In the Shona language, Gona-re-zhou means “place
of elephants” and in 1967 - the same year the park
was created - an elephant
was killed on its perimeter with tusks weighing 166 pounds
and 129 pounds (62kg and 48kg).
He was the offspring of another equally fated elephant
named 'Dhlulamithi' (taller than trees), whom the infamous
poacher, Stephanus Barnard, shot in the 1920’s and
whose tusks weighed over 296 pounds (110kg).
Poaching in this area was brought under control but with
the recent social and political troubles in Zimbabwe, there
is fear for the animals once again.
Elephants are understandably shyer here than anywhere else
in the country and need to be treated with caution.
The Save, Runde and Mwenezi Rivers meander through the
hot, semi-arid lowveld and supports rare suni
and nyala antelope
and striped king cheetah.
Bird life is rampant especially
during the wet season when thousands of migrating birds
arrive for a feeding frenzy.
By late June the leaves begin to fall from the trees and
the tall grasses have been trampled by game, making it prime
The sun emerges after every thunderstorm and humidity and
heat are high. The greenery is lush and wild flowers emerge
Thousands of migratory birds arrive to take advantage of
the abundant food supply, and nature puts on her fullest