Destinations

 

Welcome to Mozambique

Mozambique
Situated on the southeastern coast of Africa, Mozambique has persevered through a violent civil war and terrible floods, and is emerging from a ruinous past to once again stake its claim as one of the jewels of Africa. A holiday in Mozambique provides a combination of glorious weather, gorgeous scenery, friendly people and great value for money, ensuring that this country is becoming an increasingly trendy destination for global travellers. In fact, Mozambique has become the fifth most-visited country in Africa in recent years, drawing nearly 2.5 million annual tourists to its welcoming shores. The 1,500 miles (2,500km) of palm-fringed coastline is washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and graced with long white beaches, excellent coral reefs and strings of pristine islands. The idyllic Bazaruto archipelago, off the coast of the Inhambane province, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, consisting of four main islands that make up one of the most beautiful places on the continent. The islands offer a classic tropical getaway, with superb fishing, water sports, shaded beaches, surf, and a marine park offering outstanding diving and snorkelling opportunities.
 
Attracted by rumours of pearls in the 1700s, the Portuguese established the capital city of Maputo, formerly Lourenzo Marques, in the southern reaches of the country. It became one of the most stylish cities in Africa, with broad avenues lined with jacaranda and acacia trees, sidewalks paved with mosaics, tall buildings and a unique Mediterranean/African atmosphere that attracted a wealthy cosmopolitan crowd. The civil war left the city in a dismal state of disrepair, and although still tainted by shabbiness, Maputo is slowly recovering some of its former glory and today the bustling capital reveals many Portuguese-style colonial buildings, and offers culture and old world charm along with numerous places to enjoy Mozambique's famous peri-peri prawns. Lying just off the coast of Maputo is the popular Inhaca Island, which has extensive coral reefs, a fascinating maritime museum and a historical lighthouse. Most of the wildlife reserves are located in the central and southern parts of the country, with the exception of the important Niassa Reserve on the northern Tanzania border; and although they were largely decimated during the civil war, they are currently being restocked and improved, with large populations of elephant, buffalo and antelope. North of Maputo there are beautiful beaches, perfect for summer holidays, and a number of centres that offer some of the best fishing in the world, particularly the areas around Guinjata Bay and the Mozambique Channel. Whether you're seeking a sun and sand beach holiday, or sport fishing and off-road adventures, warm and welcoming Mozambique will cater to your every desire.
 
For more information on Flights, Car Hire or Taxis & Airport Collection, please see the relevant pages on our Menu bar.
 

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

A laid-back, friendly and comparatively very safe tourist destination in East Africa, Mozambique offers visitors numerous things to see and do, as well as dozens of stunning tropical beaches that are perfect for just lazing around on. For beach holidays Mozambique is arguably the best destination in Africa. It is widely lauded as one of the best destinations in the world for scuba diving and game fishing, and its colourful and well-preserved coral reefs and clear, warm waters attract snorkellers and honeymooners. See the enormous sand dunes and freshwater lakes of Bazaruto Island, or visit Benguerra Island's forests and wetlands. History enthusiasts will enjoy the historic lighthouse on Inhaca Island and a number of UNESCO-listed cultural attractions, but the country is known mainly for its beach resorts and ocean activities. Other attractions include Africa's second largest artificial lake, Cahora Bassa, and 'the place where Noah parked his Ark', Gorongosa National Park. The north of the country offers some amazing wilderness areas. Go horse riding on the beach in Vilanculos, or scuba diving in its turquoise waters, and take a trip on a Pemba Bay dhow. Ponta d'Ouro, in the south, is good for swimming with dolphins, or surfing one of the most perfect waves in the world.
 
