Alan Murphy
Australia AU

Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.

Category: Alan Murphy's Column

This week Alan has a look at safari possibilities in Mozambique. Not traditionally known for its safari experiences, things are changing here...fast.

You know it wasn’t that long ago that Mozambique was mired in civil war – a terrible civil war. Another former Portuguese colony gone wrong (think Angola). But how times have changed and in a few short years, new life is being breathed back into wild areas.

Safari-goers do not usually think of Mozambique as a destination – understandably. It doesn’t really have the wildlife variety or density, the access or facilities of wilderness patches in neighbouring countries. What it does have is adventure, a genuine remoteness and some beautiful bush to explore.

And...there are birds...Of approximately 900 bird species that are found in the region, 600 make their home here to the delight of birdwatchers. Marine life is a highlight too with dolphins, five species of turtle, humpback whalers and dugongs all calling waters offshore home.

National Parks to Explore
The country’s most accessible park is Gorongosa National Park, once one of the finest in the region. However, war and poaching saw animal numbers decline dramatically.  Since the mid 90s rehabilitation has seen the animals returning. Likely spottings on safari here include waterbuck sable, elephants, hippos and especially, birds – over 300 species.

Limpopo National Park, now part of a transfrontier park with neighbouring Kruger, has a lovely bush setting. But nip through the border post into Kruger if you want to increase your chances of seeing animals.

There are other national parks (six in all) and wildlife reserves – some are being restored, others left to the will of the gods. At the moment dense vegetation, a lack of facilities and their remote nature continues to deter access.

The Niassa Reserve, scraping Tanzania, has the largest animal populations in the country. The problem is they are bloody hard to find! It’s a big chunk of wilderness hiding elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards, zebra, wildebeest and even African wild dogs. But really...good luck spotting anything here...

Calling all Hardcore Adventurers...
So, Mozambique will suit adventurers just fine. Perfect country for those who like to get right off-the-beaten-track. If you’re less experienced, just make sure that you come prepared. The bush here is serious stuff.

With ongoing rehabilitation works, returning animal populations and improved access, Mozambique could once again join southern Africa’s safari circuit. If...and it’s a big if...if authorities can keep the poachers at bay.

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