25 September 2012


O jornal Britânico "Sunday Times" publicou um interessante artigo sobre a Gorongosa escrito por Chris Haslam, que esteve durante algum tempo a visitar o Parque Nacional da Gorongosa.
O título do artigo é "Big Ears Strikes Back" e de acordo com Chris Haslam:

"O  PARQUE NACIONAL DA GORONGOSA é a maior maravilha de Moçambique — África em miniatura, com um ecossistema que parece ser o protótipo divino."

Este título encabeça o artigo integralmente transcrito no site oficial do PNG e que acabamos de receber através do Dr. Vasco Galante, que sempre nos mantém informados das reacções que os mais diversos órgãos de comunicação de todo o mundo têm tido nos últimos anos em relação aos progressos alcançados neste Parque a partir de 2004, altura em que o filantropo americano Greg Carr iniciou  ali um bem sucedido - e sem precedentes -, projecto de recuperação.
Dado o seu interesse, a seguir se transcreve o texto (na forma original) do mesmo artigo, recomendando-se a quem necessitar o uso deste tradutor:

The lions turned up
just after three in
the morning. Two
big males, right outside
my tent. Their
roaring had woken
the whole camp, but
nobody could move.
First off, these were Gorongosa
lions, which consider humans
legitimate prey, and second,
the pride had us surrounded.
I lay still, my wine-soaked
brain telling my adrenalinestoked
heart that lions. Never.
Enter. Closed. Tents. The roaring
stopped. Through the mesh door,
I could see their silhouettes,
slightly darker than the surrounding
forest. I could hear
their breathing: short, stressedout
grunts. I could smell their
fetid breath.
I reasoned that if I kept my
movements to a minimum, they
wouldn’t see me. Fool. They see
better at night than a police
surveillance helicopter, and their
sense of smell is acute enough
to distinguish perspiration from
cold sweat. But they never come
into closed tents.
The nearest of the pair probed
the canvas with a paw. Then he
pressed his nose against the
mosquito-net door. I could hear
the scratch of his whiskers
against the mesh, the tinkling of
the zip puller, the belated alarm
call of a thick-tailed bushbaby
somewhere in the trees above.
And it was then, with utter
horror, that I realised I hadn’t
zipped the net door shut. This
was not a closed tent.
is Mozambique’s greatest wonder
— Africa in miniature, with an
ecosystem that looks like the
divine prototype. In the north,
the 6,000ft walls of the Gorongosa
massif force easterlies from the
Indian Ocean to rise, condense
and fall as rain, watering 1,550
square miles of dense forest,
wetland, open savanna and lake.
In one day, you can find
shades of the Congo, the Mara,
the Okavango and the Mountains
of the Moon.
Naturalists call it Africa’s lost
Eden, and in the late 1960s, it was
reputed to be the finest national
park on the continent, with more
predators than the Kruger and
denser herds of ungulates such
as wildebeest and buffalo than
the Serengeti. Hunting was
banned in 1956, and celebrities
such as John Wayne and Tippi
Hedren flocked to Chitengo camp
to experience a new style of safari
on which nothing got shot.
Gorongosa came through the
war of independence untouched,
and in 1976 it had the largest
population of lions anywhere in
Africa. Then, in 1981, it all went
wrong. Civil war broke out and
the park became a battleground
between the Frelimo government
and Renamo rebels.
Chitengo was destroyed, tens
of thousands of mines were laid,
and air and artillery strikes
shredded the forest. The wildebeest
were slaughtered to feed
the troops. The elephants were
poached for their ivory. Only the
waterbuck were unmolested —
their inedibility being their
greatest asset. By the end of the
war, in 1992, populations of some
species had been reduced by 90%
or more — of one buffalo herd
numbering 14,000, fewer than 50
had survived, and of the masses
of blue wildebeest, there were
just five traumatised individuals.
The people had suffered, too:
Gorongosa’s lions and crocodiles
had grown fat on the flesh of
refugees. Villager Joao Antonio
recalled his family’s flight after
being chased away by Frelimo
forces. “It was a dark night. My
aunt was carrying my baby
sister. We were running because
the rebels would kill us if they
caught us. I heard my aunt
scream, then the lions.” He
paused. “We did not stop.”
In 2000, a chance introduction
at a New York cocktail party
brought the American philanthropist
Greg Carr face to face
with the Mozambican ambassador,
Carlos dos Santos. Carr,
who had made his millions
selling voicemail systems to
business, accepted an invitation
to visit Gorongosa, saw the
potential and immediately
pledged $500,000 to rebuild the
place. That figure soon became
£16m, in return for a 20-year shot
at resurrecting the park.
Its recovery has as much to do
with nature’s capacity for selfrepair
as it does with Carr’s cash.
He relocated herds of buffalo
from the Limpopo national park
and from Kruger in South Africa,
and brought in elephants,
hippos, blue wildebeest and
cheetahs. The zebras returned,
followed by the antelopes.
The infrastructure, however,
remains reassuringly basic.
There are just two camps — the
rebuilt Chitengo, at the park
entrance, and Explore Gorongosa,
where I stayed, which has just
six tents, bush toilets and the
shambolic feel of a research
camp. Come at the end of dry
season and you’ll have a chunk
of Africa the size of Suffolk to
yourself. Most of it is inaccessible
and, in recent times, unexplored;
this is no place for those who
want to tick off the Big Five, then
return to a luxury camp for a spa
treatment. It’s a park for those
seeking raw, unchoreographed
Africa — a home for beasts who do
not yet know their place.
By late November, the Sungue
River is a necklace of shrinking
pools on a serpentine ribbon of

