Research projects at the core of the Festival

A research project is being carried out on the Incomati estuary and delta through a collaboration between the Eduardo Mondlane University (several faculties: Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Biology, Faculty of Agronomy), IRD (UMR PALOC), the Institute for Hydrological Education (IHE-Delft) and an expertise from CIRAD. The objective is to understand the modification of the dynamics of the estuary over time and its impacts in order to propose environmental flows from upstream dams, which improve the productivity of the estuary, to the benefit of water users and biodiversity.

The results will feed into the Nairobi Convention's reflections on environmental flows at the scale of the Indian Ocean (through the WIOSAP E-Flows project "Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the protection of the Western Indian Ocean") and a broader reflection on the future of Indian Ocean deltas and their vulnerability as part of IRD's DIDEM project (Dialogues Sciences-Décideurs dans l'Océan Indien) and the GDRI-Sud DELTAS.

The working method is participatory and supports reflection at several scales and the collection of opinions and feelings of users through a participatory environmental observatory. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs' project "Blue Year of the Indian Ocean" supports this observatory initiative and fosters exchanges between science and society.

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© IRD - Dominique Vinckenbosch

Boat ride on the Incomati delta

Mozambican students visiting the exhibition

© IRD - Dominique Vinckenbosch

The Festival of the Estuary (Festival do Estuario)

The Festival of the Estuary took place in Macaneta, in the District of Marracuene, in Mozambique on October 15-16-17, 2021. On October 14 the day before the start of the Festival an opening exhibition cocktail was organized to welcome the partners involved.

The objective of the Festival is to highlight the role and functions of the estuary and its floodplains, which are known to the locals but unknown to visitors (who often only remember Macaneta for its beach side), as well as its exceptional biodiversity values (it is the second most important birds hotspot in Mozambique after Gorongosa) and the unique expertise of its inhabitants.

The Festival was also a meeting opportunity for scientists, environment advocates, Macaneta's inhabitants, administrators, tourists and locals from Maputo. Various types of activities were offered (respecting sanitary measures at the time):

  • An open air photo exhibition on the banks of the river, showing the services provided by the estuary to the inhabitants and its function as a support for biodiversity, and in particular the great diversity and richness of the birds that frequent the estuary
  • A reception for international and local students
  • Birds guided-boat rides
  • A visit of the Ecocentre and its Casa do vidro from te cooperative Repensar, one of the Festival's partners
  • Traditional music (Mbenga-Mbira duet) et dance (Xigubo Gwaza Muthini crew)
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© IRD - Dominique Vinckenbosch

Dance crew Xigubo Gwaza Muthini

This event was a major success and highly appreciated by a diverse audience. The District and the partners wish to make the Festival of the Estuary a yearly occurrence.

Pictures of the opening cocktail and the Festival of the Estuary days