Discovering the Birds of Gonarezhou

Birds of Gonarezhou

Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park was the final stop on a safari that had included reserves in South Africa and Botswana and it was by far the most eagerly anticipated.

This was a first for me. Gonarezhou, ‘Gonners’, as it is often referred to by those who love it, had been right at the top of my wish list for quite some time and now I was finally going to discover for myself why this park is so revered amongst safari purists.

“Don’t expect to see masses of wildlife” … “The elephants are really skittish, not like in other parks” Were just a couple of the things friends had said to me.
None of that bothered me; the chance to be out in the African bush without bumping into other vehicles at every sighting was far more important, as was the chance to visit a place I hadn’t been to before.

Chilojo Cliffs

The landscapes were truly breathtaking, especially and somewhat expectedly, the imposing Chilojo Cliffs.

Even the elephants are dwarfed by the towering Chilojo Cliffs
Even the elephants are dwarfed by the towering Chilojo Cliffs

We did see elephants, lots of of them, and at times they were a bit frisky, with young bulls eager to show off their bravery by mock charging our game vehicle.

Showing off
Showing off
One of the calmed elephants we encountered
One of the calmer elephants we encountered

And sometimes just getting back to the lodge was not straightforward. There was a stand-off when we encountered a herd of elephants on their way to the river for their evening drink and bath.

Road Block
Road Block

For me though, the unexpected highlight was the birdlife. It was both abundant and varied, with quite a few species I had not see before, including the apparently rare Arnott’s Chat.
Of course they didn’t make photography easy, but there were a few shots I was really pleased with, especially those I grabbed of species new to me.

Birds in Gonarezhou

Gonarezhou is a little bit remote, tucked away on the border with Mozambique, and this remoteness makes it quite expensive just to get there; but it is Zimbabwe’s second largest park; after Hwange, and there is still so much of it I have yet to discover. I’ll definitely be grabbing the first opportunity I get to return.

Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

For those that are interested, we stayed in the gorgeous Chile Gorge Safari Lodge, overlooking the Save river. What a super spot.

Looking out over the Save river from the lodge
Looking out over the Save river from the lodge

Community led Conservation

Take a few minutes to view this simple yet powerful message from award winning conservationist Clive Stockil, founder of Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

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