Say it with us, Mozambique. Everything about this east African destination sounds exotic. Timeless and luxurious. Mozambique promises a one-of-a-kind travel adventure that began with centuries of visitations from Chinese, Arabian and Indian traders until the Portuguese began their rule with Vasco da Gama’s arrival in 1498.
If you are excited by a bit rough around the edges travel, then the Republic of Mozambique is a great choice. Even more so if you love incomparable beaches, incredible food and friendly, welcoming locals.
Just like travelling into any African nations, you have to take precautions and get yourself vaccinated and make sure you allow ample time for your visa to be approved. Slow and steady does it here.
What will not bite you is the cost, as Mozambique is extremely affordable. However, public transportation called chapas can be uncomfortably crowded so we recommend hiring drivers for a little more money. For longer distances, domestic flights are typically less than 200USD and will save a lot of time in a country that has a lot for you to see.
Flights typically arrive in the capital city of Maputo, called the “City of Acacias” for the many colourful trees that line its streets. You might spend a day here to see the Casa do Ferro (Iron House), prefabricated in Belgium by none other than Gustav Eiffel.
Diametrically opposite of Maputo cleanliness is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world — the Central Railway Station. Go see it, snap a selfie and then quickly escape the city to what is quite possibly one of the most scenic coastlines in the world. Along Mozambique’s 1,550-mile ocean front, you will find bone-white sand beaches offset against unrivalled aquamarine water that you will swear is somehow photoshopped.
We recommend the Bazaruto Archipelago just off the coastal town of Vilanculos. But not during the December – March time frame as it’s the hurricane season for these six idyllic islands. With some of the world’s most impeccably pristine coral reefs, you’d be suffering from the “bends” if you didn’t go scuba diving here. For ocean lovers who prefer staying on the surface, the snorkelling is equally impressive. Bazaruto also enjoys excellent deep-sea fishing for tuna, dorado, and trophy catches like sailfish and marlin. If you’re a beginner angler, we urge you to book a “catch and release” charter to spare the region from unsustainable overfishing.
If you visit in the low season of January, you’ll likely have miles of bleached sugar beaches all to yourself. One of the only creatures you will encounter is the truly unique dugong, a manatee-related marine mammal with the tail fluke of a whale. This is one animal you will definitely want to see!
In the north, the Quirimbas Archipelago is a cluster of 30+ beautiful islands where hopping between them in a traditional dhow sailboat is a popular adventure. A word of caution here: the factions that fought during Mozambique’s Civil War from 1977 to 1992 are once again creating conflict so travel in the northern areas should be well researched.
A far safer bet is Tofo and its sandy streets and thatched huts that make one feel like they teleported to the South Pacific. This might be the best place in Mozambique to learn to scuba dive, and you’ll be rewarded handsomely for learning as the region is home to a large population of whale sharks. And if living large is your style, head to Tofo town for fantastic food and vibrant nightlife of the Rasta-esque bars.
Even further to the south and a mere 10km from the South African border, you’ll discover the quiet fishing village of Ponta do Ouro, which has become a go-to destination for dolphin lovers. There are a plethora of pods to watch them swimming and gliding through the waves alongside their human counterparts.
To enjoy more animals in their native habitat, a safari in the Gorongosa National Park is a must. Once heavily poached during the war, this southern end of the Great African Rift Valley is once again a safe haven for lion, elephant and hippos. For more safari fun, the Limpopo National Park is now connected to Kruger National Park in South Africa and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe to form a “super park” covering nearly 14K square miles.
It could be well argued that despite its postcard gorgeous beaches and world-class safari opportunities, all of which are less crowded and more affordable than rival East African destinations, the real star of Mozambique is its unsurpassed seafood. Considered by many foodies to be the freshest and finest in the world, Mozambique is renowned for the quality and size of its prawns, often marinated in peri-peri sauce, which means “pepper-pepper” in Swahili and is a signature flavour in Mozambican cooking. You find peri-peri is equally slathered over another traditional dish called galinha asada (roasted chicken).
Mozambique’s Portuguese culinary influence is well reflected in rissóis de camarão — delicious croquettes filled with shrimp sauce. This is a fantastic food to consume when you’ve had one too many and go brilliantly with ice-cold Laurentina beer. For a tasty hangover remedy, medicate yourself with rich, strong coffee and paõzinho; Portuguese-style bread rolls of extraordinary fluffy light goodness.
Other than prawns, the most important ingredient in a true Mozambican kitchen is probably cashews, owing primarily to the fact that Mozambique was once the world’s largest exporter of this delicious nut. To that end, be sure to try bolo polana, a dessert cake made with mashed potato and ground cashews. Words cannot describe its silky texture and smooth nutty richness!
While we might be at a loss for words when it comes to describing Mozambique’s insanely beautiful coastline, delicious food and its people’s genuine warmth, one word we know for sure is important — GO! Book your Mozambique adventure today with the ENTERTAINER getaways on your ENTERTAINER app! You’ll get to enjoy your vacation with up to 60% off your hotel stay!