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Gonarezhou National Park

ZimbabweMidlands & MasvingoGonarezhou

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Gonarezhou National Park 

Gonarezhou National Park is a national park located in southeastern Zimbabwe. It is situated in a relatively remote corner of Masvingo Province, south of Chimanimani along the Mozambique border. Owing to its vast size, rugged terrain and its location away from main tourist routes, large tracts of Gonarezhou remain pristine wilderness.

At 5,053 km2, Gonarezhou is the country's second-largest national park, after Hwange National Park. The name Gonarezhou is translated from the Shona meaning "The Place of Elephants".

Gonarezhou National Park forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Gonarezhou with the Kruger National Park in South Africa and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. Animals can move freely between the three sanctuaries. The northeastern end of Gonarezhou is located within the Zambezian and mopane woodlands, while the southwestern end is located within the Southern Africa bushveld ecoregion.

The Gonarezhou National Park was first established as a protected area in 1936 as a Game Reserve, eventually being proclaimed a National Park in 1975. The park has had a turbulent history and was closed to the public during the Rhodesian War and again during much of the Mozambique civil war but was re-opened in 1994. Between 1994 and 2007, the Gonarezhou National Park was wholly managed by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, however the economic challenges in Zimbabwe up to 2007 meant that there was little reinvestment in infrastructure and protection of the Park. In 2007, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority entered into a financial and technical assistance model for the Gonarezhou National Park with the Frankfurt Zoological Society.

This model lasted up until 2017 and focused on investing in infrastructure and the protection of the Park's resources. In March 2017, management of the Gonarezhou was handed over to the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, a co-management partnership between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society. This co-management model, overseen by a board of trustees represented equally by both partners, was created to establish a platform to enhance investment into the long-term sustainability of the Park - a key feature of which being the retention of tourism funds at a Park level for direct reinvestment into the Gonarezhou.

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