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Located on the eastern coast of southern Africa, with neighbours Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa. Mozambique is relatively close to Harare in Zimbabwe and Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. The coastline extends for 2500km along the east coast and it is the 16th largest country in Africa. Of the many attractions in Mozambique, the most popular regions are found along the coast. This is largely due to the fact that this country has some of the world’s longest stretches of undeveloped coastline, resulting in some of the most deserted beaches around.
Causeway leading to Ilha de Mocambique, original capital of Mozambique and final stop on the trade wind route.
The diving in Mozambique is some of the best in Africa, with many dive sites which are uninterrupted due to the lack of human activity, giving an exclusive look at some of the most exciting underwater landscapes in the world. The underwater life flourishes in the rich Indian Ocean, and there is a high probability of seeing humpback whales with newborn calves between September and the middle of November, and manta rays in Tofu. Excellent places in particular for diving and snorkelling are the Bazaruto Archipelago and Quirimbas Archipelago.
There are several national parks in Mozambique, the biggest of which is Gorongosa National Park. The wildlife here is not accustomed to human life, and as a result can be seen completely as it should be in the wild even if this means seeing it running away! The Niassa Reserve further north is excellent for wild dog but not much developed in terms of tourist infrastructure.
The bird watching is spectacular with a huge variety of birds from the coast to the mountains. Especially good for birds is Gorongoza Mountain, which has some species of birds that cannot be seen anywhere else in southern Africa such as the green-headed oriole and the East Coast akalat.
The towns of Mozambique are also worth a visit if time allows. There is the capital city of Maputo with a number of quality hotels and restaurants, to small towns such as Pemba, Inhambane, Ibo Island, and Ilha de Moçambique.
Maputo is a port city in the south of the country, with a population of 1.5 million people. With wide, tree-lined avenues and busy street markets to peruse, the character of Maputo is unlike any other city in Africa. Trees such as the jacaranda, flame tree and palms line the avenidas which have many street cafés and attractive old buildings amongst high-rise buildings from the 50’s and 60’s. The night life is lively, and the people friendly, making Maputo an unmissable destination.
Pemba is a small port town with wonderful beaches and old buildings, that is near the Quirimbas Archipelago and is a good place to stop on a tour of the islands.
Similar to Maputo with tree-lined avenues and beautiful colonial buildings, Inhambane has a strongly Mediterranean character that is emphasised by the location in a bay in the mouth of the Matumba River. This is one of the most relaxing towns to stay in, and has a large variety of restaurants to try, as well as a vibrant market that is a pleasure to explore.
The town on Ibo Island is one of the most ancient settlements in Mozambique. One of the most alluring parts of the town is the history; it is in places crumbling as buildings decay, giving a wonderful sense of age that is unmissable. Parts of the town have been restored, which contrast greatly with the older buildings, and if the culture does not inspire, the coastline here is some of the most beautiful in the world, with an unrivalled biodiversity.
Ilha do Moçambique is the oldest European settlement in east Africa, and is situated on a small coral island of the same name. The biggest attraction here is a wealth of the oldest colonial buildings to survive in the southern hemisphere.
The date of your visit depends largely on what you want to do during your stay in Mozambique. The coast is best visited during the winter months of May to October, as it is dry and cooler than any other time of the year. Visiting during the summer months (November to April) is perfect for birders; however the weather conditions are hot and humid, and there is a risk of the roads being flooded and unusable.
It is easy to get to Mozambique by air if you are already in Africa, with the Mozambican nation airline running regular flights to many other African countries. As well as this, Federal Air and SA Airlink fly direct between Johannesburg and Vilanculos/Pemba. Kenya Airways have scheduled flights to Nampula on a regular basis.
To get to Mozambique direct from Europe by air you need to get to Lisbon, which has regular connections between European gateway airports. It is also possible to drive into the country, especially considering it has an unusually large number of neighbouring countries with border posts. Most people prefer to fly due to the size of the country.
There are many reasons to visit this country despite it largely being unheard of, least of all because it is has the fastest growing tourist industry in the world. With the unspoilt coast and atmospheric towns, there are a large number of spots perfect for romantic getaways to hardy explorers and everything in between. Whilst the country may have experienced some political instability in its recent history, what sets it apart from other African countries is that the Mozambican people are more interested in making the most of the future instead of sitting on old arguments. Indeed, the Mozambican people are some of the most interesting people you will ever meet, with most being funny, helpful and honest and will make any trip to Mozambique memorable before you’ve even done anything.