From the pearl-like trail of the Quirimbas Archipelago in the north to the golden coast of Ponta do Ouro in the south, Mozambique boasts some of the most pristine and postcard-perfect beaches on the continent. Silky, powder-white sands? Check. Warm, turquoise waters? Check. Palm trees? Coral reefs? Check. Check. And thanks to its status as an up-and-coming holiday destination, Mozambique boasts several unspoilt, off-the-beaten-track hideouts that are perfect for those who’d prefer to be far from the madding crowd.
Dubbed ‘the pearl of the Indian Ocean’, the Bazaruto Archipelago is by far the most popular holiday hotspot in Mozambique. Those who’d prefer a more secluded getaway, however, should head north to the under-explored Quirimbas Archipelago, a 400-kilometre network of coral reef islands. Whatever your choice, you’ll be guaranteed days filled with scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, dhow cruises, fishing, and more.
While Mozambique’s magical beaches are its biggest drawcard, there’s more to this country than sun and sand. Ilha de Moçambique—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—boasts a gorgeous sandstone fort and coral-rock ‘stone town’ that is a testament to the country’s colonial past. The Machangulo Private Nature Reserve is the perfect destination for those who want to combine a beach retreat with a safari in the African bush.
- Africa’s premier beach destination
- Ample coral reefs along the coastline make Mozambique a mecca for scuba diving and snorkelling
- Game-fishing—especially for marlin, sailfish, and bonefish—is popular here
- The ever-popular Bazaruto Archipelago has something for everyone
- The Quirimbas Archipelago consists of over 30 coral reef islands scattered across 400 kilometres
- Impressive architecture and interesting history at Ilha de Moçambique
- A beach-and-safari combination holiday at Machangulo Private Nature Reserve
Travelling to Mozambique
There are regular flights from South Africa to Maputo and you can also jet there from Dar es Salaam or Nairobi. There are direct flights to the Bazaruto Archipelago (in the middle of the country) and the Quirimbas Archipelago (in the far north) from South Africa.
The local airline LAM (Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique) operates 3 weekly flights to Nampula, Pemba from Dar es Salaam and 2 weekly flights from Nairobi. Flights from Dar operate every Tue, Thu and Sat and from Nairobi operate every Tue and Sat. The airport departure tax for international flights is US$20.
You can also self-drive from South Africa. Many visitors opt to combine a safari in the Kruger National Park with time on Mozambique's beaches. The road from Johannesburg, via Nelspruit, to Mozambique is well-tarred and the border crossing is at Komatipoort/Ressano Garcia. You can get visas upon arrival though most travellers arrange them before. The more adventurous travellers could even sail a dhow down the coast from East Africa!
From the 19th of June 2014 Airlink will fly twice a week from Nelspruit Kruger Airport to Vilanculos in Mozambique. This flight will make it easy for travellers to combine bush holidays with beach holidays.
NB: Our expert travel planners can organise every element of your Mozambique adventure - so don't stress about planning your journey - leave it to us. Don't delay - contact us to plan your tailor-made trip!
When to visit
Most people go to Mozambique for its coastal attractions, its extensive, largely undeveloped and deserted coastline that stretches for kilometres. The best time to visit the coast is in the dry months of May through to October, when daytime temperatures are generally around 20 -25 degrees Celsius.
During the summer months of November to April conditions are very hot and humid, especially along the north coast. Rainfall is at a peak in summer, increasing the risk of contracting malaria.
Avoid school holidays
Avoid travelling to Mozambique during South African school holidays, particularly to the south coast, as hotels are often fully booked up and the beaches more crowded. The exact dates vary but generally in Gauteng there are four annual school holidays - for three weeks starting in the last week of March, ending mid April; a month from late June to late July; two weeks starting late September; and six weeks from early December to mid January. Gauteng is closer to Mozambique, only a day's drive from Maputo, so these holidays are the best ones to avoid.
Culture and cuisine
Culture was an integral part of the struggle for independence in Mozambique, which began in 1964. Leaders of the independence movement used cultural solidarity to gather support from the common people, while the Portuguese colonialists promoted their own culture. By the time independence came in 1975, Mozambican bands had abandoned their previous attempts at more European-style music, and began creating new forms from local folk styles and the new African popular music that was emerging on the continent.
The native folk music of Mozambique includes many traditional African instruments which are usually handmade, such as drums made of wood and animal skin; the lupembe, a woodwind instrument made from animal horns or wood; and the marimba, a kind of xylophone native to Mozambique. It has also been highly influenced by Portuguese forms.
The Mozambican people are a friendly bunch and will positively enhance to your trip. They are generally unassuming, helpful, funny and honest. Over 98% of them are African, while the remaineder consists of Europeans (mainly Portuguese), Indians, east Asians and people of mixed African-European ancestry (mestiços).
This mix of people over the decades has resulted in a diverse culture. Regards cuisine, the Portuguese were a significant influence, having been present in the country for nearly 500 years. They brought with them crops such as cassava (a starchy root), cashew nuts (Mozambique was once the largest producer of these nuts), and pãozinho (Portuguese-style bread rolls).
They also introduced the use of spices and seasonings such as onions, bay leaves, garlic, fresh coriander, paprika, chili peppers, red sweet peppers, wine, and much more. You’re bound to find locals munching Prego (steak roll), rissois (battered shrimp), espetada (kebab) and pudim (pudding) – all Portuguese dishes.
Your experience in Mozambique is sure to be a rich and interesting one. Enjoy!