Maputo National Park is born from the unification of the Maputo Special Reserve and the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, the new park integrates into wider conservation areas such as the transboundary conservation area of libombos, which includes areas in South Africa and Eswatini, and also into the Maputo environmental protection area.
The Park is located in the Matutuine district, about 100km from Maputo city (province and capital of Mozambique).
From October to March, the Park opens at 06:00 and closes at 18:00. From April to September, it opens at 07:00 and closes at 17:00. No entry is allowed after 16:00, without being duly authorized the telephone coverage is limited so that inside the park you have 100% connection with nature.
Inside the park you can find accommodation in the Chemucane tip and the Milibangalala. But there are also many accommodation places along the coast to the south and north of the reserve. From Santa Maria to Ponta do ouro and you can also enjoy its wonderful beaches, white sand dunes. If you go during the whale season you can contemplate them jumping into the sea, you will see the orange coloured sand, don’t be alarmed, they are giant-eyed crabs walking on the surface.
The park combines beautiful landscapes, dunes covered with green or bald dunes, lagoons among them are the lagoon Xinguti, Munde, piti, zuali and others. Going from the main road the Xinguti lagoon is the first lagoon found inside the park, where you can see crocodiles, hippopotamus and several species of birds.
Lagoa Xinguti is in front of the camp of the same name (xinguti), this camp is inside the forest if you like the bush, this is the ideal camp to stay. The vegetation that covers the camp is home to birds, you can hear various types of bird songs, songs of hippos during the night.
From the fire place you have a wide view of the lagoon and can contemplate the wonderful sunrise, at night you see the stars, the natural light of the moon piercing the branches of the trees, the sound of the wind, the noise of the water when the hippos are walking is all very natural and so exciting.
We will exchange experiences around the fireplace, talk about the Mozambican culture from the life that our ancestors had, the traditional dances, the games, the traditional drinks and local beverages, the typical gastronomy and more.
We will have enough space and time to listen to you, at the end we also like to know about your culture and exchange experiences and ideas. This moment is special for us because with your tales we can do the exchange without having to travel.
In the morning safari we will pass the Xingui lagoon to see hippos, crocodiles and birds. There is a place inside the park called MIRADOURO that combines the highest mountains of the park, beautiful landscapes, lagoons and plains where we can see herds of wildebeest, zebras, and more animals.
The park has more than 250 elephants, more than 10 species of birds, many antelopes and more … The fauna and forest plants that release oxygen and contribute to the enrichment of biodiversity and those that contribute to soil fertility. Various types of plants are seen, of which there are hundreds, those that produce wild fruit, some of which humans can eat. Some fruits are used to make juice and traditional drinks such as marzipan, canhu etc. The canhu is a typical fruit from the South African savannahs and it is from this fruit that the amarula drink is produced. This fruit appears during the summer season and when it is ready it turns yellow and the elephants, monkeys and giraffes when they eat this fruit become thick.
The road inside the park includes dirt roads and other roads are sandy, so it is recommended to go in 4×4, attention if it is the first time to go to the park it is relevant to take the map. You will always get it in the office when you pay the entrance fee, leave it around because you will need it, inside the park there are tracks without signs and most of them don’t have a net.
You can’t go to the park and come back without stopping at the xinguti lagoon to watch hippos, crocodiles and birds. The xinguti lagoon is more or less 20km from the fute entrance, as we drive we pass the elephant’s plain with luck we can see them and we pass the forest where we can see inhala, bush hen, red goat etc. the road is of ups and downs where the forest ends subresai in an open space and a sign welcoming you with a symbol of a crocodile biting person, looking well at the space you will see a mirror reflecting the forest around, this mirror is water from the xinguti lake, we have a strategic point where we will stop and get off the car for picnic and contemplate the hippos, crocodiles and birds. Being there your mobile phone has network and the internet works. You can take photos to share the excitement with your contacts in real time.
Hippos are mammals with very little hair and therefore cannot produce their own temperature, in winter they spend most time in the forest and in summer they spend most time in the lagoon, they can walk under water and can stay up to 10 minutes under water and when they take their head out of the water with their nose they throw water in a jet. Hippos live in families. Each hippo family is dominated by a male, so the males have the habit of marking their territory by defecating and loosing their faeces in all directions with the help of their tails.
Hippopotamus is a herbivorous animal, feeding on grass and plant leaves. They leave the lagoon at night silently to graze and in a solitary way can walk for miles in search of food and return at dawn entering the lagoon singing.
