The Park - The rehabilitation of Gorongosa National Park in central Mozambique represents one of the great conservation opportunities in the world today...
The greater Gorongosa region is Ecologically Unique situated at the southern most end of the Great African Rift Valley; as a result it is a region with high species diversity and environmental features found nowhere else in the sub-continent. The key to continued biodiversity and habitat preservation on the planet is to protect areas of ecological importance, such as the Gorongosa National Park and the surrounding water catchments, such as is found on nearby Mount Gorongosa.
A Visionary Restoration Project - The Carr Foundation, a U.S. not-for-profit organization, has teamed with the Government of Mozambique to protect and restore the ecosystem of Gorongosa National Park and to develop an ecotourism industry to benefit local communities. In January, 2008, the Foundation signed a 20-year contract with the Government to co-manage the Park. This long-term commitment to work together followed a 3½ year period of restoration activities that were conducted under an initial Memorandum of Understanding.
Ecology - The ecology and history of the Park is fascinating, and provides an insight into the more complex socio-ecological aspects of Mozambique as a whole. Gorongosa National Park protects a diverse ecosystem that is defined by the life-giving rivers and underground aquifers that flow into the valley. The heart of Gorongosa, Lake Urema is an incredible natural phenomenon that is fed from nutrient-rich aquifers filtering down from hundreds of kilometers away. These bountiful water sources provide the ideal habitat for a multitide of wildlife, some found only in this region. Moreover, the ecology of Gorongosa is unique in that the vegetation varies from open grassy floodplains, through fever tree forests, palm thickets and mixed woodland, to Albida forests, Miombo-lined ridges, oxbow lakes and seaonal sodic pans. There are deep, bat-filled caverns and gaping limestone gorges; cascading waterfalls set in threatened cloud forest, and baobab-dotted broadleaf. As part of the ever-expanding Rift Valley, the Gorongosa system is constantly in flux, which makes it even more exciting as a living, breathing ecological treasure. The Gorongosa region is also situated in a very ecologically diverse setting between the lower Zambezi and Pungwe/Buzi river and delta systems..
Seasons - The weather at Gorongosa is – like the Park as a whole – something of a mystery. There is officially a wet season and a dry season, the longer latter season encompassing the bulk of the year from May through to mid-December, with the Park closed to all from late-December to late-February. However, as we are discovering this year, these seasons are not entirely rigid and fluctuate somewhat such that you can have rain in July and dry cold spells in February.
Park Facilities & Activities - The Park has a long history of providing an incredible setting for photographic safaris in Mozambique. Despite over two decades of conflict, much of Gorongosa’s infrastructure remains. The Park’s original headquarters in the south - Chitengo Camp - is also a public rest camp, comprising 18 comfortable air-conditioned cabanas as well as a shady public campsite and Chikalango, Chitengo's new and improved restaurant serving breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. There is a swimming pool in the camp - a welcome addition on hot summer's days! - and the camp is currently able to host conferences for up to 40 delegates. Currently, Chitengo offers guided game-drives and village visits although a series of fresh new activity offerings are in the pipeline.