Mozambique is an African country found in southern Africa. It has a coast on the Indian Ocean and it borders Malawi in the northwest, Swaziland in the south, Zimbabwe in the west, Tanzania in the north, Zambia in the northwest and South Africa in the southwest. Its shape is featured and has a varied geography with mostly coastal lowlands and mountains in the south. The government system is a presidential republic whereby the chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. This country has a mixed economy combining both traditional and market economic systems. Many of its people engage in subsistence agriculture, however, there is a variety of private freedom combined with centralized economic planning and government regulations. Mozambique is a member of the Southern African Development Community.
At 309,475 sq. mi, Mozambique is the world’s 36th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Turkey. Mozambique is located on the southeast coast of Africa and it lies between latitudes 10 degrees and 27 degrees siliceous and longitudes 30 degrees and 41 degrees E.
The country is divided into two topographical regions by the Zambezi River to the north of the Zambezi River, the narrow coastal strip gives way to inland hills and low plateaus. Rugged highlands are further west; they include the Niassa highlands, Namuli or Shire highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete highlands, and the Makonde plateau, covered with miombo woodlands. To the south of the Zambezi River, the lowlands are broader with the Mashonaland plateau and the Lebombo Mountains located in the deep south.
The country is drained by five principal rivers and several smaller ones with the largest and most important the Zambezi. The country has four notable lakes: Lake Niassa (or Malawi), Lake Chiuta, Lake Cahora Bassa, and Lake Shirwa all in the north. The major cities are Maputo, Beira, Nampula, Tete, Quelimane, Chimojo, Pemba, Inhambane, Xai-Xai, and Lichinga.
In 2010-2011, Anadarko Petroleum and Eni discovered the Mamba South gas field, recoverable reserves of 4,200 billion cubic meters (150 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of northern Cabo Delgado Province. Once developed, this could make Mozambique one of the largest producers of liquefied natural gas in the world. In January 2017, three firms were selected by the Mozambique Government for the Natural Gas Development Projects in the Rovuma gas basin. GL Africa Energy (UK) was awarded one of the tenders. It plans to build and operate a 250 MW gas-powered plant. Production was scheduled to start in 2018.
Mozambique’s natural environment, wildlife, and historic heritage provide opportunities for beach, cultural, and eco-tourism. Mozambique has a great potential for growth in its gross domestic product although its current contribution is only 5.6%.
The north beaches with clean water are suitable for tourism especially those that are very far from urban centers, such as those in the province of Cabo Delgado especially the Quirimbas Islands, and the province of Inhambane especially the Archipelago of Bazaruto. The Inhambane Province attracts international divers because of the marine biodiversity and the presence of whale sharks and manta rays. The country also has several national parks, including:
Banhine National Park is a protected area in northern Gaza Province, Mozambique. The park was established on 26 June 1973. In 2013 the limits of Park were updated to better reflect the realities on the ground, particularly the human presence in the area.
The Zinave National Park is a protected area in Mabote District of Inhambane Province, Mozambique, created by decree on 26 June 1973.
The Quirimbas National Park is a protected area in the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique, encompassing the southern part of the Quirimbas Islands, as well as a significant mainland area. The mainland region of Taratibua contains various inselbergs.
The Bazaruto Archipelago National Park is a protected area in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique on the Bazaruto Archipelago. The park was proclaimed on 25 May 1971. It is off the coast of the Vilanculos and Inhassoro districts, covering a large expanse of ocean and six islands.
Gonarezhou National Park is a national park located in south-eastern Zimbabwe. It is situated in a relatively remote corner of Masvingo Province, south of Chimanimani along the Mozambique border.
The Limpopo National Park was born when the status of the Coutada 16 Wildlife Utilisation Area in Gaza Province, Mozambique, was changed from a hunting concession to a protected area.
Gorongosa National Park with its infrastructures rehabilitated and repopulated in certain species of animals that were already disappearing.
Best time to visit Mozambique
The best time to visit Mozambique is during the dry season in the months of May to November, this Southern African country experiences exquisite weather with both the air and ocean enticing visitors with its pleasantly warm temperatures.
Mozambique is so much more than a beach destination, Travelers from around the world will have the opportunity to do a variety of exciting activities such as horse riding, snorkeling, local village visits and game viewing in diverse Mozambique. Some of the incredible places in Mozambique to visit include Maputo, Vilanculos and Bazaruto Archipelago all offering its own interpretations of the local Mozambique lifestyle.
Engulfed in the true and raw essence of Africa, Mozambique has the best of both worlds with spectacular coastlines and untamed national parks with vast wildlife to make this destination a must-visit.
