It has the two stunning Archipelagos of Quirimbas and Bazaruto, the faded glory of its Portuguese colonial architecture, protected wildlife parks, great year round climate, coral reefs, delicious seafood and new air connections out of Johannesburg and Dar Es Salaam now make these tropical havens very accessible.
Combine soaking up the sun with exceptional world class diving in the largest marine protected area in Africa, go whale watching or do a spot of island hopping on a dhow safari – the choice is yours. The luxury island lodges are second to none and the seafood is sublime too with its arab and Indian culinary influences.
But a hop, skip and a jump away from the tropical islands of the Quirimbas archipelago is Africa’s largest conservation area – the Niassa Reserve. Covering 42,000 sq kms of unadulterated bush, Niassa has a successful conservation story to tell and now offers adventurous travellers a unique opportunity to view wildlife where few people have ever set foot. What’s more the tourist dollar plays an important role in helping to protect the ecosystem and support the local economy at the same time. Daily air connections out of Johannesburg now means a safari in Southern Africa combines seamlessly with a castaway experience in Mozambique.
Mozambique is a country of contrast and unique opportunities, stretching from Tanzania in the north down to South Africa. With stunning scenery, pristine environments and a world famous 2500km long coastline, the country is accredited for crystal clear waters, untouched white beaches and an abundant marine life. Mozambique offers a perfect combination of wilderness safaris for experienced adventurers and bird watchers with a relaxing break on the beach overlooking the tranquil Indian Ocean. After a number of turbulent years, the country has been transformed into a great holiday destination rich in history, culture and panoramic views.
Once a famous coastal trading port for gold, ivory and slaves, Mozambique gained independence from Portuguese rule in 1975. Civil war ravaged the country for almost two decades after, but for the last 15 years the country has been stable and peaceful, and recently gained the recognition of being Southern Africa’s unspoilt gem and premier beach destination.
Boasting snorkelling, diving and game fishing, ranked amongst the very best in the world, the tropical islands just off the mainland are havens of peace and tranquillity. With no roads, shops or traffic, feel like a modern day castaway as you explore the barely inhabited islands, relax in private villas encircled by idyllic palm trees and swim amongst iridescent fish and spectacular coral. Observe nomadic fishermen building makeshift huts and tailors sew dhow sails on old Singer sewing machines in the local villages. For wildlife lovers, the islands offer a perfect spot to watch turtles coming ashore to nest and from September to November, the migration of humpback whales.
The Niassa and Gorongosa Reserves in recent years have undergone restoration projects to re-establish the parks and its game viewing after the devastating legacy of the civil war. Over recent decades, protection and restoration of the ecosystems has ensued, creating an ecotourism industry to benefit local communities and offer tourists satisfying game viewing opportunities. For a well-rounded trip, combine the deserted sandy beaches of Mozambique with a stay at the stunning Lake Malawi for a truly memorable unique African experience.
Population: Estimate July 2014 – 24,692,144 Source: CIA The World Factbook. 60% of the country’s population live in rural areas, with the highest densities in the south and capital of Maputo.
Religion: 50% of residents are Christian and 28% Muslim. Christianity is more common in urban areas whilst the Muslim faith is largely clustered in the north.
Languages: The official language is Portuguese. All 40 indigenous languages belong to the Bantu family which have roots dating back to the first millennium AD.
Time Zone: GMT +2
Country Dialing Code: +258
Currency: The local currency is the Mozambican metical (MZM). Most lodges in Mozambique accept US dollars and usually credit cards. In the south, South African Rand (ZAR) is often accepted whilst in the north near Lake Malawi, Malawian kwacha is predominant.
Electricity: The local voltage is 220 volts; delivered at 50Hz AC. Plugs used in the country have two pins. Many lodges are situated in rural or remote areas so facilities are limited. It is strongly advisable to bring spare batteries.
Mozambique is situated along the south eastern coast of the African continent, lying over the Tropic of Capricorn. Renowned for thousands of kilometres of palm-fringed beaches and tropical lagoons, Mozambique is a country of beautiful views and landscapes. Despite the terrain being predominantly flat, mountains stretch northwest along the border with Malawi and Zimbabwe. In addition to being home to several major rivers including the Zambezi and the Limpopo, 200km of the eastern shore of Africa’s 3rd largest freshwater lake, Lake Malawi, lies in Mozambique; known as Lago Niassa.
