Mozambique is a beautiful country located in south-eastern Africa, bordered by Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, and the Indian Ocean. The country is best known for its stunning beaches, rich culture, and unique cuisine. It is a popular tourist attraction that offers a wide range of activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy.
This was my first ever vacation leaving South African soil. My best friend and I (in our early 20’s) booked the cheapest flights, saw a travel doctor, packed a backpack and we were off.
We spent the first night at a backpackers in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. The next day we would head to Bara by bus. The bus ride to Bara was a comical nightmare I would never like to repeat. Picture an overloaded American style school bus bursting at the seams with luggage, goats and chickens loaded on the roof. Somehow we had bought the “premium seats” the bus driver erratically shooing away locals to move off our supposedly allocated seats identified by something that looked like an old cinema ticket stub.
For some reason the bus also travelled diagonally in a forward motion, not to mention breaking down along the way, with palm fronds as a warning beacon for oncoming traffic. Eight hours later and only 485km from Maputo we reached our destination (that’s an average of 60km per hour).
We would spend the next seven days at the Bara Divers Lodge which offered very basic sleeping accommodation, and communal kitchen and ablution facilities.
For all its shortcomings, it was paradise! We were right on the beach. Local vendors would come by each morning selling freshly caught Barracuda, homemade local bread, cashew nuts and coconuts. There was an invisible line on the beach they were not allowed to cross (as not to pester the guests) so they would call from afar.
We easily befriended like-minded tourist spending our days touring together and our nights eating, drinking and partying around a bon fire till early hours of the morning. Because when you’re in your twenties there is no such thing as a hangover!
Mozambique offers a wide range of adventure activities and experiences to enjoy.
From exploring stunning natural landscapes to immersing yourself in local culture and cuisine, here are some of the best activities to book or do when in Mozambique:
- Scuba diving and snorkelling: The coast off Mozambique is home to some of the most stunning coral reefs in the world, and scuba diving and snorkelling are popular activities along the coastline.
- Safari tours: There are several national parks and wildlife reserves where visitors can spot elephants, lions, rhinos, and other incredible animals in their natural habitats.
- Island hopping: Dotted along the coast are a number of beautiful islands including the popular Bazaruto and Quirimbas archipelagos, which offer crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and a range of water sports activities.
- Cultural tours: The country has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and visitors can explore local villages, markets, and museums to learn more about the country’s history and traditions.
- Food tours: Mozambique has a unique and delicious cuisine, and food tours offer visitors the chance to sample traditional dishes, snacks, and drinks from local vendors and restaurants.
- Water sports: The coastline is perfect for a range of water sports, including surfing, kiteboarding, and fishing.
- Boat tours: Boat tours offer a great way to explore the coastal areas and islands and can include everything from sunset cruises to fishing expeditions.
- Spa and wellness retreats: There are a number of luxury resorts and spas where visitors can unwind and relax with a range of treatments and activities.
Mozambique is known for its delicious cuisine, influenced by Portuguese, African, and Indian flavors.
Here are some local foods, drinks, and dishes to try when in Mozambique:
- Piri-piri chicken: Grilled chicken marinated in a spicy piri-piri sauce made from hot peppers, garlic, and lemon juice.
- Matapa: A traditional dish made from cassava leaves, coconut milk, ground peanuts, garlic, and onion, often served with rice or bread.
- Pãozinho: Soft and fluffy Portuguese-style rolls that are a popular breakfast item in Mozambique.
- Chamussas: Similar to samosas, these fried or baked pastries are filled with spiced meat or vegetables and served as a snack or appetizer.
- Peri-peri prawns: Grilled or sautéed prawns marinated in piri-piri sauce, often served with rice or French fries.
- Cashew nuts: Mozambique is one of the world’s largest producers of cashew nuts, and they are a popular snack and ingredient in local cuisine.
- 2M beer: Alternativley know as Dois M (Two M) it’s most popular beer in Mozambique, brewed locally since 1932.
- Tipo Tinto: A sweet white Rum produced in Mozambique. Used to make R&R, a refreshing cocktail made with rum and raspberry soda.
- Tamarind juice: A sweet and tangy juice made from tamarind fruit, often served as a refreshing drink.
The country’s official language is Portuguese because it was colonized by Portugal back in 1752 and only handed back in 1891, but many people also speak local dialects such as Swahili, Makhuwa, and Sena.
The best time to visit Mozambique is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. During this time, the weather is pleasant, and the country is less humid, making it perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the wildlife reserves.
Mozambiquecans are known for their friendly and hospitable nature, welcoming visitors with open arms. This makes for a pleasant and memorable experience for tourists who choose to visit the country.
Top locations to consider when visiting.
- Bazaruto Archipelago – A group of six islands off the coast of Vilanculos, known for their pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing.
- Maputo – The capital city of Mozambique, Maputo is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the city’s colonial architecture, visit its museums and art galleries, and enjoy its vibrant nightlife.
- Gorongosa National Park – A wildlife reserve located in the central part of Mozambique, known for its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes. Visitors can go on game drives, bird watching, and nature walks.
- Inhambane – A historic port town on the coast of Mozambique, known for its colonial architecture and stunning beaches. Visitors can explore the town’s historic buildings, go diving and snorkelling, and enjoy its beautiful beaches.
- Quirimbas Archipelago – A group of islands located off the northern coast of Mozambique, known for their beautiful coral reefs, white sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can go snorkelling, scuba diving, and explore the local fishing villages.
- Pemba – A coastal city located in the north of Mozambique, known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant culture. Visitors can enjoy water sports, explore the city’s markets and art galleries, and take day trips to nearby islands.
- Niassa Reserve – A wildlife reserve located in the northern part of Mozambique, known for its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes. Visitors can go on game drives, bird watching, and nature walks.
Medical, Need to know!
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mozambique is a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, and a yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers aged nine months or older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. If you are traveling to Mozambique from a country that is considered to be at risk of yellow fever transmission, it is important to get vaccinated and carry your proof of vaccination with you.
Malaria is a risk in Mozambique, and it is recommended that travellers take steps to prevent mosquito bites and take antimalarial medication. The risk of malaria is highest in the northern and central regions of the country, particularly during the rainy season from November to April. However, malaria transmission can occur year-round in Mozambique, and travellers to all parts of the country should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
Preventative measures include wearing long-sleeved clothing and pants, using insect repellent containing DEET, staying in air-conditioned or well-screened accommodations, and using mosquito nets treated with insecticide.
Antimalarial medication should be taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider. But locals warned that this might mask the symptoms of malaria so it would be better to get sick so that the illness can be treated accordingly. Being cautious, we opted to continue with the pills and experienced no side effects. We were also advised that Gin & Tonic were the best medicine to ward off the pesky bloodsuckers.
Driving in Mozambique.
When it comes to choosing a car for driving in Mozambique, it is recommended to opt for a four-wheel-drive vehicle as many roads outside of urban areas can be rough, unpaved or pure beach sand. It is also important to ensure that the car is in good condition and has been regularly serviced to prevent breakdowns and other issues while on the road. Finally, it is always a good idea to carry a map or GPS device to navigate the roads and plan your routes ahead of time.
The vehicle also has to display a blue sticker with a reflective yellow triangle on the front and rear of the vehicle if towing, and make sure to have a few dollars in bribe money as this is the norm.
Mozambique is a beautiful country with a rich culture, stunning beaches, and diverse wildlife. Its unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage makes it an ideal tourist destination. Visitors should be aware of safety precautions and local customs before traveling to Mozambique, but with proper planning, a trip to Mozambique is sure to be a memorable and enjoyable experience.
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