Z002 Mavuradonha Mountains


16°30’S; 31°10’E
c. 57 500 ha


The Mavuradonha Mountains form the eastern part of the Zambezi Escarpment in Zimbabwe, rising over 1 000 m above the Zambezi Valley and peaking at Banirembiza (1 628 m a.s.l.). The mountains lie north of the town of Centenary, falling within the Mzarabani District. The Mavuradonha Wilderness Area covers c. 575 km2, forming a protected area between the Mzarabani Communal Land to the north and the Centenary Commercial Farming and Resettlement Areas to the south.

The mountains intercept the northeast winds and have a cooler moister climate than the valley below. ‘Mavuradonha’ refers to the rain and mist. There are numerous streams and rivers rising in the mountains, flowing north to the Zambezi. The terrain is steep and rocky with Elephant trails winding up and down the mountain. In the east, the Musengedzi River has cut a gorge through the mountains creating attractive scenery. The area holds a great deal of well-developed Miombo woodland with most of its representative species: Brachystegia spiciformis, B. glaucescens, B. boehmii, B. allenii and Julbernardia globiflora. There are also gully, ravine or ‘kloof’ woodlands, with higher soil moisture and nutrients, providing a greater range of microhabitats. Large forest trees such as Khaya anthotheca (nyasica) occur, but are scattered and in low numbers.


The mountains are known for their variety and density of raptors; the atlas records show 38 species (including owls). Of particular interest are Ayres’s Hawk-eagle Hieraaetus ayresii, African Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus, Western Banded Snake-eagle Circaetus cinerascens, Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus and Lesser Kestrel F. naumanni. The Zambezian biome (particularly the miombo) species are well represented (14 species).


The Wilderness Area is relatively well protected, and wildlife numbers are increasing. Elsewhere, the rugged terrain prevents access and exploitation, although there is felling of the larger trees and limited poaching. The CAMPFIRE initiative will hopefully assist in protecting the mountains from uncontrolled settlements and reduce the poaching.


Dickinson’s Kestrel | Uncommon
Lilian’s Lovebird | Common
Racquet-tailed Roller | Fairly Common
Miombo Rock-thrush | Common
Arnot’s Chat | Common
Boulder Chat | Uncommon
Kurrichane Thrush | Common
Stierling’s Wren-warbler | Common
Miombo Tit | Common
Meves’s Starling | Common
White-bellied Sunbird | Common
Miombo Double-collared Sunbird |Abundant
Broad-tailed Paradise-whydah | Uncommon
Black-eared Seedeater | Uncommon

RR & BRA – Restricted-range and Biome-restricted Assemblage

Keeping Common Birds Common