You might have heard the rumbles coming from the South East of Zimbabwe, the whispers of beauty, solidity and promise from travellers who have explored the dirt roads, watched the changing colours of the Chilojo cliffs and of course, have experienced Gonarezhou namesake, it’s elephants in their numbers. Gonarezhou National Park has a buzz about it. It is wild, varied, large and its future is very exciting.
On the back of a 10 year partnership between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and Frankfurt Zoological Society, the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust was formed March last year. Operations, objectives and management of the park are lead by a board of six trustees – 3 Frankfurt Zoological Society representatives and 3 Parks and Wildlife representatives.
As a visitor to Gonarezhou, you will likely see few staff beyond the lady behind reception or the camp attendant quietly at work. Trust us, there is an extensive team working behind the scenes whose enthusiasm and dedication is evident to those lucky enough to see them at work. The HQ boasts a school, a clinic, a command centre where all security operations are run from, a base for the thriving Chilojo Club (an awesome educational program that reaches over 43 schools in the area, active every day of the week), a human-animal conflict resolution body, research, accounting and administration staff with a vibrant and creative workshop backing it all up. The team have ambitious projects on the go with the renovation of Swimuwini camp within the Mabalauta section of the park and touch ups of the Chipinda Pools camps underway. Excitingly and most importantly, the Trust aims to reintroduce rhino back into the park in 2019.
The rumours are true, there is a star on the rise and its name is Gonarezhou National Park. Give their page Gonarezhou Conservation Trust a follow to keep up to date with the latest news and goings on. A big thank you to all those involved for having us, in particular Callum and Krystina for feeding and entertaining us and to Scott Slatter for guiding us. We hope to be back soon.