Legado was born in Mozambique—one of the world’s poorest nations and home to thousands of unique species. Our flagship project on Mount Namuli engages world-renowned scientists, local community activists and conservation leaders to secure a vibrant future for the mountain and the people who depend on it.

Mount Namuli is an 7,936 foot inselberg—a mountain that is isolated from a range and rises sharply and distinctly out from the plains—and as such, separated from a mountain chain, became an ecological island home to unique species, flora and fauna. As the ancestral home to the Lomwe people, Mount Namuli holds significant cultural, social and economic influence in the lives of millions.

Decades ago, the communities encircling Mount Namuli lived in harmony with the mountain and its ecosystem. However, today, poverty, climate change and growing populations have pushed communities to seek resources and arable land further and further up the mountainside.

This rapid degradation, through unsustainable natural resource use and agricultural practices, is threatening the mountain’s unique biodiversity—specifically through the conversion of forests and grasslands for subsistence and local market agriculture has sped up the rates of habitat loss. This threat to biodiversity also poses a significant threat to the long term viability and sustainability of the local communities as well.

Biologists and conservationists from around the world have identified Mount Namuli as a global hotspot: a place of critical biodiversity. Despite the fact that Namuli is designated as a Level 1 Priority Key Biodiversity Area by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, an Important Bird Area, an Important Plant Area, and an Alliance for Zero Extinction site, Namuli has no official conservation status.

Today, Legado: Namuli is the first group to work toward conservation of Mount Namuli in conjunction with the people who call the mountain home. Legado: Namuli is co-managed by Legado and LUPA, our Mozambican implementation partner and brings over 20 years of experience working on community natural resource management and development programs in Mozambique. Our work is site-scale, driven by local leaders, and exists to advance a thriving future for Namuli’s people and environment.

We’ve teamed up with Google Jump and filmmaker Ross Henry to create a 3-minute Virtual Reality film, Mountains = Water = Life, to take you right to the heart of the mountain.

Mountains = Water = Life tells the story about the power of one mountain and its water — tracking water from the rainforests on top of Mount Namuli all the way on its journey to the Indian Ocean — 200 miles away. Need another reason to check it out? It’s narrated by the Queen of Namuli herself.

So, get your VR goggles ready and check the film out in English above or, you can see the film in Portuguese here. If you don’t have VR goggles, no worries at all – you can still check out the film on YouTube and explore the 360 view of Mount Namuli by clicking and dragging around the screen.

Legado: Namuli grew from three main components that laid a solid foundation for growth to propel the initiative into the future.
Click the buttons below to learn about each one.

Namuli Thriving Futures is a Joint Program of

Photography Credit: Rob Frost (all)