Gorongosa National Park, at the southern end of the Great Rift Valley, is one of Mozambique's recent success stories. The park once supported some of the highest concentrations of game anywhere in Africa, but much of the wildlife - in particular large mammals - was decimated during Mozambique's civil war.
Now, Gorongosa is gaining a new lease of life as an ecotourism destination, thanks to a major conservation and restoration project co-managed by the Mozambique government and the US-based Carr Foundation. Key grazing species, including zebras, wildebeest and buffalo - which previously maintained the Gorongosa ecosystems - are being reintroduced and this is enabling the park's impressive biodiversity to flourish once more.
National Geographic has described Gorongosa as a ‘Lost Eden'. Its grasslands are dotted with acacia trees and thickets of termite mounds, while another area features rainforest set beneath dramatic limestone gorges. Birds including storks, pelicans, hornbills, hoopoes and songbirds thrive here, as do butterflies, insects and amphibians. The numbers of large animals are increasing year or year and there are now 300 elephants in the park - a significant improvement from a low of 200, although there were once 2,000. Safaris are a great way to see the park and to learn about the conservation efforts.