The climate of Mozambique is warm and tropical with two main seasons; a cool, dry season from April to September and a hot, wet season with temperatures peaking around 28°C in coastal areas from October until April. The best time to visit the coast is usually in the months of May to October when it is dry and daytime temperatures average 20-25°C, making travel most comfortable. As the country is extensive, there are regional variations in climate. The northeast and upper Zambezi Valley are the hottest and most humid locations whereas the highlands of Niassa are significantly cooler at higher altitudes. The south is generally drier with the rainy season starting from October, which reaches the north two months later.
|January-February||Average max temperature = 30°C with lows of 22°C at night. These are the wettest and most humid months at 65% as average rainfall is 130mm – the peak of the rainy season.|
|March||The last month of the rainy season. Average max temperature = 30°C with lows of 21°C. Average rainfall is 97mm. This is a good time to visit as is off peak so the islands are quiet and peaceful.|
|April-May||The rain gradually lessens and temperatures begin to drop to highs of 28°C and lows of 16°C. Average rainfall is 64mm in April but dramatically drops off to around 22mm in May at the onset of the dry season. These are the best months to go fly-fishing for kingfish, ladyfish and pompano in the channels between the Bazaruto islands. Species such as marlin, barracuda and dorado are common at this time of year.|
|June-August||These are considered the best months to visit as the days are warm with cooler nights and very little rainfall. Average max temperature = 25°C with lows of 14°C at night. Relative humidity is low in these months and average rainfall is 20mm. June is one of the best months to see and potentially swim with humpback, common and bottlenose dolphins which are found in the Bazaruto Archipelagos.|
|September-October||September is the driest month of the year with the days becoming progressively warmer with averages of 28°C and lows of 17°C. Average rainfall is 42mm which increases towards the end of October. Rainfall frequent in the evenings of October. This is peak time to view humpback whales from the islands and along the coast as they head north with their newly born calves. October will excite professional and amateur anglers along with scuba divers who can expect to see black marlin and various shark species including tiger shark.|
|November||November represents the transition from the dry to the rainy season so can be unpredictable. Average max temperature = 28°C with lows of 20°C. Average rainfall is 86mm.|
|December||A wet and humid month due to the rainy season. Average max temperature = 30°C with lows of 21°C. Average rainfall is 103mm. This is not considered a good time to visit due to the heavy rainfall.|
It is essential that your passport is valid at least 6 months beyond intended stay. At least three blank passport pages are required, otherwise passport entry will be denied.
Most visitors, including nationals of Great Britain and the USA require a visa to enter the country. Currently, the fee is US$50. Visa applications should be completed in advance. It is necessary to have at least 6 months left on your passport, and at least three blank pages.
Visitors to Mozambique are advised to take out a comprehensive medical insurance policy to cover them for emergencies.
US$20 International Departure Tax per person in payable upon departure from Mozambique at the airport.
It is vital to be up-to-date with the necessary immunisations, which often take 6 weeks to organise. As of 2011, Mozambique was still not considered a yellow fever endemic area. However, proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever is needed for entry if you are coming from a yellow fever endemic area (such as Zambia). No immunisations are required by law for entry to Mozambique however there are several precautions that should be undertaken before departure. It is wise to be up-to-date with tetanus, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B and typhoid. It is recommended that vaccination against rabies is taken for travellers visiting remote areas. Immunisation against cholera is not usually required. Malaria is one of the biggest threats to the health of travellers visiting Mozambique so it is essential to take all precautions against the disease. It is unwise to travel in malarial regions if pregnant or with very young children. Please consult your doctor.
All tap water in the country should be assumed as unsafe to drink; therefore bottled water is strongly advisable to guarantee safety.
Food and Drink
Camps, lodges and hotels that cater for overseas visitors serve a range of international dishes and the quality of food in the most remote camps in usually very high. Local beer is available and there are no real restrictions on alcohol.
Well known Makonde carvings are common purchases in more urban areas however, souvenirs in rural locations are predominantly bought off the street.
