The land full of life and hidden beauty, with untouched nature stretching from the endless pristine beaches.
From the 10th century or earlier, Arabs and Indians traded with populations in the Mozambique area. Portuguese traders took prominence from the 15th century onwards, vying with Arabs and Swahili people along the coast in the commodity and slave trades. In time, Portuguese settlers came, establishing large estates. However, Portuguese control was frantically resisted and by 1885, when the colonial powers met for the Berlin Conference to formalise colonial boundaries, Portugal only controlled coastal strongholds and a few dispersed inland areas. After a series of military campaigns to suppress the African population, Portugal auctioned off land concessions. In 1951 Portugal declared Mozambique to be its overseas province and by 1970 some 200,000 Portuguese settlers – largely peasant and working class people – had been brought to the country by the Portuguese government.
Nationalist groups began to form in the 1960s; three banned groups combined to form Frelimo which led a war of attrition to win independence. Frelimo’s first President, Dr Eduardo Mondlane, was killed by the Portuguese in 1969. After the 1974 revolution in Portugal, the new government soon started talks with the liberation movements in the overseas provinces on self- determination. Mozambique became independent on 25 June 1975 under the country’s first President Samora Machel.
Civil war broke out in the late 1970s between the government and Renamo. Renamo was first bankrolled by the white regime in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and later by South Africa. Commanding widespread support from the disaffected, Renamo was mostly active in central provinces such as Sofala, Manica and Zambézia, and later on in the south. Through sabotage, Renamo managed to destroy much of the country’s economic and social infrastructure: roads and railways, schools and health centres, houses, shops and factories. Millions of Mozambicans fled as refugees into neighbouring countries, or became internally displaced people. More than one million people were killed. Machel was killed in a puzzling air crash in 1986 and was replaced as President by Joaquim Chissano.
The new constitution ratified in 1990 introduced into the country a multiparty democratic system and a free-market economy, thus paving the way for the peace process. Negotiations mediated by the Italian Roman Catholic community of Sant’Egidio culminated in a peace agreement in October 1992; a UN peacekeeping force arrived in July 1993, and demobilisation of troops began in mid- March 1994. In the multiparty elections of October 1994 President Chissano was re-elected with 53 per cent of the votes.
Mozambique is located in South-eastern coast of Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean in west and sharing its borders with Eswatini, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.
Area : 801,590 km²
Population Size : 30,144,910
Capital City : Maputo (Population 1,766,184)
Portuguese (official), Swahili, Makonde, Emakhuwa, Xichangana, Elomwe, XiTswa and others. 50.3% of the population speaks Portuguese. While 10.7% of the population speaks it as their first language, 39.7% speaks it as their second language.
Time : Local Time GMT / UTC + 2h
Country Calling Code : +258
Literacy Rate : 58.8 %
Currency : Mozambican metical
Internet domain : .mz
With 2500 km of coastline and dozens of the world’s most beautiful tropical islands, Mozambique offers a stunning variety of white sand beaches and azure seas in the form of two island groups known as the Bazaruto Archipelago and the Quirimbas Archipelago. Both are made up of a number of small tropical islands washed by the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean.
• Bazaruto Archipelago
• Quirimbas Archipelago
As with its top destinations, most other destinations in Mozambique are dedicated to the worship of sun, sea and sand, with Gorongosa and Niassa being the only national parks currently recommended by African Sky for a unique safari experience.
Mozambique’s Inhambane Region is a popular tourist destination. Loved by divers, fishermen campers, beach bums and those seeking a luxury getaway alike, Mozambique Travel Packages to Inhambane in the south are designed to suit every pocket.
Tofo beach is a surfers’ paradise. This popular Mozambique beach destination runs from a rocky point in the south up towards Ponto do Barra and is filled with excited South African families during school holidays.
Vilanculos is a small town some 700km north of Maputo that pulses with life – Mozambique Accommodation on this part of the African coast offers anything from camping and backpackers to sublime luxury hotels and private, self-catering homes.
