The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 October 2022
Without fanfare, a conservation success story is unfolding just over the border in southern Mozambique. If you are a lover of wild places, this may just be the best kept secret in southern Africa.
Park warden of Maputo Special Reserve, Armando Guenha, has been at the helm of the 1 040 km² Reserve since 2012, and says there was ‘very little game and species diversity in the beginning. Now things are completely different. Wildlife is being reintroduced and various community projects have uplifted the local community, while at the same time supporting conservation goals. The local community also receives 20% of annual park revenue, so they are seeing and feeling the worth of conservation.’
As we drive the thick sand tracks through Maputo Special Reserve, we spot plenty of wildlife en route. Various antelope species, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, hyena and more live peacefully in the park. We see elephant walking in the distance and bird life is prolific. There’s an atmosphere of old Africa and life following the rhythms of the earth.
The reserve was proclaimed as far back as 1932, specifically to protect the coastal elephants. Then in 1969, the area was found to have numerous endemic plant species so in 2010 the reserve’s borders were further extended. Only in 2015 did the first luxury lodge– Anvil Bay at Chemucane – open in the reserve, making it a coveted and accessible destination for wilderness lovers who fly or drive in. So while Maputo Special Reserve was proclaimed for the fauna and flora, it’s also accessible for conservation-minded humans to enjoy.
Story by Keri Harvey