Travel Destinations / Mozambique
Located on the south-eastern coast of Africa, Mozambique boasts incredibly diverse and scenic landscapes - a tropical paradise with stunning natural attractions, and all the intrinsic characteristics of an incredible holiday destination. It combines 2,400km of coastline, replete with idyllic palm-lined beaches, tropical islands, crumbling forts, delicious seafood and world class diving that is virtually unrivalled with unspoilt bush, unique wildlife and an enchanting history and culture.
Go snorkelling around the Bazaruto Archipelago, experience the mangrove channels on a dhow or relax under the palms in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Gorongosa National Park offbeat safari is an amazing experience, or if you're in the mood for something tamer, wander along cobbled streets past stately colonial-era buildings on Ilha de Moçambique, sip a café espresso at a lively sidewalk café in Maputo (or maybe a caipirinha at one of its jazz bars), take an afternoon to watch silversmiths at work on Ibo Island or dance to the country’s trademark marrabenta music.
Getting around here may take some time, but the sense of space, fenomenal coastal panoramas, the idyllic island lodges and the sheer sense of adventure travelling into the "Pearl of Africa" makes the journey well worthwhile.
Mozambique is home to eight dominant tribal groups, namely Tsonga, Shona, Chuabo, Sena, Nyungwe, Yao and Makua-Lomwe. Although Portuguese is considered the official language, as many as 60 different African dialects are found across the country.
A unique African blend exists in Mozambique, with a rich Arabic and hence Muslim influence in the north (Swahili is spoken) to a predominately Catholic orientation elsewhere. As a result of the lucrative trade routes, the interior of the country held little interest. This no doubt explains the lack of Portuguese or Arabic influences in the interior. Local cultures therefore have survived, and emerging Mozambican artists, musicians and sculptors are fast gaining international acclaim.
Every town in Mozambique has an official Mercado (market). These boisterous markets are a real treat and an insight into life as it is in Mozambique. Everything imaginable is available, from second hand clothing, to fresh fruit, African vegetables, dried fish, tailors touting India printed cloth and shoes made from recycled car tyres!
Visitors are thus advised against buying ivory, rare shells, seahorses, pansy shells, giant turtle shells, tiny birds in cages and live tortoises along the roadside. These and other animal products are usually obtained illegally and impact greatly on the already dwindling numbers of African animals remaining in previously war ravaged Mozambique.
The unit of currency in Mozambique is the metical (M), comprising 100 centavos.
Notes: 1 000, 5 000, 10 000, 20 000, 50 000 and 100 000.
Credit cards and traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted. Visitors can draw money from ATMs or banks in the capital, Maputo, as well as exchange US dollar and SA rands at official bureaux de changes, although both these currencies are widely accepted. In southern parts of the country, visitors need not exchange SA rands for meticais.
You will need a South African or international drivers license (as well as your home country license) to drive in Mozambique, plus the vehicle-registration papers, a temporary import permit (available at most borders), and third-party insurance. Visitors are advised that roads in Mozambique are challenging.
Machibombos (buses) are the best option for getting around on main routes. Elsewhere, overcrowded, wildly-careening chapas (minibuses) connect smaller towns daily. Always take a bus if there’s a choice. All transport leaves early (between 3am and 6am), and often on time. If you prefer air travel, Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique links Maputo with Inhambane, Vilankulo, Beira, Chimoio, Quelimane, Tete, Nampula, Lichinga and Pemba.
A US$20 departure tax is levied for travel outside Africa and a US$10 fee applies for travel within Africa. Children under two years of age and transiting passengers are exempt.
Mozambique is a malarial area and visitors are advised to take necessary precautions, including malaria prophylaxis, using insect repellents and wearing long-sleeved shirts, trousers and socks in the evenings. Vaccinations against yellow fever are not required except for travellers over a year old originating from yellow fever endemic areas.
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Mozambique has a warm, tropical climate. The average temperature is around 28°C, and the weather along the coast is sunny and warm even in midwinter. Summer, from October to April, is rainy, humid, and very hot. The cooler and drier winter months is from April to September.