Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge
Southern Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge is perched high above the Save River in the south eastern corner of Zimbabwe. This recently refurbished lodge offers a fantastic range of activities and incredible game viewing in Gonarezhou National Park.
At a Glance
Soak in the knowledge imparted by the expert guiding team
Explore the rocky sandstone cliffs by foot
Stop on a sandbank in the Save River for a sundowner
Cool off in the outdoor pool during the heat of the day
Dinner on the deck is a great experience: out under the stars and with the hippo grunting below
As with much of Zimbabwe over the past fifteen years Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge suffered from a drop in tourism and a lack of investment. This gem of a lodge reopened in 2012 after a team of Zimbabwean and international investors recognised the extraordinary potential of the area and the lodge itself. A complete refurbishment was led by original Chilo founding father and head guide Clive Stockil, a real pioneer of Zimbabwean conservation. In 2013 Clive won the Tusk Trust lifetime achievement award for conservation.
The lodge itself is perched high on a rocky outcrop above the Save River on the north eastern boundary of Gonarezhou National Park in south eastern Zimbabwe. The views from the lodge are spectacular, the Save River draws animals in to drink, it is not uncommon to see elephant and buffalo below the lodge, and the river itself is home to large populations of crocodile and hippo.
The style of the lodge is that of a large two level building, it is of timber and stone construction and the large thatch roof keeps the internal areas cool during the heat of the day. At the front of the lodge is a large outdoor pool, the patio in this area is a great location for dinner under the stars.
There are ten chalet rooms each with a lovely private balcony where you can sit and take in the views of the river. There are also two luxury rooms with an interleading balcony, ideal for families.
Chilo Gorge offers a fantastic range of activities and is a brilliant base from which to explore the vast wilderness of Gonarezhou National Park.
The main camp consists of ten king or twin chalets. All rooms overlook the Save River below from private balconies. All rooms are en-suite and comfortably furnished in a local Shangaan style. Rooms are equipped with mosquito netting, tea and coffee making facilities and a minibar.
A short distance away from the main area are four double and one family chalet that sleeps up to six. This area is called Nhambo Camp and is marketed as a self-catering option, however, meals can be provided in the main lodge throughout guests stay.
Chilo Gorge caters for all ages. Children's beds and cots are available. It is important to note that this area of the country is a particularly wild big game safari area. The elephants in particular are know to be more afraid of humans and therefore more jumpy than in other more visited areas of the country.
As the lodge is perched high on the cliffs above the Save River, and due to the presence of a large outdoor swimming pool, it is important that children are supervised by their parents at all times.
Chilo Gorge is blessed with an excellent team of guides, led by senior guide and Chilo Gorge founding father Clive Stockil. His expertly trained team all have great experience in the industry and fantastic local knowledge of the area.
Activities at Chilo Gorge are varied and offer a great all round safari experience. Game drives and walks are usually taken within Gonarezhou National Park and include full-day trips to visit the Chilojo Cliffs. Early mornings and afternoons are the best times for viewing game. An early morning walking safari along the Save River is a great way to begin the day. A superb location for photography is Tembwehata Water Pan, rich in game and home to extremely diverse birdlife.
A walk of 3 km from the lodge takes you to the Chivilila Falls, and a viewpoint over the dramatic falling torrent.
At the end of a long day a sundowner on a sandbank in the Save River is unforgettable.
Location & Directions
Southern Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Chilo Gorge is located on the Save River along the north eastern border of Gonarezhou National Park in south eastern Zimbabwe.
When to go
From mid May through to early August the days are warm and clear but the night time temperatures can drop below freezing. September through to May is generally hot in the day and warm at night, Gonarezhou usually sees rain from late November to April.
The best time for game viewing is from August to early November, water is scarce, the bush has died back and game congregates around the water. Birdlife is prolific during the rainy season, and although the game has dispersed due to readily available surface water, this is still a great time to experience this area.