Tucked away in little-visited southern Zimbabwe there is a wildlife destination that truly deserves the accolade of ‘hidden gem’. A huge swathe of undeveloped wilderness, Gonarezhou National Park rewards visitors with stunning scenery and diverse game viewing.
Its name translates as ‘Place of Many Elephants’ and you will see plenty of them, including big tuskers, but Gonarezhou is home to the rest of the Big 5 too – rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. Rivers cut through the park, attracting antelope, zebra and giraffe; wild dogs and cheetah patrol the floodplains and the air resonates with the calls of some of the 400 recorded bird species.
It forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park together with South Africa's Kruger and Mozambique's Limpopo National Parks but Gonarezhou’s trump card is something on a smaller scale: the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.
A private reserve bordering Gonarezhou National Park, Malilangwe – the Call of the Leopard - is set to become one of Southern Africa’s most unique and exciting wildlife destinations. Towering red cliffs and massive baobab trees create a dramatic backdrop to Big 5 game viewing as well as bird watching that ranks among the best in the region. A non-profit trust run in conjunction with nearby communities, Malilangwe both improves the lives of local Zimbabweans and contributes to the conservation of many rare and endangered animals.
The best time to visit Gonarezhou and Malilangwe is during Zimbabwe’s long dry season. The period from May to August is one of mild daytime temperatures and cool nights but September and October can be extremely hot though the game viewing is spectacular. The rains arrive in November and continue to March, peaking in January and February. Game viewing is more difficult at this time but the green, flower-filled landscapes are beautiful and the bird watching is off the scale.
Perfect for safari connoisseurs, a Malilangwe safari will not easily be forgotten. Browse our curated Gonarezhou and Malilangwe tours and safaris or simply chat to one of our Africa Safari Experts and they will create a fully tailored tour with the best accommodation and smoothest logistics.
At a Glance
Gonarezhou National Park's incredible scenery and diverse game-viewing make it Zimbabwe’s hidden gem but a further secret awaits the adventurous: Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.