Zimbabwe's best kept secret for bush lovers

Zimbabwe's best kept secret for bush lovers
Published: 07 July 2015 (1026 Views)
Nature-lovers have been venturing back up to Zimbabwe for several years now. Many of them head for well-known attractions like Victoria Falls and Mana Pools, both more than eight hours' drive from Beitbridge, Traveller24 reported.

Unspoilt Gonarezhou National Park is less than four hours from the border post. If you visit outside of the main holiday season, you'll likely end up having this 5 000 kilometre-square park very nearly to yourself.

Gonarezhou means place of many elephants in Zimbabwe's Shona language.

It is home to more than 10 000 elephants. We saw a bull minutes after arriving, a few hundred metres from the Chipinda Pools tented campsite, which is run as part of a thriving partnership between the Frankfurt Zoological Society and Zimbabwe's state National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

The bull watched us steadily as our bakkie idled by the viewing point over the magnificent Runde River, which laces through the park. He had absolutely no desire to budge so we reversed and left him.

"We haven't had any incidents with our elephants," a parks official had told me at the gate. "But they can be lively."

Lively was the right choice of word. A day later, we were driving through rugged shrub-studded countryside on our way to visit the Chilojo Cliffs, a magnificent formation of red clay cliffs overlooking the Runde. My husband was hoping to see another Carmine Bee-Eater, a blue and red bird that looks exactly like an avian Superman. (He'd spotted several on a previous trip).

There was not another vehicle in sight.

Rounding a bend, we came suddenly on a natural waterhole. surrounded by zebras, impalas and a group of about six elephants, including calves. One of the elephants started suddenly towards us: not a full-on charge, just a warning. This place very clearly belongs to the elephants, and they know that.

But there's much more than just elephants at Gonarezhou. The next evening, we bumped four kilometres along the  road from Chipinda Pools to the Massasanya Dam, carrying a bag of chips and a bottle of juice for sundowners. The dam's surface was as shiny and flat as a mirror, apart from the grey ink-bubbles where the hippos were treading water.

There were at least 15 of them. They were very interested in us, bumbling determinedly pod by pod across the dam to the side we were standing near. As three hippos cavorted in the water less than 20 metres away, I caught even my bush-loving husband glancing across to check our bakkie doors were open in case a quick retreat was needed.

Pre-booking is essential. You can book one of the four already-erected tents at the Chipinda Pools campsite, or -in the dry season - one of the "wild" or exclusive campsites, for which you'll need to be fully equipped.

Email: bookings@zimparks.co.zw or centralreservations3@zimparks.co.zw. There is also a DIY campsite at Chipinda Pools which has ablution facilities and braai spots.

Prices for South African passport-holders:

Tented camp costs US$115 (about R1 415 at R12.31/$) per tent per night (2 people), US$136 per tent per night (4 people) plus conservation fee of US$6 per person per day. US$10 per vehicle entry fee (valid for 5 days). "Wild" or "exclusive" National Parks campsites cost less.

How safe is it?

This is a national park and there are potentially dangerous animals. At night you will hear lions (we also heard hyenas). Friends of ours met a leopard as they ambled unsuspectingly down to the Chipinda Pools at 4 in the afternoon. You are not allowed to take a weapon into the park with you. A word on breakdowns: try to avoid them. If your car gives up the ghost 34 kilometres into the park, there will quite likely to be no-one around for 34 kilometres. So make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Another word of caution, there is no 'phone signal inside the park.

- News24

Tags: Zimbabwe,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

PHOTOS: Job Sikhala becomes an instant internet joke

by Social media | 03 October 2019 | 362 Views

America says it is worried about Zimbabwe

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 390 Views

Madinda Ndlovu to be discharged tomorrow

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 259 Views

What are behavioral disorders and how can they be managed?

by Temba Munsaka | 03 October 2019 | 261 Views

Government speaks on Robert Mugabe's body parts

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 372 Views

Zacc recovers $100m property from looters

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 259 Views

WATCH: Mnangagwa apologises for destroying Zimbabwe satire

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 259 Views

Mphoko's application for release of passport dismissed

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 211 Views

Zanu-PF restructuring exercise begins

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 206 Views

Petrotrade declares $1.5 million dividend

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 165 Views

MSU, Zupco seal bus deal

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 322 Views

Mnangagwa to open ZMF conference

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 214 Views

High Court sets EcoCash hearing date

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 217 Views

Mphoko barred from leaving Zimbabwe

by ZimLive | 03 October 2019 | 215 Views

CIO agents monitor Jonathan Moyo in Kenya

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 441 Views

Acie Lumumba targets criminals around Mnangagwa

by Mandla Ndlovu | 03 October 2019 | 380 Views

$100 limit for cash-out transactions

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 279 Views

ANC starts anti-sanctions campaign

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 196 Views

ZESN calls for political parties regulation

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 169 Views

We've no forced labour evidence on Zimbabwe diamonds, says US Embassy

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 182 Views

Ex-ZPC board chairman freed on bail

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 237 Views

Cyber Bill seeks to safeguard citizens

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 152 Views

Cassava launches Vaya tractor services

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 195 Views

MDC Alliance boycott slammed

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 99 Views

10-man Bulawayo Chiefs stun Harare City

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 158 Views

Zimbabwe has a reputational problem, says US

by newzimbabwe | 03 October 2019 | 175 Views

MDC Alliance walk of shame

by Nduduzo Tshuma | 03 October 2019 | 252 Views

MDC councillors want suspension of Cowdray Park projects

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 162 Views

RBZ floats $300m additional TBs

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 152 Views

Teenagers rob soldier

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 172 Views

Duo rape corpse, get death sentence

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 190 Views

Mnangagwa to fly out for the zenith times

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 155 Views

Chamisa's MPs approach court to reverse 5 months allowance garnish

by newzimbabwe | 03 October 2019 | 82 Views

Zimra official forges Customs papers

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 71 Views

Zifa courts two nations for Warriors' friendlies

by Staff reporter | 03 October 2019 | 59 Views