Every day’s a beach day
With a tropical climate and over two thousand kilometres of crystalline Indian Ocean coastline, Mozambique has some serious, sun-kissed allure. Delight in some of the finest diving on the continent with pristine coral reefs and a kaleidoscope of marine life to discover. Remote archipelagos and palm-fringed beaches provide innumerable places to string a hammock. Beyond the beach you’ll find an exhilarating capital, rolling savannah, complete with the full compliment of African safari wildlife, and a fun and welcoming people. With several centuries of Portuguese rule still in evidence, a distinctly Mediterranean atmosphere and well-preserved colonial architecture add to Mozambique’s intriguing cultural mix.
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Top things to do in Mozambique
There are many wonderful experiences to be had in this seaside nation. For further inspiration take a look at the trip ideas put together by our trusted local experts at the foot of this page, but in the meantime here are our top three things to do in Mozambique.
Explore an underwater world
In Mozambique’s ocean of fantastic diving opportunities, the Bazaruto Archipelago offers some of the very finest. Here you might see whale sharks, mantas, hammerheads and sea turtles, amongst glinting shoals and flourishing reefs. Scuba divers should head to the fabled San Sebastian for spectacular dives amongst pinnacles of coral clad rock rising up from below. Snorkelers will find plenty to catch their eye on tidal drifts along Bazaruto’s Two-Mile Reef.
Step back in time
The tiny coral island of Ilha de Mozambique was the Portuguese colonial capital and an important trading centre for four centuries. Famous for both the classic colonial buildings in Stone Town and the traditional African huts in Reed Town, Ilha is UNESCO-protected and one of Africa’s historical highlights. The cultural influences here are many and varied and there’s a real sense of religious tolerance between the largely Muslim and Catholic populations.
Go local in Maputo
Maputo is one of Africa’s most elegant capitals, with its wide, tree-lined avenues, and a breezy Mediterranean vibe. Colonial Portuguese architecture remains intact and a lively ‘Old Town’ stretches out around the port. It’s well worth spending a few days in Maputo, enjoying alfresco drinks in shady cafes and stylish evening dining. The fascinating township of Mafalala has a character all its own and is a great place to join a walking tour and learn all about its historical and cultural significance.
Lesser-known highlights in Mozambique
While there are many well-known things to do in Mozambique. what about the lesser-known highlights? Our local experts have shared some of their top tips for where to go and what to do if you fancy a bit of an alternative Indian adventure.
Towards the centre of the country, Gorongosa National Park is packed with wildlife. Known as the Serengeti of the South, it occupies a preserved area in central Mozambique’s Great Rift Valley region. Lion, hippo and elephant stalk its savannah, with colourful birds flocking to the surrounding wetland habitats. The terraced Murombodzi Falls course down rocky Mount Gorongosa to complete this National Park idyll. Binoculars, camera, expert guide, go.
Head north to Niassa
If you are seeking pristine wilderness, prioritise the Niassa Game Reserve. Its biodiverse ecosystems cover an impressive 42,000 square kilometres in northern Mozambique, making it the country’s largest protected reserve. Niassa is part of the collaborative Trans-Frontier Conservation Area, with links to a neighbouring Tanzanian reserve. Antelope, gazelle, elephant and buffalo roam its plains offering excellent safari and sighting opportunities.
Go diving with sharks
The diving fraternity is well aware of Praia do Tofo’s underwater charms. Manta ray, sea turtle and whale shark encounters are practically guaranteed. First timers can sample snorkeling and will love Tofo’s seemingly endless sandy beach, punctuated by colourfully weathered fishing boats. The reefs attract marine life aplenty which in turn draws the visitors, making this once quiet village a thriving international resort with the facilities to match.
When is the best time to go to Mozambique?
Temperatures in Mozambique are toasty year round. Tourism all but comes to a halt during the wet season, which stretches from December to May. The best time to visit Mozambique is during the dry season from June to October, which has more comfortable daily highs of around 25°C and lows of around 15°C. Most will wish to explore Mozambique during this period, but those whose visit is confined to the wet season can gamble on the south, where there is a good chance of clement weather.
Interesting facts about Mozambique
Mozambique is a fascinating country. But did you know any of our top facts about it?
- Mozambique joined the Commonwealth in 1995 becoming the first country to join with no previous connection to the British Empire. Rwanda has since joined in the same manner.
- Mozambique is famous for its fresh seafood. As a former Portuguese colony, that country’s influence can be tasted in dishes like peri-peri (hot and spicy) prawns and peri-peri chicken.
- If nouns were allowed in Scrabble, Mozambique would score the highest of any country with 34 points.
- Portuguese is Mozambique’s official language, though ethnologists recognise that over 40 languages are spoken there including several indigenous Bantu dialects.
- Some scenes from the film Blood Diamond were filmed in Maputo, the capital city.
Insider tips from our trusted local experts
Being local, our experts have an extensive knowledge of the secrets to experiencing the 'real' Mozambique. Here are a few of their top tips - ask them for other recommendations when you enquire to ensure you have the most in-depth experience whilst on holiday!
Try cassava cuisine…
The diet for many rural Mozambicans features the cassava root, known as mandioca in Portuguese. This staple’s name translates as ‘all-sufficient’ and it’s often boiled and served with vegetable or beef. No part is wasted, with cassava leaves also stewed and savoured with ground peanuts, coconut milk and garlic. At markets, cafes or during a homestay, be sure to try this classic national flavour if given the chance.
The inspirational Indian Ocean...
Ponta do Ouro is famed for its golden beach, dolphins and marine activities from diving to deep-sea fishing. Order fresh Indian Ocean seafood and spicy peri-peri prawns and wash it down with a crisply cool Laurentina Clara – Mozambique’s favourite lager and one of Africa’s most awarded. Dramatic sunsets scored across huge red skies are each day’s signature sign off. Enjoy them from an informal, beachside café and plan the next day’s whale-watching off nearby Inhaca Island.
Browse the fair-trade certified arts and crafts at the Machilla Magic showroom in Vilankulo. It works with over 60 local creative artists and makers, supporting them and their families. 95% of the goods have been crafted from recycled materials with raw materials coming from sustainable sources. Exhibited gallery style over two floors for relaxed browsing without the haggling, discover bright Mozambican fabrics, sculptures and wood carvings.
What to read before you go to Mozambique
If you're looking for something to get you in the mood before you set off on your travels to Mozambique, we've gathered a list of our favourite books to inspire you.
'Confession of the Lioness' by Mia Couto
Couto is an award-winning Mozambican author and the English translation of this novel (originally written in Portuguese) was a Man Booker finalist in 2015. This dark tale delves into the mystery of the ghost-like lionesses that hunt the women of the remote village of Kulumani. A haunting story told through interweaving journal entries.
'Mozambique Mysteries' by Lisa St Aubin de Terán
In 2002 aged 50, author Terán craved a serious lifestyle change. She moved to Mozambique’s Mossuril district with her partner and daughter and established a community college, tackling head on the challenges such an endeavour entails. Inner torment inspires public good and improved cultural understanding in this highly readable memoir.
'A Short History of Mozambique' by Prof. Malyn Newitt
A comprehensive, big-picture look at the growth of modern Mozambique, from its trading status through the Portuguese maritime era and post-independence civil war years to today. Newitt aims to make a complex history digestible to all, in efforts to understand why Mozambique remains so disjointed and poor twenty-five years after its Peace Accord.
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