Saturday afternoon in front of the sport on TV? Not likely for the rangers and crew that make up the Peace Parks team in southern Africa. Uwe Muhl and Dolf Botha, who both work in Maputo Special Reserve, have picked up a tourist report that a tree has fallen across the track. It could be down to an elephant or a strong wind but whatever the cause, the fact is it needs to be moved from the track so that vehicles can pass safely. Dolf has brought his family out too, and little Eloff seems to find the whole operation quite fascinating.

Keeping the tracks clear is just one tiny part of the varied job undertaken by rangers working in the reserve, because accessibility to different areas is vitally important for effective conservation management and counter-poaching activities.

Maputo Special Reserve is a kaleidoscopic paradise within the Mozambique component of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area. Boasting pristine lakes, wetlands, grasslands, coastal forests and many miles of untouched shoreline, the reserve is one of earth’s 36 most biologically rich and endangered eco-regions. This means that it not only has immense conservation value, but also unending opportunities for tourism.

Through a partnership agreement with Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC), Peace Parks is helping to realise this remarkable potential. Tourism facilities such as Anvil Bay Chemucane and Montebello Milibangalala Bay Resort are a lifeblood for communities, who find meaningful employment here. They also receive 20% of the reserve’s revenues to reinvest into their communities.

A new initiative by Peace Parks Foundation is looking to create unforgettable experiences and behind-the-scenes insights to guests. These experiences will enable travel partners to thrive while also generating funding for both conservation and communities. Watch

Tourists Sleep Inside Baobab Tree to learn more about this.

But is it not only humans living in this area that are benefitting from the reserve, wildlife populations are also thriving thanks to rewilding efforts that have seen more than 4 600 animals being reintroduced into the reserve. Elephants feel particularly at home. The reserve was originally established as the Special Elephant Reserve in 1960 in order to protect the unique population of coastal elephants.