Mozambique is one of the most curious nations in South East Africa. It is a country of beautiful nature with impenetrable jungles, savannahs, rivers and lakes and, of course, a beautiful sea coast. The people here are not like other nations, but they are all very open, friendly and independent. Welcome to Mozambique, the country is waiting for you!
Mozambique on the map
Mozambique is a country in eastern South Africa, along the coast of the Indian Ocean. The country is bordered by Tanzania to the north, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to the west, and South Africa and Eswatini to the south. In the east, the country is separated from the island of Madagascar by the Strait of Mozambique, the smallest width of which is 422 kilometres.
The total length of the state borders is 4,700 kilometres and the coastline is 2,500 kilometres long.
The relief of the country is very diverse. Along the coast and in the south there are vast lowlands. The north-west of the country is covered with plateaus, mountains and hills. There is the highest point of the republic – Mount Binga (2436 metres).
Many rivers of the Indian Ocean basin flow through the country, including the Zambezi and Limpopo. A large reservoir, Cahora-Basa is located on the Zambezi. Mozambique also owns the eastern shore of Lake Nyasa, which lies on a rift.
In addition, Mozambique owns several small archipelagos, among them Bazaruto, considered the pearl of the country.
The country’s flora and fauna are very rich, including lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, hippos and other exotic animals.
Safety for tourists
In the global index of peacefulness, which takes into account the tranquillity of the environment, attitude to tourists and many other factors, Mozambique is ranked 86th, next to Haiti and Northern Macedonia.
Mozambique is a very poor country, with most of the population living in terrible conditions. Therefore, street crime rates are very high here. There are numerous pickpockets and street gangs operating in the cities, especially in Maputo. There is a high risk of robbery and gun violence. Pickpockets are rampant in markets, transport and crowded places. In many neighbourhoods, it is not recommended to walk alone or in small groups.
Extortion is another scourge of the country. It is present here at any level. Officials willingly take bribes, police officers extort money for the most minor offences.
Traffic in the country is low, but the streets are often poorly lit, and people cross the roads wherever they please.
As in any African country, Mozambique has a high risk of catching some exotic infection. Drinking tap water is not recommended, it is better to dine in places that inspire confidence. And it is obligatory to observe elementary rules of hygiene and sanitation.
Natural dangers in the country are also present. The sun is hot here, which threatens an unaccustomed tourist with burns and heat stroke. In the sea there are poisonous fish, jellyfish, swim to the shores of sharks. The animal world is represented by a number of large predators and poisonous reptiles, mosquitoes are sources of disease transmission.
Therefore, holidays in Mozambique can be safe only if strict rules are observed.
Like all inhabitants of Africa, Mozambicans people are cheerful and fond of holidays. But despite the fact that half of the population is considered Christians, there is no place for religious holidays in the calendar of this country.
They celebrate New Year in Mozambique, but rather quietly, at home, Christmas and Easter are not considered national holidays. But various significant dates are celebrated with great pomp: Days of Heroes, Independence, Victory, Peace and Reconciliation, Armed Forces. Labour Day and Family Day are celebrated in the country.
But besides official holidays in Mozambique, there are many other holidays and festivals. In February, there is a popular festival of the favourite Mozambican dance – the Marrabenta.
Various ethnic holidays are celebrated by national communities of the republic. Among them, the famous Gule Vamkulu dance is of special interest to tourists, dancers of which perform in masks of the dead and animals. Even state celebrations are not without it.
What fun things to do in Mozambique
Mozambique has recently started to position itself as a tourist country, and a lot of attention is paid to the development of the relevant infrastructure. But so far its condition leaves much to be desired and, except for a few tourist regions, most of the country remains a place of mystery and wildness.
- Beach holidays. The coastline of the country is quite extensive, but only its southern part and a few islands are used for beach holidays. The best beaches and comfortable hotels are located on the Bazaruto archipelago.
- Diving. Warm sea and abundance of exotic underwater inhabitants make the country very attractive for diving lovers. There are few reefs here, but you can watch sharks, rays, and other fish, as well as dive into underwater caves.
- Snorkelling. Snorkelling is also popular in Mozambique. There are many places where you can watch turtles, dolphins, and stingrays without diving deep. This pastime is ideal for beginners.
- Fishing. As in any coastal country, fishing is widespread in Mozambique. But in addition to the usual ocean fishing from a boat or yacht, here you can go on a special tour and fish on a lake, the Zambezi River or a reservoir.
- Mozambique Island. Located in the central part of the country, the island of Mozambique attracts tourists not so much with its beaches, which are almost non-existent, but with its history. There is a perfectly preserved Portuguese fort, governor’s palace and cathedral.
