Maputo National Park is recognised as one of the top 36 most biodiverse yet endangered hotspots in the world. With the development of tourism plans and strong wildlife protection efforts, this remarkable place is fast becoming one of southern Mozambique’s flagship conservation areas. Incorporating both terrestrial and marine protected areas, this ecosystem supports a vast array of species from endangered marine life such as dugongs, leatherback and loggerhead turtles, and apex predators such as cheetah.
Forming a vital part of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area, Maputo National Park is a biologically rich region due to the diversity of habitats that are contained within it. This includes coastal, sand and mangrove forests, freshwater lakes, grasslands, wetlands and coastal dunes, and the marine protected area that stretches 18 nautical miles out to sea. Seeing both terrestrial and marine life return to this incredible eco-region is something to celebrate as the hard work has been a decade in the making.
Rewilding lies at the heart of what Peace Parks and the Government of Mozambique strive to achieve. It has the potential to mitigate climate change, restore balance to disturbed ecosystems and increase the local economy through tourism opportunities. Rewilding efforts in Maputo National Park began 12 years ago when the first animal translocation took place. Since then, nearly 5 000 animals have been translocated to Maputo National Park, including 11 species that had become locally extinct.
The conservation team working in Maputo National Park regularly spots large herds of elephant and buffalo and an abundance of plains game such as wildebeest, zebra and giraffe, to name a few. Of particular interest is that many of these animals have youngsters in the herd, a strong indication of healthy growth in populations.
The picture post-card beaches in Maputo National Park are also important nesting sites for leatherback turtles. More than 77% of turtle nesting sites in Mozambique are found within this protected area.
With wildlife now thriving under the protection of Maputo National Park’s dedicated rangers and with further plans to develop tourism infrastructure underway, this conservation area is set to contribute to the local communities through employment opportunities that will improve the economic prospects in the region, as well as serve as a guardian over the natural heritage of this beautiful land.
Keep watching Peace Parks TV to see what exciting plans are in store for Maputo National Park this year.