Gonarezhou Bush Camp & Chilo Gorge
An adventure to Gonarezhou beckons. For die-hard African safaristas, this trip to Gonarezhou Bush Camp & Chilo Gorge is like no other.
Scheduled group tour from
September 26 - October 3, 2016
per person sharing
8 days / 7 nights
Mobile tented camp and lodges
The Master Guides Collection
Designed by Ant Kaschula
Meaning ‘place of elephants’ Gonarezhou is Zimbabwe’s second-largest national park, extending across a vast area of baobab-dotted scrubland and pale orange sandstone cliffs. It is home to 4 of Africa’s ‘Big Five’ – elephant, leopard, lion and buffalo – as well as a multiplicity of other animal and bird species.
On this trip, you will have the opportunity to interact with Ant Kaschula, one of the founders of Gonarezhou Bush Camp.
(Make sure to read Sangeeta’s 2012 Gonarezhou trip report here – in depth details of her trip to Zimbabwe).
Gonarezhou Bush Camp & Chilo Gorge Itinerary
Day 1: Gonarezhou Bush Camp, Gonarezhou National Park (Mon, 26 September)
Guests arrive into Harare International Airport and are met and collected by Nyati Travel. They will then road transfer from Harare to Gonarezhou Bush Camp in a 3 seater Nissan Patrol, the drive will take roughly 8 – 9 hours.
On arrival at Gonarezhou Park headquarters, Chipinda Pools Zimbabwe you will be met and transferred by Gonarezhou Bush Camps approximately two hours game drive through the Park. The road is beautiful and as you wind your way up and down and around the rocky hills you will have arresting scenery with a good chance of seeing water buck, kudu, elephant and nyala.
About half an hour before camp just as you feel you are truly in the wildest most far-flung place you have ever been, you round a corner and there is the sandy breadth of the Runde river before you.
After settling in and having lunch and a short siesta head out of camp to scout the floodplain for the big elephant bulls that enjoy this area. Perhaps get a a quick glimpse of a leopard flushed out from the mustard bush before enjoying a sun-downer looking over the Chilojo Cliffs.
Day 2: GBC, Gonarezhou National Park (Tue, 27 September)
Out of bed early.. Enjoy the early morning sun glistening over the river with your cup of coffee and rusk then head directly out of camp on a walk along the river to see what you may find coming down to drink. kudu, impala, nyala, baboons and elephant are all likely candidates.
A healthy breakfast of fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, granola, tea and coffee awaits you under a Baobab tree thousands of years old. Head back to camp happily full and spend the mid-day hours of heat relaxing, reading or writing your journal. Lunch is light and healthy, pastas and dishes cooked over the open fire accompanied by salads made with fresh and organic herbs and vegetables. A cheese board appears to complete the meal.
After the day cools a little head out on a drive to the west down the river to the Hippo pools, sit and watch these charismatic animals with a drink in hand before heading back to camp with fingers crossed as to what could appear out of the dusk. Back in camp scrunch your toes in the sand of the river bed while stories are told around the crackling fire with a delicious dinner by lamplight in the mess.
Fall into your comfortable bed and let the sounds of the african night envelope you.
Day 3: GBC, Gonarezhou National Park (Wed, 28 September)
Get your hiking boots on and prepare for the challenge of climbing the Chilojo Cliffs.
Your guide will lead you across the ankle deep sandy river and then you spend a good couple of hours silently walking the ancient Elephant trails that cut upwards through the Mopane thickets, and winding up the face of the sandstone cliffs. Chances of catching sight of an old buffalo bull and more of Gonarezhou’s elephants as well as other game is good.
Enjoy a well deserved breakfast on the very edge of the Cliffs looking out over the glinting river below and an expanse of hundreds of Kilometres of Wilderness stretching as far as the eye can see. After breakfast head back to camp a couple of hours game drive by vehicle around the back of the Cliffs and across the river by the Chinguli causeway.
In the afternoon rest your weary feet with a game drive to the west across the Bopomela river crossing to explore the flooplain beyond. Back to your lamp-lit camp for your smoky scented bush bucket shower under the stars and a dinner table set in the river bed under the stars.
Day 4: GBC, Gonarezhou National Park (Thu, 29 September)
Fly Camp Day 1
Enjoy a hearty cooked breakfast and conserve your energy with a morning game drive. After lunch, pack a small bag to meet you in the evening, fill your water bottles and walk out (or possibly drive and walk) to your fly camp.
Somewhere in the pristine bush you will find some bed rolls and mosquito domes as well as your dinner. Relax around the fire while your guide cooks you dinner right there and then lie back under the stars in your mosi dome listening for the whoops of faraway hyena’s, the roars of lions and the gentle rumblings of the elephant browsing
Day 5: GBC, Gonarezhou National Park (Fri, 30 September)
Fly Camp Day 2
Wake with the honking cries of the Egyptian geese in the river bed as the sun rises orange over the horizon, a cup of coffee and a warm and filling bowl of oats will set you up for the day…explore riverine bush and learn about the small creatures that also call Gonarezhou home, whist gently ambling through the bush you can sit and watch mongooses foraging or lure a a baboon spider out of her silky hole..
