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 game-viewing time.
The sun emerges after every thunderstorm and humidity and heat are high. The greenery is lush and wild flowers emerge in profusion.
Thousands of migratory birds arrive to take advantage of the abundant food supply, and nature puts on her fullest displays.