Highlights and main attractions of Gorongosa National Park

Gorongosa, meaning 'place of danger' in the indigenous Mwani language, was once one of the most prestigious and well-developed safari destinations in Africa, boasting the highest densities of game on the continent. The wildlife and infrastructure of the park were decimated during the Mozambican Civil War, which lasted from 1977 until 1992 and dramatically reduced the number of animals within Gorongosa; the zebra population was reduced from an estimated 3,500 individuals to just nine.

Since it was reopened in 1998 the park has undergone an ambitious restoration project, which has been widely hailed as a remarkable conservation success story. Herds of elephant, buffalo and zebra have been reintroduced, and the largest population of waterbuck in any of Africa’s protected areas can now be found grazing in the parks floodplains.

Gorongosa National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the world, and is home to a number of endemic bird species.

Where is Gorongosa National Park?

The Eden of Africa

Located on the southern tip of the Great Rift Valley and covering an area of 4,000km², the rich floodplains of Lake Urema in the centre of Gorongosa National Park have given rise to diverse ecosystems, from open savannah grassland to montane rainforests, which at one time supported the densest wildlife populations in Africa. During the 1960’s and 70’s, an estimated 200 lions, 2,200 elephants, 14,000 buffalo, 5,500 wildebeest and 3,500 hippo were recorded in the park, which was referred to by visitors as ‘the place where Noah left his Ark’. 

Today, the scars of conflict are still visible in Gorongosa, but there are encouraging signs of recovery for many of the wildlife species. The Gorongosa Restoration Project was launched in 2004 by the government of Mozambique and the US-based Carr Foundation, with an aim to restore the park to its former glory while benefiting the local community through ecotourism. Entrepeneur and philanthropist Greg Carr, the owner of the foundation, has pledged up to US$40 million towards what is fast becoming one of the most forward-thinking conservation projects in Africa. The rainforests that once carpeted the slopes of Mount Gorongosa have been replanted, and improved security and reintroductions have dramatically increased the populations of elephant, lion and zebra residing in the park. The restoration project has been so remarkable that in 2011 prominent biologist EO Wilson declared that Gorongosa was “the most diverse park in the world.”  

MUCH OF GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK REMAINS UNEXPLORED, WITH NEW PLANT AND ANIMAL SPECIES STILL BEING DISCOVERED.

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