Mozambique: Gorongosa National Park Opens Back Up
When I visited Mozambique a
few years ago, villagers
on Gorongosa's borders were
already embracing alternatives to
traditional slash-and-burn farming.
One of the most memorable trips I have taken for Condé Nast Traveler was to Mozambique a few years back (read "A Once and Future Eden" from the December 2007 issue). The country was spectacularly beautiful, with barely developed tropical islands in the north and south (and some of the best diving I have ever experienced), vibrant cities like Maputo with its Afro-Portuguese influences, and huge tracts of park land at its interior. The richness of both the culture and the landscapes made Mozambique's devastating Civil War that much more poignant--although I was very heartened by the way the country was recovering.
One of the most inspirational of the places I visited was Gorongosa National Park, reputed to be the place where Noah left his ark and animals. Once a glorious wildlife retreat, it had been decimated by the war: most of the animals had been wiped out by the opposing armies who used them as bush meat. Even though the accommodation was very basic at the time, the place had an incredible amount of potential for eco-tourism. So I was very happy to receive word that after three years of restoration, the property has opened a new safari camp, the Explorer's Camp, with trips starting to run there with luxe outfitters like Caznove + Loyd. There are only four tents (so, a maximum of eight guests) with custom itineraries on foot to see the returning populations of elephants, lions and hippos (not to mention the amazing bird life) and to explore Gorongosa Mountain with its beautiful forest and waterfalls. I am so pleased that the destination is opening up for more visitors while being conscious of its impact.
* A Once and Future Eden: Recovered from a civil war and balancing the conservation of great natural beauty with sophisticated resorts, Mozambique is an African hope fulfilled
* Word of Mouth: The buzz worldwide