Mozambique

Discover Mozambique with Ntaba African Safaris

Mozambique is an excellent tourist destination. The country’s natural beauty, wildlife, and historic heritage provide excellent opportunities for beach, cultural, and eco-tourism. Offering an unique historical and cultural heritage, tropical beaches, coral reefs, spectacular landscapes, intriguingly rich architecture and small desolated islands close to the coast, Mozambique is one of the most enticing tourist destinations in Southern Africa. The pristine coast is one of the few unexplored pleasures of the Indian Ocean and host a dazzling display of marine life. The world renowned Bazaruto Archipelago is part of the pristine coast line. Mozambique’s distinct local style consists of a vibrant blend of African, Arab and Portuguese influences and provides a refreshing contrast to the other countries in the Southern Africa region. The passion for life can be seen on every corner of this diverse country, from Maputo’s modern, bustling city streets and pulsating night life to the colorful markets and small fishing villages which dot the coast. Northern Mozambique holds unforgettable experiences and sights for those travellers yearning to escape the beaten path. Exotic destinations in the Northern region include the mysterious and majestic mountains of Namúli and Unango, historical settlements of Angoche, Ile de Mozambique, and Ibo and the magnificent harbour of Pemba. Of the cultural traditions imbued in colonial times, the remnants of a Mediterranean charm lives on. Food is in the Afro-Potuquese style and contrasts favorably with the British culinary tradition prevalent in the other countries in the region.

Bazaruto Archipelago

  • The Archipelago consists of four main islands: Bazaruto Island, Benguerra Island, Magaruque Island and Santa Carolina Island.
  • The islands are covered by large sand dunes and freshwater lakes, which are nesting grounds for beautiful black-winged flamingoes.
  • To keep environmental damage to a minimum, visitors must stay at one of several private lodges, which offer excellent scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and sailing.
  • The islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago are not for those whose idea of a holiday is shopping – as there are no shops – just crystal white beaches which squeak beneath your feet and convince you every time that yours are the first footprints they have ever experienced.
  • Just offshore, in warm waist deep waters, one floats amidst coral gardens of infinite beauty and colour, examining and being examined by shoals of fish that move amongst the corals like clouds of living jewels.
  • Declared a National Park in 1971, the Archipelago boasts among its wildlife, 180 species of birds, endemic butterflies, suni antelope and freshwater crocodiles.
  • The protected reefs and beaches support dolphin, dugong, gamefish, giant lobster and several species of marine turtle.
  • The three larger islands were part of an extensive sand-pit peninsula, once attached to the mainland, but since separated as the continent dipped into the Indian Ocean over millions of years.
  • Only Santa Carolina is a true Rock Island and is consequently surrounded by deeper water than the other three.
  • All of the islands support populations of traditional fisherman and their families, many of whom are not permanent residents and may migrate between the Archipelago and the mainland in their pursuit of good fishing waters.
  • Magaruque and Santa Carolina Islands are closest to the mainland, with Magaruque 10 kilometers (6 miles) due east of Vilankulo town, and Santa Carolina a similar distance from the coast.
  • Benguerra and Bazaruto are due north of Magaruque, with Bazaruto 30 kilometers (19 miles) due east of Inhassoro. The eastern seaboard of the islands (apart from Santa Carolina) faces onto deep waters of the restless Mozambique Channel, rich in game fish.
  • To avoid the occasional high winds and powerful currents, tourist facilities are all located on the landward (lee) side of the islands.

Provinces of Mozambique

Mozambique is one of the larger countries in the world with a coastline of 2500 km and is divided into ten provinces and one capital city with provincial status.

Maputo

  • Famous because of Delagoa Bay (Baía do Espírito Santo) where the capital, Maputo, is located, this province has a rare charm provided by the contrast between urban and rural ways of life.
  • The province borders South Africa and Swaziland and is very accessible.

Gaza

  • Gaza province is known as the “granary” of Mozambique because of the fertility of the Limpopo valley where there is extensive cereal and rice cultivation.
  • The provincial capital of Xai Xai 224 km from Maputo and the nearby beach (10km) is a popular tourist destination. There are several hotel and restaurants in the town, however, the majority of tourists prefer to stay at the beach, Praia do Xai Xai.
  • The massive reef running parallel to the beach provides natural protection against the strong waves at high tide and forms several small pools at low tide. At low tide, the reefs are invaded by women and children gathering shellfish, which they sell to appreciative tourists.
  • About 145 km north of Maputo (EN 1) is the small town of Macia which is the turning for Bilene, some 30 km further. Bilene lies on the shore of a huge, 27km long lagoon of clear, brackish water and fine, white sand.
  • The Banhine National Park, situated between the Limpopo and Changane rivers, is an important area, protected due to its rich variety of wildlife.

Inhambane

  • Inhambane province is characterised by its extensive coconut palms and cashew trees. This province has one of the most famous tourist destinations of the country; the Bazaruto Archipelago.
  • This province has innumerable famous beaches, amongst which are: Praia de Zavala (11 km from Quissico), Praia de Závora (85 km south of Inhambane), Baía dos Cocos (Coconut Bay) and Praia do Tofo (22 km east of Inhambane), Praia da Barra (20 km north of Inhambane) and Pomene (174 km north of Inhambane).
  • There are high quality hotels on the islands. To reach the islands it is possible to hire a boat locally, or to travel by air from Maputo and Beira or to fly directly from a neighbouring country via Vilanculos where there are immigration and customs services.
  • Zinave National Park and Bazaruto National Park are conservation areas.

