At a Glance
Dates: September 12th - September 19th, 2023
Extension: We offer a three-night extension to Mt Namuli for £1,200 per person with no single supplement.
Prices: £7,695 pp sharing (with no single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Niassa is a truly stunning destination, replete with inselbergs and miombo woodland as far as the eye can see, and the conservation turnaround is now gathering momentum in this special reserve - one that serious safari-goers will need to see to believe.
Niassa is a vast wilderness. Dominating much of the north of Mozambique, and contiguous with the Selous ecosystem in Tanzania, Niassa protects some of the last big game anywhere in Mozambique. Home to one of the continent's largest populations of wild dog, guests may also spot lion, leopard, elephant and a whole host of other species in this impressive landscape. For decades, Niassa has been plagued by poaching and human-wildlife conflict, but determined conservation work led by the Niassa Lion Project has begun to turn the tide. For the first time since the closure of the famous Lugenda Bush Camp, ecotourism has returned to Niassa, with the superb Mpopo Trails Camp offering an exclusive and expertly-guided insight into this wonderful area.
But there is so much more to see in Mozambique. An optional extension takes guests to the stunning Mt Namuli, a well-known hive of endemism that protects the unique forests only located on top of the inselbergs of western Mozambique. Whilst wildlife is present here, including a handful of recently-described species, the main draw is the superb community-focussed conservation initiatives and hiking, in addition to world-class birding. This is an itinerary like no other.
Nampula and Niassa
On arrival into Nampula today, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris tour leader and transferred directly to your charter aircraft for your flight to Mariri. This flight in itself is a wonderful experience, taking us over the expansive plains and towering inselbergs that characterise this region. Before too long, we will arrive into the L5 South sector of Niassa, meeting our expert local guide and transferring to the well-appointed tented Mpopo Trails Camp.
After spending some time settling in, and depending on how much light there is left in the day, we may well head out on our first evening and night drive, seeking out the wildlife that calls Niassa home. This area is well-known as an excellent area for big cats, with lion and leopard regularly recorded, and it is these charismatic species that we will seek out tonight. But there are plenty of other species to be found here, and we are confident photographers and birders will all be kept busy this afternoon.
Days Two to Seven
The next six full days are devoted to exploring this sector of Niassa, to which our group has exclusive access. With an expert private guide at our disposal, we recommend taking advantage of all the activities available to us, including walking safaris, canoeing and fly-camping in far-flung and remote corners of this special wilderness area. Whilst every game drive or walking safari is special, we will make sure to dedicate time to seeking out some of Niassa's most famous and enigmatic residents, including bush elephant, buffalo, Lichtenstein's hartebeest and much more. With luck, we will also encounter lion, leopard and, most excitingly, packs of wild dog that traverse the area around camp. After darkness falls each night, drives will offer the chance of spotting serval, caracal and aardvark, making every day truly thrilling.
Early this morning we must sadly say goodbye to Niassa as we transfer back to Nampula by private aircraft. For those not joining the extension, you are welcome to connect directly to your homeward flights. For those continuing on to Namuli, it is a long and bumpy drive westwards that lies ahead. We aim to arrive at Mt Namuli just before dark, depending on road conditions, so we will settle in to our basic accommodation tonight ahead of a busy few days.
Days Nine to Ten (Extension)
These two days are dedicated to navigating the famous Mt Namuli, one of the highest points in Mozambique. A full-day hike will take us to the peak of this forested inselberg, and we should take our time to seek out several recently-described species. A documentary, called Namuli, followed a team scientists who explored Namuli just a few years ago, and they discovered a startling level of endemism under threat here. Ever since, the Legado Initiative, led by Majka Burhardt in partnership with the local community, has sought to protect this valuable area. Whilst big game is absent, there is an abundance of life here that merits a close examination over these two days.
Day Eleven (Extension)
Today we return to Nampula for the group's homeward flights.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may
occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in September 2023, aiming to take advantage of the dry season, and linking in with our September departure to Gorongosa. The tour will run from September 12th to September 19th 2023, with the extension ending on September 22nd.
The cost of this trip is £7,695 per person excl. international flights, with no single supplement. This includes all meals, drinks, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £4,100 must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Nampula at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.
British nationals require a visa to enter Mozambique. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. The details concerning acquiring a visa for Mozambique will be shared upon booking, but visas generally cost £60 and must be applied for in advance of travel.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Mozambique in September is hot and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 18 degrees Celsius.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.
Safety and Security
Niassa is currently in the throes of significant unrest caused by Islamic militants - this tour will not take place until furthern notice.