NIASSA RESERVE

tedk created the topic: NIASSA RESERVE

  • Posts: 1

Hello Mike,
I read with interest your enthusiasm for Niassa Reserve. It has long been on my/our watch list for remote wilderness areas. A small group of us enjoy such experiences and would love to plan a trip there - probably one of the very few wilderness areas left in Southern Africa. The problem is to get any form of information - most sites are active until around 2015 and then just fizzle out. I have read a few of your threads on Niassa but somehow there is never any feedback from those that enquire so one is not sure that they ever make it there. We would like to look at a trip there next year as self drive in suitably robust vehicles and well able to free camp in remote territory - time is not a major limitation for us. What we cannot establish easily is:
- Is it at all possible to drive from the rangers post to parts of the park or is it a restricted area? We do understand that there are limited roads around the park and that many of those would be slow going.
- Is there real danger from poachers as some sites indicate - frankly most of the web sites seem in reality to have gathered information from the odd report and have little or no direct knowledge of the area - I think they are purely marketing other destinations that they have knowledge on?
Are tstese flies really an issue - we would probably visit teh park around July?
Are landmines a problem? On previous trips to Pemba we shared drinks with some of the team from Halo Trust and they talked of the extensive mine fields along the border but did not specify where they were working.
I seem to gather that Lugenda Lodge closed down - is that correct? I assume that was based on fact that they simply could not attract numbers to make it viable - perhaps difficulty of logistics and maybe game density issues. We would not want to go to a lodge but the reason for the closure (if i am correct in saying that it is closed) would be interesting.
Our intention is to visit a wilderness area so big 5 (or 4 I would assume) is not teh main objective - it would be for teh scenery, trees, birds and whatever else presents itself.
Any information that you can offer would be appreciated. We would love to share our experiences with others as well.
Regards,
Ted Knight

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mozman replied the topic: NIASSA RESERVE

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Hi Ted and welcome to Mozguide.
Yes Niassa is an amazing Park, but complicated and difficult to predict the way any visit will work out. I was last there eight years ago, so there have been many developments, both good and bad, since then. I do have very good contacts in the Reserve and surrounds and they keep me updated. I do not share their details, but see some responses to your queries within your message below:

- Is it at all possible to drive from the rangers post to parts of the park or is it a restricted area? We do understand that there are limited roads around the park and that many of those would be slow going.
MIKE: Yes, but first report at Mbatamila and pay your fees and inform them of your intended route.
- Is there real danger from poachers as some sites indicate - frankly most of the web sites seem in reality to have gathered information from the odd report and have little or no direct knowledge of the area - I think they are purely marketing other destinations that they have knowledge on?
MIKE: There are poachers almost always in the area, but they are unlikely to confront you as they mostly try to remain inconspicious. A small chance that your could drive around a corner and surprise them which could be nasty.

Are tstese flies really an issue - we would probably visit teh park around July?
MIKE: Yes, but appear in patches. Can be really troublesome when driving slowly with windows open - it is very hot usually even in July.

Are landmines a problem? On previous trips to Pemba we shared drinks with some of the team from Halo Trust and they talked of the extensive mine fields along the border but did not specify where they were working.
MIKE: No. Any track or roads that you might drive on will have been cleared years ago. Still, ask for advice at Mbatamila. I would be more concerned about encountering an elephant herd that may have recently been targeted by poachers - very dangerous.

I seem to gather that Lugenda Lodge closed down - is that correct? I assume that was based on fact that they simply could not attract numbers to make it viable - perhaps difficulty of logistics and maybe game density issues. We would not want to go to a lodge but the reason for the closure (if i am correct in saying that it is closed) would be interesting.
MIKE: Yes closed about four years ago. Not enough guests.

Our intention is to visit a wilderness area so big 5 (or 4 I would assume) is not teh main objective - it would be for teh scenery, trees, birds and whatever else presents itself.
MIKE: Good reasons to visit. Be fully self-sufficient and be aware that, unless you are in an older vehicle (i.e pre-electronics), your nearest form of assistance in case of breakdown, just may be in South Africa. Water is available at Mbatamila, but carry enough for drinking. Nearest reliable fuel (Mecula andMarrupa can run dry) is Montepuez or Lichinga. Mecula has basic supplies and perhaps fresh pao (bread).

Have you been in touch with The Niassa Carnivore Project? Look them up on Facebook and here is some useful info: www.niassalion.org/library_files/2017-NCP%20Annual%20Report.pdf

Go well

Mike

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