Niassa National Reserve - Area Information
Niassa National Reserve, Niassa, Mozambique
Niassa National Reserve was first established in 1954, but was abandoned during the hostilities of the 1970s and ’80s. After the peace accord was signed in 1992, the new Mozambican government took a bold, innovative step, entering into an arrangement to manage Niassa Reserve as a public-private partnership. Since assuming responsibility for the reserve in 1998, the SRN (Sociedade para a Gestão e Desenvolvimento da Reserva do Niassa), together with is partners at Flora & Fauna International, has made great progress in putting Niassa back on the map, with some highly progressive policies on adaptive environmental management and community-centered sustainable development.
This is The largest conservation area in Mozambique, the Niassa Reserve covers parts of Cabo Delgado Province and nearly one third of Niassa Province and is twice the size of the world-famous Kruger National Park. This huge wilderness preserve, covering 42 000 square kilometers, is only just being discovered and contains by far the greatest concentration of wildlife in Mozambique.
Niassa provides visitors with an experience of pure wilderness that is almost impossible to find in the world today. Untouched and virtually unexplored, it is one of the last vestiges of the wildness that characterised the African interior centuries ago. It was on Mecula Mountain that Paul Von Lettow Vorbeck and his men held up towards the end of the incredible First World War East African Campaign against 1.5 million allied troops. Little has changed over hundreds of years here and, while never densely populated, the region has been inhabited for thousands of years, and many of the communities living in the reserve rely on traditional skills such as iron smelting, fishing and honey gathering. The wildlife remains free and unfettered and the results of an aerial census in 2002 estimated over 12 000 elephant, 9 000 Sable Antelope and several thousand Cape Buffalo. Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, eland and zebra roam the plains and river valleys against a backdrop of towering inselbergs (or island mountains) that dominate the topography here.
Niassa National Reserve is truly a Mozambique wildlife paradise, providing refuge for over 200 endangered Cape Hunting Dog (African Wild Dog), as well as other predators such as lion, leopard and Spotted Hyena, and general game such as kudu, bushbuck, impala, wildebeest, waterbuck, reedbuck and hippo. Three sub-species, the Niassa Wildebeest, Boehm's Zebra and Johnston's Impala are endemic to the Niassa area. This is one of the last areas in the world where such a wide array of wildlife thrives without any management by man.