Gorongosa National Park (GNP)

Gorongosa National Park (GNP) is a conservation area in the heart of central Mozambique. From very early on the Gorongosa region, for its landscapes and biodiversity, attracted hunters, explorers and naturalists. It was in 1920 that a reserve of hunting was created, with about 1000 km² by the Mozambican company. In 1935 when Sr. José Henriques Coimbra was appointed administrator of the reserve, it was increased to 3200 km².

In 1960, The Gorongosa was, named National Park by the Portuguese Government. Following this changes, Gorongosa noted significant improvements such as the construction of roads and other infrastructure. Also in the late 60s, a South African ecologist, Kenneth Tinley, conducted the first scientific studies in the Park.

Later and due to the Civil War that occurred in Mozambique (1981-1994), violence in and around the GNP increased, which resulted in the closure of the Park and that it was abandoned. This area was, during 9 years, stage of numerous battles (terrestrial and aerial) that caused that all the constructions were destroyed. Due to war and poaching, populations of large mammals (Elephants, Hippopotamuses, Buffalos, Zebras and Lions) suffered a large reduction (about 90%).

In 1994, after the war, and with the help of the African Development Bank (ADB), efforts were made to start rebuilding the infrastructure of the Park and help restore wildlife.

The Park, as we know it now, opened in 2008 with a Public-Private partnership of 20 years between the Government of Mozambique and the Carr Foundation (Gorongosa Restoration Project). The Carr Foundation is an American non-profit organization that, together with the Mozambican Ministry of Tourism, has been leading the GNP Restoration Project since 2004, creating a multidisciplinary team that works together to find solutions to the challenges Conservation and development.

GNP’s main objective is to protect and preserve the beautiful wild nature of Mozambique and as such have been working on four main areas (click on the links to know more):

 

 

The team of the Park is made up of more than 70 people, who work daily in order to obtain the best results of Park management and conservation of all existing species. Greg Carr and Bernardo Beca Jofrisse are part of the management committee of GNP and Mateus Mutemba is currently the Administrator.

The Gorongosa National Park is known as one of the most special and beautiful places in Africa. Due to the soil richness and abundant rainfall, Gorongosa has a huge variety of ecosystems, and it is possible in each of them to find different species, each with its own history.

One of the most emblematic species with a particular history is the Fever Tree (Vachellia xanthophloea). This is a tree that grows in wetlands near waterways, where mosquitoes with diseases such as malaria proliferate. It was then common for people living in the communities present in these areas to contract malaria and to manifest symptoms of the disease such as fever. However, it was thought that these symptoms would be caused by this tree, by the use of the water present in the surroundings, and it was named Fever tree.

Joana had the opportunity to witness all these ecosystems and shared many of the  photographs she took during the safaris.

Joana, Thank you so much for the photos!

Curiosities

  • Due to the poaching that the GNP elephants’ suffered for their ivory at the time of the war, the remaining individuals have very small or even missing the preys.
  • Some of the elephants are more aggressive in the presence of humans due to war memory.
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