|Country Information & Lifestyle|
An Adventure Around Every Corner
Unspoiled, undeveloped, and untamed, Mozambique is fast-emerging on the international tourism circuit with its wild beauty and exotic influences. There are vast expanses of palm-fringed beach and lagoons with safe bathing, warm waters and good fishing. The country is rich in wildlife and also claims islands that are dotted with historical monuments.
Mozambique borders Tanzania to the north, Zambia & Malawi to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and South Africa and Swaziland to the southwest. To the east lies the Indian Ocean and a coastline of nearly 2,500 km with beaches bordered by lagoons, coral reefs and strings of islands.
Behind the coastline, a vast low plateau rising towards mountains in the west and north accounts for nearly half the area of Mozambique. The landscape of the plateau is Savannah - more or less dry and open woodlands with tracts of short grass steppe. The western and northern highlands are patched with forest.
Along the coast is an almost endless succession of unspoiled white sandy beaches and islands with swaying palms and shallow turquoise waters. For a truly remote experience, Medjumbre private island is a narrow strip of sand, with just a tiny runway, spliced into the Indian Ocean.
Siren Shores, tales of mariners and mermaids fill the salty air on the coast of Northern Mozambique, one of Africa's last frontiers. Fascinating paradisaical coastal panoramas, wild, beautiful and untamed. This is the beach at the end of the world. The ancient ways of this almost-lost almost-paradise once one of the great destinations of trader sand treasure-seekers, it's a place the world is now beginning to rediscover. Inland the vast expanse of bush where enough lions and elephants still roam to be the stuff of local lore and wreck havoc on villages.
Nampula is the main airport access for Ilha de Mocambique, a World Heritage site and one of southern Africa's most alluring destinations. The island is accessed from Nampula via a tarred road and bridge. Ilha de Mocambique has an amazing history and ancient buildings made from coral. The island has two sections, the oldest is Stone Town in the north. With not much having changed on the island in a couple of hundred years, there is a unique ambience where visitors can step back in time. The silversmiths are well worth a visit and you can observe the crafters making jewellery using ancient methods. Visit the Portuguese fort, or the Chapel of Nossa Senhora dating back to 1552 and of course the Governor's Palace.
Maputo, the most southern province of Mozambique borders South Africa & Swaziland. The vibrant city of Maputo, the capital, has Portuguese colonial history and beauty, and enjoys a reputation for good nightlife and excellent restaurants. Inhaca Island is popular for diving and snorkelling, and further south is the Maputo Elephant Reserve. About a two hour drive in a 4 x 4 is Ponta do Ouro with beautiful beaches marine life rich with tropical fish, dolphins, Manta ray and even shark.
This province of Gaza lies just north of Maputo, the Limpopo Valley located here is very fertile and used extensively for growing rice and cereal crops. The main attractions in this area is the Praia do Xai Xai beach close to the capital Xai Xai; and about two hours from Maputo.
The bustling town of Xai Xai is alongside the Limpopo River and is a long standing holiday destination over many years. The town has a reef running parallel to the beach and sunset cruises can be enjoyed on the Limpopo River. The town has most amenities, a market and a number of restaurants.
The coastline between Xai Xai and Inharrime is very picturesque with stunning fresh and salt water lakes along the way. Lovely white sandy beaches can be found around the lagoons. Only basic supplies can be found in this area, like fresh bread and limited fruit and vegetables.
Chidenguele has a shipwreck on the beach near Kings Pool along with the Boz Paz lighthouse and the old cathedral to visit. The little village of Quissico has fabulous views of the lakes and is famous for its Timbila Festival at the end of June every year. Inharrime is another small village surrounded by lakes and has beautiful beaches along this deserted coastline and you can get good views of dolphins in the waves along with Hump Back Whales in season.
Situated in the lower-middle section of the country, Sofala Province is one of the wealthiest in Mozambique and produces mainly sugar and shrimps. The province offers game viewing and fabulous scenery at the famous Gorongosa National Park, which is 150 km from Beira. The park is a scenic treasure at the end of the Great Rift Valley, a major wildlife reserve which is one of the world's most known conservation areas of Mozambique and undergoing rejuvenation. The house of lions is one of the park's attractions as well as rivers and lakes, fauna includes buffaloes, elephants, hippos, zebras, leopards and wolves.
Mount Gorongosa is just northwest of Beira with spectacular views overlooking the massive reserve. Here you can see rain forest, waterfalls, streams and rivers, woodlands and savanna in the park. Magnificent scenery and the chance to see four of the Big 5 along with many other residents in the park and bird life.
The remote Chimanimani National Reserve is west of Beira and has diverse Eco-systems with prairies and mountainous regions which support buffalo, a wide variety of antelope and bird life. Marrowmeu National Reserve is in the north of Beira and is undeveloped. There are 4 of the Big Five animals amongst other mammals in the reserve.
Beira is a busy port in Sofala province and the second largest city in Mozambique. The airport is the nearest for access to the beautiful Gorongosa Natural Park. The bustling provincial capital of Chimoio is located in lush surroundings and has an airstrip. The stunning Lake Chicamba and the Old Windmill are just two of the attractions.
The popular village of Bilene is about 160 km north of Maputo on the way to Inhambane. Situated on the banks of a stunning lagoon protected from the Indian Ocean by a large sandbar, the village has simple shops, market and numerous restaurants and bars. The Banhine National Park is a protected area for its wealth of wildlife.
The Inhambane province has most notably the beautiful Bazaruto Archipelago, many famous beaches, coconut and cashew trees. The coastal area surrounding Vilanculos has superb white sand and magical scenery. An experience that is hard to beat here is setting off on a traditional sailing dhow gliding through the Bazaruto Archipelago.
