The Zambezi River

This delta, a remote unspoiled wilderness of shifting sand islands, savanna and mangrove trees, is one of the few places in Mozambique where big game (elephant, buffalo, lion and roan antelope) still occurs. Chinde, a small port on the deepest tributary, was once busy with cranes loading sugar into cargo ships. Cyclones have almost obliterated the site of old Chinde, and a new town was built further inland. A light rail system once linked Chinde to the newly revived Marromeu Sena sugar estates further upriver on the banks of the Zambezi.

 The best way to view the 1500km2 (579 sq mile) expanse of channels and islands is from the air. Three air charter companies are based in Beira and it is fairly inexpensive to hire a light plane for a low-level flyover of the delta. Unique Air in particular have, in the past, been reliable. You can fly in, land at Chinde and spend a few days exploring the railways before you are picked up again (by prior arrangement), or enjoy an aerial wildlife-spotting safari over the delta habitat – by far the cheaper option.

To go to Zambézia province, you can drive to Caia on the old road via Inhaminga or now on the new road via Gorongosa town. Note that there is a 22-tonne ferry at Caia, and construction of the $80 million bridge over the Zambeziis is well under way. When driving in all built-up areas, assume that the speed limit is 60kph (25mph) and drive accordingly or risk a hefty spot fine. To go via Inhaminga, a short distance out of Dondo take the turn-off right onto the EN213; to take the Gorongosa option, turn right at Inchope, 128km (80 miles) from Beira.

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