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December 07, 2009

Mozambique: Gorongosa National Park Opens Back Up

Mozambique
When I visited Mozambique a
few years ago, villagers
on Gorongosa's borders were
already embracing alternatives to
traditional slash-and-burn farming.

by Ondine Cohane

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.

Further reading:
* 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

Comments

A friend of mine is planning to visit Mozambique in July, combining the trip with the World up in SA. I've forwarded this post to him. Mozambique is really high on my bucket list; a safari in Gorongosa followed by a blissful week on one of the islands sounds just about right. :-) Thanks for sharing.

Cancun Omni Hotel & Villas:
This resort never ceases to amaze me. I just came back from our 9th trip last week. When I think "it can't get any better" it does! I worked in the travel business for over 25 years and have been to many beautiful places and I can honestly say no place in the world can compare to the Omni. When you arrive, the first thing you see are smiley faces welcoming you and making you feel at home. All of the services are outstanding; whether you're in the dining rooms, the lobby, the bars, the pools, the beaches and yes even housekeeping. They are truly caring and giving people and I don't think it's taught to them. I believe it comes naturally.
All of the beaches were restored in January and it's an absolutely breath taking view.
You can have breakfast in the main dining room, La Paloma, which has a buffet everyday or you can order from a menu. You can eat at Pina Coladas down on the beach with a breathtaking view of the ocean. You can have lunch poolside, in the main dining room or in Pina Coladas, overlooking the ocean with many delicious choices and many happy faces. They have great entertainment poolside every day where you play games and win prizes.
Dinner at LaPaloma's has a different theme every night. They have a buffet or you can order from the menu. On their Italian night the Chef cooks the linguine in front of you and you can have alfredo, garlic and oil or with a tomato sauce. It was so delicious. Now I save the best for last, dinner at DaVincis.The atmosphere is unbelieveable and the food is outstanding, as is the presentation. The desserts are like nothing you've ever seen or tasted. They are unbelieveable and delicious and very unique. The service as in the rest of the hotel is super.
One thing I'd like to add is that it's completely safe in Cancun. You can walk anywhere or take a local bus into town or a taxi and we do everytime we go.
I highly recommend this place as everyone does an outstanding job.
It doesn't matter where your room is as they all have beautiful views and are super clean. The only thing I don't like is leaving. Then I look forward to coming back the next year.
No place in the world has never made me feel at home and so comfortable.

Cancun Omni Hotel & Villas:
This resort never ceases to amaze me. I just came back from our 9th trip last week. When I think "it can't get any better" it does! I worked in the travel business for over 25 years and have been to many beautiful places and I can honestly say no place in the world can compare to the Omni. When you arrive, the first thing you see are smiley faces welcoming you and making you feel at home. All of the services are outstanding; whether you're in the dining rooms, the lobby, the bars, the pools, the beaches and yes even housekeeping. They are truly caring and giving people and I don't think it's taught to them. I believe it comes naturally.
All of the beaches were restored in January and it's an absolutely breath taking view.
You can have breakfast in the main dining room, La Paloma, which has a buffet everyday or you can order from a menu. You can eat at Pina Coladas down on the beach with a breathtaking view of the ocean. You can have lunch poolside, in the main dining room or in Pina Coladas, overlooking the ocean with many delicious choices and many happy faces. They have great entertainment poolside every day where you play games and win prizes.
Dinner at LaPaloma's has a different theme every night. They have a buffet or you can order from the menu. On their Italian night the Chef cooks the linguine in front of you and you can have alfredo, garlic and oil or with a tomato sauce. It was so delicious. Now I save the best for last, dinner at DaVincis.The atmosphere is unbelieveable and the food is outstanding, as is the presentation. The desserts are like nothing you've ever seen or tasted. They are unbelieveable and delicious and very unique. The service as in the rest of the hotel is super.
One thing I'd like to add is that it's completely safe in Cancun. You can walk anywhere or take a local bus into town or a taxi and we do everytime we go.
I highly recommend this place as everyone does an outstanding job.
It doesn't matter where your room is as they all have beautiful views and are super clean. The only thing I don't like is leaving. Then I look forward to coming back the next year.
No place in the world has never made me feel at home and so comfortable.

this is great!

this is great!

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