Image by Pete Turner Getty Images
Though Gorongosa’s infrastructure is still being rehabilitated after the ravages of the civil war, and animal populations can’t yet compare with those in other Southern African safari destinations, the wildlife here is making a definite comeback: you’re likely to see impalas, waterbucks, sable antelope, warthogs, hippos, crocodiles and perhaps even elephants and lions. Another major attraction is the birdlife, with over 300 species, including many endemics and near-endemics and abundant waterbirds in the wetlands to the east around the Urema River.
A wildlife sanctuary has been created in the park, where restocking of zebras, buffaloes, wildebeests and other animals has begun.
Just as much of a highlight is Gorongosa’s unique and beautiful mixture of ecological zones, with jade-green floodplains, savannah, woodlands, forests of fever trees, stands of palm and hanging vines. Within its 5370 sq km it encompasses the southernmost part of the Great Rift system, the hulking Gorongosa massif, expanses of coastal plain and the Zambezi valley, and is considered to be the most biologically diverse of all Mozambique’s conservation areas. The park’s rehabilitation also involves a strong community-development element, and the chance to see some of this work is another draw.