Stephen Cunliffe
South Africa ZA

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

Category: Sustainable Lodge of the week

The Gorongosa National Park restoration project is without doubt one of the most ambitious and outstanding conservation and sustainability success stories taking place in Africa today.

Conservation biology backed by the deep pockets of Greg Carr have been the driving forces behind the Mozambican park’s resurrection. The establishment of a permanent biological research centre in the heart of the denuded national park enabled a host of sustainability initiatives on the conservation side, including a herbivore reintroduction and monitoring programme, carnivore counts, fish surveys and vegetation mapping.

In response, wildlife is rebounding, eco-operators like Asilia have opened a new lodge and the park is quite literally rising like a phoenix from the ashes. The innovative Coffee-Under-Shade Project was initiated to address the slash-and-burn agriculture invading the park by attempting to steer local communities towards more sustainable livelihoods practices. This project runs in conjunction with other social initiatives, such as training farmers in more ecologically responsible agricultural methods as well as the funding of four new schools and a number of clinics.

The ground-breaking eco-renaissance taking place in Gorongosa National Park has made it a deserved member of the top 50 sustainable safari operations, as selected by David Bristow and Colin Bell for inclusion in their magnificent coffee table book: Africa’s Finest. If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of this eye-opening book, then you can order it here.

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