Mozambique travel - life's a beach
Mozambique's superb beaches, especially those on the offshore islands, are a major attraction and the country is spreading its appeal amongst travellers with an independent spirit hoping to keep one step ahead of the crowds.
Mozambique Travel Highlights
The country is in the process of re-populating its game reserves with larger mammals after the ravishes of the civil war. Birdlife, though, survived unscathed and is rich in variety.
The islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago - Bazaruto, Benguerra, Margaruque and Santa Carolina - offer tranquil surroundings for those interested in fishing, diving, swimming or simply sunbathing. Lodges offer a range of watersports activities.
It is worth spending some time in the capital, Maputo, to the south of the country. It still reflects its Portuguese colonial past. From Maputo you can visit the enchanting Inhaca Island, known for the diversity of its birdlife. Head north from the capital and you'll reach the town of Xai-Xai, where there is safe swimming and facilities for diving and fishing.
Arab dhows ply the waters of the bay of Inhambane - they operate as water taxis and are worth taking just for the ride. Nearby are some lovely beaches, where watersports facilities are available.
Located at the mouth of the Pungwe River, Beira, Mozambique's second major port, has lots of fascinating character. The cathedral was built from the stones of the fort at Sofala, the first European port in Africa. The City Square reflects elegance of the past with its splendid colonial buildings, while you can spend a lively hour or two in the hectic market, where a cornucopia of goods are traded. The shipwreck near the lighthouse is worth seeing.
To the north, historic and architectural attractions are to be found on Mozambique Island, including the Fortress of St. Sebastian, St. Paul's Palace (now a museum) and the Hindu temple near the market.
The magnificent Quirimbas Archipelago in Cabo Delgado Province, Northern Mozambique, is a captivating chain of 27 islands just waiting to be discovered. These idyllic islands stretch from the quaint city of Pemba in the south, to the town of Palma in the north. Some of the charming islands in the south include a vast expanse of enchanted forest in the Quirimbas National Park.
Activities & Pursuits
The coral reefs that stretch along much of Mozambique's coastline are a great draw for divers, snorkellers and sports fishermen. The Pemba coast, to the north, offers some of the best diving opportunities. In the north western corner of the country, the shores of Lake Malawi, peppered with pretty fishing villages, are a magnet for watersports enthusiasts.
The reaches of the Pungwe River, above Beira, attract bird-watchers - the fish eagle is one of the species that can be seen.
Getting there from South Africa, UK, Europe and the USA:
There are no direct services to Maputo from the UK or USA. The only direct services from Europe are from Lisbon on Air Portugal (operated in conjunction with LAM - Linhas Aereas de Mocambique). Maputo can however also be reached from Addis Ababa (on Ethiopian Airlines), Durban (on SA Airlink), Harare (on LAM), Johannesburg (on LAM and South African Airways), Manzini (on Swazi Express) or Mauritius (on Air Mauritius). Rail services are operated from Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, but these are not often used by international visitors.
The unit of currency is the Metical, divided into 100 Centavos. Notes are issued in Metical denominations of 5000, 10000, 50000, 100000 and 200000. Except in the main hotels and lodges, credit cards are generally not accepted. The best currency to carry is either the South African Rand or the United States Dollar.
There are deluxe and mid-range hotels in Maputo. Good standard lodges are to be found on the islands off the coast. Have a look here at some ideas
Mozambique visa requirements
To travel to Mozambique you will need a valid passport and an entry visa. Visas can be obtained from Mozambican embassies and consulates, as well as from Mozambique border posts. To obtain a visa, you will require your passport and two passport-size photographs.
For a list of embassies in various countries.
A Yellow Fever certificate is required but only if arriving from infected areas. Immunisation is however recommended against hepatitis A, polio, tetanus and typhoid. Malaria exists all year throughout the country. There is also a risk of rabies.
The hot, rainy season is from October to March, while the cyclone season is from November to May. A pleasant time to visit is from April to May, when it is less sticky and cooler, although it can still be very hot.
Getting around Mozambique
The roads in Mazambique are generally bad to non-existant. If going by road, most visitors would drive a 4X4 vehicle and for good reason!! This picture is (taken by me) of the main "highway" between Maputo and Mozambique's southern border with South Africa.
With the line share of itineraries that we suggest, you would fly between destinations. In Maputo, major car rental companies are represented. Taxis are metered but it may be best to establish fares prior to setting off. Buses tend to be uncomfortable and crowded.
Best time to visit Mozambique
April to September
Best fishing months are during the summer from October - March.
November and December is hot, humid and rainy with the beach resorts packed with local holiday makers.
January to March is hot but can be very wet with cyclones