Tipping is widely expected in tourist hotels and restaurants. Often a service charge is automatically added, but where not, a 10-15% tip is appreciated. Tour guides and game rangers often rely on tips for their income. It is recommended that guides are tipped US$4-US$6 per guest per day, and general staff tipped US$3 per day.
Smaller, privately chartered planes may have a maximum weight limit of 10-12kg for hold luggage which must be packed in a small, soft bag. Travelling with a hard suitcase may result in extra charges or separate transportation. International flights usually have a maximum limit of 20kg.
Mozambique’s dress code is usually conservative in urban areas, so long skirts for women and long shorts for men are advisable. However, these rules are redundant at safari camps, where dress is casual, however green, khaki and dust-brown cotton are best. Appropriate footwear such as walking boots are useful for safari outings.
A time honoured tradition in African waters, to set sail in a traditional Mozambican Dhow sailboat, ...read more
A time honoured tradition in African waters, to set sail in a traditional Mozambican Dhow sailboat, and watch the sunset as you drift along on the ocean breezes.
The Bazaruto archipelago is an exquisite piece of paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Live ...read more
The Bazaruto archipelago is an exquisite piece of paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Live the dream and horse back ride on the beach or among the soaring sand suns and freshwater lakes of the interior.
In true Robinson Crusoe fashion be a castaway on Mozambique’s deserted archipelagos. The ...read more
In true Robinson Crusoe fashion be a castaway on Mozambique’s deserted archipelagos. The Quirimbas & Bazaruto islands just perfect for romantic castaway picnics with your loved one.
Bazaruto’s spectacularly high sand dunes tempt the more adventurous to clamber up the towering ...read more
Bazaruto’s spectacularly high sand dunes tempt the more adventurous to clamber up the towering works of wind blown art and board back down at exhilarating speed. Dune boarding requires very little skill, and is appropriate for both children and adults, making it a great family escapade.
The Mozambique coastline and archipelagos offer countless opportunities to snorkel and dive with ...read more
The Mozambique coastline and archipelagos offer countless opportunities to snorkel and dive with PADI Dive Centres to see an impressive array of marine life.
Deep-sea fishing expeditions along the Mozambican coastline are exceptional year round. Benguerra ...read more
Deep-sea fishing expeditions along the Mozambican coastline are exceptional year round. Benguerra Island offers some of the world’s best catch-and-release deep sea fishing and fly fishing opportunities.
Ibo Island's 200-year-old ghost town and 16th Century forts make for a fascinating journey to an ...read more
Ibo Island’s 200-year-old ghost town and 16th Century forts make for a fascinating journey to an era long forgotten. A former Portuguese trading port, Ibo’s crumbling colonial mansions add a grand atmosphere to this paradise island getaway.
Explore the oceans to witness the annual migration of Humpback Whales in the crystal clear waters ...read more
Explore the oceans to witness the annual migration of Humpback Whales in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean as they travel north from the Antarctic Ocean. The rare dugong plays in these waters too. Look out for humpback whales from August to October, and whale sharks from April to July.
Photo credit: andbeyond
Southern Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago in the Indian Ocean is the perfect luxury beach ...read more
Southern Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago in the Indian Ocean is the perfect luxury beach getaway. Easily accessible from safari destinations, exciting activities, stylish relaxation and friendly locals make this a must visit location and a place to escape the British winter.
This fully guided mobile island hopping dhow and kayak safari will sail you into the clearest of ...read more
This fully guided mobile island hopping dhow and kayak safari will sail you into the clearest of blue water with pristine corals below to explore under snorkel. Sleep on magical uninhabited islands, meet the local fisherfolk and be amazed at the stunning flora and fauna.
For lovers of nature, witnessing a sea turtle hatch will be an unforgettable experience. The ...read more
For lovers of nature, witnessing a sea turtle hatch will be an unforgettable experience. The property Azura Quilalea offers the opportunity to see nesting turtles from November through to April.
Ibo Island in the Quirimbas National Park attracts birders from around the world birders from ...read more
Ibo Island in the Quirimbas National Park attracts birders from around the world birders from around the world. Ibo’s bushy interior offers comfortable cover for a varied bird kingdom including over 700 different bird species.