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Mozambique

Welcome to Mozambique!! This country will seduce you with its stunning coastline, rich cultural traditions, and lively atmosphere. This enigmatic southeastern African country has a lot to offer: amazing beaches with turquoise water, colored fishes, well preserved corals, island archipelagos located in the north, and beautiful dhows (traditional boats). The colonial architecture, the lively nightlife, the fascinating cultural mix and many reserved parks with elephants, lions and birds make this country very special. Even though it is difficult to discover all cultural and environmental assets of this country, the experience you will get will be just unforgettable. You must be daring and tenacious if you planning long trips by bus… and begin your lifetime journey

Key Facts

Capital city: Maputo
Currency: Metical (Mtn)
Languages: Portuguese, African languages
Money: ATM’s are available in the big cities, and urban centers. Most of the ATM machines accept Visa card and rarely Mastercard.
Entry Visas: You can get your tourist visa in the international airports and borders (except Tanzania)

Daily Budget

Low budget (< 50 USD)
·          Low price guesthouse: 15- 30 USD
·          Local food (very tasty and cheap)
Average budget (50-200 USD)
·          Double bedroom in an average hotel : 50-150USD
·          Western style food
·          Safari and car rental
High budget (>500 USD)
·          High end hotel room (min 150 USD)
·          All-included packages (min 200 USD)

Best Time To Go And Climate

Best time to travel

  • May-October/November: The weather is dry and cool. Perfect to visit the country
  • December-March: The rainy season can cause road washouts and closures (in the south and center of the country)
  • Holidays: During southern Africa school holidays (Christmas, Easter, August), most of hotels and guesthouses are fully booked.

Feasts and festivals

JANUARY

This is a hot and humid month ideal for birds’ observation. Despite heavy rains, many tourists visit during the first 2 weeks of January.

FEBRUARY

The rainy season peaks during this month with sometimes tropical storms and high humidity on the coastline. Secondary roads are muddy making driving difficult

  • Gwaza Muthini: Beginning of February, in Marracuene (25 Km north of Maputo), opponents to the colonial power died during the battle of Marracuene in 1895. This event coincides with the start of the Ukanhi season. Ukanhi is a traditional brew made with canhoeiro fruits
  • Marrabenta festival: If you want to listen to marrabenta music (traditional Mozambican music) do not miss this festival. This festival occurs every year in Maputo, Beira, Inhambane and other cities.

APRIL

The long rainy season ends finally in April, leaving behind green landscapes and muddy roads. Tourists flock with Easter holiday. This is the best time for bird’s observation.

MAY

In the whole country, the climate is dry and cool. The time is ideal for travel inside the country even though roads are sometimes impracticable.

  • International Music Festival of Maputo

This festival welcomes concerts featuring classical and contemporary musicians in many places of Maputo. For more information go to www.maputomusic.com

JUNE

The climate is still dry and cool. This month is ideal for travel, plus there are not many tourists. However the sea can be rough along the southern shores

  • Feast of St John the Baptist (Ibo Island Day) is celebrated the 24th of June.

This festival is celebrated on Ibo Island in Mozambique’s Quirimbas Archipelago. The events include traditional music and dance and dhow races.

JULY

Always with a dry and cool climate, and the tourist season is in full swing. Leaving the Antarctic Ocean for their annual migration, the humpback whales swim through Mozambican waters.

AUGUST

You will be able to see humpback whales swimming along Mozambican coast. The dolphins are present in the waters during all year, particularly in august. Hotels on the coast are full and prices are getting higher

  • Timbilas festival: Enjoy the Chopi musicians playing complex musical rhythms on large marimbas along with orchestras consisting of 20 or more musical instruments plus singers and dancers. Sometimes this festival is not very well organized, but the musical tradition is amazing. You can get more information in www.amizava.org

SEPTEMBER

With its dry weather, minimal vegetation, dwindling rivers, September is the best time to watch the animals. Animals gather around rare water sources.

  • Dockanema: If you like history and cinematography you must attend this festival. You will see documentary films from Southern Africa and other Lusophone countries. Maputo is the center of this festival with lots of forums and projections. For more information go visit www.dockanema.org
  • National Arts & Crafts Fair: This fair happening in the small Fortaleza (fort) of Maputo is not very famous. But it is worthwhile visiting if you want to discover all types of crafts arts. You are welcome to purchase few items. Dates vary and for more information please visit www.cedarte.org.mz

OCTOBER

This month is also ideal for wildlife observation. Hot and dry, there are only few water sources and an abundant wildlife. With its blue-blossomed Jacaranda trees, October is a good month to discover the country. The weather is hot inside the country and moderate along the littoral.

NOVEMBER

This month marks the end of the dry season and the beginning of the hottest season, just before the start of the rainy season. This is the calving season of many animals and muddy roads

DECEMBER

The sea becomes calm and warmer, making easy diving and watching the whale sharks.

