Covering an area of over 42,000 square kilometres, the Niassa Game Reserve is the largest protected area in Mozambique, equivalent in size to Wales or the entire state of Massachusetts. Now, whether you’ve travelled to Mozambique specifically to go on safari or even if you’re relaxing in one of the many luxury Mozambique hotels, for example, the Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort, you owe it to yourself to take a trip to this fantastic game reserve.
The Park’s History
The Park was originally founded in 1954 when Mozambique was still under Portuguese rule. However, it did not receive official protection until the end of the brutal Mozambican Civil War in 1992. Unfortunately, during this period much of the park’s wildlife was extirpated by both soldiers and poachers. Still, numerous conservation efforts have been implemented by the government since then and now the Niassa is starting to show signs of its former glory.
Dense woodlands cover most of the park with the Miombo Tree dominating – in fact, the park is one of the largest Miombo woodlands in the world. There’s plenty of savannah areas in between these dense thickets and they make for the best game viewing areas. The Macula Mountain, which reaches heights of up to 1,440 meters, towers over the rest of the park.
Since being granted protection, the park’s wildlife has shown promising signs of recovery. Perhaps Niassa’s greatest success story is its thriving population of African painted wolves – over 350 of these endangered animals roam the park today. In addition to this, there are healthy populations of cape buffalo, wildebeest, zebra and leopards.
Future Expansion Plans
For as large as the Niassa Reserve is, there’s a plan in motion to expand it even further. The idea is to connect the northern part of the Niassa with the Selous Reserve of Tanzania, thereby creating a wildlife corridor between the two countries.