• Overview
  • Trip Outline
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes

Southern Mozambique

13 Day trip :29 October to 10 November 2022


This is a truly memorable trip.

Our trip focuses on the region from Bilene northwards and includes the Komati and Limpopo River floodplains, the woodlands and wetlands surrounding Panda, the spectacular Dovela dunes, the mudflats of Vilanculos and the woodlands and wetlands near Inhassoro. This area boasts three of the most sought-after Mozambique “specials” ie Olive-headed Weaver, Crab Plover and the recently re-discovered Green Tinkerbird. The rapidly dwindling area of miombo woodland, close to the town of Panda, is the only locality in Southern Africa where the Olive-headed Weaver has been seen since 1960. Crab Plover can be found in the sanctuary area of the San Sebastion Peninsula near Vilanculos. The Green Tinkerbird occurs in remnant forest patches north of the town of Unguana up to the Save River.

The Destinations 

Komati and Limpopo rivers

The floodplains associated with the Komati and Limpopo rivers have produced very exciting birding over the past few years. Huge flat areas of grassland, when flooded, provide very productive birding habitat. Coastal forests near the towns of Macia and Xai Xai hold numerous species normally associated with northern Kwa Zulu Natal. The surrounding areas consist of long, uninterrupted stretches of white sandy beaches, high primary sand dunes, coastal forests, inland flood plains, and numerous lakes and accompanying marshlands.


The town of Panda is a short way inland from the southern Mozambique coast, close to a relict and a dwindling patch of miombo woodland, which is presently the only site south of the Zambezi for a localised miombo specialist, the Olive-headed Weaver (Ploceus olivaceiceps).

The road from Inharrime to Panda provides some excellent birding, passing through extensive grassy wetland areas, palm savanna, and mixed acacia woodland.

Dovela dunes

Situated between the sea and an inland lake, the Dovela dunes are a diverse and unique environment. The inland lake is a habitat favoured by birds that can be spotted on foot, from the bird hides or from a canoe on the lagoon. The coastal forest is full of life: small mammals, birds, butterflies, insects, trees, and flowers. The beach is pristine and deserted and a rocky barrier forms a tidal pool where one can swim protected from the waves.

Terns and Crab Plovers
Terns and Crab Plovers

Our accommodation is nestled in a pristine coastal forest, 15 km north of Praia da Zavora and 90km south of Inhambane. Built on 80 hectares, the priority has been to combine the site’s beauty and calm to provide one with a peaceful and comfortable stay. The ten chalets are well spaced and have been integrated into the surrounding vegetation to preserve the ecosystem.


Some areas to the west of the EN 1 en route to Vilanculos include rather fragmented patches of coastal evergreen thicket, about five to six metres tall, with occasional taller emergent trees. These patches of forest are the remnants of what had been a more widespread habitat before being replaced by subsistence agriculture.

Unguana woodland birding

The coastal town of Vilanculos lies opposite the beautiful Bazaruto Archipelago and offers excellent coastal and wetland birding.

Extensive mudflats offer a good variety of migrant waders in summer.

Situated on the San Sebastian Peninsula, the 30,000ha Sanctuary covers both the sea and land and incorporates the southernmost portion of the Bazaruto Archipelago. It is a biodiversity hotspot, incorporating many different types of habitat, including mangrove swamps, coral reefs, freshwater lakes, tidal mudflats, wetlands, estuary and coastal dunes.

The Sanctuary hosts some 300 bird species and provides safe breeding grounds for 5 marine turtle species and other marine life. It also boasts growing populations of large mammals, including Eland, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe and Sable Antelope.


The village of Inhassoro lies 50 km north of Vilanculos along the coast.

The surrounding area is dotted with a network of pretty lily-covered pans and the Govuro River runs north from Vilanculos, past Inhassoro, entering the sea at Bartholomew Diaz point.

Using Inhassoro as our base we explore the surrounding wetlands, woodlands and grasslands. Habitats vary from open savanna in the south, through baobab woodland, to dense woodland in the north.

Birding Attractions 

Komati and Limpopo floodplains

Dickinson’s Kestrel, Rufous-bellied Heron, African Pygmy-Goose, Brown Scrub-Robin, Eastern Nicator, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Rudd’s Apalis, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Grey Waxbill, Grey Sunbird, Rufous-winged Cisticola.