Ponta Mamoli remains untouched and undeveloped; one of Mozambique’s hidden treasures on the southern coast of the country. Highly accessible and affordable, this Mozambique Holiday Destination offers accommodation for all.
ILHA DE MOZAMBIQUE
A tiny island off the coast of Nacala Province. Initially the capital of Mozambique for nearly 400 years before the Portuguese moved it to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), this island is now a popular holiday destination. Excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities are available in the nearby Indian Ocean.
1. Marine Reserve
What a relief that Mozambique still leads Africa in proclaiming marine reserves to protect her ocean species. Tourism to this glorious holiday destination continues to rise as intrepid travellers hear about the scuba diving in Mozambique. The warm Indian Ocean promises so much diversity of spectacular wildlife under turquoise waves. There are enormous and gentle Whale sharks, an endangered species which use filter-feeding methods to eat tiny food particles.
Divers love to hover above huge Manta rays which can actually fling themselves right out of the water when swimming fast. See them near Tofo and in the Bazaruto Archipelago. The rare Dugong eats sea grass and rises to the surface often to breathe air. See these shy creatures near the Bazaruto Archipelago islands. It is difficult to spot the Leafy sea dragon which resembles a bit of seaweed whereas the Blobfish is just that, a blob. Like a chunk of jelly they float around looking for food.
One of the most recent and the largest marine protected area in Africa is the region covering 10 islands in the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago. Saving several corals and turtles, this marine park is essential for tourism and the future of the ocean environment off Africa.
2. Best Beaches in Africa
Travelling the more than 2 000km of wonderful coastline off Mozambique takes time so choose the best beaches and enjoy their quality slowly. Mozambique surely boasts some of the best beaches in Africa and your holiday should at least include some island beaches, some in Inhambane, Vilanculos, Pemba and Maputo. From the palm-lined shores of Barra and Tofo to the Baobab groves in the Quirimbas Archipelago, beaches are often devoid of human life. From the southern wildness of Ponto do Ouro and Inhaca to the charm of the Bazaruto Archipelago, you can choose lavish villas or more rustic dune chalets.
3. Value for money
Allow your friendly travel agent to design a special package for you to a destination of your choice. Choose your budget and your season and there will be a villa, a hotel, a guest house or a self-catering mansion available for you. So many deals, so little time – for divers, honeymoon couples, fishermen and party animals there is a holiday special for you. Many of these packages include your flights and transfers, some water sports, some drinks and delicious meals. Self-drive holidays may be enticing but read the fine print and go fully prepared for plans to change.
4. Music and Culture
Make sure you hear the music of the Mozambicans when you visit this cultural African destination next holiday. The Niassa people in the remote north-western region love music and tend to play wind instruments created from dry and hollowed calabashes. This earthy sound is like a trumpet. Head to Maputo to hear the famous Mozambique marimba bands and traditional music, often regarded as similar to Reggae music.
Where there is music there is dancing and the hunting dance of the Chopi is a spectacle not to be missed – dancers dress in lion skins. It all depends where you decide to spend your Mozambique holiday and which tribes will be nearby. It is fascinating to watch the ‘hopping’ dance of the Makua men who move around on tall stilts or if you are exploring Ilha de Mozambique you may observe the tofu dance there. If you choose Tete as your holiday venue, you may take part in the common dance called nyanga which involves dancing, singing and playing the panpipes.
5. Snorkeling and Scuba diving:
Scuba diving is definitely something you do in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Warm clear waters to spot unbleached coral reefs, game fish (such as Yellow fin tuna, Barracuda, King Fish and Marlin), Whale sharks, Red snappers, Green and Hawksbill turtles, pods of Humpback dolphins as well as the Humpback whales in season.
