The beautiful country of Mozambique is one of those places that’s still free from tourist suffocation. It’s inspiring to see how the Mozambicans are putting their shattering past behind them and rebuilding their country at quite a remarkable pace. There is loads to see, such as stunning beaches and islands, a World Heritage site, colourful local cultures, and charming colonial architecture. Admire the world renown coast line and beautiful islands such as Vilanculos, Ebo, Bazaruto, Benguerra, Pemba & Quirimbas Archipelago. If you are looking to simply relax on the beach or dive into the clear warm Indian Ocean then Mozambique is the place to visit.
Mozambique’s main attraction are the beaches and islands that dot the coastline, add to that friendly locals and delicious food and you have a perfect destination for your next escape. Some areas may be very rustic with poor road conditions, but there are hidden gems just waiting for you to uncover. For instance the Quirimbas Archipelago in the north of Mozambique is a beachy paradise. Wade through warms waters and hike through mangroves during low tide. Brace yourself for bounding, exuberant local children who are dying to meet and play with you!
Why go to Mozambique?
* Sail on a traditional white-sailed dhow
* Snorkel in the colourful tropical reefs
* Walk along the beach
* Relax in a hammock beneath a palm tree
* Collect pansy shells from the shore at low tide
* Watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean
* Swim with dolphins
* Spot a whale shark
* Deep sea game fishing
* Delicious seafood dining
Weather in Mozambique
Mozambique has a tropical climate with lovely sunshine throughout the year. Average temperatures are around 28°C to 32°C making it a perfect holiday destination if you are looking for outdoor activities. There is a rainy season which happens from November to April, but it is still hot and humid during these showers, particularly during December and February.You will find inland to be cooler and the rainfall is heavier, with most showers occurring during January and March.
The regions can vary quite significantly in their climatic conditions. The north-east coast can become very hot and humid. The areas that have higher altitude (Nampula and Niassa) tend to be cooler. Along the coast you will find soaring temperatures that are oppressively hot and humid. Inland the nights are cooler giving you some reprieve.
Please take note though that January and February is cyclone season in Southern Mozambique and one will experience sudden torrential downpours. The Bazaruto Archipelago is best avoided at this time.
Best time to Visit Mozambique
Due to the fact that the weather is ideal most time of the year – anytime is a good time to visit, there are only a few variables which you need to consider. May to November is the Winter season and you may prefer the cooler temperatures of 15 to 21 degrees celcius. There is less rain during this time and you will avoid the heavy downpours during the Summer season of December to April (27 to 32 degrees celcius).
You most probably would love to see the game of Mozambique and the dry season from August to September is best for safaris. The vegetation has thinned out so you will have greater visibility of the animals and they congregate around the rivers and waterholes.
How to get to Mozambique (By plane)
There are international flights that will arrive from South Africa to take you to Mozambique. However, there are also international routes between Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Portugal and Qatar.
South African Airways have several flights a day that leave from Johannesburg and fly to Maputo. Federal Air will take you directly to Vilanculos International Airport if you are holidaying there. Other airlines that fly from Durban are Kenya Airways, Swazi Express Airways, Qatar Airways and TAP Portugal. South African Airlink, LAM and Kernya Airways will take you to regional airstrips in Mozambique.
Facts on Mozambique
Full name: Republic of Mozambique
Population: 17 million people
Capital city: Maputo Area: 801,600 sq km; 309,498 sq miles
Population: 19,000,000 Time Zone: GMT/UTC + 2 ()
Languages: Portuguese (official)
Religion: Indigenous beliefs (30%); Christian (40%); Muslim (30%)
Electricity: 220V; 50HzHz Electric Plug Details: European plug: 2 circular metal pins South African/Indian-style plug: 2 circular metal pins above large circular grounding pin Plug configuration
Country Dialling Code: 258
Money matters Currency: Metical (Mtn) Medical matters: HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Schistosomiasis (bilharzia), Hepatitis, Typhoid, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Meningococcal meningitis
Where to go in Mozambique
Bazaruto, or in Portuguese Ilha do Bazaruto from Ushurutswa meaning ‘island of the mist’, is a sandy island situated around 80 kilometres southeast of the mouth of the Save River in Mozambique. It is the biggest island in the entire Bazaruto Archipelago, as well as in the Bazaruto National Park. The shores seem to build up slowly but surely, due to the warm, southward-running Mozambique Current. Because of the crystal clear water along this shoreline region, much of the channel patterns below water around the island are distinctive. Bazaruto Island is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in the whole of Mozambique, originally named Santa Antonio by Portuguese explorers. It was later named Benguerra after a local Tribal chief.