- Canoeing and kayaking. In a number of places, tourists will be offered tours along the coast by canoe or boat. This is an exciting adventure and the views from the sea are magnificent. For extreme travellers, there is kayaking on the country’s fast mountain rivers.
- Horse Safari. A popular type of entertainment, when tourists on horseback and accompanied by a guide visit the national parks of the country. This type of safari allows you to get better acquainted with nature and local animals than traditional safari by car.
- National Parks. A visit to the national parks of this country will not leave anyone indifferent. There are several interesting parks, but the most popular is considered to be Gorongosa Park in the central part of the republic. This park is known for its magnificent views and abundance of animals.
- Hiking, trekking. Currently, there are no special trails for trekking in Mozambique, and tourists have to act at their own risk. But a number of routes offered by agencies do seem interesting. They best allow you to get to know the nature of the country and the life of the ordinary population.
- Maputo. The main attractions of the capital are its markets, where you can buy any souvenirs in memory of the country. But there is also a historical fort, a Portuguese fortress turned into a museum of military history.
What is important to know about Mozambique
If you are planning to visit this state, here are some of the most important things to know:
The official language of the country is Portuguese, as Mozambique was a colony of this European country for a long time. 60% of the population speaks Portuguese fluently, and almost 20% of the population considers this language to be their mother tongue.
Local languages are also widespread in the country. Thus, Makua is spoken by more than 40% of the population, Tsonga – by 19%. Swahili language is widespread in the north.
The country is currently home to just under 32 million people. About a third of the population is concentrated in urban areas, with the rest in rural areas.
Almost 100 per cent of the population is made up of indigenous African peoples. The Makua, Tsonga, Malawi and Shona peoples are the most numerous among them. The Makua make up almost 50 per cent of the population. Europeans, mulattoes and Asians make up no more than 1% of the country’s population.
More interesting facts about the peoples of Mozambique, their character and local colour can be found in this article.
The national currency is the metical, which is divided into 100 centavos.
Currently in circulation are banknotes of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 metical. As well as coins of 1, 2, 5, 10 meticals and 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos.
Cash is the preferred method of payment in the country; card payments will not be possible in some places. In addition to local money, shops and traders will gladly accept payment in dollars or South African rands.
Currency exchange for metical is carried out in bank branches with a high commission, and in private exchange offices – a little more favourable. Street money changers are mostly scammers.
The approximate exchange rate is approximately 65 meticals to $1.
In Mozambique, you can observe a mixture of different religions, while almost 20% of the population consider themselves atheists.
Catholics are the most numerous in the country. They are about 28 per cent. In the second place are Muslims, they’re 18%. There are a lot of Methodist, Anglican and Protestant Christians in the country – almost 25% of them.
At the same time, almost 20 per cent of the population continue to profess various African pagan cults, on a par with Christianity.
The northern parts of Mozambique have a warm subequatorial climate, which is strongly influenced by the south-eastern monsoon. The central and southern parts of the country lie in a humid tropical climate with a strong influence of the trade winds.
In the north of the country, the climate is divided into two seasons – dry and rainy. The rainy season coincides with the monsoon period. This is January-March. The dry season lasts from May to August, at this time the amount of precipitation is minimal. Average summer temperatures are about +30-32 degrees Celsius, and winter temperatures are +27-28 degrees Celsius.
The south of the country is characterised by a greater difference in average monthly temperatures than the north. The average winter temperature here is +29 degrees Celsius, while the average summer temperature is only +20 degrees Celsius. The rainy season is also considered to be the period from January to March, i.e. the local summer. The local winter (May-August) is characterised by extremely low rainfall – this is the dry season.
The average temperature of the seawater off the coast of Mozambique has little annual variation and always remains suitable for swimming. Even in the local winter, the water off the coast remains very warm, and the high season is from May to August.
- Water temperature in winter, December-January: +27 to +29 degrees Celsius.
- Water temperature in spring, March-May: +25 to +23 degrees Celsius.
- Water temperature in summer, June-July: from +23 to +22 degrees Celsius. The coldest water is in July.
- Water temperature in autumn, September-November: from +22 in early autumn to +27 degrees in November.
The main natural disasters in Mozambique are tropical cyclones, floods and drought.
Cyclones are particularly rampant in winter from December to April, and the precipitation they bring often causes catastrophic flooding. In summer, many parts of the country experience rainfall deficits and drought.
Mozambique is located on a relatively calm African tectonic plate, and earthquakes are quite rare. But the proximity of the Great African Rift affects and sometimes leads to quite strong earthquakes, as it happened in 2006. Then there was an earthquake of magnitude 7, which shook the central part of the country. Fortunately, there were few victims, 4 people died.
There are no active volcanoes in the country, and eruptions are not to be feared. But forest and natural fires during drought often lead to numerous destructions and human casualties. For example, in September 2008, 32 people died because of fires.