Diving sites are centred on the islands and their luxurious lodges. The resident PADI Dive Instructor at Dive Quirimbas on Ibo Island , for example, offers fantastic dive training courses and huge adventures for accredited divers. You can book a mobile island hopping dive safari for one of the most unique dive experiences in Africa.
The charming Bazaruto Archipelago islands also offer some of the best diving in the world, thanks to their pristine coral reefs and healthy fish stocks. Divers go down to depths varying from 12 metres to 40 metres where they discover protected reefs brimming with game fish, giant lobster, sharks, Manta and Spotted Eagle rays, Green turtles, Whale sharks and Humpback whales. Some divers will be lucky to come across the rare Dugongs swimming in shallow clear waters where plentiful starfish, anemones, seahorses and tropical fish display their colours.
Visit Turtle Nesting Sites
The largely untouched beaches of Mozambique are some of the best places in the world to see a few different species of turtle. These include the Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles. Nesting normally starts in the last couple of months of the year and extends into the new year, with peak nesting season in March. Several of the hotels and lodges offer excursions to view these nesting sites. Visits are normally at night when the turtles come onto the beach for nesting purposes.
Snorkelling & Diving
Mozambique is a snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise. Soft coral reefs teem with a colorful melange of marine life, from angelfish and puffer fish to potato bass and sea turtles. A kaleidoscope of anemones and starfish complete the seabed rainbow. Depending on the depth and location of the dive, manta rays, stingrays, moray eels, and reef sharks are all on the close encounter list. Divers and snorkelers alike may also meet the majestic whale shark or the ever-inquisitive pod of dolphins.
The calm waters of the Indian Ocean make it the ideal setting for skimming the surf as well. Sail in a colourful dhow like a local or explore the shallow reefs with kayak and paddle. Try your hand at navigating the wake of a boat on skis, a board or a tube. A beach holiday need not necessarily be spent lazing your afternoons away on the sand when the occasion for adventures is, in fact, beckoning at the shoreline.
Big Game Fishing
Mozambique happens to be an angler’s paradise, its waters abundant with game and sailfish. Chartered deep-sea trips are easily arranged and standard for most resorts. Mackerel, kingfish, marlin, tuna, wahoo and barracuda dominate the finned pursuits on the menu.
Swimming With Dolphins
Several of the resorts in Mozambique offer a swimming experience with wild dolphins. In all cases, a strict code of conduct is adhered to ensuring no harm comes to dolphins during these interactions.
Leisure activities can range from cooking lessons in local flavors, island picnics, horse-riding on the beach, deep sea angling, snorkeling, various water sports and excursions to prime diving locations (all depending on your elected resort). Whether you fancy spending your afternoons bronzing on the beach, relieving your urban burden in the spa or exploring all the treasures the natural surroundings have to offer, your experience will be characterized by utter relaxation.
Sailing On A Dhow
The traditional boats used by Arab traders in centuries past lend a different dimension when traveling between the various islands and the Mozambican coast. Whether you opt for an overnight trip, fishing from a dhow or simply enjoying a sunset cruise from one of the lodges found on the islands, this traditional method of travel on the Indian Ocean is sure to lend a sense of romance and authenticity to the experience.
Gorongosa and the Quirimbas Archipelago – Ibo Island, more specifically – offer birders untouched natural areas with some wonderful bird watching. From the wading species found on the islands to the endangered Tyolo alethe and the stunning white-tailed blue flycatcher, both amateur bird watchers as well as experienced ornithologists will delight in the bird watching opportunities available in Mozambique.
Whale & Dolphin Spotting
While enjoying the pristine beaches and watersports on offer in Mozambique, you are also likely to spot some whales between the months of June and November. The most common species encountered are the humpback and Southern Right whales, while those who are very fortunate may also spot the Baleen whale. The best areas for whale watching include the Bazaruto and the Quirimbas islands, as well as Pemba and Inhambane on the mainland.
