Manica Highlands Initiative



The Manica Highlands is a linear (north-south) transboundary mountain system some 8 500 km2 in extent, shared between Zimbabwe and Mozambique in south-central Africa. The mountains are characterised by mosaics of moist evergreen forests, miombo woodlands, and high moorlands.

The dramatic scenery includes the highest peaks in both Zimbabwe (Mt Nyangani, 2 593 m) and Mozambique (Monte Binga, 2 440 m). Various land uses beginning in prehistoric times have left a complex legacy of human-environment interactions that continues today.

The Manica Highlands Initiative (MHI) was founded in 2011 by Prof Ralph Clark (then a postdoctoral research fellow at Rhodes University) as a network to encourage research and interventions for sustainability in the Manica Highlands.

In November 2023, the coordination of the MHI was transferred to the care of regional expert Dr Anthony Mapaura, currently a postdoctoral research fellow with the Afromontane Research Unit at the University of the Free State (UFS). Secretariat assistance is provided by the African Mountain Research Foundation. Dr Mapaura graduated from the UFS with his well-deserved PhD in 2023, after completing his studies with the UFS Department of Plant Sciences with support from the ARU, the Centre for Invasion Biology (Stellenbosch University), and the Centre for Biological Control (Rhodes University).

  • Kind sharing by Darryl Plowes of the data and information catalogue he had gathered on the Manica Highlands over many years.
  • Various engagements in Zimbabwe with key academics, policy makers, and citizen scientists.
  • Mapping of woody alien invasive species density in Nyanga National Park in 2016.
  • An alien invasive species workshop in the Bvumba in 2016, hosted by Seldomseen.
  • The first comprehensive enumeration of plant endemism in the Manica Highlands (Timberlake and Clark in prep.).
  • Invasive species research and management in the Manica Highlands, building on the ‘r4d’ application and coordinated by the Centre for Biological Control (Rhodes University) in partnership with Zimbabwean agencies.
Contact details:

MHI Coordinator
Dr Anthony Mapaura
Afromontane Research Unit, UFS
E: /

Secretariat Support
Clara Hickman
African Mountain Research Foundation


Contact us

Sithando Jwara

Administrator: Afromontane Research Unit
Private Bag X13, Phuthaditjhaba, 9866, Republic of South Africa
T: +27 58 718 5271
C: +27 73 512 7671