Located in the heart of central Mozambique, covering over 4,000 km² (1544 m²), Gorongosa National park lies at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley. The valley is made up of a variety of different soil types, and frequent flooding and waterlogging have created a diverse range of ecosystems. Gorongosa National Park is mainly home to three types of vegetation – savanna, grasslands and woodlands – found throughout the entire park.
When Gorongosa National Park first opened over 50 years ago, it was the first of its kind in Mozambique. It was considered a safari mecca, containing some of the densest wildlife populations in all of Africa. However, during the civil war the number of large mammals was cut by 95% and the ecosystems were strained. In recent years, a restoration project funded by the Carr Foundation has been helping to renew the park and its game viewing. Due to these efforts Gorongosa National Park now has a range of wildlife including lions, elephants, buffaloes, zebras and monkeys. Hippos and crocodiles inhabit the park’s rivers and lake. Bird watching can also be plentiful with an estimated 400 species including the collared plum thrush, the green coucal and the spotted creeper calling the park their home.
Gorongosa offers private walking safaris, from comprehensive explorations of the park’s wilderness to special interest safari expeditions. There are also open game viewing drives, self game drives for those who prefer to drive their own vehicle and a variety of different tours offering visitors a taste of the beautiful landscape, including the Mount Gorongosa Waterfalls. Gorongosa National Park is fairly isolated, surrounded by rural areas and few villages. It is important for visitors to plan their trips carefully; however, the fact that it is somewhat off the beaten path makes it a wonderful wilderness destination.
Although the park is open year-round, the climate varies. The dry season, which runs from April to November, is the best time for a safari. During the rainy months, from mid-December to mid-March, the roads used for expeditions are generally closed due to flooding. The summer months, running from November through March, average 30-40 C (86-104 F) with high humidity. The winter months, from April through September, average 15-25 C (59-77 F). June, July and August are Mozambique’s coolest months.