Mozambique is located on the south-eastern coast of Africa and is bordered by Tanzania to the North, South Africa and Swaziland to the South, Zimbabwe to the West and Zambia and Malawi to the northwest. To the east lies the Indian Ocean and a coastline of nearly 2,500km (1,550 miles) with beaches bordered by lagoons, coral reefs and strings of islands. Behind the coastline, a vast low plateau rising towards mountains in the west and north accounts for nearly half the area of Mozambique. The landscape of the plateau is savannah – more or less dry and open woodlands.
The western and northern highlands are patched with forest. The Zambezi is the largest and most important of the 25 main rivers which flow through Mozambique into the Indian Ocean. The major concentrations of population (comprising many different ethnic groups) are along the coast and in the fertile and relatively productive river valleys, notably in Zambezia and Gaza provinces.
The Makua-Lomwe, who belong to the Central Bantu, live mainly in the area north of Zambezia, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces. The Tsonga, who are the predominant race in the southern lowlands, provide a great deal of the labour for the South African mines. In the Inhambane coastal district are the Chopi and Tsonga, while in the central area are the Shona. The Makonde inhabit the far north. Mestizos and Asians live in the main populated area along the coast and in the more fertile river valleys.
Getting to Mozambique
There are regular international flights to Mozambique
. There are no regular rail passenger services but a train runs from Johannesburg to the Mozambique border at Ressano Garcia where there is a connection to Maputo (journey time – 15 hours). An overnight train runs regularly from Durban to Maputo. There is a service from Harare to Beira. There should be connections from Malawi to Beira in future (although the border still has to be crossed on foot).
There are good road links with all neighbouring countries. Road travel can be dangerous and should only be undertaken in daylight. Hijacking and robberies are rife. There is a regular bus service from Maputo to Johannesburg, and other South African cities. Minibuses run between Maputo and towns in Swaziland, crossing the border at Namaacha.
Attractions in Mozambique
There are vast expanses of palm-fringed beach and lagoons with safe bathing, warm waters and good fishing.
The country is rich in wildlife with several excellent parks and reserves to glimpse rare birds, big game and abundant marine life. It also claims islands that are dotted with historical monuments.
There is also good hiking with little-visited mountains but advice and extreme caution should be taken due to the large amount of leftover landmines in the country.
Maputo: it's one of Africa's more appealing capitals, with wide avenues, relaxed street cafes and a lively cultural scene. The city museum and market are worth a look, as are the Central Railway Station and curious ‘Iron House', both designed by Gustave Eiffel. Hop across Mozambique Island, near Nampula in the north.
The stunning Bazaruto Archipelago comprises five tropical islands plus surrounding islets and coral reefs, 20km (12 miles) from coast of Vilanculos
and Inhassoro. This beautiful area features white sandy beaches, clear waters and rich marine life including the dugong.
Explore Mozambique's protected parks, the Gorongosa National park open from April to October. Access is provided by an airstrip at Chitengo. Expect superb birdwatching, and glimpses of buffalo, elephant, hippos, zebra and more.
has 40km (25 miles) of beaches and reefs, a historic lighthouse and a museum of marine biology.
Holiday in Pemba
, a vibrant coastal town in a huge bay. It has some wonderful beaches and coral reefs. The most popular beach is Wimbe, just outside town. The town also claims an interesting old town, some lively bars and good restaurants.
Mozambique offers so much with its pristine coastline. Various water activities are available, these include, naming a few; water skiing, snorkelling, deep sea diving and even 4 x 4 adventures, and surfing.
Accommodation in Mozambique
Hotels in Mozambique
of international standard are found mainly in the cities of Maputo and Beira. Accommodation in smaller towns is generally of a lower standard. It is possible to rent holiday cottages, bungalows and rondavels (traditional circular dwellings) cheaply. There are campsites along the beaches, and a rest camp with a restaurant in Gorongosa Game Park. Camping is also permitted at various Catholic and Protestant missions in the country. Mozambique has only two recognised hostels, which are in Maputo and Praia do Tofo, Inhambane.
There are campsites along the beaches, and a rest camp with a restaurant in Gorongosa Game Park. Camping is also permitted at various Catholic and Protestant missions in the country.
Varies according to area. Inland is cooler than the coast and rainfall higher as the land rises, with most rain between January and March. Hottest and wettest season is October to March. From April to September the coast has warm, mainly dry weather tempered by sea breezes.
Tropical lightweights clothing is required, with warmer clothing for evenings. Rainwear advisable all year round.