On a mission to film some park management activities in Maputo National Park, Nuno Francisco, Peace Parks Public Relations Specialist in Mozambique, and South African filmmaker, Pieter Uys head out on an adventure that takes them off tourist tracks and onto the lesser travelled roads.

There is, however, one obstacle that stands in the way of the pair and where they need to go, and that is what Pieter has named ‘The Bridge of Sticks’. Due to the road network in Maputo National Park being extremely limited and the terrain challenging, the park’s management team has had to come up with some innovative thinking when building bridges. As the name suggests, the ‘Bridge of Sticks’ is constructed of long, sturdy pieces of wood that have been intricately tied together to provide a temporary crossing over a stream that formed after some heavy rain.

Despite being a little hesitant about the crossing that lies ahead, Nuno assures Pieter that Brian Neubert, Peace Parks Operations Manager in Maputo National Park, who was responsible for overseeing the construction of the bridge, amongst other infrastructure in the park, always does things with the utmost care and precision. If Brian is involved, there is no need to worry!

After making it safely across, Nuno and Pieter’s first stop is to capture footage of the maintenance team fixing fences, which isn’t an easy task in this park’s ever-changing landscape. The fun and games aren’t quite over, as Nuno really takes Pieter off the beaten track, onto what looks like no track at all. They eventually make their way to where a team is removing invasive blue gum trees from the park.

The blue gum tree, commonly referred to as the Eucalyptus, is native to Australia and was planted in the area during the 1900s. The conservation efforts to remove these alien invasive trees from the park is an ongoing task due to their rapid growth rate. Not being a favourite on the menu with the local wildlife, guzzling water and reducing soil quality which makes it hard for indigenous vegetation to grow, there are many good reasons why these trees need to go.

If you would like to find out more about the removal of blue gums in Maputo National Park, you can watch this video.

Although Nuno and Pieter’s adventurous day of filming in Maputo National Park is over, the pair will soon be heading to Mozambique’s Zinave National Park to capture more ‘behind-the-scenes’ content of the work being done by the dedicated staff on the ground. We hope that sharing this content helps to connect you, our audience, with some of Africa’s incredible wild spaces and the wildlife that call it home!