Magical, mysterious, moving and seductive, Mozambique’s fortunes are on the up. Now stable and at peace for more than two decades, the economy has started to grow and visitors are returning to discover the attractions of this corner of Africa. Despite the improvements and modernisations that have followed, a traditional heart beats in much of the country. A fusion of African, Arabic, Indian and Portuguese influences, Mozambique is very much its own country.
What to see
Mozambique’s sprawling waterside capital boasts lively markets, a pulsating nightlife scene and relaxed hideaways as well as an 18th-century Portuguese fortress, Nossa Senhora De Conceiao, and the Cassa Do Ferro, built by Gustave Eiffel.
Sleepy seaside town set in a beautiful bay with dhows and flamingos along the shore, as well as access to some great beaches.
Limpopo National Park
Connected to the Kruger in South Africa, Limpopo is home to large herds of elephants and a wide variety of animal and bird species. Big game moves freely across the border whilst the mighty Limpopo and Zambezi rivers flow through it.
Bazaruto National Park
Coastal reserve and archipelago with excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities that allow visitors the chance to see shoals of colourful fish, whales, turtles and dugong.
Traditional cultures thrive in the cool, dense forests that cling to the slopes and secluded valleys of this region.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
The northern half of the island has been declared a World Heritage Site because of the structures here and the connection with the country’s colonial past. Look out for the Palace and Chapel of Sao Paulo and the Church of Senhora Baluarte in particular.
Stunning island group that has a number of beautiful, unspoiled beaches as well as dramatic coral structures. Drift around on a dhow to see them at their best. Laid back and easy going they are also good for birdwatchers. The island of Ibo, with its silversmiths, crumbling fort and old mansions is the pick of places to visit.
Verdant hill country with good trekking amidst tea plantations and jacaranda groves.
Head here for remote and rugged scenery and lakeside tranquillity in one of the country’s quietest provinces.
Lake Cahora Bassa
Backed up behind one of the world’s largest dams and surrounded by magnificent hill panoramas, the lake is a great spot to get away from the traditional rail.
Gorongosa National Park
Recently revived reserve in a scenic setting that now has good birdwatching and wildlife, best seen from game walks.
When to go
Weather & Seasons: Mozambique’s climate is varied. The driest months are May to November, when temperatures are lowest as well. October to April is hotter and wetter, with February to April especially wet, meaning that roads can be impassable at these times.
Important Dates and Festivals: There are a number of festivals and celebrations throughout the year including Independence Day on 25 June.
Getting there / around
Flights: There are international airports in Maputo (MPM), Beira (BEW) and Nampula (APL). Internal flights connect most major cities.
Rail: There is a limited rail network – take the Nampula to Cuamba train to see an attractive stretch of the country.
Road: Roads are reasonable in the dry and often treacherous in the wet. Bus and coach services run between the large towns and chapa-cems, converted trucks, connect smaller towns.Car hire is available in the capital and elsewhere but self-drive visitors may find driving hazardous.
Beach Holiday: Mozambique is too big to get round in one go unless you have lots of spare time. Head to the south for a beach break and tackle the centre and north if you fancy a bit more adventure or pampered island indulgence.
2 Weeks: In two weeks you can immerse yourself in Maputo before heading north to Inhambane in order to relax on the beaches. Push on to the Bazaruto National Park before returning to the capital. If you’re arriving overland, enter the country from South Africa via the Kruger and Limpopo National Parks before heading to Maputo.
Longer Trips: For a grand overland tour that takes in all that the country has to offer, and allowing for the off-the-beaten track nature of much of the country, take two to three months to travel end to end, detouring inland and stopping frequently.
Overall Country Guides: There are just a couple of comprehensive guidebooks available for Mozambique, pick up either the Bradt or Lonely Planet guide.
Reise Know-How produces a map of Mozambique and Malawi, whilst ITMB publishes Malawi and Mozambique.
Mia Couto is Mozambique’s foremost novelist. Try The Last Flight of the Flamingo, Sleepwalking Land or Under the Frangipani to gain lyrical insights into and a flavour of the country.
Neighbours, The Story of a Murder by Lilia Momple is the dramatic tale of an attempt to destabilise Mozambique that creates tragedy for ordinary people living in Maputo.
Snack on excellent camaroes, prawns, and lagosta, crayfish. Wash them down with Dois M (2M), the national lager, or spirits made from the fruit of the cashew.
Sight & Sound
Music: Listen out for the upbeat rhythms of marrabenta, Mozambique’s national music. Traditional instruments include xylophones, panpipes and pankwe, a small guitar-like instrument.
Portuguese is Mozambique’s official language although a wide variety, including Emakhuwa, are spoken.
Mozambique Metical (MT) made up of 100 centavos.
UK and US citizens require a visa before entering the country.
Inoculations for cholera, hep A, hep B, typhoid, meningitis, rabies and yellow fever are recommended. Malaria is also present in parts of the country.
Safety, FO travel advice
Essentially safe although there is a risk of petty crime in major cities and there are a number of landmines still scattered around contested areas.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Mozambican country representatives can be found
in the UK at21 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 6EL. Tel:- 020 7383 3800.
and in the US at1525 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20036. Tel:- 202 293 7146.
There are no tourist boards in either country.
For more information visit: www.mozambiquetourism.co.za or www.visitmozambique.net.
Choose from Stanfords' specially selected range of destination-led fiction from around the world, where the country or city the story is set in plays a major role or appears almost as a character, allowing you to get a vivid impression of what it is like whilst getting caught up in a riveting read. Visit Graham Greene's Vietnam, Haruki Murakami's Japan, Ian McEwan's England or Salman Rushdie's India and allow these novelists to bring a place to life for you.
As well as destination guidebooks for all parts of the world, search here to see Stanfords' wider selection of titles, including accommodation guides, sporting and activity books, food and drink guides and other thematic material that will add to your trip, whatever your interest or hobby.
The range of maps and atlases from Stanfords is unrivalled across the world. We have maps to every destination imaginable, for every kind of trip you’re planning to make – from cycling routes and hiking maps to city street plans and road atlases. Or maybe you prefer them as decoration – we have a wide variety of wall maps too.
Choose from our selection of road maps and atlases for your regional or cross country route planning or arm chair travelling from Kent to Kansas and Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. We have a large amount of stock from overseas suppliers which is not readily available elsewhere in the U.K.
Find your way around town and get from A to B on those city breaks with our choice of street maps and atlases to the four metropolitan corners of the world. An extensive range of our stock is sourced from overseas, offering you a wider choice of street maps and atlases to choose from.
Whether you're travelling to Afghanistan or Zimbabwe, Aachen or Zurich, Stanfords has the destination covered. Choose from the wide selection of publishers we stock to ensure that you select the guidebook most appropriate for your requirements, whether you are after comprehensive coverage from a big name brand or a specialist title from an expert in that area.
Be inspired by Stanfords' substantial selection of travel writing and classic literature books. From early epic adventures to contemporary tales, from personal anecdotes and memoirs to historical accounts, humorous tales and journeys of discovery, we have hundreds of titles covering almost all the world, which make fascinating reading.
Our range of flat wall maps encompasses world physical and political maps in a variety of presentations; country, continent and region and city wide cartography in a range of formats; as well as thematic, panoramic, specialised, scientific and stylised presentations alongside children’s maps and novelty products such as wall paper. .