Have a mid-day break for a picnic lunch before continuing on to your next fly-Camp spot where you will again find your bedroll and mosi dome, a homely fire-cooked dinner and a few beverages with which to end another wonderful day with the Wilderness all to oneself.
Day 2 may well be beside Machaniwa Pan, a bird filled inland pan of water that also draws animals from miles around. As well as the usual game, chances are good to see large herds of Eland come down to drink here and wild dogs have recently been enjoying hunting in the area.
Day 6: Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, Gonarezhou National Park (Sat, 1 October)
Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge to meet Gonarezhou Bush Camps and road transfer from The Chilojo Cliffs. This will take up most of the day, exploring the northern section of the Park, near the confluence of the Runde & Save Rivers, incorporating a picnic lunch, safari drives and walks, visits to the waterpans & game and bird sightings. Arrive at the lodge for check in and viewing deck sundowners followed by dinner.
Day 7: Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, Gonarezhou National Park (Sun, 2 October)
Optional early morning 2,5km hike to the nearby waterfalls, including refreshments. Drive to the lodge for leisurely breakfast. Mid morning interactive Mahenye Village and Cultural Tour, including introduction to the Campfire Project & visit to the Sandstone Forrest. Lunch, followed by an afternoon siesta, time around the pool or on your private balcony, which all overlook the Save River. Afternoon game drive into the Gonarezhou Naitonal Park, ending the day on the banks of the Save River with Sundowners and interactive Shangaan Dancers followed by dinner.
Day 8: Departure (Mon, 3 October)
Early morning breakfast for 0700 road transfer to Harare, including packed lunch and refreshments.
Gonarezhou Bush Camp
Your accommodation in Gonarezhou:
Gonarezhou Bush Camp is a mobile tented camp, which is operated on an exclusive booking basis and requires a minimum group of four adults for a minimum stay of four nights.
Our aim isn’t to provide a luxury hotel in the bush, but a comfortable, private retreat from which to appreciate the true wilderness qualities Gonarezhou which is one of the park’s greatest attractions.
Owing to the camp being booked on an exclusive basis means your group will have the undivided attention of the entire camp’s staff and guides, allowing for all activities, meals and day-to-day plans to be dictated by yourselves rather than having to fit into the camp’s routine (routine??).
Being lightweight and mobile in nature means one has to forgo some of the luxuries of a permanent safari camp, however, this does not mean that our camping style is basic by any means. Attention to some of the finer details ensures your comforts are more than adequately taken care of and none of the important necessities have been overlooked.
Comfortable accommodation, hot showers & clean ablution facilities; freshly prepared wholesome meals and a good selection of hot and cold beverages all complement engaging activities and levels of guiding & camaraderie often missing from non-owner run properties.
The red sandstone Chilojo Cliffs and rivernine forest opposite the camp provide one of the most spectacular backdrops to be found anywhere in Africa and a continuous parade of wildlife pass through and around the camp as they go about their daily lives.
The camp can sleep a maximum of ten guests, accommodated in walk in canvas dome tents. Each tent has two regular size single beds fitted with cotton sheets, duvets and throw pillows, a bedside table and outside a little front veranda with two chairs a table and a hand washbasin. Each tent has its own private bucket shower and short-drop loo tent located a little way behind.
Solar lighting is provided in the tents and hurricane lamps illuminate the elephant paths that are our pathways between the tents and the main mess area which consists of a large open sided tent and is where most meals are served.
In the early evening, after drinks and snacks have been enjoyed around the fire in the riverbed dinner is taken by candlelight in the mess or under the stars.
Gonarezhou Bush Camp is owned and managed by Ant and Rawana Kaschula who have been operating safaris in Gonarezhou since 2007.
Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge
The main Lodge is constructed in stone, thatch, ancient leadwood and teak, to blend effortlessly with the surroundings. We have extended the outside wooden decking areas as part of our refurbishment, to create a spacious and serene viewing platform down the gorge, across the Save River into Gonarezhou.
Whether you choose a refreshing dip or to relax on a pool lounger with a drink, our swimming pool is positioned perfectly with some of the best views in the Lodge.
During the winter months, guests enjoy swapping safari stories around our fire pit or head upstairs to our Library, which contains a large selection of wildlife literature and has plenty of quiet corners for guests to curl up with their favourite book.
All Inclusive Luxury King/Twin Lodges
Our beautifully appointed, thatched Luxury King/Twin Lodges are largely inspired by nature, but with a designer’s passion for elegance, simplicity and luxurious touches. Locally crafted intricate reed weaving, individually carved jacaranda headboards, luxurious cotton bedding, and a mini bar have all been carefully chosen for your comfort and enjoyment.
Each Lodge has its own private balcony offering spectacular sunsets and the opportunity for you to relax watching our resident elephants, crocodiles and hippos in the deep river trench that flows all year or to observe the diverse number of other river visitors through the day.
Each Lodge provides:
- Spectacular views
- Private balcony and seating area
- Mini bar
- Tea & Coffee facilities
- En-suite bathroom with spacious shower and separate w.c.
- Complimentary toiletries