A holiday to Mozambique is all about idyllic beaches, sunshine and a number of remote and pristine islands that conjure up the typical images of white sand beaches, aquamarine waters, a remote and endless coastline with vegetated dunes where plush and private lodges hide-you-away from busy city life and allow the island-vibe to seep into your soul.
|Mozambique Intro & Facts||Mozambique Climate|
|Mozambique Traveller's Tips||Mozambique Weddings & Honeymoons|
Mozambique's Tropical Islands:
What is an archipelago
Mozambique's Wildlife Reserves:
Gorongosa National Park
Niassa National Reserve
Mozambique's Capital City: Maputo
|Mozambique's Top Destinations||Family Fun in Mozambique|
Besides this picture-postcard daydream of a tropical island destination, what Mozambique also has going for it, is some truly incredible marine action, the vibrancy of her coral reefs will literally ‘take your breath away’ either on free-dive snorkel or SCUBA, and then of course there are the limitless water sports to keep one entertained and active in-between copious amounts of scrumptious seafood!
Mozambique boasts a long-legged coastline of roughly 2500km, washed by a warm Indian Ocean, she shares a southern border with South Africa, a northern border with Tanzania and inland borders with Malawi, Zambia (north west) Zimbabwe (west) and Swaziland (south west).
Mozambique has 10 provinces that can be collectively grouped into three regions:
- Northern Mozambique – Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa provinces
- Central Mozambique – Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia provinces
- Southern Mozambique – Gaza, Inhambane, Vilankulo and Maputo provinces
Maputo is the capital city (formerly known as Lourenco Marques), however her two other major cities are Beira (a busy port town and the capital of the Sofala province) and Nampula (an industrial city in the north and capital of the Nampula Province).
Portuguese is the official language, though many people do speak English, particularly in the capital Maputo and within the typical tourist areas. However the further north you travel, the less likely you are to encounter English or Portuguese speaking citizens, and in the more rural communities Swahili, Nyanja and Shona will be encountered – there are 13 main national languages spoken.
Mozambique is on the ‘hot-list’ of up and coming tourist destinations, the country’s incredible coastline and sunny weather is attracting much attention, however the tourism sector is still largely undeveloped. The country is still considered one of the most poverty stricken in the world, however Mozambique’s economy (and average GDP) has improved dramatically (even bouncing back after the devastating floods of 2000), with agriculture being the country’s mainstay, with 80% of the population employed in subsistence farming. However the country's extensive coastline supports Mozambique’s largest export, prawns! A concensus in 2007 established that nearly half of the population is Christian, with more than a quarter Muslim.
Tropical, with two seasons:
- November – March is wet season and April to October is dry season. Cyclones do occur during the wet season, which is when 80% of annual rains fall.
- Average temperatures during the wet season: 26 – 29 degrees Celsius, with cooler temperatures in the interior highlands
- Average temperatures during the dry season: 18 – 20 degrees Celsius
- Mozambique’s coastline enjoys a year round sunny climate, however during December and January temps can soar coupled with high humidity. Temperatures are typically higher in the north.
- Meticais (Mozambique currency is the New Metical – MZN – the New Metical replaced the ‘old’ Metical at a rate of a thousand to one) cannot be exchanged outside of Mozambique, therefore change a small amount of currency to cover for instance taxi expenses if necessary or curio purchases at markets. Merchants generally do not offer favourable exchange rates. Most lodges however accept foreign currency and your tour operator should book the majority of your tours and activities along with your lodge accommodation, including transfers (whether road, boat or plane/helicopter to/from your lodge) prior to your arrival. ATM machines are not known for their reliability, particularly after hours. At ATM’s Visa is accepted (not Mastercard). South African Rand is widely accepted in southern Mozambique.
- Always assume that tap water is unsafe to drink throughout Mozambique, it’s not that the water isn’t purified (particularly in the south of Mozambique where the country’s infrastructure is more developed), it’s just that in many instances the water will contain elements that often disagree with a western constitution. Remember, this applies to ice cubes in your drink, and your shower as well.
