Known in Mozambique as the ‘Park for Peace’, Gorongosa is one of Africa’s last true wild places with the greatest wildlife restoration story. When the war ended in 1992, the landscape was devastated and more than 90% of Gorongosa’s large mammals had disappeared. Efforts were made to rehabilitate Gorongosa after the war but it wasn’t until 2004, when American philanthropist Greg Carr partnered with the Mozambican government to restore the park, that it started coming back to life. The Gorongosa Restoration Project has worked with the Government of Mozambique for the past 20 years to restore wildlife to the Gorongosa National Park, in what is perhaps the greatest restoration success in Africa.
A unique conservation and restoration success story, Gorongosa National Park has returned from the brink, thanks to its varied terrain, the richness of its soil, and the blessings of plentiful rain. Gorongosa boasts a remarkable variety of different ecosystems, each with its own “cast of characters”. After several surveys, some of the world’s leading scientists have declared Gorongosa to be one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.
Visiting the park is one of the best ways to support conservation, the local communities, and the long-term future of this incredible and important wildlife area. We will have unique behind-the-scenes experiences, whilst being able to meet and interact with the team that manage the park on the ground. Hopefully various members of the team will join us throughout the course of the week to provide deeper insight into what it takes to conserve such a vast area of wild Africa. Join Natural World Safaris on this one-of-a-kind, expertly guided trip to see at first hand how this resilient park has recovered from its dark past. This trip is specialist-led by expert Rob Janisch.
This trip will provide participants with a full insight into the diligent work being carried out by the Gorongosa Restoration Project. You’ll have the opportunity to have behind-the-scenes access and meet with scientists conducting critical research plus several conservation heroes. You will also likely participate in hands-on collection of data, contributing in a tangible way to the research. Your participation in this trip will contribute to the Gorongosa Restoration Project and in turn, to some of the projects, initiatives, and departments listed below.
The Gorongosa Park Girls’ Club
Mozambique’s female literacy rate is less than half that of males (28% vs 60 %) and data shows that only around 11% of girls in Mozambique continue to secondary school. This initiative provides a safe and encouraging environment for young girls to study, learn life skills, explore career options, and receive mentoring from young women. As a result, girls grow into educated women who are eligible for employment.
The Wildlife Vets
Gorongosa is proud to have the first wildlife veterinary unit operating full-time in a national park. The wildlife vets work alongside several projects (pangolins and painted wolves to name a few), and as necessary aid in animal captures and relocations. Subject to animal needs on the day, we hope to meet some of the team of vets and if possible, join them out in the field.
The Pangolin Rehabilitation Centre
Labelled as the most trafficked mammal in the world, Pangolins are under immense threat that could lead to extinction. The goal of this project is to protect and conserve this species. With the help of the rangers and vets, pangolins are rescued from poachers and brought to safety at the rehabilitation centre. Once at the centre the animals are assessed, cared for, fed and when the time is right, released back into the wild.
The E.O Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory
The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory is a modern scientific research facility. The lab is crucial in helping guide restoration efforts of Gorongosa and as well as other protected areas of Mozambique. Furthermore, the lab offers long-term research and training opportunities in biodiversity documentation, ecology, and conservation biology to Mozambican and visiting researchers and students.
The Gorongosa Wildlife Rangers patrol over 11,900km2 of habitat to stop the illegal trade in wildlife (mainly ivory, pangolins, skins and bushmeat) and timber. In addition to patrolling the landscape, the ranger team - which comprises more than 260 men and women who are also trained as law-enforcement officers - are also instrumental in educating the local communities.
Day 1: Arrive Beira
Upon arrival in Beira, you will be met and transferred by charter flight to Chitengo. Later in the afternoon, enjoy your first introductory game drive and sundowners over the floodplain. Overnight at Montebelo.
Day 2 - 3: Game viewing and Conservation
Enjoy these days viewing game and participating in conservation activities, staying at Montebelo.
Day 4: Montebelo - Wild Camp
After this morning’s game viewing, in the afternoon you will head out on a drive and walk to Wild Camp where you will spend the night.
Day 5: Wild Camp - Muzimu
After your sunrise coffee, you will depart on foot out of Wild Camp. You will enjoy a bush brunch along the way before eventually arriving at Muzimu Camp. This afternoon you will be driven to the Pungwe River for exploration along the riverbank and visit to Vinho village with a community team member. Sundowners will be enjoyed in a remote spot beside the Pungwe River before heading back to Muzimu for the night.
Day 6: Muzimu Full Day Game Drive
Today is a full day game drive, with a picnic lunch so you can explore further afield, returning to Muzimu for the night.
Day 7: Walk along the Mussicadzi
Today you will explore on foot along the Mussicadzi River before spending the night at Muzimu.
Day 8: Muzimu - Beira
This morning you will have the option of one last game drive before your charter flight back to Beira where you’ll continue with your onward travel home.
*Please note this is not a fixed itinerary, things may well change on the ground to give you the best experience on any given day.
NWS arranged for travel writer Michelle Jana Chan to go to Gorongosa Mozambique in 2019, you can read about her journey here.
Montebelo Gorongosa Lodge
Formally known as Chitengo Safari Camp, this lodge is a hub of activity within Gorongosa National Park. Many of the parks management team and conservation projects are based close to the lodge and its location gives you easy access to the EO Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory, among others. The lodge, which strives to preserve ecological integrity, comprises 33 bungalows and villas, a bar, open-air restaurant, two pools and a spa. Guests will enjoy a varied menu consisting of international and traditional Mozambican cuisine. The chef includes a variety of locally sourced organic vegetables, providing even fresher and healthier meals while contributing to the economic development of local communities. There are also vast gardens around the lodge frequented by the local warthog population. While on safari, sightings of lion, elephant, hippo and antelope are not uncommon and of course the amazing birdlife.
Wild Camp Gorongosa is an authentic and exclusive bush camp offering guests the opportunity to experience an African safari reminiscent of the by-gone era. This simple eco-camp is set up in remote and untouched areas of the mighty Gorongosa National Park. There are 6 spacious canvas traditional A frame tents featuring comfortable beds, solar bush lighting and an en suite outdoor bathroom, with hot water bucket showers. Guests dine under the stars to the backdrop of animal and bird calls and share stories around the campfires in the evenings.
A simple but beautiful lodge located on the banks of the Mussicadzi River comprising of six well-appointed Bedouin-style tented rooms, a bar, alfresco lounge and large pool. Each of the canvas tents has an en suite bathroom and a large wooden deck strategically positioned to offer guests comfortable seclusion and privacy yet also perfect for afternoon birdwatching or monkey spotting. Facilities in each tent include tea and coffee-making facilities, a ceiling fan, safe and hairdryer.
|02 - 09 Sep 2024