As part of the Mozambican component of the Limpopo Transfrontier conservation area, Zinave National Park has, finally, a brilliant future ahead. After decades of devastating war and uncontrolled poaching, it is now recovered in a joint effort of ANAC and Peace Parks Foundation.
Inhambane province is known for its amazing beach sites such as Tofo, Pomene, Vilankulos, etc, and the Zinave National Park is the cherry on top of the cake! The province of Inhambane – famous for its crystalline beaches and immense sandy beaches, will have in the future a differentiated tourist attraction joining the safari game experience in the Zinave National Park.
Not everything is easy, yet. The path to the park is a very challenging one, although spectacular. The exit of EN1 is in Mapinhane, about 50kms south of Vilankulos. It begins with a 210 km journey till you reach the entrance the park. These 210 kms can be done in 5 hours, a little more if you are very careful. It is not an easy road, but it has its charm. Up to Mabote is 120 km, check the fuel tank in Mapinhane, as it is frequent the lack of gas stations outside the EN1.
From Mabote to the entrance of the Park, there are 90 Kms of narrow road with some sand. For that reason it is essential to make the trip using a 4×4 vehicle. When you arrive at the gate of the park, you will be welcomed with open arms by the staff of the Reserve who celebrate each new visitor! Now isn’t that a treat
The park has more than 400,000 hectares! There is a sanctuary that was created with a little more than 20,000 hectares, fenced, where animals are being placed that arrive from other places. The plan is to slowly release these animals out of the sanctuary in a programmed and balanced manner to their natural habitat.
The sanctuary is big and there is plenty of water, so the animals have plenty of space to walk. The northern part of the sanctuary is bordered by the Save River, which adds an even greater charm to its landscape.
At this moment, the sanctuary has almost 200 elephants, more than 600 buffalos, hipos, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, several species of antelopes and a huge variety of birds. At this time of year (April) the vegetation is exuberant, but it is still possible to see many fauna in activity. During the dry season (in the months of October / November), the park gains a more beautiful scenery because the animals flock together in the smaller lakes so that they can drink water. So you can imagine all the animals coexisting in the same environment!
.Authorities will continue to restock animals in May, June and July and it is a never-ending proces. However, that will certainly make Zinave National Park one of the most populated wildlife parks in Mozambique.
Zinave National Park tours may include accommodation
In terms of accommodation, there is one camp available, modest but charming. There are campaign tents overlooking the Save River and it is also possible to take your own tent. The camp has bathrooms and hot shower, but you should bring food and drinks with you. Sleeping 10 meters away from the hippos will surely be a memorable experience.
And to end this amazing trip, there is that 4×4 adventure we mentioned above because we have to make our way back again, those 5 or 6 hours of chopping. If you have are truly into wildlife, you like road-trips, and have enough time, Zinave is definitely a place to visit. Otherwise, I recommend you wait another year, as soon as the road from Mapinhane to Mabote is recovered, everything will be easier.