Mozambique Safari Parks and Reserves
Gorongosa National Park
Gorongosa, meaning ‘place of danger’ in the indigenous Mwani language, was once one of the most prestigious and well-developed safari destinations in Africa, boasting the highest densities of the game on the continent. The wildlife and infrastructure of the park were decimated during the Mozambican Civil War, which lasted from 1977 until 1992 and dramatically reduced the number of animals within Gorongosa; the zebra population was reduced from an estimated 3,500 individuals to just nine.
Since it was reopened in 1998 the park has undergone an ambitious restoration project, which has been widely hailed as a remarkable conservation success story. Herds of elephant, buffalo, and zebra have been reintroduced, and the largest population of waterbuck in any of Africa’s protected areas can now be found grazing in the park’s floodplains.
Ilha De Mozambique
Despite its small size, reaching barely two miles in length and a few hundred meters in width, the small crescent-shaped island of Ilha de Moçambique is a hidden gem that is bursting with a vibrant history and culture. Located in the northern province of Nampula, the island is connected to the mainland by a narrow 3km bridge and in 1991 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For four centuries Ilha de Moçambique acted as the capital of Portuguese East Africa, but it had long been an important trading port along the Swahili coast. The resulting blend of European, Arab and Indian cultures is evident in the islands faded colonial architecture and eclectic mix of churches, mosques and Hindu temples. The island is now broadly divided into the historic Portuguese Stone Town in the north and Macuti Town in the south, a haphazard collection of colorful thatched houses and busy
Covering an area of 42,000km² – over twice the of Kruger National Park – the Niassa Reserve is the largest protected area in Mozambique, and one of the largest on the African continent. The reserve is located in the far northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Niassa on the Tanzanian border and is characterized by its striking granite outcrops, or ‘inselbergs’, that looms imposingly over the surrounding miombo woodland.
Remote and untamed, the reserve has remained relatively unexplored by the outside world, and today only receives a handful of visitors each year. Like much of Mozambique, wildlife populations in the reserve were ravaged by poaching during the civil war, and are still wary of human presence. However, wildlife has recovered remarkably in recent years, and Niassa now boasts significant numbers of endangered African wild dogs, over 400 bird species, and an estimated 16,000 elephants, as well as three endemic species – the Niassa wildebeest, Boehm’s zebra, and Johnston’s impala.
Quirimbas National Park
Established in 2002, the Quirimbas National Park encompasses 7,500km² of mangrove forests, coral reefs and idyllic beaches along the northern coastline of Mozambique. While the park contains a significant inland area, which protects important elephant migration routes, it is perhaps best known for the postcard-perfect islands that make up the Quirimbas Archipelago. These islands are renowned for their natural beauty, with powdery white-sand beaches and turquoise waters teeming with diverse marine life.
The 12 main islands and numerous atolls and coral islets of the archipelago provide essential habitats for sea turtles and migratory seabirds, as well as nursery areas for bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales. This, along with the abundance of tropical fish species that reside in the park’s rich coral reefs, make for some incredible diving experiences. Quirimbas is less developed for tourists than the Bazaruto Archipelago to the south but offers a number of small, upscale beach resorts that are scattered across the islands.
Wildlife and Birds in Mozambique
Mozambique offers a wide variety of ecological systems that are rich with equally diverse species. Approximately 740 birds, 200 mammals, 170 reptiles, and 40 amphibians call Mozambique home. Wildlife includes big games like lions, cheetahs, elephants, leopards, and rhinos as well as smaller animals like antelopes, zebras, hyenas, and buffalo. Marine wildlife includes humpback whales, whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, dugongs, turtles, and many fish. New species are being discovered regularly, many of which are unique to the country.
The birdlife of Mozambique isn’t well known and there is no definitive checklist for the country. Approximately 750 bird species have been recorded – eight of the 10 families unique to the African continent are represented here, with only one species occurring in Mozambique only. More than 530 species breed within the country. Mozambique’s specials aren’t all in difficult places to access, some of the best birds can be seen in the coastal resort areas. The unique crab plover is a common summer visitor in the Bazaruto Archipelago. Eleanora’s falcon, one of the rarest raptors in the world, has been spotted in several locations. The north of the country hasn’t been thoroughly explored yet and birdwatchers might well find species here new for the country or even to science.
Mozambique is one of the most beautiful countries in southern Africa mainly because of its coastline which is more than 1000 km long and this keeps you enjoying the beauty of this country. Enjoy your holidays with safaris and tours to its national parks, hiking to see the fantastic landscapes and as well relaxing at one of the hundred beaches along the coastline, water sports, and scuba diving.
