Catapu – Central Mozambique Hot
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chestnut fronted helmet shrike by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick.jpg

Located in the heart of a 27 000 hectare forestry concession of lowland forest and open  woodland within Central Mozambique, Catapu is perhaps one of the most popular birding destinations in Mozambique.

Dense lowland forest that is home to an incredible diversity of immense trees provides extremely exciting birding with specials such as the African pitta, east coast akalat and white-chested alethe being found here. Bird parties moving through the forest often contain chestnut-fronted helmet-shrike, plain-backed sunbird, violet-backed sunbird, Livingstone’s flycatcher, tiny greenbul, slender greenbul, Woodwards batis and black-headed apalis. In the open woodland areas en-route to the forest, silvery-cheeked hornbills and grey-headed parrots may be seen and heard and flying overhead. Raptors are also well represented with the southern-banded snake-eagle being the most sought after species to view.

african paradise flycatcher

1 of 7. African paradise Flycatcher

Catapu forest by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

2 of 7. Catapu forest at dawn

wild dog signage near catapu by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

3 of 7. Wild dogs still occur together with other wildlife within the lowland forests of Catapu

white crested helmet shrike by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

4 of 7. White-crested Helmet-Shrike

red duiker by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

5 of 7. Red Duiker in an opening of the forest

blue mantled crested flycatcher by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

6 of 7. Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatcher

livingstones flycatcher by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

7 of 7. Livingstone's Flycatcher


Best Time to Photograph
The forest comes alive with bird calls just before dawn and bird parties are most active thereafter up until mid-morning.
Type of Photography
Bird Photography
Best Time of Year
  • Summer
  • Throughout the year
Photographic Tips
Catapu is best visited with the guide as listed below and by using the nearby Mphingwe Camp as a base from which t o explore the area. Bird photography is best carried through hand holding the camera, using fast telephoto lenses, vibration reduction and high ISO settings. In the lowland forest, most birds occur in small birding parties and the best manner of locating these birds is to wander slowly along the roadway until a bird party is located. Once found, it is suggested to slowly follow the birds until photographic opportunities present themselves. A number of the more elusive species have regular territories and calling points and this is where a guide can definitely help in locating the hard to find birds.
Recommended Gear
Long telephoto lenses mounted on the camera body together with a carry sling to help ease handling is suggested. A flash can also be useful for photographing in the shady patches of the forest.


Site Highlights
Angola Pitta and White-chested Alethe
Immense stands of lowland forest and towering trees


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
Bird Watching
Guide/s Available
Etienne Marais – Indicator Birding (


Closest Town
Getting There
Catapu is reached off the EN1, approximately 30 kms south of the Zambezi River. Access is best from the Mphingwe Camp and by accompanying a birding guide.


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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.