Gorongosa National Park

Travel Guide Africa Mozambique Gorongosa National Park

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Introduction

Gorongosa National Park is at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley in the heart of central Mozambique. The over 4,000 square kilometre big park includes the valley floor and parts of surrounding plateaus. Rivers originating on nearby 1863-m Mount Gorongosa water the plain. Seasonal flooding and waterlogging of the valley, which is composed of a mosaic of different soil types, creates a variety of distinct ecosystems. Grasslands are dotted with patches of acacia trees, savannah, dry forest on sands and seasonally rain-filled pans and termite hill thickets. The plateaus contain miombo and montane forests and a spectacular rain forest at the base of a series of limestone gorges. This combination of unique features at one time supported some of the densest wildlife populations in all of Africa, including charismatic carnivores, herbivores and over 500 bird species. But large mammal numbers were reduced by as much as 95% and ecosystems stressed during Mozambique's long civil conflict at the end of the 20th century.

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Sights and Activities

Gorongosa is home to a large diversity of animals and plants - some of which are found nowhere else in the world. This rich biodiversity creates a complex world where animals, plants and people interact. From the smallest insects to the largest mammals, each plays an important role in the Gorongosa ecosystem. The Park includes termite mounds used as shade by bushbuck and kudu.

Many of the park's large herbivore populations were greatly reduced by years of war and poaching. However, almost all naturally occurring species - including more than 400 kinds of birds and a wide variety of reptiles - have survived. With effective management and reintroductions of key species, wildlife populations will regain their natural numbers and help restore the park's ecological balance.

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Cost

  • Per person (Non-Mozambican) - 200 Mt / 8 US$
  • Per person (Mozambican) - 100 Mt / 4 US$
  • Per car - 200 Mt / 8 US$
  • Per trailer - 50 Mt / 2 US$

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Getting There

For private air charters there is a licensed airstrip at Chitengo Safari Camp, with a landing length of 1,200 metres of hard earth. Advanced notification and authorization by the aeronautical authorities is required (from December to April the airstrip is closed due to the rains).

You can drive to the Park on the EN1 highway from Maputo or via the EN6 highway from Beira, which intersects the EN1 highway at Inchope. Both are tar roads. The 40 kilometres of EN1 from Inchope to the turn-off to the Park is high-quality tar. From there it’s another 11 kilometres east on a graded dirt road to the park gate. The 18-kilometre dirt road from the gate to Chitengo is drivable in a two-wheel drive vehicle with good clearance. Be advised that during the rainy season (November - April) the road is only passable using a four-wheel drive vehicle, and in particularly heavy rains may not be passable.

Even during the dry season, it is recommended to drive a 4x4 vehicle on the Park's roads and Game Drive Network. Driving a 2x2 sedan is not recommended for game drives because of the risk of getting stuck or damaging your vehicle. Four-wheel drive is essential for driving to the base of Mount Gorongosa or exploring any other rugged terrain.

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Eat/Drink

Chitengo Safari Camp has a reasonably priced bar and restaurant serving authentic Mozambican breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Breakfast is included in the price of the cabanas. Features many locally grown organic vegetables to support the local communities near Chitengo.

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Sleep

First constructed in 1941, Chitengo hosted thousands of visitors from all over the world until 1983, when Mozambique’s civil war shut it down. It was mostly destroyed during the war, but re-opened in 1995. Is now been restored with many modern conveniences. travel@gorongosa.net, tel (+258) 23-535010.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 12:06 on Sep 6, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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