Justin Jones, Assistant Editor
Operator Grant Taylor of Mashambanzou Safaris has signed for the Mahimba Game Reserve, a privately owned, unfenced concession in east-central Mozambique. Mahimba covers roughly 100,000 acres on the northern bank of the Zambezi River. Taylor contacted us with more information about the concession.
“J. P. Kleinhans ran the area very successfully for many years, but the owners wanted to have it occupied by an operator based in Mozambique, and they chose us. We will be better able to conduct maintenance and antipoaching year-round.”
According to Taylor, Mahimba is known as one of the Zambezi delta’s prime areas for buffalo and sable. Other species available include bushbuck, waterbuck, crocodile, reedbuck, bushpig and warthog. Moist soil during much of the year keeps predator populations very low, allowing for high game numbers.
“The area is somewhat shot out of solitary buffalo bulls at present, but it will support a quota of 12 animals while the age structure of the herds rebuilds. We would like to get to a point in the next few years where we are harvesting only bachelor bulls and leaving the breeding herds alone. The same applies to sable.
“The area also has numerous hippo and a population of some 200 elephant. Fortunately, Mozambique has a CITES quota for hippo again, and we would like to get a quota for two or three animals in 2019. For elephant, we plan to harvest one bull every two years when we have the quota.”
The current quota includes 12 buffalo, 10 sable, 12 bushbuck, 12 waterbuck, 15 reedbuck, 12 warthog, 10 bushpig and 15 crocodile. Crocodile are hunted in tidal rivers at low tide, and Taylor says that there are large trophies to be found.
“Hunting for most species is best between Aug. and Nov. The area is not as wet as the concessions on the south bank of the Zambezi River in Marromeu.”
Taylor is excited about adding this area to his operation, which includes six other free-range areas in Mozambique, most of which are a short drive apart. “Our contract is for 10 years, with the option to roll over if we comply with the agreement, and I hope to make a long-term investment in the area. Since the area is classified as a game reserve, the local population may not live there. The northern and southern boundaries are large rivers that join on the eastern boundary, which helps limit the presence of people and poaching.
“We maintain a full-time, year-round antipoaching staff of 22. Mozambique recently has amended laws to make poaching a criminal offense rather than a misdemeanor, and we have seen a dramatic reduction of bushmeat poaching in all of our areas as a result.
“I managed to spend some time in Mahimba late last year and surveyed the area by helicopter to get a sense of game numbers. Kleinhans and I have kept in contact, and he will continue to bring some of his clients to the area for the next few years. His knowledge and experience in the area is invaluable, and we’re happy to be working closely with him. The camp is in great shape and will be up to the high standard of all our camps.”