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Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge

Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is located on the edge of Gonarezhou National Park, a vast area of pristine wilderness in south east Zimbabwe.

Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is situated on a high cliff top above the Save River on the northern edge of Gonarezhou National Park, and commands wonderful views down the valley. The lodge offers a lovely base from which to explore the core wilderness area of the park, along the Save and Runde Rivers, an area which offers both prime wildlife viewing and stunning scenery. The lodge has also been closely involved in the regeneration and conservation of the Gonarezhou area, and has long-standing connections with the local community outside the park. The lodge offers comfortable accommodation and a relaxed atmosphere, and makes a great starting point for a safari in Gonarezhou.


Accommodation is provided for around 20 guests in 10 luxury double or twin bedded rooms all with a mosquito net, ceiling fan and plumbed en suite bathrooms comprising of a basin, toilet and shower. Further amenities include a mini bar, tea/coffee facilities, a room safe and hairdryer. To the fore of each is a private furnished balcony. Two of the rooms adjoin via a wooden walkway making them ideal for families or friends travelling together.

Central Areas

The central areas of the lodge comprise of an open sided double story thatched building which houses the dining room, bar, library and several lounges and leads out onto the swimming pool. Limited Wi-Fi is available in the central area only.


Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Yes

Habitat & Wildlife

Gonarezhou National Park, both beautiful and varied in terms of scenery, is situated on the south-eastern border of Zimbabwe and covers an area of 5000 square kilometres. The park is also part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a 35 million hectare cross-border initiative with the Kruger National Park in South Arica and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. Gonarezhou means ‘place of the elephants’, and the area is excellent elephant country with over 8,000 of them.

The park has some stunning scenery, particularly the impressive red sandstone cliffs of Chilojo Cliffs overlooking the Runde River which carves its way impressively through the park. The habitat is diverse and ranges from riverine forest and wetlands to mopane woodland, granite hills and Cretaceous sandveld above the cliffs (a habitat much like the Kalahari). These different ecosystems mean that game viewing is very productive, and the park is home to lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah, hyaena, buffalo, elephant, zebra, giraffe, kudu, nyala, impala, steenbok, blue wildebeest, hippo, crocodile, golden mole (sandveld), bushbuck, Sharpe’s grysbok, klipspringer, grey duiker, waterbuck, eland, roan, sable, caracal, bat eared fox, African wild cat, civet, porcupine, aardwolf and aardvark. However, this is a true wilderness area, and game is sometimes a little spread out and occasionally skittish. Bird life is also prolific with over 450 species recorded, including bat hawk, green malkoha, gorgeous bush shrike, narina trogon, Pel’s fishing owl and chestnut-fronted helmetshrike.


Activities are varied and include game drives by day, full day drive to Chilojo Cliffs (between April and November and subject to water levels), morning and afternoon game walks, and hiking to Chivalila Falls. Cultural visits are also possible outside the park in the local community areas. Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is also the base from which their excellent fly-camping adventure experiences (Ivory Trails) which are highly recommended for anyone that wants to truly delve into the wilderness off grid.


Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is open year round but game viewing will be best between July and October.

While children of all ages are accepted at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, the very remote nature of the destination is something to consider if travelling with young children. The design of the lodge would not be suitable for children under six years of age. For families with older teenage children, looking for somewhere different and ‘off grid’, Chilo Gorge and Gonarezhou in general could be a hugely rewarding option.

Chilo Gorge Lodge founder and director Clive Stockil has won numerous awards for his pioneering approach and commitment to community led conservation. The first CAMPFIRE programme (Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources) in Zimbabwe was started here, and its principles have since been replicated across Africa and the rest of the world. The intimate working relationship between the lodge and the local Shangaan community makes a visit to Mahenye Village a rewarding and educational experience and learning about the impact of conservation tourism is part of guest experience at Chilo. Through this collaboration the village now has a clinic, schools and boreholes. The lodge supports a nutritional gardens initiative which allows the female farmers of Mahenye Village to grow vegetable gardens which supports food security in the community, while also having a market in supplying the lodge.

Chilo was involved in helping the establishment of the Jamanda Conservancy which ensure the peaceful coexistence between the local community of Mahenye and surrounding wildlife areas of Gonarezhou. The community has relinquished 120 square kilometres of their cattle grazing land, which is bordering Gonarezhou National Park for wildlife conservation and photographic safaris. The land has been protected with fences and anti-poaching patrols and today, wildlife roams freely in this conservancy, established by the community.

Chilo Gorge also works closely with the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust (a ground-breaking partnership between Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and Frankfurt Zoological Society) on regeneration and conservation of this wilderness area.

Guests who have space in their suitcases can bring specific school and medical supplies through Pack 4 a Purpose.