Maputo Special Reserve is one of earth’s most endangered ecoregions, despite being the one of the 36 biologically richest. An essential component of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area, it contains not only lakes, wetlands, swamp forests, grasslands and mangrove forests but also miles and miles of pristine coastline. Famously, this is the place where it is possible to see two of Earth’s largest mammals, elephants and whales in the same day!

A very memorable moment of 2021 played out in Maputo National Park when the very first cheetah were released into the wild here. After years of work by Peace Parks and partners preparing the ground for these vulnerable carnivores, the historic moment of release was especially significant as it shows just how far the park has come in its rewilding programme. Only a decade ago there were very few animals to be seen here, but it now teems with species of all sorts, from impala and zebra to buffalo and elephant. Bringing back predators like these cheetah will help to rebalance the ecosystem over time by managing the large numbers of herbivores that now live there.

2022 will see the continuation of this cheetah translocation programme with even more of these beautiful cats released into the reserve. The hope is to help cheetah as a species to grow in number and in doing so, take them off the endangered species list.

Another exciting first will be the opening of another lodge that will offer accommodation for eighty guests on a magnificent site overlooking the Indian Ocean. Guests will be able to enjoy an affordable experience in a setting designed in sympathy with the environment. Its dining areas sit right on the white-sand beach, just over the dunes. Guests can enjoy meals under canvas or pull a chair out to sit back and enjoy starry African nights as they listen to the gentle lapping of the ocean. It will be a major tourist drawcard to the region, benefitting the communities through employment opportunities.

Keep watching Peace Parks TV to see how Maputo National Park continue to flourish.