Accomodation

Along the Mozambican coast, particularly in the south, hotels are fully booked during Christmas, New Year, Easter and other South-African holidays (all these holidays considered as high-season). Make sure you book your hotel room few weeks before.

  • Backpackers lodges: Those lodges offer individual rooms, common kitchen, and sometimes campsites. These are the most affordable accommodation (400Mtn)
  • Camping: There are plenty camping grounds available. Bring your own tent to save money, and camp in rural areas (150Mtn, 250Mtn by night and person). Officially, camping is not allowed outside authorized areas. If there is no camping ground available, you can always ask a permission to camp to the local “regulo” (chief). You will be always welcomed and granted permission to camp. Do not hesitate to offer a gift (the equivalent of what you would pay normally in a camping ground)
  • Hotel and pensões: The cheapest hotels will accommodate you with a bucket bath but not A/C or electricity. If you are looking for an average accommodation, you will get a private bathroom with hot water, A/C (sometimes), and access to the restaurant on the premises. If you choose a high end hotel, your room will be fully equipped
  • Rental: Many accommodations along the coast propose self-catering options with small kitchen, or braai (barbecue) area, kitchen utensils, and plug points. Few of them will provide bed linens, mosquito nets, and towels. A restaurant is sometimes available.

Must See

  • The Island of Mozambique: If tourists and cars are rare, the Island of Mozambique is far for being a quiet island. When you will walk on the paved streets and the elegant praças (places) bordered with ancient churches, and colonial buildings you will be submerged by an intense feeling that time is suspended. This beautiful island has been was designated as world heritage site by UNESCO
  • Bazaruto Archipelago: Welcome to the Bazaruto Archipelago with its world class marine park, jade and turquoise waters, white sand beaches, brilliant-colored corals, flamingo birds, dolphins and fish shoals. Rent a room in a beautiful lodge, hire a dhow for a day- excursion and you will find life too short!!!
  • Quirimbas Archipelago: With its idyllic islands, luxuriant mangroves, pristine white beaches, dhows on the horizon, and the magical Ibo Island, the Quirimbas Archipelago is a unique place and genuine haven. The place is difficult to access, but you leave the place with regrets. You can fish in the azure blue sea surrounded by corals, relax in your luxury lodge, and go for an excursion on a traditional dhow boat.
  • Maputo: Maputo is the beating heart of Mozambique. Economic, cultural, and historic capital of Mozambique, Maputo has an exciting and heady atmosphere. With its wide leafy streets bordered by blue-blossomed Jacaranda and brilliant Flamboyant, exciting nightlife, museums, shops and restaurants, Maputo is a fun city.
  • Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi): The Mozambican shore of the Lake Niassa (Lago Niassa) is splendid and not very developed (contrary to the Malawian shore).it’s a good destination if you want to leave the beaten tracks. The area between Metangula and Cobué are very interesting to visit. There are many beaches bordered by mountains and steep hills. The majority of residents are the Nyanja (“lake inhabitants”). They live in square and painted habitations. Their main source of income comes from fishing.
  • Gorongosa National Park: Situated 170km northwest of Beira, the Gorongosa National Park was founded in 1960. With a lot of lions, elephants, hippos, buffalos and rhinos, the park is one of the most important reserves in southern Africa. Sadly, poachers have severely reduced the numbers of animals in the 1980s. Today the park is trying to bring its past glory back, but there is still a long way to go. We strongly recommend a Gorongosa National Park visit if you going to Mozambique. You will probably see impalas, waterbucks, sable antelopes, warthogs, hippos, crocodiles, elephants and lions.
  • Chimanimani Mountains: At the Zimbabwean border, southwest of Chimoio, you will see the Chimanimani Mountains. Going east, you will see the Monte Binga (2, 436m) which is the highest mountain of Mozambique. These splendid Chimanimani Mountains have an exceptional biodiversity: tropical forest and miombo in low altitude, coniferous forests and afro-alpine meadows in high altitude. The Chimanimani National Reserve, have more than 90 endemic plant species very appreciated by traditional healers. There is a great quantity of birds, such as the southern banded snake eagle, chirinda apalis, and barred long-tailed cuckoo. Bushbucks, eland and sable antelopes, duikers, and klipspringers are also present.
  • Inhambane: With its lodges, tree-lined avenues, colonial architecture, and Arabic/Indian/African culture mix, Inhambane is worthwhile to visit. With more than 10 centuries of history, Inhambane is among the oldest coastal cities of Mozambique. It is also one of the most charming cities of Mozambique as well. You must go to Tofo and Barra beaches.
  • Gurué and Mount Namuli: Gurué has luxuriant vegetation and tea plantations. This city is located in high altitude and has a humid and cold climate. The production of tea is one of the most ancient and important of the country. The huge colonial buildings prove the glorious past of this city. Around the city, you can enjoy nice walks. You can spend easily one week or more in the city and hike in the hills.

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