Vilanculos is about 750 km north of Maputo and offers long pristine beaches and dazzling views to take your breath away. The beautiful bay has calm and shallow waters which are ideal for water sports. Just beyond the bay is the magnificent Bazaruto Archipelago a chain of six islands, Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Isobel, Santa Carolina and Pansy Shell Island.
Six little pieces of heaven in a marine national park, two of the islands are uninhabited, while the others have a few small villages scattered among wild orange and cashew nut trees. Just perfect for peace, solitude and time to watch the spectacular sunsets. It is quite rare to find somewhere that is entirely unspoiled, complete with palm fringed beaches, world renowned diving and traditional culture.
Vilanculos is a few kilometres inland from the bay and is a compact town, easy to get around on foot. The town has restaurants, bars, banks and basic supplies. The markets have lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and various arts and crafts can be found at the cultural centre.
Nacala is an important port, one of the deepest harbours in the world and close to Nacala Bay for fantastic diving on unexplored and pristine coral reefs. The waters are warm and clear offering ideal conditions to discover the different corals and exciting topography.
Just further north of Nacala Bay is the Baixo do Pinda Peninsula, with stunning beaches and secluded bays. Inhaca Island is a beautiful deserted jewel with magnificent beaches and a lagoon which is ideal for windsurfing. The island can be reached by plane from Maputo in 15 minutes or ferry takes 3 hours.
Pemba city has a delightfully relaxed feel and there is Portuguese colonial architecture and strong Arab influences. The city has all modern amenities and the old part has traditional markets which is the place to go for beautiful arts and crafts.
Pemba Bay forms a huge harbour and stunning coral reefs lie close to shore providing wonderful diving and snorkelling. Dhow safaris are a popular way to sail around the bay and beyond. The 32 coral islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago can be reached from Pemba. Stretching up to the Tanzania border, it is a wonderland of unexplored delights which have never been developed.
The Quirimbas Archipelago has many treasures and an undiscovered appeal. Warm azure waters, untouched coral reefs, white sandy beaches, wildlife and historical significance. Here you can enjoy heart warming cultural tradition, find beautifully crafted and original silverware and explore ancient settlements and buildings.
The southern group of islands form the Quirimbas National Park. Only some of the beautiful islands are populated or have resorts. The most well known is Ibo Island nominated for World Heritage status. The island has been occupied for hundred of years. There are three forts and a lovely old Catholic church to explore.
Vamizi Island is an unspoiled castaway paradise, wild, windswept beach dotted with driftwood, all manner of shells and creamy coral. Sea turtles nest on the downy white sand. The water is endless shades of blue and grey and never dips below 20 c. The island is home to three villages as well as a hotel and has all manner of wildlife.
The Niassa Reserve is known for its elephants, buffalo, lion and wild dog populations. It currently supports 4 of the Big Five animals and exotic bird life among many other fascinating creatures. Access to the Niassa Reserve is via the local airstrip with air charter from Pemba or by road from Lichinga.
The beautiful Lake of Stars was so named by the explorer David Livingstone. Lake Niassa is the Mozambique name for Lake Malawi. The shores of the Mozambique side are unspoiled and remote. It's an area of breathtaking beauty edged by sandy beaches and pristine forest. The freshwater lake is teeming with unique fluorescent fish and waters are warm and clear.
The coast in southern Mozambique is known as a diving and surfing hot spot as well as the place to be for swimming with dolphins and even whale sharks. In the summer months generally from October to December, turtles come onto the beach to lay their eggs, and in the winter whale watching is a popular attraction.
The quaint village of Ponta De Ouro is a short distance from the South African border and is a popular beach and holiday destination. De Ouro has a picturesque setting surrounded by casuarinas trees, sand dunes and the sea. Visit the elephant reserve.
Zambezia province located in the north of the country bordering Tanzania at the Rovuma River and Malawi in the west at Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi), it is the largest and the most sparsely populated of all the provinces of Mozambique.
This area is one of the wildest and least developed. A visit to the stunning Lake Niassa is a must, the road down to the lake is only possible with 4 x 4 vehicles and so this area has remained unspoiled. The lakes waters are host to a abundance of tropical fish species, the likes of which is not found any where else on earth.
In the north of the province is the massive Niassa Reserve, the biggest in southern Africa, it is game rich and famous for the large number of elephant found there, along with lions, leopards, buffaloes, zebras and others.
The Makua-Lomwe, who belong to the Central Bantu, live mainly in the area north of Zambezia, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces. The Tsonga, who are the predominant race in the southern lowlands, provide a great deal of the labour for the South African mines. In the Inhambane coastal district are the Chopi and Tsonga, while in the central area are the Shona. The Makonde inhabit the far north.
Mozambique has an interesting and flavorful cuisine that has been strongly influenced by the Portuguese who colonised the country for 500 years. Mozambican food is decidedly spicy due to the chilli peppers, garlic & lemons that are liberally used. Peri-Peri means spicy-spicy and it is the standard accompaniment to just about all meals.
Seafood forms a large part of the local diet and one of the best known dishes is shrimp or prawns done Peri-Peri style. A local dish without Portuguese influences is Matata which is a seafood stew, usually made with clams using a peanut sauce.
Flavorful spicy stews eaten with rice or steamed cornmeal dough are common. Like most African nations, fish is also a key part of the national diet, and can be incorporated into a number of dishes, fresh, smoked or dried. Like its African neighbours, Mozambique is also blessed with a wide variety of fruits, including citrus produce (such as oranges and grapefruits), bananas, mangoes and coconuts which are enjoyed throughout the nation.
with rice and chips (fries).
Mozambique is a stunningly beautiful country with so much to offer after the years of turmoil where you will never be bored. The people are friendly, the food exciting, the beaches pristine and the azure waters warm and enticing - what are you waiting for!