Benguerra Island:  Benguerra is the second largest island of the Bazaruto Archipelago, less than half a mile (1km) south of Bazaruto and like its neighbour, has stunning beaches, large sand dunes and freshwater lakes. Its forest and wetland areas attract a huge variety of birds and animals, while its surrounding reefs offer some of the best diving and snorkelling opportunities on the African continent. Two-Mile Reef is to the east of Benguerra, and its protected lagoon, known aptly as the Aquarium, is an underwater paradise with beautiful corals and a wealth of tropical fish, popular with both divers and snorkellers. On the sandbanks to the north of the island the famous Pansy shells can be found. Most visitors come to Benguerra for the big game fishing though, as its deep waters teem with the likes of marlin and barracuda, and the area is world-renowned as a sport fishing destination. There is plenty of accommodation on the island and tourist facilities are good, with a number of upmarket lodges and exclusive resorts geared towards luxury tourism. Benguerra is a popular honeymoon destination and remains an unspoiled natural paradise which is fast becoming one of the best luxury beach destinations in Africa.
 
Gorongosa National Park:  Often referred to as 'the place where Noah parked his Ark', Gorongosa National Park was a playground for the rich and famous back in the 1960s, lured by the abundance of wildlife in the area. The subsequent years of war and poaching decimated the wildlife count but programmes have since been put in place to restore the park's previous status as one of the richest wildlife refuges in the world. The park now includes the verdant Mount Gorongosa, which has lush rainforest on its summit and slopes and is the source of the life-sustaining rivers that traverse the reserve. The mountain is sacred to the local people and features prominently in folklore. The park contains a variety of terrain but is dominated by savanna and grassland, with some woodland and interesting limestone gorges. Even after being ravaged by 17 years of civil war and extensive poaching, Gorongosa National Park supports astounding biodiversity, with 398 bird species, 122 mammals, 34 reptiles and 43 amphibians that have been documented. Highlights for visitors include elephants, buffalo, lions, crocodiles and zebra. There are traversable roads to the park from both Beira and Maputo, and comfortable lodgings are available.
 
Ilha de Mozambique:  Ilha de Mozambique (Mozambique Island) is an island in the Nampula Province in Northern Mozambique, up the coast from Beira, with a fascinating historical heritage. It was the capital of Mozambique for nearly four centuries under Portuguese rule before the move to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), and was used as a base for Arab traders long before that. It is not only a wonderful tourist destination in Mozambique, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an exquisite mix of old Portuguese and Muslim architecture, dividing the old Stone Town in the north and the Reed Town in the south. There is a great museum in the form of the Palacio Govierno, a big red building in Stone Town. Also worth seeing is the fort at the northern tip of the island, home to the Church of Nossa Senhora Baluarte, quite possibly the oldest surviving European building in the southern hemisphere, dating back to 1522. At the northern end of the island there is a dive centre, situated on a beach from where visitors can take boat trips or else just laze on the sand. For the more adventurous, a dhow can be taken to Chaga or Mossuril on the mainland to explore the coast. Requilias and Escondidino are two popular restaurants in Stone Town and there are a number of local places serving fish and rice, or chima. One of the best options for accommodation is the campsite on the mainland, next to the bridge.
 
Niassa Game Reserve:  Spanning an area of 42, 000 square kilometres (10 million acres), the Niassa Game Reserve is the largest protected area in Mozambique, and one of the most pristine wilderness areas in the whole of Africa. Twice the size of South Africa's famed Kruger National Park (making it roughly the size of Denmark), the Niassa Reserve boasts a high concentration (if not massive variety) of wildlife, incredibly varied bird life, and absolutely stunning natural scenery. The park is special because it is essentially a wilderness area and relatively unexplored. Visitors to the Niassa Game Reserve will be spellbound by the interesting and changing landscape, ranging from mountain forests to miombo forests and savanna grasslands, not to mention the high concentration of wild animals, including something like 13, 000 elephants, 200 endangered wild dogs, lions, leopards and a huge assortment of birds. Another exciting feature of the park are the inselbergs, giant rock formations, the largest of which is the Mecula Mountain. Tourists are urged to visit between April and October, as this is the prime game viewing season. The best place to stay in the Niassa Reserve is definitely the world-class Lugenda Wilderness Camp, which offers visitors comfortable lodgings, game drives, hiking trails, rock climbing and incredible star-gazing opportunities.
 
