Safaris and hunting in Southern Africa
Being a short flight away from some of Africa´s most renown wilderness, a safari or hunting extension to your fishing trip to Bazaruto is an obvious choice and one which a large part of our overseas guest elects to do. Besides the typical Safari experience there are also many other attractions to be had in Southern Africa, most of them a short hop away from Vilankulos & the Bazaruto Archipelago.
At the southern end of the great African rift Valley and with over 4,000 square km which includes its massif at 1860 m, it´s valley floors and surrounding plateaus the Gorongosa National Park was once, before the Mozambican civil war, one of the richest wildlife refuges in the World. As a young kid, I remember listening to my Dad, as we showed us 8mm videos he had taken at the park in the 70´s, about its unparalleled (and he had seen a lot of Africa) wilderness and wildlife.
Thanks largely to the joint management partnership between the Mozambican government and the Carr foundation (who is leading the project to restore Gorongosa to its former glory) nowadays the park is seen as one Africa´s greatest and most successful restoration story´s.
With increasing accessibility, an increasing number of our guests to Vilankulos & the Bazaruto National Park are choosing to visit this iconic park and giving us very positive feedback. CFA charters now offer a direct hour and a half flights from the area to the park, over the country´s exquisite coastline – a flight, we are told, is an experience in itself.
Mozambique as innumerous other accessible parks, from the Zivane National Park a short drive away from Vilankulos, all the way to central Mozambique and to the Niassa National Park on the far north.
Some of our guests also choose to see other close-by, but considerable different places on the nearby coastline. The most popular being the area around the Inhambane, the capital of the province and a mere 30-minute flight or 3-hour drive south. Despite being so close, the area differs tremendously to the Archipelago. There are many stunning beaches to visit, amongst them Pomene, Morrungulo, Massinga, Barra and our favorite, Tofo, a 25-km drive from the town of Inhambane.
This open rugged beach is one of Mozambique´s most popular surf spots and there are surf schools for the beginner. Scuba Diving is World class and there are a number of very well run dive centers who also offer the opportunity to snorkel with Whale Sharks. This laid back little beach town offers numerous accommodation options and entertainment, with a number of restaurants, beach bars, live music and many other activities.
Clients who have hunted in Mozambique´s green savannas, forest glades and dense forest tell me it´s a truly wild, challenging and thus authentic African hunting experience. The most well know hunting concessions are, easily accessible, albeit remote, near the borders of Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
Most antelope species can be found in the country, including amongst other´s; Cape Eland, Chobe bushbuck, greater Kudo, Liechtenstein’s hartebeest, Nyala, Sable. Cape Buffalo are prolific in most areas, Leopard abundant in the North and West, the same area as Elephants. Crocodile and Hippo best regions is in the Zambezi River and the far north.
As is well known, South Africa offers some of the world’s most luxurious lodges and camps with excellent game viewing. The Kruger National Park and it´s many joining private reserves is one of our guests most popular choice, it not only offers accommodation for all tastes and budgets but it is extremely easily accessible. Twice a week, Airlink, the airline that will fly you to Vilankulos (the gateaway to the Bazaruto Archipelago) from Johannesburg stops in route at the park´s airport.
But, South Africa nine provinces vary hugely in style, landscape and game species and options are by no means restricted to the Mpumalanga / Kruger area. This vast country offer´s an impressive multitude of safari, hunting opportunities and much more.
The Kruger area is the best place in Africa to see leopard and by experience if your stay is long enough you are most likely to see the big five as well as numerous other species. The best, most luxurious way to experience this area is staying on a private concession in the Sabi Sands area, which offers unparalleled exclusivity and top service.
For a real adventure and exquisite experience, we advise a visit to the Madikwe or Tswalu Private Game Reserve in Northern South Africa. These are less known spots that offer superb game viewing and exclusive first grade service.
The Waterberg is another great choice for a secluded experience and ideal for those looking for walking and horseback riding trails.
There are also innumerous hunting concessions available throughout the country for large diversity of game and, depending on your preference, we will gladly point you in the right direction.
South Africa as also got a huge number of attractions outside the safari experience. There are too many to mention but a delicious stay in Cape Town is highly advised. There is much to see and do around this magical city. From superb whale watching in Hermanus, to diving with great white sharks, driving the stunning garden route and of course, touring it´s close by famous Winelands.
BOTSWANA, NAMIBIA, MALAWI & ZIMBABWE
There are many attractions in other neighboring or nearby countries easily accessible from S.A or Mozambique, all located in southern Africa.
Here´s a small round up;
Botswana, a landlocked country fairly close to Mozambique is world known as one of Africa´s top safari destinations with the jewel being the famous evergreen Okavango Delta. The Delta is also flanked by well know area´s such as the Savuti rolling savannahs to the east and the teeming elephant paradise of the Chobe.
Hunting in open areas of Botswana was banned a few years ago but excellent plains game opportunities are available on private ranches. The main available species are Eland, Sable, Kudo, Impala, Gemsbok, Roan, Red Hartebeest and Waterbuck.
Lying on Southern Africa´s west coast and home to two great deserts Namibia is a country of contrasts that offer a unique safari experience. Here you will view wildlife that has adapted to harsh desert condition’s. Among its indigenous species are the typical plains dwellers, such as the springbok, blue wildebeest, red lechwe, waterbuck, reedbuck and the sitatunga. A renowned experience is tracking African Elephant and Black Rhino on foot. The country actually supports the largest population of black rhino in all of Africa. Amongst others, popular attractions in Namiba are it´s sand dunes at Sossusvlei, the tallest in the World and some of the oldest Bushman rock art sites.
Namibia has been a prime destination for sport hunters from all over the globe for decades. This is not only due to its large diversity of different landscape and wildlife, but also due to the government’s positive attitude toward sport and trophy hunting, which means outfitters from all over the world take advantage of it´s great and well organized opportunities.
Malawi´s greatest attraction is their completely un-spoilt wilderness and absence of mass tourism in its nine National Parks & reserves. Although open 4×4 vehicle are widely used, the most popular safari choice is by foot, horse back or boat. The country also boasts itself as a top destination for birdwatching. The big five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino) can be seen and Hippos are symbolic to its wildlife. There is also a splendid range of antelope and the smaller cats such as caravel and serval.
Another major attraction is the Lake Malawi National Park, supporting over 600 species of fresh water fish it is unequalled anywhere else in the world.
Despite its well-known instability, Zimbabwe is a rewarding safari destination known for its off-the-beaten track experience, superb game viewing and excellent guides. The country´s best known Parks are Mana Pools, Hwange providentially close to Victoria Falls, Matusadona on the shores of Lake Kariba and the famous Gonarezhou, with its remote adventurous setting, big tusker elephants and great diversity of bird life.
But, for sheer visual drama, adventurous experience and superb accommodation options the country´s indisputable most well-known destination is the `Smoke that Thunders’! Victoria Falls, on the mighty Zambezi river is considered one of the continent´s most mesmerizing sights.
Zimbabwe’s untamed wilderness areas are considered worldwide as one of the most exciting African Hunting destinations. Three of the Big Five (elephant, buffalo and leopard) are available, so is crocodile and hippopotamus along with some unique plains game subspecies such as the Chobe bushbuck and Livingstone eland.
* Thanks to Ian Steed from New Zealand for the great pictures above that he took while on a Bazaruto Fishing and safari experience in November 2016 and to Gary Goltz, that runs the awesome Gajogo Safarilands Hunting safaris in Mozambique.