The curves of the Save River form the northeastern boundary of the Gonarezhou National Park, and Chilo Gorge is spectacularly perched across the river from this pristine elephant haven. Designed to allow the outside to flow seamlessly into the lodge’s interiors, Chilo Gorge is the place to experience the remote wilderness in style.
The thatched main lodge, perched on the highest cliff, welcomes guests with a beautifully appointed lounge, bar, dining room and library, and a shaded swimming pool surrounded by delightful gardens. The deck offers elevated views of crocodiles and hippos in the river below, as elephants and other wildlife come and go. Ten luxury rooms or lodges around the main lodge offer accommodation for two, each with an elevated and spacious en-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries. Every lodge has its own special views from a private balcony and seating area, the perfect spot to mull over the highlights of the day’s activities in peace.
A little apart from the main area is Nhambo Camp, with four double lodges, each with en-suite bathroom and private balcony, and a family lodge sleeping six. Nhambo has its own plunge pool, kitchen and barbecue area, allowing guests the option of catering for themselves or ambling over to the main lodge for their meals. The family lodge has its own kitchen and a private garden.
At Chilo Gorge, guiding is an art form. Clive Stockil, founder of the lodge, is an internationally renowned conservationist and guide. He was the first recipient (in 2013) of the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, and has won many other awards. Head guide Thomas Mutombeni leads a team imbued with a deep knowledge of the local flora and fauna, giving guests an incomparable safari experience.
Chilo Gorge has always viewed conservation and sustainability as being rooted in the interests of the local community. Founder Clive Stockil initiated the CAMPFIRE programme (Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources), used across Zimbabe, to tackle potential conflict between the park and the community. The village of Mahenye has since seen benefits accruing from its proximity to Gonarezhou. The Mahenye Charitable Trust set up by the directors of Chilo Gorge funds projects identified by the village areas from donations from guests and friends of the lodge. Lodge visitors not only see the splendours of the animal kingdom in the park, but can also experience the rich Shangaan culture at first hand.
Things to do
• Guided morning & evening game drives
• Guided walks & walking trail to Chivilia Falls
• Game-viewing river cruises
• Mahenye Village cultural experience
• Overnight stay at the lodge’s tented camp in the park
• The Chilojo Adventurer — 3-day fly-camping safari to the Chilojo Cliffs
• Day trip to Chilojo Cliffs with gourmet picnic at the cliffs & sundown game drive heading back to the lodge
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