Numerous thin lines of plankton flourish parallel to the coastline. The coastal plains have various lakes and a swampy habitat that appears to be karst topography. Underlying the area is limestone rock that has worn into a pockmarked landscape, forming water-filled sinkholes. Rainfall throughout this humid, tropical climate amounts to about 850 millimetres yearly, mostly concentrated from December through to March. The nearest mainland town to the island of Bazaruto is Inhassoro, though administratively it belongs to the Vilankulo District and the Inhambane Province.
Located off Mozambique on Africa’s east coast, the Bazaruto Islands are one of the most incredible travelling destinations in the world. The islands offer a wide range of private accommodation selections, giving you a paradise getaway. Sunsets, tranquillity and solitude are what to be expected on the Bazaruto islands, allowing travellers to choose what or what not to partake in. Guests are free to relax on the pristine, sparsely populated beaches, but if you seek something more thrilling, feel free to participate in some of the more exciting activities. These include superb bird watching, excellent diving and snorkelling, as well as fantastic fishing.
An almost completely unspoilt oasis, the archipelago has earned its reputation as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. Between the islands, boats are the only means of travel, whilst on land walking is the more popular choice. The coastal region surrounding the Bazaruto Archipelago is world-famous for its excellent selection of white sand, dramatic and vivid sunsets, and tall palm trees that sway gently in the breeze. There are gorgeous stretches of unspoiled sun-kissed beaches that treat you to marvellous views.
The Archipelago’s coral reefs and sparkling waters offer some of the finest diving in the world. Dive sites are not crowded, and sea life is diverse and plentiful. With sites that reach up to 30 metres deep, and visibility for up to 40 metres, you will discover sheltered reefs brimming with dolphin, humpback whales, whale sharks, sharks, manta rays and turtles – an incredible underwater experience.
The surrounding region is classified as the finest fishing destination for Marlin in the whole of the Eastern Indian Ocean. The season begins from early October and runs through until the end of January every year. The Bazaruto Archipelago offers saltwater fly-fishing for those who would like to try their hand at catching a sought-after bonefish. Experience a traditional sailing dhow around the Archipelago. The islands of Benguerra, Bazaruto, Magaruque and Santa Caroline offer gorgeous azure waters, bronzed beaches, palm trees and untouched coral reefs. With so much to do and see here, Bazaruto Island is most certainly an area to pay a visit to during your travels through the area.
Praia do Tofo
Praia do Tofo, or just ‘Tofo’, is a tiny town and huge tourist attraction located in south-eastern Mozambique. The town is situated on the coast of the Indian Ocean, on Ponto do Barra peninsula in the Inhambane Province of Jangamo. It is just 22 kilometres from the city of Inhambane and contains plenty of beach villas, diving retreats and stunning scenery. The long stretch of Indian Ocean shore draws in tourists, as well as the beautiful reefs close by which attract a variety of marine life.
Tofo Beach has been referred to as ‘the next Goa’, and has become a massive traveller’s focus on Africa’s Eastern coast. This is largely due to the gorgeous coastlines, friendly and hospitable atmosphere, vibrant night life, fantastic diving and snorkelling, and a couple of great restaurants.
There are numerous reasons as to why Praia do Tofo is popular, but the primary reason is the incredible sea life that is available for you to observe and have remarkable experiences with. Along with Manta Rays and Sea Turtles, Tofo is one of the finest travelling destinations for divers in order to spot Whale Sharks.
Historically a small coastal fishing village, Praia do Tofo has developed into a wonderful foreign tourist centre, with a small vegetable and African market, at least three excellent diving centres, a small hotel and numerous other places of accommodation. There is also a horse riding stable which provides you with amazing beach ride experiences on the shores of Tofo Beach, as well as various bars and restaurants to visit. The tourist centre also contains the close by settlement known as ‘Tofinho’, which is just a ten minute drive away, boasting stunning landscape vistas.
A couple of tourist centres can be found along the shoreline, including Bazaruto Archipelago in the north, Praia de Zavala, Praia de Zavora, Baia dos Cocos, Praia da Barra and Pomene.
