Mozambique is a large country with an area of 799,000 square kilometers. It is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean, on the southeast coast of the African continent. It is bordered by six other African countries – Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland. To the east the narrow Mozambique Channel separates Mozambique from the island of Madagascar.
Though these lands have been inhabited for millennia, Mozambique’s modern history began with the arrival of the first Europeans.
That happened in 1498, when Portuguese ships led by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama bypassed the southernmost tip of Africa and headed north along the east coast of the continent. In the same year Portugal conquered the lands of present-day Mozambique.
The colonial period lasted until 1975. When the Europeans arrived, they found these lands have been already settled by Arab traders.
It is assumed that the Arabs themselves probably have been settled down in this part of Africa as early as the end of the first millennium.
Nature. The coastal area of Mozambique is mostly occupied by a large plane, which in the north gradually becomes narrow and hilly. To the north and west rise relatively high mountains.
In the far western part of the country, near the border with Zimbabwe, rises the mountain range of Nyanga with the highest point in Mozambique – Mount Bingham, 2436 meters high.
The country enjoys an incredibly lush nature, and much of its territory is covered with tropical and subequatorial rainforests.
Savannas occupy large areas, especially in the north, but the landscape is much greener and with a higher tree density than other African savannas.
The coastline is dotted with some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa. Groves of coconut palms reach the snow white beach itself.
Clean and very transparent marine waters, varying smoothly between emerald green and azure blue, wash the paradise coast.
With a temperature of 23 to 27°C, the sunny coastal shallows provide excellent conditions for growing of amazing coral reefs in the area.
Under the influence of the warm Mozambique current, which passes near the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, the weather over most of the country is warm and humid throughout the year.
Summers to the south in the tropics coincide with the rainy season and bring temperatures of around 29 – 30°C.
Winters are quite dry with very pleasant temperatures of around 24 – 26°C. To the north in the subequatorial climate zone the average daytime temperature during the summer months is about 29 – 30°C.
Winters, however, are a bit warmer with temperatures of around 27 – 28°C. Rainfalls are a bit heavy during the rainy summer season and scarce during the winter months.
Mozambique enjoys an exceptionally sunny climate, and the number of hours of sunshine during the year varies only slightly.
Population. The population of Mozambique is about 25.2 million people and tends to increase rapidly. It is relatively evenly distributed throughout the country.
Largest city with a population of 1,244,000 inhabitants is the capital Maputo.
Other major cities are Beira (located in the central coastal parts of the country) and Mato (in southern Mozambique, not far from the capital).
The majority of the population of Mozambique are Christians (over 41%) and nearly 18% are Muslims. The official language is Portuguese, but in the country are spoken also many other local languages and dialects.
Economy of Mozambique. Though enjoys stable economic growth, Mozambique is still a very poor country with many social problems. Poverty affects health and education system, and thus the whole society.
The standard of living is very low, though not as much as in most neighboring countries. The local economy relies heavily on agriculture.
Most residents of the country are engaged in this sector, and the coconut palms, which are grown in large plantations, are the most important crop.
In addition to being a world leader in the cultivation of coconut palms, Mozambique has a highly developed fishing industry.
Fishing for shrimp, other crustaceans and fish is an important source of income for many local residents.
Cuisine. Mozambique is a tourist destination that is famous for its very tasty cuisine, influenced by the culinary traditions of three continents – Europe, Africa and Asia. Staple foods here, like in many other places in Africa, are cassava, rice and maize.
Among the most widely used products is the aromatic coconut milk. The country is very popular with its huge variety of fresh and delicious seafood, especially its large and tasty crabs and shrimp, which are the greatest temptation for most tourists.
The cuisine combines European elegance in the preparation of food, products typical of Africa and the region of the Indian Ocean and strong flavors and spices typical of India.
If you want to experience the authentic taste of Mozambique is recommended to try local shrimps with a spicy Piri-Piri sauce.
If you’re a fan of sweets Mozambique will not disappoint you. The variety of desserts is great, but the best feature is that most of them are made from fresh and fragrant tropical fruit, or at least contain them.
It is advisable to try the excellent local banana cake, and if you’re a fan of the strong citrus flavors the pineapple cake is not to be missed. The same applies for the famous orange pudding, which is traditionally prepared in the shape of a ring.
Sights. A trip through Mozambique must begin with the capital and the most beautiful city in the country – Maputo. It is known for its lovely architecture from the Portuguese colonial period.
Among the biggest attractions are the central railway station designed by Gustave Eiffel, “The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception” and the beautiful botanical gardens from the 19th century.
Among the leading attractions in the country is Mozambique Island, which is located immediately off the mainland coast.
The island famous for its architecture and fortress is under the auspices of UNESCO since 1991. Mozambique is one of the best places to visit in Africa if you are looking for paradisiacal beaches.
Some of the most wonderful snow white beaches you will find on the islands of Vamizi, Magaruque, Bazaruto and Matemo.
It is important to say that Mozambique is where you will find some of the most exciting and interesting national parks in Africa, and some of them cover huge areas crossing the borders with the neighboring countries.
Be sure to visit the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which, with its vast area of 35 000 square kilometers, extends over the territory of three African countries – Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Another protected area known for its spectacular beauty is Bazaruto National Park, which is often called the “pearl of Mozambique.”
When to visit Mozambique? The most suitable months to travel to Mozambique are from June to September. This is the driest part of the year, and it offers the most favorable temperatures.
If you want to visit the famous samba carnival in the city of Quelimane, you have to travel in the height of summer in February.
It is good to know, however, that in this part of the year there is an increased risk of cyclones in the region of the Indian Ocean.
How to get to Mozambique? The quickest and easiest way to get to Mozambique is to fly to the international airport in the capital Maputo or some of the other smaller international airports in the country.
You could travel from London or some other big cities in Western Europe. It is a good alternative to travel to Mozambique through the territory of South Africa.
Choosing this opportunity there are available some other convenient options such as traveling to Mozambique by bus.
Risks. Mozambique is among the safest countries in Africa. Normally, the crime rate is higher in poorer parts of the cities.
To minimize the risks of travel, it is advisable to avoid wearing expensive items and unnecessary demonstrations of wealth.
Health. Like most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in the area of Mozambique exists an increased risk of some tropical diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever and malaria.
It is important to know that the danger comes primarily from mosquitoes, and therefore it is advisable to have a good quality insect repellent during your stay in the country.
There is also a risk of schistosomiasis. This is a kind of parasitic infection transmitted in water environments (rivers, lakes and others).
It is important to be careful with the food and water you consume, because in this country there is a high risk of hepatitis A and other hygiene related diseases.
Before traveling to Mozambique is important to do a thorough and detailed consultation with a doctor about all the health risks in the country as well as all the required and recommended immunizations.