There is something about the synthesis of the coastal African mindset and the Latin sensibility, infused by centuries of Portuguese occupation, that gives Mozambique a breezy, laid-back, hip swaying groove. It was this, no doubt, that convinced Bob Dylan, even though he never did, that he would like to spend a week there.
Unlike almost every other Southern African country, Mozambique simply oozes history. The main port settlements of Maputo, Inhambane and Beira were founded in the sixteenth century, and Ille de Moçambique even earlier than that. From north to south there is almost no square meter of the coast that could not compete with Ipanema if it tried, and from the mountains of Chimanimani to the Archipelago Islands, from Gorongosa to Limpopo, the natural gifts of this country are rich, varied and increasingly accessible.
Added to this there is a somber layer to Mozambique that 30 years of unbroken warfare has etched indelibly on the psyche of the nation. The physical scars on the surface are still real, and yet the anti-colonial revolution has survived, and is a living, breathing phenomenon, vitally still of and for the people. Mozambique is moving forward at a pace perhaps faster than any other nation in the region, and yet trailing behind it, like the tail of a comet, are allegiances once shown to Marx, Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Min, and many other icons lately swept under the carpet of democracies less sure of their foundations.
Travel To & Within Mozambique
Why Travel to Mozambique
Although by no means its only asset Mozambique is best known for its beaches and beach culture, both of which are served up in ample portions to any lucky visitor to that country. The Archipelago Islands have tended in recent years to become the playground for the rich, and in particular the South African rich, but there are plenty of options for stylish accommodation, and excellent food and wine, in any one of a number of resort locations. These cater to any budget and are springing up all along the coast.
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Thirty years of war played havoc with the national stocks of wildlife, but recent efforts to rehabilitate Mozambique’s national parks, in particular in the south, and with the help of South African and international conservation agencies, are gradually achieving results. The Great Limpopo TranFrontier Park is a striking example of this.
The urban vibe is a wonderful adjunct to a trip through Mozambique. Although this is focused mainly in the two principal ports of Beira and Maputo, the music, nightlife and restaurant culture in both cities survived throughout the civil war, and with the infusion of tourist dollars and interest, is blossoming once again. Maputo has always been a lively and exotic city, and although a little grubby at the edges, it is wonderfully cosmopolitan with all the attributes of a Latin flavored port town.
When To Visit Mozambique
During the southern hemisphere summer months between November and March the rains are heavy and the atmosphere is laden with humidity. Particularly along the coast temperatures at this time of the year soar, and of course mosquitoes appear in huge numbers. This is definitely a time to avoid. The best months are the winter months, with August to October being warm to hot, dry and very pleasant.
South Africa school holidays, particularly over the Christmas holidays, can get very busy along the coast.
Mozambique is an easy going, friendly country with very little overt political instability, almost no threat of terrorist attack or kidnapping, and a minimal problem with street crime. Wherever tourists gather in large numbers, however, the risk of theft or mugging is real, and at all times vigilance must be exercised. Compared to many, more mainstream destination, though, Mozambique is very safe.
During the first few months of the years is the cyclone season, and is a period to avoid along the Mozambique coast.
Malaria is a perennial problem in Mozambique, as are many water borne diseases. The incidence of HIV/AIDS infection is high, so stringent precautions are necessary.