Inharrime to Panda

African Hobby, Sooty Falcon, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Eurasian Bittern (if pans are flooded), African Wood-Owl, Red-necked Spurfowl, Shelley’s Francolin, Rufous-bellied Heron, Lesser Jacana, Dwarf Bittern, Little Bittern, Eastern Nicator, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Rudd’s Apalis, Neergard’s Sunbird, Lemon-breasted Canary.

Panda woodlands

African Cuckoo Hawk, Olive-headed Weaver, Neergaard’s Sunbird, Southern Hyliota, Brown-backed Honeybird, Racket-tailed Roller, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Pale Batis, Red-faced Crombec, Grey Penduline-Tit.


African Hobby, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Livingstone’s Turaco, Eastern Nicator, Green Malkoha, Black-bellied Starling, Plain-backed Sunbird, Woodward’s Batis, Black-headed Apalis, Livingstone’s Flycatcher, Pink-throated Twinspot, Lemon-breasted Canary.

Vilanculos and en route

Sooty Falcon, Mottled Spinetail, Bohm’s Spinetail, Mosque Swallow,

Green Malkoha, Plain-backed Sunbird, Bar-tailed Godwit, Crab Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Lesser Crested Tern, Little Tern, Mangrove Kingfisher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Magpie Mannikin, Black-throated Wattle-eye, Collared Palm-Thrush, Grey-Sunbird, Purple-banded Sunbird, Lemon-breasted Canary.

Inhassoro and surrounding areas

Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Olive Bee-eater, Grey-headed Parrot, Green Tinkerbird, Chestnut-fronted Helmet-Shrike, Livingstone’s Turaco, Green Malkoha, Green-capped Eremomela, Pale Batis, Red-winged Warbler, Magpie Mannikin, Lemon-breasted Canary.

This 13-day tour departs from Johannesburg. We travel in an air-conditioned VW Caravelle, 4-wheel drive Microbus.


Day 1

Date : October 29, 2022

Johannesburg-Xai Xai

Depart bright and early and enter Mozambique through Komatipoort border post.
Travel via Nkomati floodplain to Xai Xai, birding en route.
Overnight near Xai Xai.

Day 2

Date : October 30, 2022

Xai Xai-Chizavane

Early morning birding in wetlands near Xai Xai.
Travel via Limpopo River floodplain to lodge near Chizavane.
Arrive at destination mid- afternoon and overnight.

Day 3

Date : October 31, 2022

Chizavane-Panda area

Early morning birding around lodge.
Depart after brunch.
Bird en route and arrive at destination mid-afternoon.
Overnight at lodge on the banks of the Inharrime River.

Day 4

Date : November 1, 2022

Panda area

Day spent birding in woodlands and wetlands.
Overnight at lodge.

Day 5

Date : November 2, 2022

Panda area

Another day spent birding in woodlands and wetlands.
Overnight at lodge.

Day 6

Date : November 3, 2022

Panda area-Dovela

Morning birding around camp.
Depart after brunch and head for Dovela.
Afternoon forest birding and overnight at Dunes de Dovela Lodge.

Day 7

Date : November 4, 2022


Day spent birding around Dovela.
Overnight at Dunes de Dovela Lodge.

Day 8

Date : November 5, 2022


Early morning birding around lodge.
Depart after breakfast for Inhassoro.
Rest of day spent birding en route.
Overnight at Inhassoro.

Day 9

Date : November 6, 2022


Days spent birding in woodlands and wetlands.
Overnight at Inhassoro.

Day 10

Date : November 7, 2022


Early morning birding around Inhassoro.
Depart after brunch for Vilanculos.
Afternoon birding and overnight at beachfront lodge in Vilanculos.

Day 11

Date : November 8, 2022


Boat trip to Sanctuary on San Sebastion Peninsula for day of birding.
Rest of day spent birding on San Sebastion Peninsula.
Overnight at Vilanculos.

Day 12

Date : November 9, 2022


Day spent birding in woodlands in vicinity of Vilanculos.
Overnight at Vilanculos.

Day 13

Date : November 10, 2022


Morning birding on intertidal flats and woodlands around Vilanculos.
Depart on early afternoon flight to Johannesburg.


Flight from Vilanculos to Johannesburg, ground transport, all meals and accommodation, guiding ,entrance fees and specified activities.


Alcoholic beverages, gratuities, and items of a personal nature.