Chilo Gorge Tented Camp: Our full report
Gonarezhou National Park is one of the quietest areas in Zimbabwe, with only three camps sharing over 5,000km² ...... of wilderness. The simplest of these camps is Chilo Gorge Tented Camp, a property with a classic safari style designed to complement the rugged, pioneering nature of Gonarezhou.
Unlike it's sister property Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, a permanent lodge with luxurious villas and a sizeable swimming pool in the main area, Chilo Gorge Tented Camp take a much more traditional, simplistic approach.
Each of Chilo Gorge Tented Camp's green canvas tents are positioned along the banks of the Runde River, a large draw for Gonarezhou's thousands strong elephant population, as well as a huge range of other plains game, and subsequently the parks healthy wild dog population. Though the tents are modest in size and simply furnished, they are large enough to walk around in, and fit twin single beds, dressed with cream and green bedding. At the back of each tent you find an open-air en-suite bathroom with a plumbed in shower, toilet and washbasin, where reed matting and canvas walls provide you with adequate privacy.
The simple, explorers camp style continues in the main area, and while an open-sided canvas mess tent can provide shelter from the rain or sun, depending on the season, this is normally eschewed for pulling up a directors chair to the campfire, and enjoying a drink or a group meal under the open sky.
While the physical style of the camp differs greatly from Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, there are much more similarities in the activities offered from both camps, with the same emphasis on top guiding. Game drives and walking safaris often take place in the northern section of the park, where the Runde and Save River draw in the wildlfie, and both of these activities will often be combined into one flexible excursion, allowing you to jump out of the vehicle with your guide and continue on food should some interesting tracks lead where the vehicle can't follow. Depending on water levels in the river, boating and canoeing can also be offered from the camp.
During longer stays in the park there is lot to be gained from exploring further afield, with trips to the iconic brick-red Chilojo Cliffs, or visits to the Shangaan village of Maheye, with which Chilo Gorge has very close ties.
For some the juxtaposition between the isolation and ruggedness of Gonarezhou and a luxury lodge can be too much, and for those travellers heading to the park with a pioneering spirit we would certainly suggest staying at Chilo Gorge Tented Camp. It's simple but comfortable style, classic safari look and focus on great guiding give the camp an adventurous feeling that suits this wilderness area incredibly well.
Country manager: Zimbabwe
- Gonarezhou & Save Valley, Zimbabwe
- Ideal length of stay
- Flights to and from the park only fly on Thursdays and Mondays, making 3 or 4 night stays in the park most logistically convenient, as well as being a suitable length of time to explore the park.
- Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is a six-hour drive from Harare, with guests transferred between Harare and the lodge by six-seater minibus. It’s worth bearing in mind that the price of the transfer is for the vehicle so the more people travelling, the less expensive the transfer is per person.
By air, it is possible to charter a plane into Chilo’s private Mahenye airstrip year-round, these flights typically depart from Harare. Between April and November, daily scheduled flights run from Mana Pools or Harare to Mahenye airstrip and vice versa, subject to availability and a minimum requirement of two passengers.
Alternatively, there are scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Buffalo Range Airport (60km from Chilo Gorge) on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Dining style
- Mixture of group dining and individual tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Attitude towards children
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Chilo Gorge Tented Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Chilo Gorge Tented Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- There is no Wi-Fi at the camp, and mobile reception is sporadic. At the more substantial Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge a few kilometres away there is Wi-Fi, more reliable signal and a landline.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Water is pumped from the nearby Runde River and filtered multiple times.
Health & safety
- Medical care
- The lodge has first aiders on site and a doctor available in nearby Chiredzi.
In the event of an emergency we have a casualty evacuation plan from our private airstrip with Medical Air Rescue Services (MARS).
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- 24 hour security patrols the property
- Fire safety
- The lodge has fire extinguishers throughout and lightening conductors.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is included in the all-inclusive package. Turnaround times are normally 24 hours.
- All rooms have safes and there is a safe at the lodge.
The Lodge accepts US$.
Other lodges in Gonarezhou & Save Valley
Alternative places to stay in this same area.