September 22, 2010
Signor Charles Perreira knows the layout of Gorongosa National Park better than anyone. He has been a game scout there since 1972.
In the late ’70s he had to join the government Frelimo forces in order to protect the park against Renamo resistance fighters intent on poaching elephant ivory to fund their guerrilla-style war against the so-called legitimate government. Captain Rui Antonio Francisco fought on the opposite side and was responsible for lugging ivory across the border to sell to white Rhodesians/Zimbabweans. By a quirk of fate the owners of a fantastic new bush camp employed both these men at the outset of a project designed to restore a once great animal haven. They have become big amigos, sharing a tent and ciggies, and all their stories of the past are now coming out.
Mozambique is the fastest growing economy in Africa, and the restoration of Gorongosa with the help of Gregg Carr’s innovative foundation and others’ dedication is receiving lots of attention. Perreira and Rui are now working together on this regeneration project; it’s maybe a little fanciful to claim that their reconciliation is all down to the restorative powers of nature, but it certainly makes an uplifting story!
In the 1960s more people visited this park than the Kruger in South Africa. There is some wonderful footage shot in 1963 which you can see at the park headquarters of a brand new Mercedes saloon being driven around on rather unusually smooth tracks! The place is teeming with game: there may be only thirty or so lions remaining (I saw two of them recently) of the five hundred which once roamed the plain, but the bio-diversity here is superb with no fewer than eighteen species of antelope. As there’s only one authentic bush camp in the park, you’ll have the place to yourselves, if you make the journey here to the bottom of the Great African Rift Valley.
Rob and Jos host you at their camp in Gorongosa. Few have even heard of the park, which is now undergoing an amazing renaissance. The range of eco systems is huge. It is scenic –a rejuvenation project of immense proportions, and what a story: this is real, wild Africa. The beds and linen are of a high quality, but you shower and ablute in the open air, and there are only four tents. Rob is good fun — a top guide who likes to take guests on walks as well as fly-camps to the more remote corners of the park. As it is a dry-season park, you can visit between mid April and early December only. Best accessed via Beira from Johannesburg.
Bumping down the track to this beach you really do feel lost in Africa. But what a place when you arrive: a beautiful crescent-shaped cove with ten big cottages strung out in the dunes behind the powdery sand. Very eco-friendly and mainly solar-powered, this relaxed-style hideaway has a great atmosphere. You can dive from the beach, kayak in nearby mangrove swamps, see fishing villages and whales or travel a bit further to the UNESCO site, the Ilha de Mocambique, and marvel at the past wealth of the Portuguese empire.
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- Travel snippets from Miles
- A Sense of Place – THE INSIDE TRACK on Cape Town guiding
- A Sense of Place – Migrations of people and beasts: East Africa
- A Sense of Place – An era of revolution and global alliances
- A Sense of Place – A walk on the wild side
- A Sense of Place – The ghost ingredient is back
- A Sense of Place – Liuwa Plains and Kafue National Parks – Zambia
- A Sense of Place – Literati in the Pink City, the Capital of Rajasthan
- A Sense of Place – A Tamil town still connected to Europe, Art Deco architecture, and temple antiquity in Southern India.
- A Sense of Place – Dreamy aquamarine sea and stunning safari with the Makuleke people
- A Sense of Place – A trio of lovely ladies in Hyderabad
- A Sense of Place – Entamanu, the wishing tree and walking with the Hadza tribe.
- We get you to places that others don’t… St Helena, Gt Zimbabwe ruins and Papua new Guinea
- A Sense of Place – Walking in the hippie hills of the Himalayas
- A Sense of Place – The Okavango: the river that never finds the sea
- A Sense of Place – The Great Rift Valley, Laikipia, Samburu warriors and Maasai Olympics.
- A Sense of Place – Escape the world in the Namib Desert
- Africa is a massive continent: a collection of 55 countries
- A Sense of Place – Zambezi Watery Wilderness
- A Sense of Place – Burma: the road beyond Mandalay
- Lake Malawi – Would you rather pay for the advertising or the experience?
- From shoe-shine boy to tourist guide in Ethiopia
- A Sense of Place – Ladakh, the Himalayas
- Dhow sailing, Lions are back in Malawi, Self-drive in Namibia
- Sacred rivers and forts, India
- Piranhas, sting rays, caimans – and still people go into the River Negro!
- Kerala, Southern India – God’s own country
- South Africa: Crucible of the rainbow nation
- Madagascar: croissants and lemurs
- Argentina vs Africa on wildlife drama
- Uganda – Gorillas and Gardens
- Mozambique & Kenya: immigration official on holiday
- Mozambique: Gorongosa and reconciliation in the bush
- Zimbabwe is ready for Tourists again
- Serengeti ecosystem and unbeatable savannah
- Lamu: crab complaining
- Kenya: circumcision
- Zambia: Ellie rescue
- Africans: always smiling
- French sketch
- Kenya: the best hosts
- First visit to Africa 1986
- Namibia, Namib Rand, Skeleton Coast and the ultimate flying safari
- Elephant relocation, quad bike expedition and new Sossusvlei reserve
- Templed out in Tamil Nadu and elephant refuge in Jaipur
- Kenyan sanctuary and family run camp in Zambia
- Australia: Arkaba, Tasmania and Lord Howe Island
- Australia: in the outback and off the beaten track
- India: heavenly Himalayan hideaways, Botswana: fun safari for children and Argentina: hidden homestay in a mountain desert
- Limpopo retreat, Serengeti spectacle and adventure on the Zambezi
- Value for money in Kenya and the trail less travelled in Peru
- Lions in danger, free nights and a new coastal gem
- G and T on demand, hidden beach, micro-light and sleeping on a dam
- Off the beaten track