- The police in Mozambique are notoriously corrupt and bribery is rife. Do not threaten or argue with the police, rather and most unfortunately pay the bribe (sometimes the bribe can be as little as a t-shirt). Just remain friendly, listen to the officer’s grievance with you and resolve the situation as best you can in polite negotiation. Even reporting the police officer at a local police station will prove ineffective. If you do need to visit a local police station, ask another person to accompany you if you are travelling alone and take as little money/valuables with you as possible. However encountering police usually takes place if you are in the city, or travelling through Mozambique in a hire car. Flying into Mozambique and heading straight off to one of the country’s idyllic islands/beach destinations, the likelihood of encountering any police is highly unlikely.
- Mozambique is a malaria area and prophylactics are essential, discuss the best options with your local practicioner or travel clinic.
- Over the Christmas and New Year and South African school holidays (Jun/Jul and Dec/Jan, early Apr and late Sep) southern Mozambique ‘swells’ with holiday-makers from South Africa and the resorts and lodges tend to be much busier during this period.
- Comprehensive medical travel insurance is essential. Outside of the main cities of Maputo and Beira, medical facilities are limited. Do carry personal medical supplies with you. Also bring along a mosquito repellent, although the resorts and lodges often provide this in your room, as they do mosquito netting. Certain lodges even liberally spray all areas of their lodge with environ friendly mosquito repellents as added precaution. We can provide guidance on travel insurance and include this within your holiday quotation, or alternatively you can purchase medical insurance direct.
- Light weight clothing (cool cotton), comfortable sandals, a light jacket and/or rain coat, a sun hat, sunglasses and plenty of suntan lotion is recommended (there is nothing worse than being sun burnt on your holiday, particularly if you are on honeymoon or getting married in Mozambique).
- Camera with lots of film and a small pair of binnoculars for bird watching and dolphin and whale spotting from the shoreline.
- For SCUBA divers don't forget to bring along your log book and diver's certification.
- In Mozambique seafood features prominently on the menu at most lodges and hotels, particularly on the islands within the Quirimbas and Bazaruto Archipelago's, so if you have specific dietary requirements or food allergies, as the islands are remote, for the lodges to adequately cater for you, they will need advance notification.
If your idea of romance is to escape to a remote beach destination, where soft sand underfoot and the hush of a gentle ocean is your back drop, then a honeymoon in Mozambique is a fantastic option. Most notably is that Mozambique is still rather undiscovered and therefore less tourists, allows one the experience of being the 'only footprints on the sand'! It’s an exquisite feeling of intimacy, with your partner and with the natural world that surrounds you.
Getting married in Mozambique is also an option, most of the lodges have ‘standard’ wedding package inclusions, however it will be a wedding blessing (without the legalities), but with the gorgeous Indian Ocean as your backdrop.
We have a number of honeymoon and wedding packages, and in particular the off shore islands of the archipelagos of the Quirimbas and Bazaruto offer that typical tropical island paradise holiday retreat, within luxurious lodge accommodation.
Mozambique is also a wonderful family destination, with a number of the lodges having private villas, where families can completely unwind with their own pool, lounge and where kids can be as energetic as they like without worrying the other guests… and of course add 'sand, sea and sun’ and you have the perfect holiday for children.
Although Mozambique’s stature as an up and coming tourist hotspot is largely accredited to the country’s pristine coastline, and offshore tropical islands, Mozambique also offers an incredible wildlife experience within the Gorongosa National Park and the Niassa National Reserve (famous for its elephant numbers) where a typical African safari vacation is order of the day.
When travelling to Africa, Mozambique’s islands (Quirimbas & Bazaruto Archipelagos) are best to ‘end your holiday’ for that relaxed tropical island vibe to seep into your being. The pace of island existence is one of the best de-stress tonics money can buy, surrounded by paradise.
Any number of holiday options are available to you – which we will tailor make to suit your budget and individual preferences – here are a couple of combo suggestions to guide you on your travels in Africa, although there are innumerable travel itinerary combinations we can package together for you:
Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park/Sabi Sands Reserve in South Africa, to the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
(3 nights safari + 5 nights on the islands = 8 nights in total)
Johannesburg, South Africa to Victoria Falls in Zambia, to the Kruger Park/Sabi Sands in South Africa, to the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
(1 night Jo’ burg, 2 nights Vic Falls, 3 nights Kruger, 5 nights on the islands = 11 nights in total)
Johannesburg to the Madikwe Reserve and onto Cape Town in South Africa, back to Johannesburg and onto the Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
(1 night Jo’ burg, 3 nights Madikwe, 4 nights Cape Town, 5 nights on the islands = 13 nights in total)
Please do get in touch with us should these packages and desinations appeal, we will provide further advice (with pricing) - tailored solution to your African holiday.
