In the wet season, the valley floods and the many different soil types washed down create a unique variety of distinct eco systems. Grassland, patches of acacia trees, savannah, dry forest on sands and seasonally rain filled pans. There is even a spectacular rainforest at the base of a series of limestone gorges.
Such a diverse range of habitat at one time supported some of the densest populations of all Africa, including carnivores, herbivores and over 500 bird species.
During the extensive civil war conflict, large mammal numbers were impacted and the ecosystem stressed. Since 1992 the park has been undergoing an extensive restoration to its former glory and despite flood and drought setbacks Gorongosa’s excellent guides can still reveal the park’s exceptional flora and fauna.
Located within the Zambezi basin in the southernmost part of the Great Rift Valley, the Gorongosa National Park was once considered the Serengeti of Southern Africa. After 15 years of civil war, wildlife populations were severely diminished but recent restoration projects are beginning to re-establish the park back to its former glory. Spanning 5,250km², the park is perfect for experienced safari lovers seeking a true wilderness experience off the beaten track. Situated within the Zambezi basin, the area is predominantly low-lying and intersected by a series of waterways which support interesting and diverse birdlife. The vast flood plains are dotted with acacia savannah, dry forests and termite mounds in contrast to miombo and montane forests on the plateaus. The northern horizon features the impressive Mount Gorongosa; the forested peak reaching 1,862 meters in height, to which day trips and hikes can be taken to view the eagerly sought after endemic green-headed oriole.
Since animal populations were nearly completed wiped out in the 1970’s, restocking since 1994 has ensured good populations of oribi, reedbuck, waterbuck and thousands of warthog. Predator populations are also in recovery, with a few lion prides and male coalitions residing, however sightings are not everyday occurrences. Elephant herds and bulls are regularly encountered and offer great viewing as there are relaxed with tourists. Hippos and crocodiles are common in the rivers whilst the floodplains offer good sightings of zebra, antelope, monkeys and baboons. Despite low mammal abundances, the real highlight is for bird lovers as Gorongosa is home to 500 species, including the endemic collared palm thrush and spotted creeper. The riverine forests and vast floodplains are the ideal spots, making the Gorongosa one of the most rewarding bird watching destinations in Mozambique.
Guests can rediscover this pristine wilderness by getting up close during walking safari, or by slowly drifting down the waterways in a canoe surrounded by hippos and crocodiles. Game drives can be enjoyed in an open Land Cruiser during the dry season when the floodwaters have receded. Some lodges offer village visits in addition to safari experiences.
The Big 5 Safari company is a supporter of the The Zambezi Society and support its vital conservation work and anti-poaching patrols.Discover