The Limpopo National Park in Mozambique is a remote stretch of untamed wilderness terrain bordered by the Limpopo and Olifants River. It forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and covers an impressive 10,000 square kilometres of landscape characterised by sandveld, mixed bushveld and dense riverine woodlands. The varied topography provides the perfect habitat for a wealth of wildlife to thrive, including the big 5.
The main safari tourism area is located in the picturesque Shingwedzi River Valley which surrounds the mighty Shingwedzi River. Visitors to the park are often rewarded with sightings of elephant and buffalo while enjoying activities such as canoeing and guided 4WD eco-trails. The sheer Shingwedzi Cliffs stand proudly over the valley, offering visitors spectacular vantage points of landscapes and wildlife.
The park borders the Kruger National Park and is mainly a transit region for self-drivers driving from Kruger to Mozambique’s coast. Self-drivers come through one of two border posts between Limpopo and Kruger. Although a transit park, the Shingwedzi River Valley area certainly holds its own as a safari destination. The closest airport is Maputo International Airport, located roughly 400 kilometres from the park.
Limpopo National Park is an expansive park home to the Big Five. Because of its size and lack of road infrastructure, spotting wildlife can be challenging. However, elephant and buffalo herds are in abundance. Visitors have the opportunity to spot lion, African wild dog, spotted hyena giraffe, kudu, zebra and wildebeest. The Shingwedzi River is the best place to spot bloats of hippo, which are also prolific.
There are healthy populations of raptors, waders and woodland birds found throughout the park. There are over 500 species of bird in the area, best spotted while on foot. Dwarf bitten, southern ground hornbill, African barred owlet, Pel’s fishing owl and the bateleur eagle are just a few of the species to spot.
Winter is always ideal for a safari experience because of the lack of rain. With no rain, the bushveld thins out, making it easier to spot wildlife. The winter season is from May to September.
Summer (October to April) is the rainy season, marked by hot weather with tropical showers. Birding season is between November and April and the time of year when the summer migrants arrive.
Limpopo National Park is a relatively unexplored region, ideal for adventurers and avid 4WD self-drivers. Scheduled game drives are possible through a handful of camps in the area that offer the standard morning and evening drives. These drives introduce visitors to the prime game viewing hotspots in the area, where it’s possible to spot plenty of animals.
Guided 4WD self-drive tours are very popular in this park and offer an unusual way of exploring otherwise inaccessible rugged terrain. Visitors can take in varied topographies while covering plenty of ground in a 4WD vehicle, offering unparalleled game viewing opportunities. Walking trails and canoeing are two other sought-after activities in the area.
Accommodation options in this national park are quite scarce, which is part of the attraction of visiting. There is a luxury tented camp with all the amenities associated with premier camps, and a general campsite that's popular with self-drivers. This campsite is well-maintained and ideal for adventure lovers.