Mozambique’s Top Destinations – Wildlife Reserves
|Gorongosa National Park||Niassa National Reserve|
Mozambique’s Top Destinations – Tropical Paradise Islands
|Bazaruto Archipelago (Vilanculos, Benguerra & Bazaruto)|
|Quirimbas Archipelago (Pemba, Matemo, Medjumbe & Vamizi)|
|What is an Archipelago?|
Mozambique’s Top Destinations – Capital City
|Maputo (& Inhaca Island)|
Mozambique’s Wildlife Reserves
Within the central Sofala Province, north of Beira, lies the Gorongosa National Park, whose wildlife population during Mozambiques civil war was decimated, but in recent years the Mozabican Government and the Carr Foundation (an American non-profit organisation) have begun to rehabilitate one of Mozambiques national treasures, working hand in hand with the local community for the project to benefit all Mozambicans. The Gorongosa National Park is a massive wilderness area that encompasses almost 3800 square kilometeres and includes Mount Gorongosa, Wildlife now flourishes and one will encounter innumerable species from lion, leopard (although illusive and shy), buffalo, elephant, zebra, oribi, reedbuck, waterbuck – numerous antelope species, as well as warthog, hippo, crocodile, serval, civet, genet, vervet monkeys and baboon and the extensive list goes on and bird life literally abounds! Access is via Beira (either direct from Johannesburg or via Mozambique's capital Maputo).
The largest conservation area in Mozambique, the Niassa Reserve is twice the size of the world-famous Kruger National Park. This huge wilderness preserve, covering 42 000 square kilometers, is only just being discovered and contains by far the greatest concentration of wildlife in Mozambique. Untouched and virtually unexplored, it is one of the last vestiges of the wildness that characterised the African interior centuries ago. The wildlife remains free and unfettered and the results of an aerial census in 2002 estimated over 12000 elephant, 9000 Sable Antelope and several thousand Cape Buffalo, providing refuge for over 200 endangered Cape Hunting Dog (African Wild Dog), as well as other predators such as lion, leopard and Spotted Hyena, and general game such as kudu, bushbuck, impala, wildebeest, waterbuck, reedbuck and hippo. Three sub-species, the Niassa Wildebeest, Boehm's Zebra and Johnston's Impala are endemic to the Niassa area. This is one of the last areas in the world where such a wide array of wildlife thrives without any management by man.
The tropical islands of Mozambique – What is an Archipelago?
This is a chain or cluster of islands that can be found either isolated in a body of water (like the Seychelles) or alongside a land mass – as is the case with both Mozambique’s Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelago’s.
The islands are accessed from the mainland either by boat, light air craft transfer or helicopter transfer. Each transfer option is an experience in its own right. Boat transfers are usually the cheapest option, and in some instances one will need to wade in knee deep water to reach the sand of your Robinson Crusoe island retreat. All transfers are subject to weather conditions, particularly the boat transfers. The lodges have the whole transfer process ‘down pat’, guests are usually met by a lodge representative, assisted to their transfer from airport to either connect by boat, plane or heli transfer – it’s all one smooth connection to reach the islands. Do remember that there is a baggage restriction of 15kgs in soft bags, for both safety reasons and due to the fact that the holds on these small craft are literally that ‘small’.
Over 150 bird species have been recorded on the islands, where dense dune vegetation, fresh water lakes and island forests harbour a variety of wildlife species. The island experience and activities is pretty similar throughout both archipelagos – long stretches of white beach, turquoise waters, a warm ocean lapping gently at the shoreline, incredible sunsets, beach dinners by firelight, and oh the seafood!
The islands experience a large tidal difference between high and low, with water lapping a few metres from your cabin at high tide, and within a few hours, long stretches of exposed sand as far as the eye can see at low tide – it’s quite incredible.
Certain water sports are free such as pedal boats, wind surfing, kayaking, dhow sunset cruises and snorkelling and then others carry a charge such as SCUBA diving, marine safaris and deep sea fishing – rule of thumb is motorised water sports come at an extra cost.
