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Kosi Bay & Maputo National Park

6 DAY TRIP : 1 to 6 March 2022

This short trip takes us to two of the most exciting destinations along the eastern coastline of Zululand and Southern Mozambique.

Kosi Bay

Kosi Bay is situated in the north-east corner of KZN, very close to the border with Mozambique. Kosi Bay itself consists of an estuary, four linked lakes running from north to south behind a large dune, and the lagoon of the Siyadla River where it flows into the southernmost lake. Areas of coastal and dune forests, grasslands and wetlands provide the most interest for birders.

Surrounded by ancient sand forests, Kosi Forest Lodge is situated within the iSimangaliso World Heritage Park, one of the last unexplored wetland wildernesses.

Highlights of our stay at Kosi Forest lodge will be a guided canoe trip on the Sihadla channel and a guided walk through the magnificent Raphia Palm Forest, Birdlife on these two excursions is always very rewarding.

Palm-nut Vulture


Top birds: Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Palm-nut Vulture, Livingstone’s Turaco, Pel’s Fishing-Owl (with luck), Swamp Nightjar, Narina Trogon, African Broadbill, Brown Scrub-Robin, Pale-crowned Cisticola, Woodwards’ Batis, Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher, Purple-banded Sunbird, African Pygmy-Goose, Lesser Jacana.

Maputo National Park

On 7 December 2021, Mozambique’s Council for Ministers issued a decree to formally merge the spectacular terrestrial and marine ecosystems of Maputo Special Reserve and  Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve into one conservation area, the new Maputo National Park. The park falls within the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot, one of 36 hotspots that are regarded as being amongst the most biologically diverse and endangered ecoregions on earth.

The 1500 square km Maputo Special Reserve is a transfrontier park which links up with Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa through the Futi Corridor. The area encompasses coastal, sand and mangrove forests, coastal grasslands, a number or large freshwater lakes, and marine coastal beaches, with this diversity of habitats leading to a particularly impressive reserve bird list The Reserve lies within the Maputaland Centre of Plant Endemism!

With over 350 species recorded, Maputo Special Reserve offers great birding opportunities. The relatively small area supports a varied range of habitats including freshwater lakes, mangroves, wetlands, sand forest, riverine woodland, grassland and coastal dunes. These diverse habitats make for a wide range of bird species.

Top birds: African Crowned Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, Brown, Black-chested and Southern Banded Snake-Eagles, African Goshawk, African Barred Owlet, Livingstone’s Turaco, Crested Guineafowl, Senegal Lapwing, Swamp Nightjar, Green Malkoha, Black Coucal, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Croaking and Rufous-winged Cisticolas, Olive and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Grey-rumped Swallow, Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Brown Scrub-Robin, Eastern Nicator, White-eared Barbet, Grey, Neergaard’s and Olive Sunbirds, Rudd’s Apalis, Woodwards’ Batis, Pink-throated Twinspot.

Maputo Special Reserve also has good numbers of mammals which have been re-introduced to the park. Elephant, the flagship mammal of the park, is frequently encountered.

Common species in the grasslands include Plains Zebra, Wildebeest, Waterbuck, Common Reedbuck, and Impala. Giraffe, Nyala, Kudu, Bushbuck, Red Duiker, Vervet Monkey all occur in reasonable numbers.


The Macaneta area lies in the Incomati River estuary in northern Maputo Bay, Southern Mozambique.

A total of nearly 300 species have been identified in the area, second only to the species count of Gorongosa National Park. Macaneta offers a very rich biodiversity with many interesting habitats in relatively small area, including beach, mangroves, estuary, tidal marshes, dune forest and grasslands.

The summer months see a huge influx of migrating birds from the northern hemisphere and Macaneta forms part of their travel route within Africa and from Madagascar.

Flooded areas hold good numbers of migrant waders such as Common Whimbrel, Wood, Curlew and Common Sandpipers, Common Greenshank, Ruff, Little Stint, Common Ringed, Kittlitz’s and Three-banded Plovers.

The floodplain plays host to one of the largest concentrations of waterbirds in the region, including many specials not regularly seen elsewhere. In seasons of good rains, the floodplain becomes a vast tract of waterways, flooded dambos and extensive lush grasslands in amongst patches of cultivation. The floodplains hold large numbers of Herons, including fair numbers of Rufous-bellied Heron, as well as African Openbill, Pink-backed Pelican.

Adjacent grasslands also provide habitat for Yellow-throated and Rosy-throated Longclaw, Croaking and Pale-crowned Cisticola, Flooded grasslands hold Black Coucal, African and Striped Crake and many others. Grey-rumped Swallow, Black Saw-wing, soar overhead, while Banded Martin is a winter visitor.

Rosy-throated Longclaw

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Day 1

Date : March 1, 2022

Johannesburg - Kosi Bay

Early morning departure from Johannesburg.
Travel via Ermelo and Pongola to Kosi Bay.
Mid-afternoon arrival at Kosi Forest Lodge.
Late afternoon walk in lodge grounds.
Overnight at Kosi Forest Lodge.

Day 2

Date : March 2, 2022

Kosi Bay

Early morning guided canoe trip along waterways.
Rest of day spent relaxing and birding around lodge.
Overnightb at Kosi Forest Lodge.

Day 3

Date : March 3, 2022

Kosi Bay-Maputo Special Reserve

Early morning birding walk in Raphia Palm Forest.
Depart after brunch for Mozambique border.
Rest of day spent exploring Reserve en route to overnight accommodation.
Overnight at lodge near northern gate of Reserve.

Day 4

Date : April 4, 2022

Maputo Special Reserve

Day spent birding and game viewing in Maputo Special Reserve.
Overnight at lodge.

Day 5

Date : March 5, 2022

Maputo Special Reserve-Macaneta

Early morning birding around lodge.
Depart after breakfast for Macaneta, via Maputo Bay.
Early afternoon arrival at Macaneta.
Afternoon birding in marshlands.
Overnight at lodge.

Day 6

Date : March 6, 2022


Early morning birding in grasslands and marshlands.
Depart after breakfast for South Africa.

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