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The Maputo Special Reserve (previously known as the Maputo Elephant Reserve) is perhaps the most stunningly beautiful and unspoilt coastal locality in Southern Africa. A total of 334 species have been recorded.



Specials include Spotted Ground-Thrush, Neergaard's Sunbird, Pink-throated Twinspot, African Broadbill, Livingstone's Turaco, Eastern Nicator, Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Denham's Bustard and Chestnut-banded Plover.



Habitats include tall sand forest, riverine woodlands, open grassland, marshlands, freshwater lakes, lagoons and sea shore.



The main route through the reserve to Ponta Milibangalala accesses most of the habitats. However, the route south past Lake Xingute is also worthwhile, with large concentrations of waterbirds sometimes to be seen on the lake, and marshland species to be seen in open country further along this track.



Facilities at the time of writing are rudimentary. Visitors should bring their own camping equipment and drinking water. However, plans are in place for substantially upgrading tourist facilities.



The best access routes will vary according to ongoing development of roads. From Komatipoort, take the alternative route to Maputo (not the toll road) as far as Boane. After crossing the railway tracks in Boane, turn right immediately on a tar road. After crossing a river bridge, go left when you reach a fork. Continue until you reach the t-junction at Bela Vista and turn right. Continue until you see the signs indicating the reserve entrance. From Maputo, either take the ferry across the bay to Catuane, then follow the only road south from Catuane for about 60 km until you see the signposts to the reserve, or head out to Boane and proceed as described above. The reserve entrance and main camp can easily be reached in a two wheel drive vehicle, but four wheel drive is necessary for driving within the reserve. For the latest information on access and facilities contact James Culverwell A booklet entitled Birds of the Maputo Special Reserve (Bright Continent Guide-2) can be obtained from the Avian Demography Unit, Cape Town ().

Vincent Parker 2001.

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