By Peter Ruddle
Capital City: Maputo
Official Language: Portuguese
Currency: Mozambique metical (MZM)
Size: 801,590Km2 (Size of Texas and Louisiana)
Hunting in Mozambique
Historical Hunting Overview
The first inhabitants of Mozambique were the Bushmen, well known as hunter-and-gathers throughout the Southern African region. During the 1st and 4th centuries, the Nguni people from the north migrated south and settled across the country creating the Makua, Tsonga, Makonde, Shangaan, Shona, Sena and Ndau tribes, the main ethnic groups of indigenous people, many of whom to the day are living off the land.
In 1964, the Mozambican War of Independence officially started, an armed conflict between guerrilla forces fighting for their liberation against Portugal. After 10 years of sporadic warfare, the country gained independence on 25 June 1975. Two years after independence, the country descended into an intense and protracted civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992. During this period the wildlife populations in most of the country were devastated, being used to feed the fighting forces and poached by starving civilians. Only Niassa, in the far north, was somewhat spared and to this day remains a true African wilderness.
Mozambique, dubbed the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, has a 2,470km of mostly unspoilt coastline with some of the most pristine beaches, marine parks and Archipelago islands in Africa. Some of the country’s national parks and many of the hunting concessions areas have made significant strides in building back their game populations. The stunning coastline, conservation success story and abundance of game is ensuring Mozambique’s popularity as a popular hunting destination.
Mozambique is divided into two topographical regions by the Zambezi River with the national parks, conservation and hunting areas pretty evenly distributed between the two regions. The region north of the Zambezi comprises a long narrow coastal strip, inland inselbergs, low plateaus and rugged highlands covered with miombo woodlands stretching as far north as the shores of Lake Malawi. The southern region has broader lowlands, coastal plains, the Mashonaland plateau and the Lebombo Mountains which creates the border between South Africa and the landlocked country of Eswatini.
The protected areas of Mozambique, known as conservation areas are categorised as national parks, national reserves, forest reserves, community conservation areas, wildlife utilisation areas known as coutadas and private game farms of which there are not many. A coutada is a designated wildlife utilisation area known as a concession in other regions of Africa.
There are 6 national parks, 8 reserves and 13 coutadas. Most of the well-known hunting areas are coutadas along the southern regions of the Zambezi River and in the north, Niassa also has its fair share of coutadas and the sought after Niassa hunting blocks. Other popular hunting areas are around Cahora Basa Dam adjoining the Chewore Safari area (Zimbabwe) and other concessions along the eastern border with Zimbabwe. The most southerly hunting area falls within the Greater Lebombo Conservancy, forming part of the Greater Kruger National Park (South Africa).
Popular Hunting Destinations in Mozambique
- Marromeu Complex
Of all the coutadas in the country, coutada 11 receives the most publicity for their many years of dedicated conservation work, anti-poaching and community upliftment programs. The adjoining coutadas, 10 (2,008 km²), 11 (1,928 km²), 12 (2,963 km²) & 14 (1,353 km²) all work together as a unit and are all inter-connected with the original core national reserve in this complex being the Marromeu Special Reserve. The Zambeze River Delta, surrounding swamps, large flood plains, marshes and magnificent sand forests make for some ecologically rich and diverse hunting habitats and wildlife. Lions and Cheetah have been reintroduced into the area and the buffalo and sable populations have increased tenfold over the years.
- Gorongoza / Zambezi River Region
Moving inland you find coutadas 7 (5,408 km²), 9 (4,333 km²) & 13 (5,683 km²) to the northwest of Gorongoza National Park, stretching down to the Zambezi River floodplains. All outfitters leasing and managing these coutadas have a similar goal and that is to return the areas to the pre-war paradises they once were.
- Niassa Region
This is a massive area located on the northern boundary of Tanzania. The Miombo woodland and open plains terrain are generally flat to gently undulating with some magnificently impressive dome-shaped granite inselbergs. In some areas, the animals look at you as if they have never seen humans before, a true wilderness. Surrounding the Niassa National Park are several hunting blocks and south of this area 7 plus coutadas and to the northeast, you find the Chipanje Chetu Community programme.
- Cohora Bassa / Tete Region
Originally known as Cabora Bassa, the fourth largest artificial lake in Africa is an extension of the world-famous Zambezi Valley. The Mopane covered rolling hills and thick Jesse provide some excellent hunting in what is known as the Tchuma Tchato Community Programme that surrounds the Magoe National Park.
