Maputo Special Reserve: Where elephants learn to trust humans again

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Travelling from the KwaZulu-Natal border, past the raucous Ponta do Ouro popular with the brandy-and-coke brigade, you'll find a reserve that's still incredibly wild - just like its elephants.

Unlike the more polished and relaxed animals of big parks like Kruger National Park, Maputo Special Reserve - managed by the Peace Parks Foundation - is a place where the animals that have survived decades of war and poaching are still trying to learn to trust humans again. At the moment only 4x4s or high-rise vehicles can traverse the conservation area's bumpy dirt roads - some of the roads hasn't seen a car in ages.

While this accessibility might dissuade certain adventurers, its expansive natural beauty gives you such a variety of scenic landscapes you might feel like you're travelling through all the African biomes. It boasts a massive lake system, coastal dunes, mangrove and swamp forests, grasslands and stretches of pristine coastline provide visitors with a complete bush to beach experience.