Featured Lodge: Azura Benguerra, Mozambique

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Mozambique is an incredible destination,  with miles of pristine  beaches and coastal islands that offer access to ocean explorations as well as land safaris. Azura Benguerra is a boutique hotel that represents many of its wonders – the people, history, culture, food, hospitality all wrapped up in the stunning villas dotted along the edge of the Indian Ocean.

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Read moreFeatured Lodge: Azura Benguerra, Mozambique

Conservation Success Stories from Tanzania and Mozambique

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Cyligramma fluctuosa moth at Amani Nature Preserve. Photo by Tapio Kaisla. Used with permission through a Creative Commons License.

While sad stories about poaching often dominate the conversation about African wildlife, there’s been wonderful news coming lately from Tanzania and Mozambique.

Tanzania’s authorities recently arrested crime boss Boniface Matthew Mariango, who allegedly manages 15 poaching and ivory-trafficking syndicates. They also arrested a large-scale ivory smuggler based in Dar Es Salaam. Catching such high-level criminals is much more effective than arresting individual poachers at the local level, helping to staunch the demand for ivory and other poached products.

For more good news, you can read or watch this CNN segment on Tanzanians who transformed a gold mine into a biodiversity hotspot. Amani Nature Reserve opened in 1997 as the country’s first nature reserve. It’s a lesser-known safari destination with relatively few visitors. It rewards those who go off the beaten path with a chance to see many rare butterflies, birds, reptiles, flora and fauna that haven’t been found elsewhere in the world.

Mozambique has a similar success story.

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Featured Lodge: Coral Lodge 15.41 in Mozambique

coral Lodge 4Coral Lodge 15.41 – named for its coordinates of 15 degrees south latitude and 41 degrees east longitude – is a 5-star resort combining one of Mozambique’s most stunning beach locations with the country’s rich culture and trade history. Situated within an unspoiled nature reserve on a spectacular peninsula, Coral Lodge 15.41 is a unique blend of contemporary design combined with the utmost respect for its unique setting.  Ten gorgeous villas tastefully combine luxury with authentic Mozambican style and simplicity.

The chef uses fresh fish and the best local ingredients to create a unique daily menu infused with the original flavors of Mozambique, as well as influences from Portugal and other international cuisine.

Because of its unique location, Coral Lodge 15.41 has a huge variety of activities on offer. You can simply enjoy the resort, the beach and water sports on offer, or you can satisfy your curiosity about Mozambique’s rich history and the culture of the Makua people. Coral Lodge 15.41 is only 10 minutes away from Ilha de Moçambique (Mozambique Island), an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Kayaking is a great way to explore the natural areas at Coral Lodge 15.41.

Read moreFeatured Lodge: Coral Lodge 15.41 in Mozambique

Marine Safaris in Mozambique

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Manta Reef, Mozambique. Photo by Dominic Scaglioni. Used by permission through a Creative Commons license.

I recently began offering safaris in Mozambique. I’m excited about this coastal country because it offers amazing opportunities to combine the traditional land safari with explorations of coral reefs and aquatic wildlife. The Mozambique coast and its archipelago of 27 islands boast more than 1,000 species of marine life.

A dazzling array of fish, from moray eels and stingrays to barracuda, kingfish and other pelagic gamefish can be seen while diving in tropical waters that seldom drop below 79°F. Dolphins are frequently encountered here, while humpback whales can be sighted between August and October. Leatherback, loggerhead and green turtles are often seen in the water, coming ashore to lay their eggs.

On shallower dives, you are likely to see resident reef fish such as sweetlips, pufferfish, angelfish and triggerfish. Anemones filter the waters with the resident clown fish often in sight. On deeper wall dives, you will encounter species such as humphead (Napoleon) wrasse, groupers, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, snappers and unicorn fish.

There is plenty of exploring to do on land, as well, with whale watching from August through November and turtle tracking twice a year: from October to January, when loggerhead and leatherback turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, and again in 60 days to watch hatchlings make their way out to the ocean.

A beach safari is an excellent way to round out your African safari. Contact me for help planning your next trip!

Turtle hatchlings make their way out to sea. Photo by Jeroen Looyé. Used by permission through a Creative Commons license.

 

Explore Mozambique!

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I’m excited to now offer land and aquatic safaris in Mozambique, just south of Tanzania on the East African coast. Mozambique has a rich history. For centuries it has been a significant trading post, especially for gold and, at one time, ivory. A long Portuguese rule ended in 1975, and after a few rough years it transformed into a stable democracy with a modern economy. Mozambique remains little explored by travelers; its spectacular natural treasures may be the world’s best-kept secret.

Among these treasures is Niassa National Reserve, one of the last vestiges of the wildness that characterized the African interior centuries ago. Niassa National Reserve is truly a wildlife paradise, providing refuge for more than 200 endangered Cape hunting dogs (African wild dogs), as well as other predators such as lions, leopards and spotted hyenas. The wildlife remains free and unfettered, with an estimated 12,000 elephants, 9,000 sable antelopes and several thousand Cape buffalos. Lichtenstein’s hartebeests, elands, zebras kudus, bushbucks, impalas, wildebeests, waterbucks, and reedbucks roam the plains against a backdrop of towering inselbergs (stone outcrops that form isolated hills). Three sub-species – the Niassa wildebeest, Boehm’s zebra and Johnston’s impala – are endemic to the Niassa area. Hippos can be seen in the river, and birders have listed more than 400 bird species.

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. Visiting these communities is a wonderful way to learn more about the country’s culture and unique ecosystem.

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In a future blog post, I’ll tell you about the amazing opportunities for aquatic safaris and cultural tourism on Mozambique’s coast. Until then, feel free to contact me for help planning your next safari!

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