Being a ranger is not for the faint-hearted. It requires being able to work tirelessly in remote and vast landscapes and demands family sacrifice too, as they are often away from their loved ones for long periods. One of the Maputo National Park rangers, Sergio Pachire, gives us some insight into what his daily patrols look like and the personal challenges that he had to overcome to continue his important work here.

One of the key tasks of any ranger working in a protected area is to spend many hours patrolling the park to keep the wildlife safe. In a place as vast as Maputo National Park, the road network is limited and only covers a small percentage of the park. Due to this, Sergio and his team carry out many of their patrols on foot which requires significant physical and mental endurance. During patrols, Sergio’s duties include looking out for signs of illegal activities such as poaching incursions and snares. Known as Africa’s silent killer, these wire traps are responsible for the injury and often slow and painful deaths of many of Africa’s wildlife.

Peace Parks Foundation has been involved in supporting the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area since its establishment and together with its long-term partner, Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC), have been instrumental in leading rewilding efforts in Maputo National Park. To date, over 5 000 animals have been translocated since 2010.

Maputo National Park is a biodiverse hotspot that includes four distinct cross-border protected areas between Mozambique, South Africa and The Kingdom of eSwatini. As this important conservation area transcends international boundaries, teamwork of the highest level is required from all sides. Sergio explains that his team often works with rangers from South Africa and that this collaboration has proven effective in finding and apprehending poachers.

With the protected area well-secured and the ecosystem flourishing, a core focus for Maputo National Park is now developing tourism infrastructure. Current accommodation options available to overnight visitors include the likes of 4×4 campsites and two 5-star lodges, however, Peace Parks Foundation and partners have been busy at work with the construction of the park’s newest and more affordable accommodation option Membene Lodge. This eco-friendly lodge will employ 24 permanent staff members from the local communities, offering decent work and economic growth for the people living around the park.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of rangers like Sergio, we can create a future in which humans can live in harmony with nature.