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Niassa Province

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... is located in the Northeast region of Mozambique.

The main area of interest is the Niassa Reserve, a massive conservation area which extends to 42000 square kilometres and is the largest protected area in the country. It is twice the size of Kruger National Park and comparable to the total area of Wales, Denmark or Massachusetts.

The reserve is part of the Trans-Frontier Conservation Area which links to the Tanzanian Lukwika-Lumesule Game Reserve and will hopefully connect to the Lake Niassa Reserve in the future.

Founded in 1954 while Mozambique was still Portuguese East Africa, Niassa did not receive effective protection until the end of the Mozambican Civil War. Since then, the Mozambican government has set up management systems in order to protect the local ecology.

The reserve is part of the Eastern miombo woodlands, which also encompasses parts of Tanzania and Malawi. It is one of the largest miombo woodland preserves in the world, with forest covering half of its area. The remainder is mostly open savannah, with some wetlands and isolated patches of forest. Mecula Mountain, at 1441 metres, is a major landmark in the centre of the reserve.

The reserve is said to contain an African wild-dog population of over 350, significant for an endangered mammal with a global population estimated at 8000. Also present are a sable antelope population of over 12000, an elephant population of 16000, over 400 bird species, and large populations of Cape buffaloes, impalas, wildebeest, zebras and leopards. The area has three endemic species, the Niassa wildebeest, Boehm's zebra, and Johnston's impala.

Niassa is a very remote area, one of the most inaccessible and under exploited parts of the continent. The usual mode of access is by shared light aircraft charter from Pemba Town down on the coast. It is possible to self-drive, although the journey not being one for the faint-hearted, it takes around 12 hours from Pemba Town if things go well, you need a fully equipped safari vehicle and ideally a good handle of Portuguese.


Lugenda Lodge ... is the only real accommodation option in the reserve, way up in the north on the Rovuma River, overlooking Tanzania.
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