The islands of Mozambique are a perfect honeymoon retreat - private, remote, sunset dinners on the beach with butler at your beck-and-call, hammocks floating in the breeze on your private verandah, candle-lit baths (sometimes out on your deck or private sala) and romantic turn downs at night. Most of the lodges also feature an intimate spa, which elevates relaxation and pampering to an even higher level.
For weddings abroad, Mozambique is a wonderful destination, the island lodges have intimate settings where a wedding blessing, with a back drop that literally looks as though it has been lifted from a coffee-table book it's so perfect. Ibo Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago has an ancient Chatholic Church, whose crumbling exterior, and atmosphere interior conjures up images of 'Pirates of the Carribean' romance!
Proclaimed a National Park in 1971, this string of six islands is accessed via the mainland town and airport of Vilanculos and is known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. Post-card perfect idyllic beaches, within a marine and wildlife sanctuary known for some of the best dive sites in the world. One can dive with whale sharks and turtles, chase the waves with dolphins, and be enthralled by the vibrancy of the coral reef inhabitants and if you are ‘super lucky’ view the incredibly rare Dugong. The lodges are few and are spread across the islands for that wonderfully remote and romantic island escape.
This string of 32 coral islands that dots the northern coastline of Mozambique, is accessed via the town and airport of Pemba. Most of the islands also fall within the Quirimbas National Park that spans an area of 7500 square kilometres and is currently featured on the ‘tentative list’ for UNESCO World Heritage Status for cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value to mankind. Most of the Quirimbas islands are small, uninhabited and unexplored, so if your dream is to spend some time tucked away within coconut palms, lounging on a hammock with endless views of a bright blue ocean and dazzling white sands, the northern Mozambique islands are your indulgence. The Quirimbas Islands have outstanding marine coral environments, with a number of sheer cliff drop-offs of 400m to get the adrenaline pumping. SCUBA diving, snorkelling and big game fishing is incredible here. There is one lodge per island, and the lodges focus on privacy, intimacy and pampering.
As the capital of Mozambique Maputo has a number of attractions, it’s a bustling and busy city with a population of around 1.5 million that is a little run down, with a rather Cuban-salsa vibe that lends an attractive ambiance to the city, and one is never too far off from the ocean. The beaches are enjoyable, but are not of the same quality as the archipelagos, so don’t expect white sands and a turquoise ocean. However close off shore (40km) is Inhaca Island, which is one of the attractions of Maputo. Head out by boat (take a ferry from Maputo’s ferry terimanl or a 20 min flight away) and spend a day (one can also overnight) on the island, soaking up the island vibe, yet again enjoying Mozambique’s powder white beaches and excellent snorkelling/SCUBA diving in an azure ocean.
Maputo is known for outstanding seafood piri-piri style (which equates to extremely hot!), but of course there are all manner of cuisine options to tantalise all taste buds – you will be wowed by the size of the prawns and crayfish, and in general the price of a seafood feast is pretty easy on the wallet. Maputo is known for its numerous restaurants and sidewalk cafes, and the nightlife is humming (to tune of jazz). Maputo is also a frenzy of markets and trading (best is the Central Municipal Market in downtown Baixa) where hand crafted silver, bright cloths, curios and clothing, aromatic herbs and spices, cashew nuts, fruits and all manner of purchases can be bargained for.
Another 'saucy' little option for travellers visiting Mozambique, is a night or two in South Africa's Kruger National Park. This massive and awesome wildlife reserve's southern boundary lies almost in-line with the city of Maputo in Mozambique. A quick two to two and a half hour road transfer, will transport you from bustling coastal Maputo, to the quiet wilderness of South Africa's southern Kruger National Park (bush and beach, it's an exciting combination).
Mozambique is an up and coming destination in Africa - in the lime-light has been Mozambique's pristine coasline and paradise islands, however there is so much more to this incredible country. One of the most endearing qualities is the raw openess with which the Mozambicans share their culture, and what an incredibly rich culture there is with 13 national languages, Mozambicans share a lineage with many of her African neighbours. With expansive wildlife areas where millions are being invested in conserving wildlife, involving local communities within wildlife conservation for growth in tourism which ultimately equates to job creation.
Book Now to experience a slice of Africa that few have.