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Gorongosa Mountain is an isolated peak which rises spectacularly out of the surrounding plains. It is sacred in local traditions, while for birders it is the only site in southern Africa to see the Green-headed Oriole and one of only four for Swynnerton's Robin. Birding groups typically spend a single day here, but a longer visit, taking in more of the habitats, is likely to add significantly to current knowledge of the avifauna of the site. More than 250 species have been recorded on the mountain and immediate vicinity and 100 species on a day trip is possible.

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Specials

Green-headed Oriole, Swynnerton's Robin, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Black-and-white Flycatcher. The taxonomic status of the Greater Double-collared Sunbird which occurs on the more open slopes is uncertain. Originally, thought to be the Miombo Double-collared Sunbird, it has recently tentatively been declared an isolated subspecies of the Greater Double-collared Sunbird, and may yet be declared a distinct species.

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Habitats

A dense lowland woodland with riverine thickets at the base, cliffs, scrubby slopes and montane forest higher up, and montane grassland at the peak.

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Facilities

Accommodation and camping is available in the Gorongosa National Park (60 km from the mountain). Overnight camping on the mountain can be arranged.

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Birding

Birding is generally limited to the route up and down the mountain while in search of the Green-headed Oriole.

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General

Access to Gorongosa Mountain is dependant on making arrangements with a local guide. The usual route is up the north-west slope of the mountain, leaving from the village of Canda about 15km north of Gorongosa town. The usual routine is to pick up the guide, pay respects to local traditions (including a ceremony and some small gifts), and then to drive about 15 kms up the mountain, park at a disused quarry and walk up or drive to Mangwana (near Morrumbodze waterfall). From here one hikes the remaining 7km or so to the forest. Its a steep uphill climb and time depends on the fitness level of the group.

Trips can be arranged by contacting Mangwana tours at or www.ecomangwana.com. The cost of an all day guided hike is R120 and half day is R60 per person. Porters can be arranged for a small additional fee.

Alternatively, bird guide Simba Munyambo is based in Gorongosa NP and can be contacted on 00258 826090421 or for trips up the mountain.

Guy Gibbon 2008
Vincent Parker 2001



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