dust. Covered in a dense rug of
Nile cabbage, these ponds are
death traps for the unwary.
“Be very quick and very
careful,” said our guide, Jeff
Trollip, as we tiptoed around one.
“Don’t for Christ’s sake fall in.”
From the high rocks, baboons
were watching hopefully, like
safari tourists waiting for the
kill. The blackened backbone and
ribs of a zebra, exposed by the
dwindling water levels, attested
to the presence of a monster croc
that could explode from the
water with terrifying speed. By
mid-morning, however, the
pools were too hot for the crocs.
We followed tracks up the
bank and into the forest. The
darkness was tangible, the leaf
litter scattered with fallen trees
and huge logs. One of those
logs had a glint in its eye. And a
sawmill mouth of yellow teeth.
Outside of Australia, she was
the biggest crocodile I’d ever
seen, and she considered
our company a threat.
The feeling was
entirely mutual, but
the standoff was cut
short by elephants.
The herd was so far
away that only Alfonso
Bereira, the tracker, could hear
them, but there seemed to be a
pressing need to get back to the
safety of the vehicle before they
arrived. “They’re not hostile,”
Jeff lied. “But they
remember what
people did to
them in the war.”
Fleeing one herd,
we met another. The
adults were tuskless —
possibly the result of an
emergency evolutionary response
to poachers — but lack of ivory
didn’t mean lack of aggression.
The adults formed a defensive
circle under a sausage tree,
dragging the toddlers inside with
twitching trunks, grunting and
farting in fear.
Suddenly a young female
charged the vehicle, her acceleration
proof enough that this
was no feint. Jeff sped away,
stopping 200 yards down the
track, but she kept coming
— and coming — until
she had pushed us a good half
a mile from the herd.
Back at camp, Jeff was called
away to deal with an uninvited
guest. He was pale-faced and
wide-eyed when I caught up
with him, carrying a plastic box.
Inside was a 6ft snake, a black
mamba that had moved into
an outbuilding. Catching it had
been trickier than he had
thought, and the trickle of
venom on his face showed how
close he’d come to getting nailed.
The release was an African
botch job. We drove three miles
from camp to let the snake go —
mambas possess an uncanny
homing instinct — but before
the awkward moment of opening
the box, someone asked Jeff
what his plan was in the event
that he got bitten. Radio? Helicopter?
Antivenom? He waved
a dismissive hand. “If I get
whacked, it will take more than
an hour for a heli to get here,”
he replied. “I’ll be stiff by then.”
Predictably, the furious snake
headed straight for the vehicle
when released — and arrived
back in camp 48 hours later.
This first day in camp brought
other surprises: a python in a
thorn tree, a suicidal monitor
lizard making repeated attempts
on a crocodile’s eggs and a sunset
over Lake Urema pixelated by
tens of thousands of flocking
waders. Over dinner, we discussed
the threats facing Gorongosa
— poaching, deforestation
and Chinese mining interests
in the mountains that could
disrupt and contaminate the
Then I asked about lions.
Where were they? It was a dumb,
touristy question, and it got the
smartarse guidey reply.
“Oh, they’re out there,” said
Jeff, peering into the darkness.
“They’re probably watching you
right now.”
Yeah, right. I finished my
wine and went to bed.

Chris Haslam travelled as a guest
of Aardvark Safaris

Travel brief:
Aardvark Safaris

(01980 849160, aardvarksafaris.
co.uk) has a four-night stay at
Gorongosa, with three nights at
the White Pearl resort, on the
south coast, from £3,245pp,
including flights from Heathrow
to Beira via Johannesburg,
light aircraft transfers into the
park, all meals and game drives.
Or try Rainbow Tours (020 7666
1250, rainbowtours.co.uk) or
Abercrombie & Kent (0845 485
1565, abercrombiekent.co.uk).

Once devastated by war, a national park in Mozambique is now
again teeming with (rather terrifying) wildlife. By
Chris Haslam
(fim de citação)


Embora a informação e algumas observações contidas neste artigo sejam a repetição de muitas dezenas (ou mesmo centenas) de anteriores artigos, documentários cinematográficos, programas de rádio e televisão, entrevistas, crónicas, etc., a verdade é que este jornalista soube também enquadrar  expressões que merecem  todo o destaque porque são um autêntico hino de enaltecimento às maravilhosas condições do Parque Nacional da Gorongosa:

                 - É a maior maravilha de Moçambique
                 - É a África em miniatura

                 - Tem um ecossistema que parece ser o protótipo        

Fonte de inspiração de muitos escritores, poetas, fotógrafos, cineastas, jornalistas ou simples amantes da natureza, a beleza selvagem da Gorongosa, não obstante os massacres da sua fauna  de que foi vítima nos anos de guerra civil, que lhe roubaram mais de 90% deste importante recurso natural, a verdade é que continua pujante  graças ao conjunto de ecossistemas únicos que a sustentam e ao esforço humano que ali é desenvolvido. Não admira, pois, que continue a inspirar as pessoas sensíveis, como este jornalista!
Saudações amigas!
Setembro, 2012

Celestino Gonçalves

Ver no link abaixo o vídeo da libertação da cobra mamba citada no texto:
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of those


“One of those
logs had a
glint in its eye
and a sawmill
mouth full of
yellow teeth”