Niassa Reserve

Located in the far northern provinces of Mozambique, the Niassa Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa and covers an area of untouched wilderness roughly the size of Denmark.

Highlights and main attractions of Niassa Reserve

Highlights and main attractions of Niassa Reserve

Covering an area of 42,000km² - over twice the of Kruger National Park - the Niassa Reserve is the largest protected area in Mozambique, and one of the largest on the African continent. The reserve is located in the far northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Niassa on the Tanzanian border and is characterised by its striking granite outcrops, or ‘inselbergs’, that loom imposingly over the surrounding miombo woodland. 


Remote and untamed, the reserve has remained relatively unexplored by the outside world, and today only receives a handful of visitors each year. Like much of Mozambique, wildlife populations in the reserve were ravaged by poaching during the civil war, and are still wary of human presence. However, wildlife has recovered remarkably in recent years, and Niassa now boasts significant numbers of endangered African wild dogs, over 400 bird species and an estimated 16,000 elephants, as well as three endemic species – the Niassa wildebeest, Boehm’s zebra and Johnston’s impala. 

Where is the niassa reserve?

safaris with a difference

While rivalling the Serengeti in terms of size and species richness, the landscape of the Niassa Reserve makes for a very different game-viewing experience to the typical East African safari. In contrast to the open savannah grasslands of Tanzania and Kenya, much of the reserve is covered in miombo woodland, which can make the wildlife considerably harder to spot. Niassa’s remote location means that visitors are few and trails are relatively free of vehicles, offering pioneering travellers a more peaceful and relaxed safari experience.

The diverse ecosystems found in the reserve, from the montane forests of the Mecula Mountain slopes to the meandering channels of the Lugenda River, mean that Niassa can support a wide variety of wildlife. Species you are likely to observe on safari include buffalo, baboons and antelope, and the reserve is home to approximately 16,000 elephants, 350 African wild dogs and 400 species of birds. Carnivores such as lion, hyena and leopard are also present, although sightings are less common. Unlike more prominent safari destinations, the focus here is not on ticking off the ‘big five’, but rather on diverse and rewarding wildlife encounters away from the tourist crowds.

A safari in the Niassa reserve is a truly unique, off-the-beaten-track experience unlike any other in East Africa.


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