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Mozambique

Mozambique is often regarded as one of Africa’s up and coming hot-spots and rightly so. It is a country with a fascinating blend of cultures, beautiful scenery and welcoming locals. Though Mozambique shares borders with six other African nations its largest neighbour is the Indian Ocean.

The country’s 2,500 km of pristine coastline is lapped by warm azure waters and is dotted with virtually deserted archipelagos. It is hard to believe that the nation’s picture perfect beaches have remained practically undiscovered for so long. Although Mozambique’s coastline might be the country’s biggest attraction, for the discerning traveller, it has a lot more to offer.

For those wanting to get away from it all, the Quirimbas Archipelago located off the northern coast boasts some of the most stunning islands in the world. The protected National Park offers un-paralleled peace and tranquility and is the ultimate when it comes to a tropical island hideaway. It is a hard task to decide which island to stay on within this archipelago as each one is a gem. Ibo is a little different to the other islands. Whether its reaching the island on a dhow or strolling past ancient forts and down colonial streets, you are struck by the blend of Arab, Portuguese and Swahili cultures found on the island. Of course you could also spend your entire time on Ibo soaking up the sun on one of its numerous white sandy beaches. Other islands that may entice you are Mejumbe, Matemo and Vamizi.

The country’s 2,500 km of pristine coastline is lapped by warm azure waters and is dotted with virtually deserted archipelagos. It is hard to believe that the nation’s picture perfect beaches have remained practically undiscovered for so long.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilha de Moçambique is an absorbing place to begin learning about Mozambique’s colonial history if you were too busy lying on the beach at Ibo. Once the capital of Portuguese East Africa, and before that a major Arab trading port, Ilha de Moçambique has a colourful history and the majestic chapel and fort stand testament to this.

Mozambique’s game reserves are undergoing somewhat of a re-invigoration. Mr Carr, an American philanthropist, has ploughed huge sums of money into the sustainable development of Gorongosa National Park which has contributed to the restocking of animals amongst other initiatives. The park now ought to be regarded as one of the best managed in Africa. Fortunately it still remains undiscovered and for those wanting to experience the true African bush, away from the hordes of gawking crowds, Parque Nacional de Gorongosa is the place. Featured in National Geographic’s ‘Africa’s Lost Eden’, it is an intriguing lateral diversion and should give you an insight into the real Africa.

Further South, closer to the South African border, is the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park. There are some world class beach hideaways here namely Marlin Bay, Zura and Benguerra.

Thirty years ago Mozambique attracted more tourists than South Africa and Zimbabwe combined; now it remains a relatively unexplored region of Africa, unspoilt by mass tourism. But who knows for how long, with its beautiful sea and sand described by the FT as ‘the best in the world’. In addition, its fine food and fascinating history and culture ought to be the icing on any trip to Mozambique.