Gorongosa National Park: The Return of a Paradise Once Lost
“Ecologically, the most diverse park in the world” is how one of the world’s leading biologists, Edward O Wilson describes Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. And that is exactly what you can expect when planning a visit to Gorongosa – a biodiverse paradise unlike anything you have witnessed before…
War-torn and broken…
Gorongosa started out as a small private game park and hunting reserve in 1921 after which it became so popular that it soon expanded to cover 3200km2. The reserve became Gorongosa National Park by 1960 and was one of the most exhilarating wildlife destinations in Southern Africa.
When war broke out in the 1980’s, Gorongosa was forced to close and the wildlife suffered dramatically. More than 90% of all the elephants in the park got caught in the crossfire or were poached for meat and ivory.
The revival of Gorongosa National Park
Since the arrival of American philanthropist Greg Carr in 2004, the wildlife population at Gorongosa National Park has risen from the ashes of the civil war in Mozambique. A multimillion dollar commitment and four years later the Gorongosa Restoration Project was formed and it was decided that Carr and the Mozambican government would jointly manage the park over a period of 20 years.
The Edward O Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory opened in 2013 near Chitengo Camp to index the thousands of species found at Gorongosa. Laboratories, lecture halls, a veterinary clinic and a palaeontology centre will also be opened in the park.
Gorongosa National Park has featured in two films – the 2010 Africa’s Lost Eden and 2012’s War Elephants. The park also featured in a National Geographic documentary series, Africa’s Wild Kingdom Reborn, which premiered in the USA in October 2014.
During your stay at Gorongosa National Park you can expect encounters with a large variety of wildlife such as lion, buffalo, waterbuck, reedbuck, hartebeest, kudu, nyala, and large herds of elephant. The park is also home to more than 400 species of birds including the White-headed vulture, African Marsh harrier, Grey Crowned crane and Saddle-billed stork.
Go on a three-hour guided game drive in the early morning or sunset hours for game spotting on Gorongosa’s road network. These drives will take you through several habitats as you look for lion, elephant and other game. Be sure to book game drives ahead or when you book your accommodation with Dana Tours as there is only limited space available in the safari vehicles.
If you own a 4×4 you can also go on a self-guided game drive after you’ve purchased your entrance permit at the park office in Chitengo. It is important to remain on designated roads at all times and never to leave your vehicle.
Other activities include a guided walk and boat trip to Vinho, a sundown drive and a Mount Gorongosa waterfall hike.
Girassol Gorongosa Lodge’s Chitengo Camp…
For the duration of your visit to Gorongosa National Park you will stay in a premium bungalow at Girassol Gorongosa Lodge that includes daily breakfast. That’s right! You’ll be treated like royalty… All bungalows have on suite bathrooms and mosquito nets to ensure that you enjoy a peaceful sleep at night. In addition to a fully operational restaurant, the camp also has a swimming pool for overnight guests – the perfect way to cool down after a hot day in the bush!
Want to know more about what’s on offer in Mozambique? Read the following blogs:
Hit the road…self-drive to Maputo
Ibo Island Mozambique: A piece of paradise on Earth…
Maputo Nightlife: Where to let loose in Maputo…
Things to do in Maputo
Four Reasons why you should visit Mozambique
Anantara Medjumbe: Barefoot luxury in the islands…
Gorongosa National Park
Discover the best of Mozambique
Mozambique Beaches: Tap your inner beach bum