Mozambique On a BudgetLocated on the Indian Ocean coast of Southern Africa, Mozambique is a country renowned for its beaches and offshore marine parks-making for great sailing, snorkeling, and diving. Additionally, while there are outstanding examples of colonial architecture, the African cultural heritage is also well-preserved and thriving through its art, music, and food. From north to south, Mozambique is bordered by Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and South Africa.
At a GlanceMozambique is a country divided into three regions that are further made up of 10 provinces. Northern Mozambique is the first region, divided into the Cabo Delgado, Nampula, and Niassa provinces. This region is home to a handful of cities and smalls towns, a true African wilderness at the Niassa National Reserve, crystal waters and white sands of Lake Niassa, and Quirimbus National Park with a beautiful chain of islands.
Central Mozambique is the next region, divided into the Manica, Sofala, Tete, and Zambezia provinces. This region is home to the country's second largest city called Beira, as well as the Gorongosa National Park.
Southern Mozambique is the final region, divided into the Gaza, Inhambane, and Maputo provinces. Maputo City is the capital and largest city in the country, Inhambane is a quaint historic town on the bay with beaches and coconut plantations, and Tofo Beach is one of the most popular attractions of Mozambique.
With over 1,000 kilometers of coastline, many visitors come to Mozambique for its waterside activities, attracting scuba divers, fishermen, sailors, and beach lovers. Pemba, in the northern region, is well known for its beaches and scuba diving, and has an international airport receiving flights from nearby African countries. In the southern region, Tofo Beach and Vilanculos are also popular for their beaches, scuba diving, amenities, and easy access to islands. Also in the south, the Bazaruto Archipelago is a more secluded destination with great diving and some of the country's more upscale resorts.
And then there are endless opportunities to hop on a tour or safari, allowing visitors to more easily experience Mozambique's highlights. Guided tours are especially recommended for those looking to dive into the country's wilderness areas. Some suggested agencies include Tours Maputo, Mozaic Travel, and Dana Tours in the south, or Kaskazini in the north.
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Top Tourist AttractionsThe sights of Mozambique are many and varied from colonial architecture, bustling cities, and fishing villages to the natural beauty of pristine beaches, secluded islands, and African wilderness. Some of the more popular attractions include:
Gorongosa Nature Reserve: Located in Central Mozambique, this reserve is home to over 400 species of bird plus animals like buffalo, zebra, buck, hippo, crocodile, and lion. Chitengo Safari Camp is nearby and open most of the year, providing accommodations including swimming pools and a restaurant.
Niassa Reserve: Located in Northern Mozambique, this reserve contains varied habitats of forest, savannah, and wetlands for animals including African wild dog, elephant, sable antelope, buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra. It is a great spot for experiencing some true African wilderness and is just to the west of Lake Niassa which is famed for its clear waters and white beaches.
Pemba: Located along the northern coast, Pemba is a port city founded in 1904 that has become a popular tourist destination. A bustling market lies at the heart of the city with opportunities for purchasing local crafts and souvenirs. The beaches along Pemba are also good for water sports, with a coral reef for diving.
Two Mile Reef: Just off of Bazaruto Island, this reef consists of a diverse collection of corals and a habitat of brightly colored fish and aquatic life. With opportunities to see undersea critters like anemone fish, fusilier, snapper, kingfish, barracuda, whale sharks, turtles, manta and honeycomb rays, it is a great dive site for the scuba enthusiast.
Popular FoodsMozambique cuisine consists of a mix of influences from the days of Portuguese occupation to the more traditional dishes common throughout Africa. Fresh seafood is more abundant closer to the coast, while the staple of maize based porridges are more common inland.
Piri-Piri or African Bird's Eye Chili: an extremely strong chili, usually in sauce form
Pãozinho or Portuguese Rolls: a floury, semi-sweet bread roll, generally filled with meat in the center
Matapa: A seafood stew-typically crab, clam, or prawn-made with cassava leaves and served over rice. A staple throughout Mozambique.
Camarão National: Mozambican prawns marinated in Piri-Piri, garlic, onion, lemon, and vinegar.
Kakana: a bitter local vegetable
Seafood is generally caught right off the beach and often prepared with a piri-piri marinade, then served with rice and matapa.