In general, the risk of natural disasters in the country is low and tourists do not need to worry.
About the most destructive disasters in the history of Mozambique, you can read in this article.
Mozambique is a presidential republic. The president of the country is the head of executive power and is elected for 5 years. He appoints the Prime Minister, who heads the government of the country. Legislative power is represented by the unicameral Assembly of the Republic.
Administratively, the country is divided into 10 provinces and a capital district.
The capital of the country is Maputo.
The major cities and resorts
Maputo is the capital of the country, located in the very south of the republic. It was founded by Portuguese merchants in 1781, and now it is home to 1.1 million people. Tourists are attracted here by the numerous churches and cathedrals from the time of Portuguese rule, museums and parks.
Beira is the second most populous city of the Republic. It is inhabited by 600 thousand people. It was founded in 1887. It is known primarily as the beginning of the tourist route to Gorongosa Park. Not far from Beira is also the oldest port of Mozambique – Sofala, founded in VIII century.
inhambane is a city in the south-east of the country, a port and the largest tourist centre. It is located on the picturesque coast, where a lot of luxury hotels have appeared recently. The population of the city is 65 thousand people.
Vilanculos is a small beach town, which is considered the gateway to the archipelago of Bazaruto. Bazaruto itself is declared a national park, but is free for tourists to visit. It consists of five islands, two of which are uninhabited. The island of Santa Carolina is considered a paradise place.
The golden star is a symbol of socialism, which has long been built in this African country.
Kalashnikov automaton – a symbol of freedom and defence of the conquests of the people, so popular that it even got on the flag and coat of arms of the republic.
Batik – cotton fabric with original designs, used in the country for clothes and outfits.
Beads – not only jewellery, but also purses, bags and clothes are made of this favourite material of the local population.
Piri-piri is an African hot pepper, without which almost every dish in the country is served.
Cashew is an Indian nut, which is grown in large quantities in Mozambique. The country sells almost 130 thousand tonnes of this nut for export per year.
How to get to Mozambique
Getting to the country is almost exclusively by aeroplane. The country has only one international airport in Maputo, which has long been unable to cope with the increased tourist flow. And the choice of airlines operating regular flights here is very small. Direct flights connect Maputo with Lisbon, Doha, Paris, Istanbul and a number of other cities. But the most important destinations are Cape Town and Johannesburg. Through these South African cities and arrives in Mozambique, most tourists.
The country also has railed and road connections with neighbouring countries in the region, including South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. But these modes of transport are hardly used by European tourists due to the low level of comfort and service.
Mozambique has several major ports, but they are suitable only for cruise ship travellers as intermediate stopover points.
How much money to take with you
The cost of a holiday in Mozambique can vary widely, depending on whether you plan to holiday on your own at your own risk, or use the services of a tour company and trusted guides.
Mozambique is located in the Southern Hemisphere and is quite far from Europe. Therefore, travellers from the EU will not be cheap to fly here. For example, a round-trip ticket to Maputo from Paris will cost at least 700 euros. It is slightly cheaper to fly to Johannesburg or Cape Town and from there go on a tour of Mozambique. Such a flight will cost from 600 euros.
As an example, a sightseeing tour of Mozambique with departure from Johannesburg for 9 days will cost 3500 euros for two people. The tour will include all travel and accommodation costs.
In the country itself, tourists are expected to pay the following expenses:
- Food: food prices here are low and even if food is not included in the price of the tour, it will not require large expenses. For a budget holiday it is enough to plan 10 euros per day per person, to visit restaurants the amount should be doubled.
- Accommodation: the average price of a double room in local hotels, located in the resort areas on the beach line, is about 100 euros. In motels – from 40 euros. Of course, there are also more expensive rooms costing up to 1000 euros per night.
- Visiting attractions: when staying in a hotel, beach services will be free, except for additional ones, such as diving. Visiting parks and museums is chargeable, but not expensive. The price of park tickets ranges from 10 to 20 euros.
- Souvenirs: from Mozambique tourists bring mainly exotic products of local craftsmen: batik, ceramics, beads, wood carvings and kalebasa. Local fruits and rooibos tea are also brought. Souvenir costs are individualised and can vary greatly.
- Transport: You can get around the cities by bus or taxi. A ticket for public transport will cost 20–30 cents. Taxis are quite expensive in the country due to the shortage of cars. Boarding a taxi costs 3.5 euros and then 3 euros per kilometre. Intercity transportations are carried out by special buses,
Thus, taking into account the reserve amount for unforeseen expenses, a holiday in Mozambique for two people will cost from 2000 to 4000 thousand euros for 7 days including flight. And of course, the maximum amount of the holiday can be much higher.
If you have already visited Mozambique, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words, what you liked most of all, what moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!