Mozambique Travel Guide
Stretching for more than 2,000 kilometres along the coast of Southeastern Africa, Mozambique is a country that acts as a bridge between Southern and Eastern Africa, which plenty of world-class beaches (that nobody knows about) along the way.
Here, the language of the land shifts to Portuguese, as it was here where traders from this country on the Iberian peninsula set up a series of posts along its coast, with plenty of forts set up to reinforce their dominance.
The Portuguese were expelled after losing a civil war in the mid 20th century to resistance forces, although openness in recent times and bad economic times have led to the return of Europeans in search of opportunity.
With a territory that is twice the size of California, there is plenty to discover in Mozambique, whether you are looking to poke around its jungles, climb its mountains, or search for the perfect beach along its unspeakably beautiful coastline.
Currency: Mozambican Meticals
Languages: Portuguese, various indigenous languages
What To Do
The Portuguese set up a series of fortresses along the lengthy coast of Mozambique from the 16th century to protect their trade routes. Of all that were built, the massive Fort São Sebastião is the one that is in the best shape in the present day.
Completed in 1558, this defensive structure and the buildings protected within its walls are among the oldest structures built in the entire Southern Hemisphere. Another noteworthy feature is a cemetery filled with Christian, Hindu and Muslim gravestones, a fact that testifies to the diversity of this region, then and now.
Fort São Sebastião is situated on the northern end of Ilha de Mozambique, the entirety of which has been declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inhabited ever since Arab traders set up posts here from the 9th century onwards, this narrow, crescent-shaped sandy isle packs a lot of history within its tight 3 kilometre by 500 metre wide (at its narrowest point) dimensions.
It has a Stone Town filled with Portuguese colonial era structures, making it a worthy replacement if you don’t have time in your African itinerary for Zanzibar.
One of Mozambique’s biggest draw cards is its gorgeous coast. With over 2,000 kilometres of frontage on the mostly tropical Indian Ocean, there are countless deserted white sand beaches to discover and explore.
Bazaruto National Park is a popular place to go if you have money to spend, as there are plenty of isolated luxury villas situated on islands straight out of a travel agency brochure. There is more to this place than silica-white sand beaches though, as the snorkeling in its many reefs are top-notch.
During these excursions, you may have a chance to encounter the endangered dugong, a close relative of the manatee.
If you aren’t high-flying with regards to your budget, then the backpacker haven of Praia do Tofo will satiate your desire for a paradise beach without having to torch your bank account in the process.
If you are looking for a party, you’ll find plenty here, leading many that love this sort of thing to stay much longer than they were expecting. The diving is also fantastic, with abundant reefs and crystal clear water making for many great descents.
If you are looking for something closer to Maputo, Inhaca Island will do nicely. Part of the coastline until only 7,000 years ago, this isle sits 40 kilometres offshore these days. It is home to a marine life research centre due to its abundance of life located beneath its waves, making it yet another great spot for divers to visit in Mozambique.
What to Eat
Taking a bus ride through Mozambique, and find yourself starving? Grab a Prego roll from a roadside vendor. So long as you have a taste for spicy food, this snack will hit the spot, as it is a steak slathered in piri-piri sauce, surrounded by a pao bread roll.
Those looking to eat a staple eaten by Mozambique locals will want to grab a bowl of Ncima. A traditional porridge made from maize flour and water, it is a simple meal that will fil you up and provide an interesting side for other, more elaborate mains.
Galinha à Zambeziana is a favoured main course in this country, as this chicken dish incorporates piri-piri sauce, coconut milk and a variety of spices to give it a distinctive flavour that keeps locals and tourists alike coming back for more.
Be sure to get it with a side of Matapa, which is made from cassava leaves cooked in peanut sauce, to make your meal an authentic Mozambique experience.