The site lies between the town of Panda in the east and Lake Guele in the west. The terrain is generally flat, and the substrate sandy. The valley of the Inhatouco river is no more than a shallow marshy depression running through the site from north to south. Two distinct woodland-types occur. The eastern half of the site supports Brachystegia woodland (up to 20 m high), with sparse undergrowth. Taller tracts, which support a greater diversity of birdlife, are interspersed among shorter, denser tracts. This is the only locality in southern Mozambique (south of the Save river) where this vegetation-type occurs. Further exploration on the ground is needed to determine the exact limits of the surviving Brachystegia woodlands. The other woodland-type is tall mixed woodland, including Acacia species, which occurs in the western half of the site. Exploration to date has been inhibited by the suspected presence of land-mines. Human settlements are expanding steadily away from the town, along the two roads. Slash-and-burn agriculture is the main human activity.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The tall Brachystegia woodlands at this site are estimated to support up to 100 breeding pairs of Ploceus olivaceiceps, which are likely to constitute about 0.5% of its global population. The birds at this site are separated by more than 600 km from any other population. Two species of the East African Coast biome occur, including Nectarinia neergaardi, a near-threatened and restricted-range species of the mixed woodlands; its population here is isolated from that of the Maputo Special Reserve (IBA MZ001). Marshlands associated with the riverbed support many wetland birds.
Non-bird biodiversity: Fewer than 100 elephant Loxodonta africana (EN) survive in the area. Most species of larger mammal have been hunted to local extinction.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Panda Brachystegia woodlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/09/2020.