Ponta d'Ouro:  Ponta d'Ouro is a popular destination for divers and surfers, just south of Maputo along a sandy road. 'Surf's up' in Ponta d'Ouro, which is home to some of the most perfect waves in Africa, and swimming with dolphins is not to be missed, either - it can be a deeply rewarding, even life-changing experience. The white beaches stretch far into the distance, luring walkers, and the rock pools are full of colourful shells and corals. Ponta is also a very popular scuba diving destination, offering spectacular dive sites and a wealth of exciting sea creatures to encounter underwater. Accommodation ranges from the rustic to the luxurious, with lovely campsites right on the beach. There are shebeen (local pub) tours, which entail exploring the rustic drinking-houses along a stretch of rough road. Tipo Tinto Rum is a locally produced and tastes slightly of vanilla: it goes well with pineapple or raspberry juice, which is available from the local market. The locals sell carvings in all shapes and sizes, mostly in hard wood. Although the shells on offer are beautiful, they might well have been stolen off a reef and should therefore be avoided. Ponta d'Ouro is easily accessible from South Africa, making it a wonderful addition to any tourist tour of southern Africa.
 
 
 

Business

Mozambique has largely been cut off from foreign investment and has only in recent years started opening up to the worldwide business community. Conducting business in Mozambique can be difficult as many people only speak Portuguese, or their own ethnic language. Translators are hard to come by, and most are found in Maputo. Generally business in Mozambique follows the Portuguese model in terms of business etiquette - punctuality is important, dress is usually conservative (though lightweight materials are recommended). Women, in particular, should dress conservatively and modest behaviour is encouraged. Meetings usually start and end with a handshake, and business cards are exchanged. Business hours are usually 7.30am or 8am to 12.30pm, and 2pm to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
 

Climate

The climate of Mozambique is typically tropical, with a wet season during the long summer, between October and March, and a dry season in the winter, from April to September. There is little variation of temperatures between the seasons, differences in climate being dependent mainly on altitude. The wet season brings the heaviest rain along the coast, and cyclones are also experienced during this period. Mozambique's climate varies in different regions of the country, but generally the inland areas are slightly cooler and more humid than the coastal areas during the rainy season. Rainfall is generally heaviest between December and March. The southern parts of the country are generally drier and less tropical than the north, with temperatures along the coast averaging 80ºF (27ºC) during winter. The rainy season can get swelteringly hot and humid with average coastal temperatures of 88ºF (31ºC). The best time to visit Mozambique is in the cooler, dry winter season between April and September, when it is sunny and the water is still pleasantly warm. The country is also a popular New Year's destination, particularly for South Africans, but those travelling in December and January should be prepared for rain.
 

Communications

The international dialling code for Mozambique is +258. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). City/area codes are also in use, e.g. (0)1 for Maputo, (0)22 Xai Xai. Outgoing international calls, other than for South Africa, must go through the operator. Two mobile phone GSM 900/1800 networks provide limited coverage in and around Maputo, Beira, some coastal locations and a few other isolated towns. Internet cafes are available in Maputo.
 

Electricity

Electrical current is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. The rounded three-pin plug is common, particularly near the border with South Africa and in Maputo. Two round- and flat-pin plugs are also found.
 

Getting Around

 
Airports
 
Maputo International Airport (MPM)
 
Location:  The airport is situated three miles (5km) northwest of Maputo.
 
Getting to the City:  Buses 18, 24 & 25 run to the city hourly from 4:30am to 10pm. Taxis are available.
 
Time: Local time is GMT +2.
 
Contacts:  Tel: +258 (0)1 465 038/9, +258 (0)1 465 036/7, +258 (0)1 465 003.
 
Car Rental:  Car rental companies include Avis, Hertz and Imperial.
 
Facilities:  Facilities are minimal and include a bank, restaurant, bar and post office. The airport is in need of an upgrade.
 
Departure Tax:  US$20, or US$10 if travelling within Africa.
 
