Enter the land of lions, elephants, dugongs and whale sharks
With its fiery sunsets, palm-fringed beaches, and seriously good piri-piri, a holiday in Mozambique is hard to top. Add to that all the wonderful wildlife, and there you have it – the destination of your travel dreams.
From whales to whale sharks, lions, elephants, dugongs, and turtles, you’ll find no shortage of safari specials, some of which we celebrate during World Lion Day, World Elephant Day, and International Whale Shark Day in August.
While these observances serve as crucial reminders of the responsibility we have towards conservation, we can all do our part any time of the year, by supporting the country’s national parks in pioneering wildlife protection.
When you’re ready to witness all those beautiful bush beasts and curious creatures of the deep, here’s the inside scoop of where to go.
Maputo National Park
Wildlife highlight: Elephants
Proclaimed in December 2021 to incorporate Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine and Maputo Special Reserve, Maputo National Park stands as the country’s newest conservation area.
Measuring approximately 2 000 km², this wilderness wonderland is brimming with a treasure trove of wild game: hippos, crocs, giraffes, warthog, and wildebeest, you name it. Of course, the real stars of the show are those mega herds of elephants, often seen marauding through the park’s lush mangroves and grasslands.
Established to protect the country’s last remaining coastal elephants, the park supports around 400 of these large and loveable pachyderms, which are lauded as Mozambique’s national animal.
Gorongosa National Park
Wildlife highlight: Lions
A visit to Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique’s flagship national park, will reward you with lucky sightings of sable, waterbuck, buffalo, and plenty more elephants! If you want your lion sightings, this is just the place to witness Simba and his pride out on the prowl.
Step foot here today, and you might never guess that the park’s history has been a rollercoaster of a ride. After falling to ruin as a result of the country’s civil war, the local mammal population dropped by 95%, however, a 20-year-long rehabilitation programme has led to a healthy replenishment of flora and fauna.
Along with top-notch game viewing, the diverse landscape of Gorongosa is utterly spellbinding, and one that will quickly open your eyes to the importance of conservation efforts across the country. Ultimately, supporting places like these will only help make it better.
Wildlife highlight: Cichlids
Not yet familiar with Lake Niassa? Not many travellers are. As the Mozambican side of Lake Malawi, and Lake Nyasa In Tanzania, this gigantic freshwater lake often slips under the radar for visitors making their way across the country.
Pristine and remote (which is why we love it!), this hidden paradise boasts just over 500 endemic species of fish. It is also surprisingly well-known for its healthy and colourful variety of Cichlids – fish from the Cichlidae family.
Overall, Lake Niassa is just the place to escape the crowds and move with the pace of nature. The warm translucent water is perfect for swimming, and the eco-lodges located here punt a range of outdoor activities, such as canoeing, snorkelling, and dhow cruising.
When you’re just about ready to stray from the shoreline, take an opportunity to marvel at the baobabs, further exploring those lush tropical forests and secluded sandy coves surrounding it.
Wildlife highlight: Dugongs
Referred to as ‘I’bane’ by the locals, the coastal city and bay of Inhambane boasts a healthy bounty of birds, including those pretty pink flamingos. Twitchers, assemble!
Most will know it as being the home to a tiny population of endangered dugong, which shares celebrity status in these waters, along with green turtles and giant mantas.
As the gateway to Tofo and Barra, Inhambane is the go-to for water babies looking to swim in the company of the world’s largest fish: whale sharks. These endangered creatures are typically seen filter-feeding on krill near Tofo Beach, and the Bazaruto Archipelago National Marine Park further up the coast.
As long as you are comfortable in the water, and can snorkel, experiencing these majestic ocean beasts is easy and safe. Not to mention, utterly breathtaking. Since they don’t have a ‘season’ whale sharks can be seen every month of the year (if you’re in the right place at the right time).
Wildlife highlight: Humpback whales
Along with those slow-moving whale sharks, the pristine waters surrounding Tofo Beach support a healthy population of game and reef fish species (clown fish, parrot fish, and puffers).
Keep a keen eye on the horizon, and chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of bottle-nose dolphins ducking and diving through the waves. The animal action in Tofo cranks up between July and September when high-spirited Humpback whales make their much-anticipated arrival to calve their young.
When it’s time to leave the sunlounger behind and venture beneath the blue, you might just be lucky enough to hear the majestic orchestra of whale song. Fins, masks, and snorkels at the ready!
Bazaruto Archipelago National Marine Park
Wildlife highlight: Giant manta ray
This national park protects the five islands of the Bazaruto archipelago where whale sharks and giant manta come out to play, along with those rare and elusive dugongs.
While we don’t often confess to having favourites, Bazaruto sits at the top of our list, not only for its abundant marine life but because of its sheer variety of accommodation options. It’s also easily reached by air from Johannesburg in South Africa, via Vilanculos.
Should be on the hunt for your next Robinson Crusoe-style adventure mixed with a good dose of conservation and sustainability, this is the destination for you.
Mozambique is waiting for you!
Ready to witness Mozam’s wonderful wildlife whilst making a positive difference? We work closely with a range of resorts, lodges, parks, and projects executing on what they promise to bring about real change.
Whether you’d like to explore on land, at sea, or a bit of both, our team is here to help make that happen. Contact us for more information.