Mozambique Safari Lodges
Mozambique offers a range of luxurious and imaginative camps, lodges, and hotels. Top-end stays resorts and hotels include the likes of the Polana Serena Hotel, which gives an unmistakable taste of fin de siècle Mozambique, or truly sumptuous beach villas that take beach holidays to a new level of refinement. Alternatively, there are a number of island accommodations and resorts that offer sustainable and locally-built and -run lodges to similar degrees of luxury. For the traveler who’s after a more remote experience, the north offers safari lodges of outstanding comfort in the wilderness that’s of international renown.
Mozambique offers cities full of cultural charm, islands whose wildlife and architecture are considered irreplaceable and stunning archipelagos. Niassa National Reserve is a must for those after a truly wild experience: containing a range of games that includes important endemic species, this huge reserve offers a dramatic landscape and the chance to experience local cultures that have changed little for a thousand years. For those after barefoot luxury, then both the Bazaruto and Quirimbus archipelagos are worldbeating destinations, while Ibo Island and Ilha de Mozambique offer the best by way of history, architecture and a wonderful mix of cultures.
- White pearl resort
- Coral Lodge
- Nuarro Lodge
- Ibo Island Lodge
Mozambique Weather & Climate
Mozambique has a warm, tropical climate. The average temperature is around 28 degrees Celsius (82° Fahrenheit), and the weather along the coast is sunny and warm even in midwinter. Summer, from October to April is rainy, humid, and very hot. June to October is the dry and cooler season. With often perfect tropical weather this provides the most comfortable period for travel clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain.
Is Mozambique safe for tourists?
Before planning your visit to Mozambique, you need to check and see if you require a visa to enter this country. There are nine countries that are visa-exempt and are allowed a period of 90 days of staying within the country. Visa policy of Mozambique is lenient all those nationalities who require visas to enter the country are eligible for a visa on arrival at all entry points and it grants them 30 days to stay in the country. If you need a visa upon arrival you need to know the requirements, however, this is very easy to find out online and we suggest that you check multiple sources so that you make sure you have everything needed before your flight to Mozambique. You also have to check and make sure your passport remains valid for at least another six months from the arrival date in Mozambique and also prove that you are going to Mozambique for tourism purposes. Your hotel booking confirmation and a return air ticket and in some cases an invitation letter from a host should be enough to confirm your purpose of visit to Mozambique.
Most visits to Mozambique are trouble-free, but street crime, sometimes involving knives and firearms, is common in Maputo and increasing in other cities and tourist destinations. There are some areas in cities that are more dangerous; seek local advice.
Be vigilant at all times. Beaches or offshore islands are not policed. Avoid walking alone at night and don’t display valuables or money. Use a hotel safe if possible. Avoid withdrawing cash from ATMs at night.
Some visitors to Mozambique report being victims of police harassment, including robbery, or requests for bribes. If a police officer threatens you or asks for a bribe, you should report the incident to the British High Commission Maputo.
If you are a victim of any form of crime and wish to report it, contact the local police immediately and get a police report. If your passport is stolen, you should also contact the British High Commission and inform the local immigration authorities.
There have been criminal kidnappings reported in Mozambique, mainly in Maputo. While most victims have been Mozambicans, foreigners have also been targeted. The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage-takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.
All known minefields in Mozambique have been cleared. In the central and southern provinces (Sofala, Tete, Manica, Gaza, Inhambane, Maputo) mines may still exist in remote areas, away from main routes. Seek advice from district authorities if you’re traveling in these areas.
Mozambique Safaris and tours
From the pearl-like trail of the Quirimbsa Archipelago in the north to the golden coast of Ponta do Ouro in the south, Mozambique boasts some of the most pristine and postcard-perfect beaches on the continent. Silky, powder-white sands? Check. Warm, turquoise waters? Check. Palm trees? Coral reefs? Check. Check. And thanks to its status as an up-and-coming holiday destination, Mozambique boasts several unspoiled, off-the-beaten-track hideouts that are perfect for those who’d prefer to be far from the madding crowd.
Dubbed ‘the pearl of the Indian Ocean’, the Bazaruto Archipelago is by far the most popular holiday hotspot in Mozambique. Those who’d prefer a more secluded getaway, however, should head north to the under-explored Quirimbas Archipelago, a 400-kilometer network of coral reef islands. Whatever your choice, you’ll be guaranteed days filled with scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, dhow cruises, fishing, and more.
While Mozambique’s magical beaches are its biggest drawcard, there’s more to this country than sun and sand. Ilha de Moçambique—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—boasts a gorgeous sandstone fort and coral-rock ‘stone town’ that is a testament to the country’s colonial past. The Machangulo Private Nature Reserve is the perfect destination for those who want to combine a beach retreat with a safari in the African bush.