Overview – Niassa NR

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Bradt guidebooks to African destinations, including the guide to Mozambique.

Philip is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Bradt guidebook to Mozambique.

Philip is the author of the Bradt guidebook to Mozambique.

Niassa National Reserve is the largest conservation area in Mozambique and Africa’s third-largest wildlife sanctuary. It borders Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania without fences, so animals move freely around this vast combined area. It’s one of the most impressive ecosystems in Africa. Tourist facilities are, however, minimal and the only lodge has closed.

Best Time to Go July to October (Animals are easier to find)
High Season Never (Little-visited park)
Size 42,000km² / 16,216mi²
Altitude 146-1,269m / 479-4,163ft

Pros & Cons

  • Pristine, unspoiled wilderness
  • Total exclusivity
  • Good wildlife viewing and superb birding
  • No accommodation at present
  • Remote and difficult to get to
  • Animals are skittish and the wildlife density is quite low

Niassa NR Safari Reviews

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Wildlife

Although wildlife isn’t that easy to spot, there is plenty. Four of the Big Five are present (rhinos are locally extinct). There is a healthy elephant population, around 20,000. Buffalo are less common. Predators are sometimes difficult to spot and lion sightings are hit-and-miss. Wild dog is well represented in Niassa. Common primates include yellow baboon, vervet and blue monkey. The Lugenda River is home to lots of hippos and crocodiles.

Scenery

Miombo forest covers half of the reserve, making this one of the largest tracts of miombo in the world. The remainder is mostly open savannah, with some wetlands and isolated patches of forest. The scenery is dominated by the Lugenda River and immense granite domes rising up from the surrounding plains.

Weather & Climate

Niassa’s climate is hot and tropical. Temperatures are quite uniform throughout the year, but they peak in October and November, just before the rains. The Wet season, from November to April, is very humid and thunderstorms are common in the late afternoon. The coolest months, from June to August, offer comfortable travel conditions.

Best Time to Visit

As is usually the case, the best time for wildlife viewing is from the middle to the end of the Dry season (July to October), when animals congregate around drinking water and the bush is thinner. October, the end of the Dry season, sees a rise in temperature and humidity, which can be too extreme for comfort. The park might close from December to April.

Want to Visit Niassa NR?

Niassa NR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • User Rating
    0.0/5
    0 Reviews
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Striking scenery in a vast isolated reserve
3/5

Arriving by small aircraft at Niassa Reserve was quite overwhelming. I hadn’t expected something quite as dramatic. Big granite domes rise up from the plains with the Lugenda river meandering through. We were staying at the only lodge in...