Self-driving trip in Niassa Reserve

Tamara123 created the topic: Self-driving trip in Niassa Reserve

  • Posts: 2

Dear Mike,

We are planning a trip to Malawi and Mozambique in August and will probably cross the border in Cobué. We're interested in discovering the Niassa Reserve but are wondering:
- if there's a car rental (international or local, in town or at the airport) in Lichinga or Marrupa?
- how the roads and signalisation are in the reserve?
- if some detailed driving maps of the area exists?
- if there's the possibility to do small hikes (1-6 hours max) with or without a guide.

Thank you in advance for your reply.

Greetings from Belgium,
Tamara

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mozman replied the topic: Self-driving trip in Niassa Reserve

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Hi Tamara.

Welcome to Mozguide and I apologise for the delayed reply. The route you have chosen is quite remote and used by very few tourists. I do know the area, including Reserva do Niassa quite well and there are no vehicle rentals in Lichinga or Marrupa. The nearest is Pemba, but the prices are very high.

From Cobue it is difficult to decide which route to use to get to Pemba. There are only one or two trucks or other vehicles from Cobue to Lichinga each day, departing early in the morning. Next day to Marrupa (but no regular transport from there to Pemba) or to Cuamba via Mandimba which has regular buses and chapas (mini-buses). Then another day to Nampula and so you will only get to Pemba on day 4.

Without your own well equipped 4x4 and at least a week just for the reserve, it really is not practical to try to go to the Reserva do Niassa. The infrastructure is minimal, and the roads are unsignposted bush tracks. There is no fuel or tourist facilities, but if you have your own camping equipment and food, you can camp at the rangers main camp at Mbatamila which has water and toilets, but no other facilities.

The Niassa Reserve is one of my absolute favourite parts of Africa, so I do plan on taking tours there from Pemba, but that plan is for the future.

Any further questions, feel free to ask.

Mike.

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Tamara123 replied the topic: Self-driving trip in Niassa Reserve

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Dear Mike,

Thank you very much for your answer,
Taking into account theses elements and the limited time we have, we will adapt our route and will focus on Ilha Mozambique, Ibo and Gurue.

Also to earn some time we would hitchhike a bit. Is it easy to do so in Mozambique ?

But first we have a question : we read that there are currently security issues in some parts of Cabo Delgado province, and we were adviced not to make the route Pemba-Ibo by road. Could you tell us if this is justified ? Are there concerns in this area ?

If not, this is the schedule we are considering.

Day 1 : Arrive from Monkey Bay (Malawi) and get to Cuamba via Chiponde

Day2 : Cuamba to Ilha Mozambique
As the train only runs twice a week we probably would have to take a chapa to Nampula, and then hitchhike for the last part,
How is the road between Cuamba and Nampula ? I read that it should be/has been rebuild, but don’t know if it is the case yet.

Days 3-4-5 : Ilha Mozambique

Day 6 : Ilha Mozambique to Pemba

Day 7 : Pemba to Ibo

Days 8-9-10 : Ibo

Day 11 : Ibo to Pemba

Day 12 : Pemba-Gurue
Chapa to Nampula, then hitchhike. What would be the best itinerary for this section ?
If this is too optimistic, maybe we can make it to Alto Molocue ?

Days 13-14 : Gurue

Day 15 : Gurue to Mulanje (Malawi) via Milange


Could you tell us if this seems realistic ?

Thank you so much in advance for your help.

Looking forward to be there.

Cheers,
Tamara

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