After years of isolation, Mozambique is firmly back on the map as a popular African destination, with its 2500 kms of virgin Indian Ocean coastline, its pristine tropical beaches fringed with coconut palms and endless coral reefs. Holidays to Mozambique have come to define the term 'bare-foot luxury' with the country's growing number of characterful small lodges on virtually uninhabited islands.
Mozambique holidays are ideal for honeymooners or as the perfect complement to a safari in Southern or East Africa.
In the south the Bazaruto Archipelago has been the main focus for Mozambique holidays in recent times. It is relatively easy to reach via Vilanculos airport on the mainland and then a short boat ride or flight. However the more remote Quirimbas Islands, in the far north, are growing in popularity, appealing to eco-tourists, divers and the more adventurous in search of genuinely unspoilt places.
Ibo Town, on Ibo Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago, was the administrative capital of the Portuguese colony and an important East African trading post for over 500 years. Ibo’s swift decline during the 20th century has made it a surreal place, a tiny island with imposing ruins of villas, forts and administrative buildings in the middle of nowhere.
Alternatively, new beach lodges south of Maputo, on the Lagoon Coast, just north of the border with South Africa, offer visitors to South Africa's Kruger National Park easy access to a boutique beach experience. The ease of access makes this a very attractive safari and beach combination.
Mozambique is also an emerging safari destination, so holidays to Mozambique can include both game viewing and time on a superb beach. Some of the last true wilderness areas can be found here and intrepid safari operators are working to make them accessible. In the far north, the truly vast Niassa National Reserve is one the largest protected areas in Africa, and Gorongosa in Central Mozambique is a conservation success story.
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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Spelt out in Scrabble tiles, Mozambique scores 34 points. More than any other one-word country. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan share second place on 30.
- Mozambique's coast runs for 1500 miles where over 1200 species of fish can be found. It is home to five of seven endangered species of sea turtles. The Bazaruto Archipelago is the largest marine reserve in the Indian Ocean.
- Mozambique’s dance customs have influenced pop culture. In 2011, superstar Beyoncé flew a group of Tofu dancers from Mozambique to the U.S. to teach her dance team their unique moves.
- Women in the north cover their faces with a natural white mask, called mussiro. According to oral accounts, these masks used to carry subliminal messages related to the civil status of women.Nowadays it tends to be considered more as a means of beautifying the skin.
- Manta Rays are directly related to the Stingray but they don't have a stinging barb. Two hotspots for viewing them in Mozambique are Praia do Tofo and the Bazaruto Archipelago.