Viewpoint, Gonarezhou National Park , Zimbabwe

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Gonarezhou National Park

Top choice in Zimbabwe

Hidden in the southeast corner of the country is the stunning Gonarezhou National Park, ZImbabwe's second largest park (5000 sq km) and regarded by many as one of its best kept secrets. Sharing the border with Mozambique, the park is also virtually an extension of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. So, in late 2002, the relevant authorities in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique created the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a 35,000-sq-km park straddling all three countries (with no boundaries).

It's one of the ZImbabwe's most scenic parks, with a staggering variation in landscapes, from its iconic sandstone Chilojo Cliffs, major rivers, lowveld scrub and flood plains, magnificent baobab trees, mopane woodland and tracts of palm-tree forest.

Here you'll find giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas plus wild dogs and nyala (among the usual antelope species) and an impressive 453 different kinds of bird species. However, it's most known for its large numbers of elephants (Gonarezhou translates to 'place of many elephants') with a population in excess of 12,000. You'll spot their presence from the trail of destruction and the ubiquitous fallen trees; including sadly 1000-old baobab they bash against for water. Take care if driving as Gonarezhou's elephants have a reputation for being skittish and somewhat aggressive. This is a result of years of poaching, particularly during the civil war of the 1960s and '70s.

Note: you'll need a 4WD here to get around the park and that a lot of its sections are closed during the rainy season (November to May).

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1. Chilojo Cliffs


In addition to wildlife, another of Gonarezhou's major drawcards are its majestic Chilojo Cliffs. These spectacular red-and-white banded sandstone columns…