Zambezi Delta area

The Zambezi Delta area lies between Mwanza to the south and the Zambezi River itself to the north, and includes four hunting concessions (Coutadas 10, 11,12 and 14). The site known as Chinizua, which has been particularly popular among birders looking for the Mozambique specials in recent times, lies on the southern boundary of this area. Many epic tales have been told of hardships endured on the rugged road to Chinizua. By contrast, the Zambezi Delta area is accessed via a tar road, has tourist facilities, and has all the species and more that are found at Chinizua. A minimum of two days is recommended to get to grips with this site, by which time over 100 species are likely to have been seen.

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Specials

White-chested Alethe, East Coast Akalat, African Pitta, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Madagascar Cuckoo, Mascarene Martin, Black-and-white Flycatcher, Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Palm-nut Vulture, Anchieta's Tchagra, African Skimmer, Wattled Crane, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-Shrike, and Plain-backed Sunbird.

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Habitats

The site includes huge areas of pristine coastal forest, also mixed woodland and miombo woodland (along the western fringe), pans and swamps.

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Facilities

Each of the four concessions has a lodge providing comfortable accommodation and catering. Arrangements can be made for camping and self catering groups.

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Birding

Good roads traverse the site and access all the main habitats. The coastal lowland forest is the main attraction, and you will see some of this before leaving the tar road. Boat trips on the Zambezi River can be arranged by the concession management. The southernmost road, which enters the river delta, may be closed depending on water levels.

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General

The recommended way to approach the Zambezi Delta is to stop first at the sawmill at Catapu, where camping and guest cottages are available. Along the new Gorongosa to Caia highway, the entrance to Catapu is signposted about 10 km beyond the Inhamitanga turnoff (co-ordinates 18 02.7S 35 12.4E). At Catapu, up to date information about access to the hunting concessions, availability of accommodation and road conditions can be sought.

Chironde Camp. Concessions 10, 11 and 12 are accessed via Chironde Camp. Take the new highway north from Inchope, through Gorongosa town and around Gorongosa mountain. Before reaching the Zambezi river at Caia, take the right turn to Inhamitanga. From Inhamitanga, turn left along the road to Marromeu. After 5 km you will encounter the entrance to Inhaminga Safaris, clearly signposted on the right. Continue for 20 km on a good dirt road (four-wheel drive is not necessary but a high clearance is recommended) to Chironde Camp (coutada 12). The concessions have previously catered exclusively for hunters, but are keen to diversify and cater for birding as well. It is very difficult to make prior arrangements because the camps are not contactable much of the time, but self-catering campers are welcome to arrive unannounced. Access to concessions 10 and 11 can be arranged from Chironde by radio. Consult the management at Chironde about road conditions through the concessions. Camping at unauthorised sites in the area is not advised, due to the prevalence of lions. The hunting concessions are usually closed from December to February. For more information, contact , but do not expect an immediate reply.

Concession 14 (especially recommended for Anchieta's Tchagra and Lesser Seedcracker) is accessed from Marromeu (but only in the dry season). There are good dirt roads to Marromeu from Inhamitanga and from Caia. At Marromeu, ask directions through the cane fields to the village of Safrique. Continue through Safrique on the only track for about 10 km to the camp.

Vincent Parker 2002.