unique quality in being the only national park in Zimbabwe in which both banks of a major river (the Runde River) are enclosed within the boundary of a national park. Two other major rivers, the Save to the north east and the Mwenezi in the south west also cut their courses through the Park, providing life sustaining water and habitat for hundreds of species of birds, wildlife and fish. In addition to all the above, Gonarezhou is the jewel in the crown of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a massive Pan-African Park which covers an area of 35 000 square kilometres and includes South Africa’s Kruger National Park and Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. This huge area is to become one of the largest Peace Parks in the Wold and is the most forward thinking conservation initiative to have come out of Southern Africa.

If you are up for an active adventurous holiday to a wilderness destination unspoiled by mass tourism, then you have come to the right place.