The site lies between the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi rivers and the Mussangezi and Zambezi rivers, at the head of Lake Cahora Bassa. The main habitats include seasonally flooded grassland, palm-savanna, a fringe of riverine woodland, semi-arid woodland with baobabs Adansonia digitata, and wooded hillsides. The area is sparsely inhabited and is a hunting concession.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Three species of the Zambezian biome are not represented in any other IBA in Mozambique. Falco dickinsoni occurs in semi-arid woodland, Agapornis lilianae utilizes semi-arid woodland and flooded grasslands, and Lamprotornis mevesii occurs in fringing riverine woodland. Several waterbirds occur on the lake shores and flooded grasslands, and distinct communities of woodland birds occur in the riverine and semi-arid woodlands.
Non-bird biodiversity: Significant populations of larger mammals, including Loxodonta africana (EN) occur.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Headwaters of the Cahora Bassa Dam. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/07/2020.