Sofala

  • Sofala is one of the richest Mozambican provinces producing primarily shrimps and sugar.
  • The provincial capital, Beira, is built on a plain below sea level. The city spreads along the coast from the port to the lighthouse in the Macuti area.
  • Worth visiting are:
    • Largo do Município – in the heart of the city, this square is surrounded by old colonial style buildings, terraces, tea rooms and shops.
    • Casa Portugal – a house built in a typical colonial style. It is located near the Praça do Metical.
    • Casa Infante de Sagres – a beautiful house of magnificant architecture. It is found in the Largo Infante Sagres.
    • Casa dos Bicos – an architecturally innovative building is used for exhibitions and trade fairs. It is situated on Av. Samora Machel.
  • Beira’s best beaches are found between the Clube Náutico and the lighthouse. “Six Miles” is a resort situated inland about 10 km from the city centre. Here there is an artificial lagoon with islands where you may swim and pedal boats are available for hire.
  • For game viewing, there is the famous Gorongosa National Park, 150 km from Beira, and the Marromeu Buffalo Reserve, to the north of the province. In both areas there are restocking programmes underway.

Manica

  • The province is an important producer of a wide range of fruits and vegetables.
  • Chimoio, the capital city of Manica Province, is an important commercial centre for the trade of agricultural products which comes in from the surrounding fertile areas. Cabeça do Velho (Face of the Old Man) – the most well-known feature of the city is a spectacular natural stone formation resembling the face of an old man.
  • Chicamba Real is an hydroelectric dam between Manica and Chimoio. It is a stunning situation with the sheared off rock forming a natural V-shape to house the dam.
  • About 45 km from Chimoio towards the Machipanda border there is a sign for Casa Msika, a tourist resort on the edge of Lake Chicamba with chalets, a campsite and a pool. This is the ideal place for a fisherman or an ardent bird watcher. Visitors are also invited to visit the crocodile farm nearby.

Zambezia

  • Zambezia is an agricultural region of extensive coconut and magnificent tea plantations. Quelimane, the main city, is an important river port, located on the Rio dos Bons Sinais. In the city you’ll find the Old Cathedral – a magnificent and austere building – and the Mosque – a modern building with ornate lattice-work at the top of the facade.
  • Praia de Zalala is a wonderful beach of endless white sand and is reached from Quelimane by 45 km of tarred road to the northeast. The beach is lined by dense and leafy casuarina trees.
  • The mountain region in the northern part of the province has extensive areas of tea plantations.
  • Gilé Game Reserve is a wildlife conservation area with a great variety of mammal and d species.

Tete

  • Tete province is well known as the location of the colossal Cabora Bassa dam and is also rich in minerals, such as coal, iron, fluorite and gold.
  • Tete, the main town, is one of the hottest parts of Mozambique as it lies on a plateau 500 m above sea level.
  • Worth visiting are:
    • The Tete Suspension Bridge – crossing over the Zambezi river this bridge links Tete to Moatize. It was built at the end of 1960s.
    • Boroma Church – about 30km from Tete, this magnificant Jesuit Church was built at the end of the 19th century.
    • Cabora Bassa Dam – is the second largest dam in Africa and the fifth largest in the world. The enormous reservoir behind the dam has a surface area of more than 2,000 sq. km. You must obtain a written permission to visit the dam from the “Hidroeléctrica de Cabora Bassa” (HCB) office in Tete before travelling to Songo (150km from Tete), where guided tours to the power station and dam are available.

Nampula

  • Nampula province presents contrasting scenery. The miombo forest alternates with the magnificent towering granite domes and peaks, a paradise for rock climbers.
  • The capital city, Nampula, is an inland town surrounded by flat plains dotted by rocky granite outcrops. Nampula Cathedral is a remarkable building with twin towers and massive dome.
  • Nampula Museum have displays of the diverse forms of art typical of Mozambican culture.
  • The old part of the Mozambique Island, about two third of its total area, was declared a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO in 1992. Here there are buildings constructed out of coral, although many are in a poor condition due to the lack of maintenence in recent years.
  • Places of interest include: St. Paul’s Palace, The Museum of Sacred Art and The Fortress of St Sebastian.
  • Popular beaches are:
    • Praia de Fernão Veloso. Located near Nacala 80 km north of Mozambique Island.
    • Praia das Chocas. Near Moçambique Island, on the mainland, is a very popular beach.

Cabo Delgado

  • The most northerly province of the country is the home of the Makonde group of people. The Makonde are known as artists, particularly for their wood and ivory carvings.
  • The city of Pemba, located on the large bay of the same name, has little industrial activity and thus its natural beauty has been preserved and its beautiful beaches are untouched by pollution. The old town contains several traditional markets where you can admire the silversmiths at work on their verandas. These craftsmen transform coins into silver necklaces, bracelets and ear-rings.
  • Praia do Wimbe is a palm-lined beach with white sand and blue clear waters.
  • Ibo Island is a beautiful island and part of the idyllic Quirimbas Archipelago. In historic times, it was an important Portuguese trade post. To visit the island you can hire a boat in Pemba for the crossing.

Niassa

  • Niassa province is the largest and the most sparsely populated region of the ten provinces of Mozambique. It is bordered by Tanzania in the north and Malawi in the west. The largest town is Lichinga, located on the plateau of the same name. The surrounding countryside is characterised by extensive pine forests.
  • A visit to Lake Niassa is obligatory if you want to have a “real Africa” experience. The journey down to the edge of the lake has to be in a 4×4 vehicle due to the quality of the road, thus the lake is inaccessible to many tourists and still unspoilt.
  • The Niassa Reserve to the north of the province is famous for its large number of elephants.