Maputo Special Reserve

Finding the Entrance – Futi Gate

From Kosibay / Farazul

From the border the entrance to the reserve is about 40km.

Head out on the tar road, you will keep going straight. The reserve starts about 10 km before you need to turn off, you will go over a cattle grid and then alot of speed bumps.

Remember the speed limit in the reserve is 50km/h on the tar.

Just before the end of the reserve, easily identified by the guard house, you will see a paved road going off to the right, this is your turn off. Turn right and follow the road to the gate.

Note: There is one toll gate on this road.

Ponta do Ouro – 130 Mt

From Maputo / Katembe

From the Katembe bridge, the entrance to the reserve is about 77km.

Keep heading straight towards Ponta do Ouro, south along the N1.

You will pass through Bela Vista and then Salamanga. Just after the Futi river you will see the entrance to the reserve ahead of you. This is not where you pay so drive through this gate. Then 100m past the gate you will see a paved road heading off to the left, this is your turn off. Turn left and follow the road to the gate. 

Note: There are two toll gates on this road.

Katembe – 125 Mt

Bela Vista – 100 Mt

Information about the Maputo Special reserve

Reserve entrance fee
  • Entrance fee is determined by the passport you hold and vehicle registration.
  • You can pay by card or cash. (Meticals, Rands and Dollars are accepted)
  • Keep your receipt as you will need it when you exit the park.


  • Deflate your tyres to 1.8 or 1.6 bar, if you get stuck deflate them some more. remember to deflate your trailers tyres too.
  • Momentum is your friend, go as fast as possible but as slow as necessary and don’t stop in thick sand
  • There is little to no cell signal in the reserve, if you see someone in trouble stop and offer help. You may need their help soon.

Emergency Numbers

  • +258 85 509 6721
  • +258 86 668 6317

Penalties and fees apply for non-compliance and recovery attempts

Entrance Times

Summer: October – March

06:00 – 18:00

No entry allowed after 16:00 without prior arrangements

Winter: April – September

07:00 – 17:00

No entry allowed after 16:00 without prior arrangements

Driving through the Maputo Special reserve

It is highly recommended that you only drive through Maputo National Reserve with a high clearance 4×4 and the driver has some 4X4 experience. 

⚠️From the gate to Santa Maria is about 67km it will take you between 3 – 4 hours. (No, I am not smoking anything, it is a long journey but the destination is worth it!) Please give yourself enough time to get all the way through the reserve and hopefully all the way to Santa Maria during day light hours. Our rule of thumb is if we are not in the reserve by 15h00 we don’t enter.
Remember there is almost ⚠️no cell signal most the way through so other travellers are your best friends and often your only help should you need it.
➡️Directions (kind of)
When you go through the gate stay right. Follow the road for about 5 – 7 km They have added red sand to the surface which has helped with the thick sand but it is still slow especially when it is wet. You will get to a big opening (it’s a marsh) in the middle of the match is a fork (Sign posted 4)
I highly recommend going right, towards the power lines. Left is the shorter road, but it goes through wet marsh and also through “forest” areas with protruding roots, which often cause sidewall damage. 
So from the fork @ 4️ go right, you will get to the power lines, follow these for the next 60km (they end in Santa Maria)

About halfway through you will get to a boom gate. They will ask for your entrance receipt. Once they have checked your paperwork go through the boom. Stay left! Keep going, about 10km from the boom you will pass under some electric wires. That is the end of the reserve.

⚠️You may not drive in the mangroves… firstly it damages the eco system and you can get heavily fined. Secondly it may look dry on the surface but often, looks can be deceptive and the mud under the surface is thick black snotty gunk! Be careful…

Keep following the power lines for the next 28km. they will lead you straight to Santa Maria.