Mozambique Travel Guide

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Mozambique is located in south-east Africa. Known officially as the Republic of Mozambique (in Portuguese: Moçambique or República de Moçambique), it is also known as the former Portuguese East Africa.


The country is bordered to the east by the Indian Ocean (Mozambique Channel), to the south-west by Swaziland, to the south and south-east by South Africa, to the west by Zimbabwe, to the north-west by Malawi and Zambia, and to the north by Tanzania.  Major rivers include the Zambezi and Limpopo.  There are three lakes, Lake Chiuta, Lake Shirwa and Lake Niassa, all in the north.  The landscape is comprised of coastal lowland areas, high plateaus in the NW, and mountains to the west, with the highest point being Monte Binga at 2,436 m.


Approximately thirty percent of Mozambique’s residents live in the urban areas of Maputo, Beira and Nampula.  The majority of the population is made up of indigenous people. Portuguese is spoken as the official language, but dozens of other languages are spoken.  The main religions are Christian, Muslim and Hindu, along with other traditional beliefs. 


Mozambique is a place of interest to nature lovers, photographers and birders as it is in the process of rebuilding its wildlife stocks and reserves, which were depleted during the years of war.  Elephants, wildebeest, zebra and reptiles are just some species that can be seen, as well as hundreds different species of birds. 


One of Mozambique’s biggest attractions for tourists is the 2,450 km of beautiful coastline, which is rich with marine life. The beaches are clean and there are natural reefs and clear, azure, warm waters.  The scuba diving is world class which is why it is one of the top destinations for divers throughout the world.  The waters off Mozambique are home to whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays, dugong (a relative of the manatee) and coral reefs teeming with colourful tropical fish.


Accommodation on the islands and throughout the country ranges from backpacker hostels to five-star, air-conditioned, secluded lodges and resorts.  On offer is a wide array of water sports, including activities like banana boating, scuba diving, snorkelling, sailing, sport fishing, salt-water fly fishing, canoeing, swimming, water skiing, windsurfing, etc.  Dhow cruises are the perfect way to relax and get close up views of flamingos. 


Modern Mozambique’s major cities offer services, good restaurants and hotels.  The outdoor markets are popular with their array of fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts, carvings and paintings.  Mozambican music and rhythms are lively, using traditional instruments.  The cuisine of Mozambique is a delicious blend of Portuguese cooking with Arabic influence, curries, and Indian spices. 


Maputo, the capital, is a busy, modern port city, formerly known as Lourenco Marques - after a Portuguese trader.  It is located at the south-eastern tip of the country, on the Indian Ocean.  The city has avenues with flowering trees, historical sites of interest, museums, a bustling fish market, and wonderful seafood restaurants.  The Maputo Elephant Reserve is approx. 80 km south of the city. 


Popular tourist destinations include Vilankulo and the Bazaruto Archipelago in the south – which is a National Park and protected area. It is comprised of five unspoilt islands, with coral sand beaches, and fantastic snorkelling and diving.  This is not a place for those who crave tourist trappings as there are few shops or modern facilities on offer, but it is a place of spectacular natural beauty, and a place to try dune boarding!  The Quirimbas Archipelago in the northern part of the country consists of more than 30 coral islands and is a nature lovers dream come true.


Other popular places for travellers to visit include Inhambane, north of Maputo - close to the beaches in Tofu – which is a favourite with backpackers.  All in all, Mozambique offers a fantastic experience, with excellent reviews from those who have gone before. It is a destination for those who appreciate a place that is still relatively tourist-free - and full of friendly, smiling people.



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FCO Travel Advice: Mozambique

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