The hippopotamus is responsible for producing diatoms in African rivers and in the large lakes where the rivers flow. In this environment aquatic life is reproductive mainly for the most important fish in human nutrition.
In the Xingui lagoon hippopotamus share space with crocodiles
The adult male crocodile can be up to 4.2m long and weigh 220 to 750kg, the adult female can be 2.4 to 3.8m long and weigh 40 to 250kg.
The life expectancy of crocodiles is 50 to 60 years and during gestation they can lay 25 to 80 eggs. The female’s eggs are laid in nests in the sand and the young take 11 weeks to 14 weeks to be born. In the water they reach a speed of 30 to 35 k/hour. An adult crocodile has the strength to capsize a canoe with people, many fishermen who go fishing in the lagoons and rivers fall victim to crocodiles.
Even animals like impalas, inhalas and other antelopes are caught by surprise and want to quench their thirst. When the adult crocodile is very hungry it sometimes attacks other carnivores like cheetah, tiger and even lion but often the crocodile loses the battle.
The size of the prey depends mainly on the size of the crocodile, the young ones feed on small preys, small fish, frogs and even insects and small aquatic invertebrates, amphibians and small reptiles.
Not to be left behind are the Piva, an African antelope of the bovid family. It is common to see Piva near ponds, with a brown or greyish coat; the males have long, spiralling horns and a white circle on the back, which is why it is called the Half-moon Cape, Water Cape, Declining Cape etc.
The Piva is an herbivorous animal, the adult male can reach a height of 1.5m and weighs up to 235 kg. These animals move in herds of 12 to 30 animals. The males spend most of the time apart from the females except at mating time. The female’s gestation period is 8 months and they give birth to their young in hot weather. Their main predators are lions and tigers, the waterbuck is a good swimmer so it runs to the water when it senses danger.
On our safari we will have a picnic break at the Xinguti lake. The park administration has chosen strategic places for the construction of the bath houses and the placement of tables and benches in the Xinguti lake. We will be sitting so as to contemplate hippopotamuses in the water and a diversity of birds such as the black stork, a bird with black plumage, long red legs, a red beak, black eyes and a white belly. Its diet is fish and other aquatic creatures.
The black stork prefers to build its nest in tree tops, preferably acacias and far from human civilization. It can lay up to 3 eggs. Their incubation takes 20 to 30 days. Young storks leave the nest after 55 days.
Storks reproduce in groups, they usually build their nests nearby and when mating time comes, if the males do not find females in their nests, they leave the nest and go in search of another flock and other females.
An adult stork can have a distance between the ends of its wings open of 95 to 105 cm, and can weigh from 2 to 4.5 kg. The life expectancy of the stork is up to 19 to 20 years.
Two minutes away from the Xinguti lagoon is the second plateau of the elephants, where we will have exciting encounters with inhalas, black-faced monkeys, red-headed goats, bush pigs, etc. We will also have a fascinating encounter with African wild boar, also called facoquero or Pumba, this animal resembles a bush pig due to its dark grey plumage, the two snouts in its mouth and the half-square head. But if you pay close attention there are many things that distinguish them. Both animals are mammals, the wild boar has the habit of raising its tail when it runs, the famous wi-fi antenna, but the bush pig does not. Wild boar’s geographical distribution and inhabit savannas and feed on plants, roots, berries, tree bark and occasionally carcasses.
Boars live in small groups, where females live with their young and other females. The males live alone, they meet the females in the breeding season and start at 6 to 7 months of age. Gestation for females takes 170 to 175 days to birth 1 to 7 young, the young are weaned at 21 days of age. Boars use the mud to cool themselves and to protect themselves from parasites and insects.
Wild boars in the wild can live up to 7 to 11 years, while in captivity life expectancy increases to 20 years. The adult boar can be 64-85 cm tall and 90-150 cm long and can weigh 50-150 kg.
In addition to the fauna, forest and biodiversity of the park, there is a beautiful beach with blue sea and super clean from northeast to south of the park. If you go there during the months of September, October and November you will have the chance to contemplate the whales jumping in the sea. You will also be able to see giant eyed crabs on the shore of the beach. In addition, we cannot leave aside the turtles after they come out of the sea in the months of November, December and January to lay their eggs in their nests or in the holes they dig in the ground. Turtles seek to lay their eggs in safe places, where it is not easy for a threatening animal to reach.
Because the sea stretches from the northeast to the south of the park, we also find many places to stay for tourists to enjoy the virgin beach. The wonderful dunes on the beach are the natural walls that separate the sea from the forest, and also have the function of protecting the flora and fauna of the salt marsh.