Expert Reviews – Niassa NR
Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
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As remote as it gets
The main Mozambican component in the 150,000km2 Selous-Niassa Transfrontier Conservation Area, the Niassa National Reserve protects a vast tract of flattish miombo-swathed dry plains interrupted to thrillingly dramatic effect by a liberal scattering of black granitic inselbergs that rise hundreds of metres above the canopy, and flowed through by the perennial Lugenda River. One of the most important refuges for the endangered African wild dog, Niassa also supports large number of elephant, lion, leopard, hippo, warthog, Crawshay’s zebra, buffalo, bushbuck, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, impala, sable antelope, greater kudu, waterbuck, Niassa wildebeest and reedbuck. Poaching is a problem, however, and the vast size of the reserve, together with the dense woodland, mean that game-viewing is slow. Birding, however, is excellent. Niassa is probably the best site in Mozambique to see birds of prey, and it also hosts a good variety of aquatic birds and miombo specials, including the racquet-tailed roller, pale-billed hornbill, miombo pied barbet, Stierling’s wren-warbler and Arnot’s chat. The upmarket tented camp that serviced the park has closed, meaning that this remote reserve is now only accessible to intrepid self-drivers, who are likely to have it to themselves.