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Maputo Elephant Reserve

Comprising 104,000ha (256,984 acres), the Reserva Especial dos Elefantes do Maputo was proclaimed in 1960 in an attempt to protect the last of the herds which had been decimated by ivory traders over the centuries. The northernmost point of the reserve is the mouth of the Maputo River on Maputo Bay, while to the east is the open Indian Ocean. The peninsula that juts out towards Inhaca Island’s Ponte Torres forms Cabo de Santa Maria, which is actually outside the park.

Mangrove and reed swamps dominate the northern reaches of the Maputo Reserve, while dense dune scrub and forests, interspersed with lakes Chingute, Maundo and Piti, cover the rest. The Fúti Channel, along which elephants migrate between Maputo and South Africa’s Tembe Reserve, forms the western boundary. Maputo Reserve’s 100 or so elephants are the last southern African herd still able to follow their ancient migratory routes, though poaching, slash-and-burn subsistence farming and commercial forestry are real threats.

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