Southern Mozambique’s Maputo National Park is considered one of the most biodiverse yet endangered regions on Earth, offering visitors a wide range of habitats to explore. From its white, sandy beaches, freshwater lakes, grasslands and riverine forests to a marine protected area that stretches 3 nautical miles out to sea, visiting Maputo National Park is truly a nature-lovers dream come true. Not only is the scenery stunning, but each habitat here supports a host of different species thanks to successful rewilding efforts.
Maputo National Park also includes the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay Transfrontier Conservation Area, which links up with South Africa’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site and this holds one of the many drawcards to this spectacular place – visitors can explore both the bush and the beach on the same day.
Below the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, there is more than meets the eye, and a whole new world awaits those willing to take the plunge. Besides being one of the most important nesting sites for endangered leatherback and loggerhead turtles in Mozambique, rare dugongs are also protected here, along with several shark species, such as gestating Ragged-tooth sharks on the Santa Maria reefs, as seen in the video above. These waters are also home to the largest population of giant trevally, a species of large marine fish, in the entire world.
Back on land, the endless grassy plains and forests are now home to many different terrestrial animals – the result of successful translocation programmes implemented by the Mozambican Government and Peace Parks Foundation since 2010. By 2019, more than 4600 animals were translocated into the park, including eight species that had become locally extinct. The success of these rewilding programmes has had a massive knock-on effect in helping to increase the biodiversity within the park.
Peace Parks Foundation has been supporting the development of Maputo National Park since 2002 through infrastructure development, wildlife protection and counter-poaching training as well as the rewilding of many species that went locally extinct. It has now been twenty years of ground-laying work implemented by the foundation and Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas, and excitedly, this park is finally bearing the fruits of that labour.
With wildlife now thriving under the protection of the park’s dedicated rangers, this beautiful piece of paradise is well on its way to becoming one of Mozambique’s flagship national parks.