- Chimanimani National Reserve / Zinave National Park
These hunting areas, which include coutadas 4 (4,300 km²) & 5 (6,868 km²) between these two wildlife sanctuaries took a terrible beating during the civil war but have recovered well. Currently, there is a major restocking programme taking place at Zinave National Park. This hunting area was once the domain of yesteryear hunters such as Wally Johnson.
- Greater Lebombo Conservancy
This multiple-use ecotourism area which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park (South Africa), offers both consumptive and non-consumptive utilisation areas and even some high fenced private ranch hunting. Working within some of the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR) hunting regulations and framework in close association with the Kruger National Park will ensure this destination has a long-term future as a prime hunting destination.
When to Hunt in Mozambique: Climate and Hunting Season
Mozambique has a warm seasonal tropical to sub-tropical climate which is also influenced by cyclonic (monsoon) rains that mostly affect the northern coastal regions. However, irregular flooding does occur in the summer months as most of the country is very low lying and therefore subject to the forces of nature.
The cool and dry season is from April to September, whilst the summer months between October and March can be hot and humid. Temperatures along the coast and southern lowland regions can be much higher compared to the inland highlands. The centralwestern and southwestern regions are subject to periodic droughts.
Most of the rains fall in the summer months (November – February) and the country’s poor road infrastructure with black cotton soils, makes travelling to and within many hunting areas impossible.
Accommodation for Hunters in Mozambique
The majority of hunting camps in the country are a combination of tented safari camps and rustic chalets built from locally available building materials. The more permanent sites may have more substantial infrastructure often encompassing some of the original Portuguese homesteads and farmhouses. As it is easier to build proper facilities in the south, where you will even find a few lodges.
Hot and cold running water and flushing toilets are available in most camps. If your wife wishes to travel with you, make sure the facilities will meet her standards before booking a trip especially if hunting in Niassa. Mosquito nets are part of the furniture and bug spray is provided in most camps. The majority of camps are now connected to Wi-Fi, although you might expect it to be slow and limited. Generators are run at night to provide electricity and pumped water during the day. Some have converted to solar whilst others run a dual system.
The meals prepared by the camp’s chef include numerous game dishes, locally grown vegetables and fruit often bought from the community markets. Fresh bread is normally baked every day and meals vary between traditional safari foods and Portuguese cuisine. Although variety may be limited, you will never go hungry. Alcoholic beverages and bottled water is transported or flown into camp and amazingly most camps are able to produce ice for your drinks.
Species that Can Be Legally Hunted in Mozambique
Big 5 Species
Hunting and Outfitter Associations of Mozambique
Should you require more information about hunting in Mozambique or wish to get an association member’s reference, you can contact the following associations:
Association of Mozambique Hunting Safari Operators (AMOS)
AMOS supports the conservation and ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources, for the benefit of current and future generations, through the promotion of sustainable and ethical hunting. The protection and the conservation of a species-rich and healthy wild fauna, and securing their livelihoods while respecting the local customs, traditions and culture; and the promotion of environmental, natural and animal welfare and the maintenance and improvement of the existing natural habitats.
AMOS Mission Statement, Aims & Objectives (edited extracts)
AMOS promotes, regulates and enforces professionalism in the Safari hunting industry, promotes the benefits of ethical hunting and sustainable utilization of wildlife for conservation, and educates the general public on the contribution hunting makes to conservation, sustainable social-economic development and the financial contribution to the state fiscal system. AMOS further promotes and facilitates the empowerment of all Mozambicans wishing to participate in the hunting profession, conservation and related activities and engages with the national and provincial Governments of the Republic of Mozambique and other countries, in all matters affecting hunting, conservation and related activities. AMOS promotes the conservation of nature, mainly the fauna, in the interest of the present and future generations by preventive and precautionary measures, and advocates sustainable use of natural resources as an important tool for social and economic benefits and therefore as an incentive for their conservation and the avoidance of the loss of biological diversity. AMOS co-operates with other persons and organizations in Africa and elsewhere having objects similar and promotes and markets Mozambique as a leading international hunting destination, enforces adherence to the AMOS Code of Conduct, works towards the improvement of wildlife management and land-use by scientific research, education AMOS recognizes that ’culling’, ’cropping’, ’capture’ and vermin control are a necessary part of game management as long as they are conducted with consideration and humane treatment of the wildlife involved. However, at no time can these activities be regarded in the context of hunting. For more information, click here.