Rio Savane – Central Mozambique Hot
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yellow throated longclaw by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick.jpg

The vast network of the Rio Savane floodplain lies on the northern outskirts of the Mozambique coastal city of Beira. These wetlands and short grasslands are home to a wide diversity of birdlife, making the area one of Mozambique’s birding hotspots.

The 32km long dirt road that leads from Beira towards the Rio Savane estuary mouth passes through extensive wetlands and short grasslands. These wetlands and grasslands are home to a wide diversity of waterbirds and other highly sought after species and may, at certain times of the year, host several thousand storks of varying species. Specials to be found here include Eurasian bittern, locust finch, mangrove kingfisher, black-rumped button-quail, lesser seed-cracker, copper sunbird, rufous-bellied heron and blue quail. The Rio Savane estuary also provides excellent photographic opportunities of the small fisher village and the constant ferrying of people from one side of the river to the other in small boats. Thousands of fiddler crabs and mudskippers can be viewed on the mudflats at low tide.

rio savane wetlands by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

1 of 6. Rio savane wetlands

great egret by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

2 of 6. Great Egret

male fiddler crab by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

3 of 6. Male fiddler crab on the mudflats at the Rio Savane estuary mouth

rufous bellied heron by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

4 of 6. Rufous-bellied Heron

rio savane river taxi by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

5 of 6. Rio Savane river taxi 

temminicks courser by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

6 of 6. Temminck's Courser


Best Time to Photograph
Dawn, early morning, late afternoon and dusk are when the birds are most active. Waders, fiddler crabs and mudskippers are best photographed on the outgoing tide when mudflats become exposed.
Type of Photography
  • People
  • Bird Photography
Best Time of Year
Throughout the year
Photographic Tips
As the dawn lightens the sky, large flocks of waterbirds can be seen moving across the wetlands, providing exciting opportunities for photographing birds in flight. Herons, storks, egrets and waterfowl move from their overnight roosts to begin hunting in the numerous shallow wetlands. At the Rio-Savane river estuary, the outgoing tide begins to expose expansive mudflats and this is the best time to try and locate and photograph the various waders, fiddler crabs and mudskippers. Walking slowly through the short grasslands provides the best opportunity to photograph the specials such as locust finch, short-tailed pipit and black-rumped button-quail.
Recommended Gear
Long telephoto lenses are a must for photographing the birds in this area. Hand holding the camera that is set to a high ISO and allows fast shutter speeds is advisable together with using image stabilization. Mid-range zoom lenses are also useful for photographing the fishermen activity around the Rio-Savanne estuary mouth.


Season and Weather
Temperatures are warm to hot throughout the year while evenings and nights may be cool to cold during the winter months. Thunderstorms occur mainly during the summer. Remember that this is a MALARIA area.
Other Activities
Guide/s Available
Etienne Marais – Indicator Birding (


Closest Town
Getting There
The Rio-Savane floodplain and short grasslands lie just to the north of the city of Beira and may be found on the road to the small cluster of homesteads at the Rio Savane estuary. As you approach Beira, there is a large flyover at the turnoff to the airport. The turnoff to Rio Savane is about 30 m before that, on the left. The drive on a good road through marshlands for 32 km ends in a car park.


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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.