Located on the south-eastern coast of the continent, Mozambique is considered one of Africa’s coastal jewels. It is renowned for its crystal blue waters, fantastic coral reef and its amazing diversity of marine life.
This former Portuguese colony, a unique melting pot of diverse cultures, is a major attraction for travellers seeking an African adventure experience.
Devastated by a bloody civil war that raged for about 17 years, since the end of the war in 1992, Mozambique has been actively rebuilding itself. This has begun to open up a host of travel opportunities for visitors eager to get a taste of this tropical African paradise.
Mozambique, bordered by Tanzania, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi is the ideal base for the traveller hoping to explore these countries as well. Equally, a visit to Mozambique can easily be incorporated into a tour to any of these countries.
Mozambique’s road network is reasonably well established and most major routes are regularly maintained.
Most of the major centres and popular areas are accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles. Of course, a 4×4 offers a special advantage and opens up a range of further travel possibilities. There are several car-hire companies in Maputo, catering for the needs of the traveller interested in a self-drive holiday.
If you prefer the convenience and added security of being driven by a professional, there are a number of private mini-bus operators and reliable public transport companies operating in the major centres.
If you wish to experience Mozambique travel as part of a more comprehensive African experience, the packages offered by overland adventure travel companies are a good option. Usually, these companies put together overland tours, which pass through a number of countries and provide travellers with a unique opportunity to enjoy a diverse African travel experience.
Climate and weather
Mozambique enjoys a warm, tropical climate with an average temperature of around the high 20s (degrees Celsius) range. The weather is warm and sunny all year round, ideal for maximum enjoyment of the countries coastal charms.
The summer months, from October to April, are often very hot, humid and rainy. From April to September, the winter months are cooler, drier and more comfortable for visitors not accustomed to heat and humidity normally associated with the warm season in tropical areas.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t embark on Mozambique travel during summer though, since actual temperatures and rainfall varies by region within the country. The higher-lying Nampula and Niassa provinces are the coolest, while the north-eastern coastal regions are the hottest. The northern region receives far more rainfall than the south.
If you’re hoping for a Mozambican safari experience, the best time of year to visit is towards the end of the winter months. This drier season normally sees animals congregating in larger groups than they do in summer. The summer months offer excellent fishing opportunities with the larger fish populating the coastal waters during this time of the year.
Diving in Mozambique
Mozambique is a world-famous dive location with numerous fantastic reefs supporting an amazing variety of marine life. The relatively warm water temperature and a multitude of interesting creatures including the dugong, sharks, dolphins, whales and shoals colourful fish, makes for an awesome diving experience.
The area most popular amongst diving enthusiasts is the Bazaruto Archipelago, consisting of four islands; Bazaruto, Benguerra, Margaruque and Santa Carolina. The archipelago’s coral reefs and clear, crystal blue waters provide what is regarded as the best snorkelling and scuba diving in Africa. If your trip to Mozambique is to be limited to just one destination in the country, then this group of islands must be it.
The unit of currency is the Metical. Introduced mid-2006, this relatively new currency is used alongside the older Meticais, which is being phased out. In the southern parts of the country, the South African Rand, US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are also accepted. In the north, US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are widely accepted.
Credit cards are accepted to some extent, but only by the larger hotels or businesses geared specifically towards tourists. Generally, it should be assumed that your credit card will not be readily accepted.
Mozambique is a malaria-risk area, so it’s vital that visitors take proper precautions.
To minimise the mosquito risk, travellers are advised to wear long sleeves and trousers when possible and to use an effective mosquito repellent on exposed skin.
Treated mosquito netting should be used and the doors and windows of your accommodation should be screened to keep mosquitoes out. A fan or air-conditioner can also help limit night-time mosquito activity to some extent.
Also important is the use of and effective anti-malaria medication. Be warned though, certain medications cause side-effects, so consult you doctor or travel clinic well before you intend to be exposed to the risk to ensure that you are adequately protected.
With a painful history of war and destruction, Mozambique has rebuilt itself and looks to the future by capitalising on its natural beauty.
Whether you are after an adventure, leisure or the perfect eco-tourism experience, Mozambique is an idyllic tropical destination that will not disappoint. It is truly a slice of paradise.