Bret Berger’s and my’s recent trip (July 2017) to Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique,was coordinated by the Carr Foundation. Greg Carr, founder of the foundation, is a high school friend of Bret’s and his foundation has a 20-year agreement to manage Gorongosa NP.
While in the Park, we stayed at the lodge near the entrance. The accommodations and food at the lodge made our stay very pleasant.
The foundation’s stated goals for the Park are:
- Protect its biological heritage,
- Increase scientific understanding,
- Enable nature-centered media creation for education and inspiration,
- Create good jobs for people who live near the Park, and
- Enrich visitors with adventure, aesthetic and spiritual experiences.
While visiting Gorongosa, we were introduced to some of the foundation’s projects designed to accomplish the above goals.
Our specific project was to add playground equipment to a nearby primary school. It was an extension of goal 4 to improve the lives of “the people who live near the Park.” Toward that goal, we helped with the installation of a swing set and climbing tower.
We also went on 4 short safaris to view the animals and general environment in the Park. We had the same guide for 3 of the 4 trips. He was very informative, funny, and served a tasty gin and tonic. His best joke was: “the impala in the park are also referred as nadi which stands for ‘not another damn impala.'” (Okay, maybe you had to be there to appreciate this attempt at levity.) These safaris are an integral part of goal 5. Having said that, I don’t remember having any particularly “spiritual experiences,” probably a character flaw on my part.
We were also introduced to some of the Park’s scientific activities (goals 1 and 2). Their science officer showed us their expansive efforts to identify and categorize the plant and animal diversity in the Park. The foundation also has agreements with several US universities to do research in the Park.