Gonarezhou National Park Zimbabwe, Africa

Country Zimbabwe
Established 1975
Region South-East Lowveld
IUCN Category National Park (CAT II)
Project Size 5,053 km²
Population 81,000
Biome Woodland savanna, shrublands, grasslands
Key Species Elephant, African wild dog, nyala
Conservation Relevance Key Biodiversity Area, Important Bird Area
Managing Authority Gonarezhou Conservation Trust (GCT): Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority & Frankfurt Zoological Society
Partner Frankfurt Zoological Society
Funding Partner Wyss Foundation
The ‘Place of Elephants’

Legacy Landscapes Fund Project Candidate | Status 05/2021

The Gonarezhou National Park provides habitats for a wide range of animal species but is most famous for its elephants. Home to about 11,000 individuals, the Gonarezhou truly deserves its vernacular name “Place of Elephants”.

Situated in the southeast of Zimbabwe on the border with Mozambique, its landscape features scenic sandstone cliffs, wide meandering rivers, seasonal pans, and extensive woodlands. Towards the north of the park, the iconic Chilojo Cliffs reach a height of up to 180m.

Together with neighboring national parks in South Africa and Mozambique, Gonarezhou is part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park which covers a cross-border protected area of around 35,000 km².

The Gonarezhou Conservation Trust is a co-management partnership between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society. Its vision is to be a model for sustainable conservation in Africa where ecosystems are protected, tourism for conservation thrives, and stakeholders matter.

Key Threats

  • Ongoing land conversion in areas adjacent to the park
  • Rising human-wildlife conflict and loss of ecological connectivity to other protected areas
  • Poaching for illegal wildlife trade and bushmeat

Key Activities

  • Ensure protection of the park’s wildlife and habitats and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts
  • Improve sustainability of the park through green economy, including eco-tourism
  • Work with neighboring communities on sustainable land use and restore corridors

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© Christof Schenck / FZS
© Rob Williams / ZGF