It’s a country on the African continent that doesn’t really get a lot of attention from travelers. It’s a large country with poor infrastructure, which can prove to be tricky when wanting to get from place to place. And its turbulent, violent history definitely hasn’t helped bring in the tourists. But despite its issues of the past and present, Mozambique is a country rich in heritage, culture, and so many unexplored opportunities just waiting to be discovered by eager and adventurous travelers.
Mozambique’s vast 2,414 kilometer (1,500 mile) coastline running along the tropical Indian Ocean alone offers travelers ideal swimming, snorkeling and diving adventures. You’ll even find quiet tropical islands that don’t see many tourists…perfect for those wanting an idyllic beach getaway in Africa without all of the annoying crowds. So Mozambique will definitely appeal to those travelers looking for a few quiet days lounging in the tropical sun along the coast. But what else is there to do in this Sub-Saharan country? The answer is plenty! In fact, you may want to make sure you give yourself at least a few weeks to be able to discover all of the awesome adventures you can have while travelling through Mozambique.
When to Go
For the coolest temperatures and least amount of chance for rain, the winter season is the best time to plan a trip to Mozambique. The country’s winter season lasts from May through November. Mozambique does see a rainy season, from December through April. However, rains tend to be brief throughout the country, making way for more fun in the sun along the coast. Do keep in mind, however, that the months of January and February are cyclone season for the southern parts of the country. Travel during these months could mean facing torrential downpours.
What to See and Do
So what exactly can you see and do as a traveler to Mozambique? Because it’s such a large country, you’ll find the plenty of things to pique the interest of every type of traveler. From national park safaris, to colonial culture and history, to tropical paradise islands…Mozambique will definitely keep you busy with plenty of unique opportunities. Here’s a look at just a few of the options to consider while visiting this dynamic African nation…
Experience the Portuguese Influences and Beautiful Beaches of Ilha de Mocambique
Mozambique Island can be accessed from the Mozambique mainland via the 3.8 kilometer (2.36 mile) Mozambique Island Bridge. The island is the perfect place to get a taste of the 16th century Portuguese influence during the country’s occupation by Portugal. You’ll find hints of Portuguese architecture leftover along the island’s narrow streets as well as taste it in the local island cuisine.
One of the main draws of Mozambique Island is Fort Sao Sebastian. It’s the oldest standing structure of its kind in Southern Africa and quite a sight to see. You’ll also want to check out the ancient Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte as well. Both structures tell the story of Mozambique’s colonial history and give fascinating insight to the history of the country. And for those wanting a quiet, reflective walk along the beach, there is a picturesque promenade that runs along the coast of the island.
Discover the Underwater Wonders Along the Bazaruto Archipelago
The Bazaruto Archipelago is comprised of five main islands and is a must visit part of Mozambique for those travelers who are snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The clear, turquoise waters around the islands are ideal for discovering plenty of colorful tropical fish. In fact, there are over 2,000 different species of fish found in these tropical waters. Dolphins, leatherback, green and loggerhead turtles also call the island seas here home. This area is also known for having dugongs (manatees), so definitely keep your eyes open while you’re snorkeling or diving along the archipelago. You never know what you might see!
If snorkeling and diving isn’t your thing, don’t worry. The Barazuto islands offer plenty of white sand beaches to relax and sunbathe on. On the main island of Barazuto, there are also several restaurants to choose from. If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, there are plenty of quieter, less frequented beaches along the island of the archipelago as well.
Witness the African Wild in Gorongosa National Park
If you’re looking to experience the best non-marine wildlife in Mozambique, the Gorongosa National Park will definitely need to be a stop on your travel itinerary. You’ll find this impressive national park at the southern end of the Great East African Rift Valley. The 4,000 square kilometer park was once home to the densest wildlife populations on the entire African continent. Unfortunately, the park suffered during Mozambique’s long, tumultuous civil war. But it has since been making a comeback, providing a truly unique African wildlife experience when you visit.
There are various ways you can explore Gorongosa National Park. One of the best ways is to take a guided safari. That way you’ll be sure to see the most animals and make the most of your experience with an experienced guide there to point out elusive animals. You can also opt to take a self-guided tour where you drive yourself through the park if you have access to your own vehicle.
Bird enthusiasts will especially love a trek through Gorongosa National Park, as there are plenty of exotic species of birds to discover. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for elephants, lions, antelopes, crocodiles, and hippos!
Bask in the Sun Along the White Sands of Tofo
It’s one of the most popular beach destinations in Mozambique. And with the beautiful turquoise waters and white sands, it’s easy to see why. Tofo could easily be compared to some of the top beach destinations in the Caribbean. But this is Africa, and along the stretching sands of Tofo, travelers will be able to indulge in the warm waters for a relaxing beach getaway.
Tofo isn’t just for sunbathing though. The area offers some awesome snorkeling and diving spots too. There are some great reefs to explore and plenty of marine life to discover while you’re underwater. Be on the lookout for whale sharks and Humpback whales, as well as reef sharks and colorful tropical fish.
Explore the Unique Landscapes of Quirimbas National Park
Located along the northern coast of Mozambique, Quirimbas National Park is a true treasure that definitely deserves a visit for those travelers who are outdoor enthusiasts and can appreciate the biodiversity the park offers. Inside the park, you’ll find savannah plains, montane forests, plenty of mangroves, and beautiful coral reefs along the shoreline. The unique habitat of the park allows for some pretty diverse animal viewing. Keep a look out for elephant herds, African leopards, and crocodiles. Along the shores, marine life includes hundreds of fish species, sea turtles, and dugongs.
Get in Some Rest and Relaxation on Vamizi Island
Vamizi Island is another tropical Mozambique island that definitely rivals the pristine tourist destinations of the Caribbean. It’s located in the Qurimbas Archipelago and boasts white powdered sand beaches surrounded by pristine turquoise waters.
Those travelers who love to fish, will want to try their hand at fishing the waters of Vamizi. Here you’ll find various species of fish like wahoo, tuna, barracuda, and job fish. If fishing isn’t your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of other activities to try out on the island. Stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and dinghy sailing are just a few of the options you can look into. And of course, there are plenty of prime underwater spots for an unforgettable snorkeling or diving experience while on the Vamizi. And of course, there will be plenty of time for just relaxing and soaking up the warm, tropical African sun.
From tropical island settings to authentic African safaris, Mozambique has so many unique experiences to offer travelers. However, it’s very important to do your research when looking into places to go. Transportation and infrastructure can be lacking in the more remote, less travelled parts of the country. So keep that in mind and plan ahead as much as possible. Despite any shortcomings Mozambique might have, it’s definitely worth the visit. Where else can you experience tropical paradises one day and then get to seek out big safari game the next? One thing’s for sure, a trip to Mozambique will be one you surely aren’t soon to forget!