The warm waters of Mozambique house a multitude of game fish, making it a perfect location for activities such as fly fishing, deep sea fishing and offshore game fishing. Expect to encounter species such as barracuda, dorado, wahoo, kingfish, bonito, yellow-fin tuna and sailfish, which are all common in Tofo. Otherwise, feel free to try your hand at surfing, embarking on sunset cruises or simply relaxing and basking in the comforting rays of the sun whilst lazing on golden sands.
Also known as ‘Terre de Boa Gente’ meaning ‘Land of Good People’, the city of Inhambane is situated in southern Mozambique on Imhambane Bay, 470 kilometres northeast of Maputo. It is the Inhambane Province’s capital and as of 2008, had a recorded population of almost 66,000 – quite a significant rise from the 1997 censes of 54,157. The city spreads over 68,615 square kilometres, with a tropical climate that gets more humid along the coast and more arid inland.
The town is quiet and rich in history. It is renowned for its rusting colonial architecture and has been well-loved amongst tourists over the past few years. Inhambane was formed due to a deep inlet into which the small river, the Matamba, runs. Two guardian sandbanks look over the harbour to create one big protective sandbank. The town of Maxixe lies across the bay.
Inhambane was in existence in the 10th century, and was the southernmost port utilised by Arabs for the slave trading industry. Vasco da Gama visited the area in 1498 and claimed Inhambane Bay for Portugal. This led to the Portuguese setting up a trading post in the city in 1534. Inhambane was then selected as the first Jesuit mission to East Africa in 1560.
The post slowly developed as an ivory and slave trading hub, especially in the 18th century when the region was mostly under Indian control. The area was wrecked in 1834 by Shoshangane, but grew swiftly in the second half of the century as a Portuguese East African town. The old cathedral and mosque were constructed during this period. However, in the 20th century the town’s status weakened and the economic issues worsened as Maputo became the primary centre.
The city now contains a museum and market, and is well-known for its stunning beaches (Tofo and Barra). The main market, ‘Mercado Central’, is situated along the central avenue and supplies various foods, ranging from a vibrant selection of spices and vegetables to prawns, fish and cashew nuts.
The province is the second biggest cashew producer after Nampula, and also grows coconut and citrus fruits, which were the inspiration for Mozambique’s famous poet, Craveirinha’s piece ‘The Tasty Tangerines of Inhambane’. The long coastline of the area includes numerous mangrove swamps and supports much fishing. The Inhambane Bay region is a popular tourist destination with its various beaches, as well as its housing of one of the last remaining populations of dugong in Mozambique.
A popular sport to partake in when visiting Inhambane is scuba diving, which is amongst the finest in the world in this region. This is largely due to the fact that the reefs are so close to each beach in the area, including the world-renowned Manta Reef and Galleria. Frequent sightings of Giant Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, Turtles and other thriving aquatic life are common here. There are plenty of professional scuba diving establishments throughout the province, as well as various snorkelling operations – another well-loved sport of the town.
Liwonde National Park
Here you will find some of the best game viewing in Malawi, such as elephants, antelope, and a large a variety of bird species. Liwonde covers many aspects of the wildlife in Africa. Expose yourself to the bush by going onmorning bush walks with experienced guides. Go on exhilarating boat rides where you can spot hippos and crocodiles. Sit at the water’s edge in the evenings and quietly watch the wildlife that surrounds you.
Majete Wildlife Reserve
This is a 70 000 hectare conservation area situated in the Lower Shire Valley that is home to the Big 5, as well as a variety of other animals and birdlife. Activities includes guided nature walks, game drives and sunset safaris.
Lilongwe is the capital of Malawi, with New Town in the North and Old Town in the South. Old Town has wonderful markets, street cafés and bustling restaurants, making it an interesting place to visit. The markets offer Indian spices and clothing stalls where you can test your skills at bargaining. It also offers a golf club if you feel like a swing or two.
Zomba was the former capital of Malawi and the town is a hive of activity, with lovely old architecture. The buildings are covered with soft greenery and ferns. It also has a vibey city market that you can browse through. However, the Plateau is where the real beauty lies with mountains, streams and woodland trails.
Mount Mulanje is a granite mountain range that is Central Africa’s highest peak at 3 000m. Here you can go on winding trails through tea plantations and cedar tree forests, not to mention spectacular waterfalls and cool rock pools.