The beautiful and tropical Mozambique is a southern African nation whose long, warm Indian Ocean coastline has attracted trade and travel for centuries. Spending 400 years under Portuguese rule has left its mark, creating a vibrant mix of culture and utterly amazing seafood. The official language is still Portuguese, and the European influence is still evident in the older churches and buildings that have survived over the years.
For beach holidays, Mozambique is arguably the best in Africa, and it is also widely lauded as one of the best destinations in the world for scuba diving due to whale sharks, manta rays, and dugongs frequently seen. There is a lot more to this largely undeveloped country than just its coastline. Many will not know that there are five national parks in the interior of the country, and the safaris offer wildlife that travellers would expect to find in Tanzania or Zambia.
The capital and largest city of Mozambique is Maputo in the southern region. It is also home to the country’s major international airport with the same name. There are smaller international airports, enabling travellers to easily access the unspoilt, idyllic areas in the north. Self-drive in the southern areas is possible. However, the northern regions require a 4WD and a lot of local knowledge.
Graced with long stretches of white sand and contrasting turquoise waters, Mozambique serves as an idyllic beach destination. But the country also has attractions that demonstrate a more adventurous personality. For a touch of Robinson Crusoe, travellers can spend a night or two on Medjumbe, a tiny private island in the Quirimbas Archipelago where experiences range from whale watching trips to remote island picnics. Furthermore, travellers can head to Ilha de Mocambique to immerse themselves in the country’s Portuguese heritage protected by its World Heritage status.
Additionally, visitors can spot elephants and lions on a safari in Niassa Reserve. At a trip’s end, travellers can relax on the soft sands of the largely uninhabited Bazaruto Archipelago, where companions are mostly monkeys and tropical birds that live among the wild vegetation.
Mozambique has a warm tropical climate which makes it a wonderful holiday destination. The dry season, between June and September, is considered to be the best time to visit the country.
Beach accommodation in Mozambique range from exclusive private islands to rustic eco-lodges. Options are more limited in the interior, but there are a few camps that offer a luxurious environment.
Safari-goers to Africa need to make sure about visa requirements for the specific destination in their country of origin. Passports need to be valid for at least six months from the planned date of departure and there should also be enough blank pages for the necessary visas and stamps to be applied.
The World Health Organisation recommends the following vaccinations for Mozambique: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. It is recommended that visitors check with a reputable travel clinic before departure as requirements may change.
Even though tap water in urban areas is regarded as safe, it is best not to consume it and rather stick to bottled of well-filtered water.
Mozambique can most certainly be regarded as a playground for adults and children alike, especially if a bush and beach safari is combined. Caution needs to be taken however as the country is a high-risk malaria area.
The level of fitness is dependent on the type of safari to be undertaken. One has to be of moderate to higher fitness levels if an intense activity is involved, while other activities like game viewing can be enjoyed by everyone.
It is advisable to make getting travel insurance as part of the planning of any safari. That ensures travellers are covered for unforeseen circumstances leading to the cancellation of the trip, as well as medical cover and repatriation should anything happen while on safari. If adventurous activities, such as hiking, mountain climbing, gorilla trekking, hot air ballooning or white water rafting, are part of the safari, comprehensive travel insurance is a must.
An International Drivers Permit, carried with a drivers licence issued in the country of origin, allows foreign visitors to drive in Mozambique. Driving is on the left side of the road. The maximum speed in towns and villages is 60 km/h and on the highway 120 km/h.
When gesturing for someone to come closer, do it by holding the hand palm-side out and bringing the fingers down towards the palm in a scratching motion.