Mozambique

OVERVIEW

Mozambique has a well-deserved reputation as a superb beach holiday destination, but this long slice of coastal southern Africa has a few other aces up its sleeve, too.

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about this wonderful country without describing the warm, azure waters of the Indian Ocean and its sweeping, pristine sandy beaches fringed by palm trees. Mozambique’s coastline is some 1 500 miles long and includes the perfect honeymoon islands of the Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagoes for when you really need to get away from it all.

The ocean continues to play a major role in life in Mozambique, as it always has. Fascinating historical locations such as Ibo Island and Ilha de Moçambique containing many clues to a past dominated by trade in ivory and gold, and the Swahili heritage evident in many coastal areas speaks to a melting-pot of Arabic and African influences.

Portugal’s long association with Mozambique can be seen in ancient churches and navigational crosses, and more recent colonial holiday villas. The Portuguese also left their mark on Mozambique’s cuisine, as one bite of a deliciously fresh and insanely spicy peri-peri prawn will tell you!

The seafood, as you’d expect, is excellent – and so too are the opportunities to catch your own. The waters off Mozambique offer incredible game-fishing, and you can channel your inner Hemingway by heading off in pursuit of a marlin or sailfish.

Conservation-minded operators now concentrate on catch-and-release fishing, and we’d definitely recommend this approach. On the subject of conservation, Mozambique has taken great strides towards protecting its natural heritage and diving and snorkeling on its reefs can result in encounters with manta rays and immense but harmless whale sharks.

Marine wildlife – plus the chance to relax on the beach – make Mozambique the ideal counterpoint to safaris in, say, South Africa or Botswana as part of a combined bush and beach holiday. If you need another safari fix, you can visit Gorongosa National Park – one of southern Africa’s wildest – where pioneering conservation work is helping animal populations to recover after years of poaching.

Perhaps the quintessential Mozambican experience is to relax in your hammock with a local 2M beer or ‘R&R’ (rum and raspberry) cocktail, gazing out over the ocean as the sun sets.

Gateway city: Maputo

Best time to travel: January and April through December

Highlights: Gorongosa National Park, Island Resorts, Inha de Mozambique, Quirimbas, Benguerra, Bazaruto, Pemba

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