Tourism: Museum of Idaho organizing once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa
The “vision” statement of the Museum of Idaho is to bring the world to Idaho and Idaho to the world.
This August, the museum is literally bringing Idaho to the world by organizing a trip to Gorongosa National Park in the African country of Mozambique.
“This is something that we’ve never done before at the museum,” museum spokesman Jeff Carr said. “We believe that we exist to provide people with opportunities, hopefully educational, hopefully fun and interesting, that they wouldn’t be able to get on their own. That’s how we see this trip.”
This tour, offered by the museum for the first time ever, will afford as many as 20 adventurous souls a chance to explore the flora and fauna of a far-off land, as well as witness the restoration of a region of the world from decades of civil war.
The tour came about through a tie the museum has to the park. Museum of Idaho founder and Idaho Falls native Greg Carr is also the head of the Gorongosa Restoration Project.
“This is his life’s work now,” Jeff Carr said. “He has been involved in restoring the wildlife and doing all sorts of good stuff down there.”
Greg Carr reached out to the museum a few months ago with the idea of the museum organizing this trip.
“Gorongosa had in the past worked with a couple of organizations in Boise to plan trips and they had gone well, but there was nothing on this side of the state,” Jeff Carr said. “(Greg) reached out to us and suggested that we put something together.”
The museum organized the tour and planned for transportation and activities.
“This gives people an opportunity to go on safari and see lions and elephants and all this cool stuff,” Jeff Carr said. “And we facilitate it, basically.”
The trip will also give tourists a chance to witness the restoration of the Gorongosa area.
“For almost thirty years, there was war in Mozambique,” Jeff Carr explained. “It essentially destroyed the whole area of this park. This park had been, before the war, this big draw for luxury tourism.”
Unfortunately, the wars killed off most of the wildlife and devastated the entire environment. The country of Mozambique emerged from the wars among poorest nations on the planet.
However, through the work of people like Greg Carr and entities like the Gorongosa Restoration Project, the park area is recovering and even starting to thrive. Their efforts have paid off, as Gorongosa regularly receives rave reviews from the press. “National Geographic” even included the park on their list of “The 28 Best Places to Visit in 2019.”
Jeff Carr said that this tour will give people a chance to visit humanitarian facilities like schools and medical clinics that are being built for the project.
“It’s a very holistic project”, he said. “The idea is that the park could be an economic engine for the area. It could give people jobs and bring in tourism, which would help the country economically, as well.”
The Gorongosa adventure will provide first-hand evidence of how these efforts are coming to fruition.
“All of this restoration is what really makes Gorongosa special,” Jeff Carr said.
Along with the opportunities provided to those who make the trip, this Gorongosa adventure also opens new possibilities for the museum.
“We see ourselves as an educational institution that can be providing a whole breadth of possible opportunities and activities,” Jeff Carr said.
“We see this trip as a good fit. Why not? Why wouldn’t we do this?”
Travelers interested in joining this journey will need to provide their own Mozambique visa and arrange their own travel to and from Johannesburg, South Africa. They will also need to have money for any additional activities, souvenirs, libations and gratuities.
The trip includes seven days of accommodations, meals, safaris, excursions, and activities in Gorongosa National Park
travel between Johannesburg, South Africa, and Gorongosa National Park and hotel accommodations for one night in Johannesburg.