Website:  www.aeroportos.co.mz/Aeroportos/Maputo
 
 
Beira International Airport (BEW)
 
Location:  The airport is situated six miles (10km) north east of Beira.
 
Getting to the City:  There are buses and taxis available to the city centre.
 
Time: Local time is GMT +2.
 
Contacts:  Tel: +258 (0)3 301 071/2, +258 (0)3 302 011.
 
Car Rental:  Car hire companies include Imperial and Avis.
 
Facilities:  The airport has a restaurant, shops and a post office.
 
Departure Tax:  US$20, or US$10 if travelling within Africa.
 
 
Inhambane Airport
 
Inhambane Airport (INH):  Inhambane Airport is a small airport, with limited facilities and irregular flight services. However, the airport is easy to navigate, and provides a perfect gateway to some of Mozambique's best beaches (such as Tofo Beach) and attractions (such as dive-sites). Passengers can book flights to Inhambane Airport from Johannesburg in South Africa, as well as the Mozambican capital Maputo, the large city in the east of Mozambique Nampula, and the world-famous beach resort of Vilanculos. Note that the airport is open from 7am to 5pm during the week, and from 8am to 5pm on Saturdays. It will only be open on Sundays by prior request, or when expecting a charter flight.
 
Location:  The airport is located on the outskirts of the city of Inhambane in Mozambique.
 
Getting to the City:  Taxis are readily available at the airport. Ask one of the friendly airport staff members what they feel a reasonable fare into Inhambane city is, and agree on this price before getting into the taxi.
 
Time: Local time is GMT +2.
 
Airport Taxis:  Taxis are readily available at the airport. Ask one of the friendly airport staff members what they feel a reasonable fare into Inhambane city is, and agree on this price before getting into the taxi.
 
Transfers Between Terminals:  Not applicable, as there is only one terminal building.
 
Facilities:  Inhambane has very limited facilities, although there are a few snack kiosks available. On the plus side, queues are ridiculously short at the airport, so you will not have too much time to kill.
 
Parking:  There is plenty of both short- and long-term parking available at Inhambane Airport. However, parking is largely of the uncovered variety, and security might be an issue.
 
Departure Tax:  None.
 
Airlines:  Kaya Airlines offers services to Maputo and Nampula; while LAM Mozambique Airlines offers flights to Johannesburg, Maputo and Vilanculos.
 
Internet:  There is currently no Wi-Fi internet access available at Inhambane Airport.
 
Business Lounges:  There are no business facilities available at Inhambane Airport.
 
 
Nambura Airport (APL)
 
Location:  The airport is located in the city of Nampula.
 
Getting to the City:  There are buses and taxis available to the city centre.
 
Time: Local time is GMT +2.
 
Car Rental:  Car companies represented at the airport include Sixt and Europcar.
 
Website:  www.aeroportos.co.mz
 
 
Road and Rail
 
Road travel fine with car hire readily available but off road vehicles most certainly required to get to the true tourist spots one wants to visit. Rail travel is available in parts but is for the budget traveller.
 

Language

Portuguese is the official language, and there are 13 main national languages spoken. English is taught in secondary schools, but is only spoken in the southern tourist regions.
 

Money

The official currency is the New Metical (MZN), which is divided into 100 centavos. In the southern parts of the country, South African Rand, US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are often also accepted to pay for accommodation. Credit cards are accepted in some upmarket hotels in Maputo, but facilities throughout the rest of the country are limited; it is advisable to carry cash. ATMs are limited and tend to be unreliable, but local banks have branches in most cities.
 

Passport Visa

All foreign passengers to Mozambique must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country. Visitors of most nationalities can obtain a 30-day tourist visa on arrival in Mozambique, if arriving at Beira, Nampula, Maputo, Pemba, or Tete: the visa fee is USD 66, and further 30-day extensions are possible. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Mozambique, if arriving within six days of leaving or transiting through an infected area.
 
NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources. Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
 

Time

Local time is GMT +2.
 

Tipping

Tipping in Mozambique is not customary, although in tourist areas a tip of about 10 percent is expected.
 

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