One of the primary reasons for visiting Mozambique is to come in contact with the amazing marine life found in these tropical waters. Whether diving or snorkeling, you are likely to see the rare dugong as well as whale sharks and manta rays. A great number of reef fish and even predatory fish species can also be viewed in these waters.
Horse riding on the beaches of Vilankulo and on Benguerra Island offer a unique way of experiencing the pristine beaches of Mozambique. Mozambique Horse Safaris offers a range of different rides in these destinations. Some cater to novice riders and others to those with more experience in the saddle. A horse riding school is also available to those who are keen to get involved in this rewarding past time.
Who does not need a VISA?
Passport holders of the following countries Do Not Need A VISA: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. You will still get an entry permit for up to 30 days stamped in your passport, but this is NOT the same as a visa and cannot be extended – you will have to leave Mozambique and re-enter on a new entry permit.
Who needs a VISA?
All other nationalities not listed above require a visa, and there is no variation in the way citizens of the countries are accorded preference. In other words, there are no countries that Mozambique routinely declines to grant a visa, or denies entry. What Mozambique charges you for your visa at its consulates, depends on how much Mozambicans are charged for a visa when visiting your country.
Are Mozambique VISAS issued at airport and land borders?
Firstly, as a general rule, if you travel on the passport of a country for which Mozambique requires a visa, get one before departure. Obtaining a visa at the border or airport is generally a formality, it is by no means guaranteed.
Is English widely spoken?
English is spoken by those in the hospitality industry, and in practice it’s pretty widely understood. Keep in mind this is a developing country and many lodges take pride in using the local village staff, so your requests may not always be understood the first time around. This is improving all the time however and lodges will often show you the training and education projects that they are involved in. Many lodges in Mozambique are closely involved with their local communities.
Will I have cellphone reception and/or internet access?
The island lodges – are quite far-flung. Mobile reception and internet access are therefore typically either poor or non-existent.
How do we get there?
Maputo International Airport Mozambique’s main airport. Regional and local scheduled charters flights connect Maputo, Vilanculos and Pemba with neighbouring countries. Private and scheduled charters are easily arranged from either Johannesburg or Nelspruit to various destinations within Mozambique. Most island resorts are reached by helicopter, shuttle flights and road transfers. A few of the lodges are only accessible by boat.
What’s the best way to travel around the country?
Mozambique is a relatively big country which means it makes sense to use the extensive internal flight networks. Once you are away from the centres, in remoter parts, its best to travel by small plane, boat or private road transfer.
Is Mozambique safe?
In major cities like Maputo petty crime can be common place, and caution should be exercised. Our advice would be to leave valuables you don’t need at home, or in your room safe. Really a holiday in Mozambique is a very relaxed affair – it’s probably the place where the idea of barefoot luxury really came into being, as often shoes aren’t even required at dinner time.
What about land Mines?
Mozambique was officially declared clear of all landmines in 2015.
Will I have access to clean drinking water?
All lodges have a generous supply of bottled mineral water available.
Is Mozambique expensive?
As many of the lodges are quite remote, acquiring fresh supplies can be a costly affair. Reaching these far-flung destinations can also be relatively expensive, considering that helicopter, light aircraft or boat charters are often necessary. Mozambique is therefore unfortunately not the most affordable destination.
Where is the best place to go Scuba diving?
While fantastic scuba diving opportunities abound up and down the coastline, the Bazaruto and Quirimbas archipelagos provide the finest.
Can I go Scuba diving if I’ve never done it before?
Many lodges offer beginner PADI-registered scuba diving courses – be sure to check beforehand.
Do I need to get any vaccinations ahead of travel and/or malaria tablets?
Malaria precautions are recommended, and you should always consult your doctor or travel clinic at least six weeks ahead of travel. Yellow fever inoculations may be required – if you are arriving via East Africa for example – but again always get up to date professional advice.
I am pregnant, can I travel to Mozambique?
As Mozambique is a malarial area, we wouldn’t advise travelling here. Do discuss all travel plans with your doctor.
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