Gorongosa National Park
Buffalo are being reintroduced to the park © PaulRae
Often referred to as 'the place where Noah parked his Ark', Gorongosa National Park was a popular tourist destination for the rich and famous back in the 1960s, when the area's abundant wildlife attracted stars like John Wayne, Joan Crawford, and Gregory Peck. The subsequent years of war and poaching decimated the wildlife count, but programmes have since been implemented to restore the park to its previous status as one of the richest wildlife refuges in the world.
The park contains a variety of terrain, but is dominated by savanna and grassland, alongside some woodland and impressive limestone gorges. With lush rainforest covering her slopes, the park now includes the verdant Mount Gorongosa, source of the life-sustaining rivers that traverse the reserve. The mountain is sacred to locals and features prominently in traditional folklore.
Even after being ravaged by 17 years of civil war and extensive poaching, Gorongosa National Park supports astounding biodiversity, with 398 bird species, 122 mammals, 34 reptiles and 43 amphibians that have been documented. Comfortable lodgings are available for visitors, and game viewing highlights include elephants, buffalo, lions, crocodiles and zebra.
Transport: There are traversable roads to the park from both Beira and Maputo, but it is advisable to make this trip in a 4x4 vehicle.
Opening times: Park is closed between mid-December and mid-April.