When Vasco da Gama sailed around Africa in the late 1400s he pulled into the beautiful protected bay of Inhambane to replenish stocks and to explore. He took an immediate liking to the place and its people and named it Terra de Boa Gente or 'Land of the Gentle People'. It took another 40 years before the Portuguese established a trading post and settlement and sadly the friendly people of Inhambane were rewarded by lives of slavery. Thousands were removed through this inhumane practice so this area still bears the scars from the marks left by westerners who destroyed the lives of so many.
Morrungulo is one of the most stunning beaches to be seen as well as one of the best diving spots in Mozambique. Along this stretch of coastline you will find palm and casuarinas trees abound. About 7km north of the town of Massinga, this isolated area features a well-established dive center offering diving instructions, snorkeling, swimming and excellent big game fishing! 40 km north is a perfect peninsula with a pristine mangrove forest on one side and the sea on the other.
Mainland Mozambique comprises different wildlife areas including the Gorongosa and Marromeu National Parks. It also has amongst the most beautiful beach destinations in the world including idyllic islands set in clusters and stretching across the Mozambican coastline in the Indian Ocean - the most famous being the Quirimbas and Bazaruto archipelagos.
The country's capital is Maputo and there are regular flights to Maputo and Pemba from most of the eastern and southern African countries. Aim 4 Africa will be happy to organise a short tour of this vibrant city as part of your Mozambican holiday. Maputo (previously Lorenzo Marques) is the largest city in Mozambique.
Several rivers meet the sea in Maputo and two islands (Inhaca and Portuguese Island) lie just off the coast. Highlights of the city of Maputo include Maputo's most important landmark is the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceiao (Our Lady of Conception) which was the nucleus of the original Portuguese settlement. Another imposing building is the Central Railway Station, an enormous structure looking more like a palace for kings, than a siding for commuters.
A cosmopolitan coastal town in northern Mozambique, is the gateway to the magical Quirimbas Archipelago (see islands above), looking down from the town over rolling hills, the view of this massive blue bay is not easily forgotten. Local tradition says that if all the ships in the world anchored within Pemba's 13,000 hectares of land-locked water there would still be room for more.
Pemba town itself is a bit run down, and has a mix of beautiful yet dilapidated buildings and wooden huts set under huge baobab trees. Aim 4 Africa can organise a cultural tour of Pemba which includes a visit to a marble and cashew nut factory, a look a local craft making and a stop at a souvernir store. Also, don't miss a visit to the market, which is nearly 2km long and has thousands of stalls selling everything from spices to bicycle spares. The diving around Pemba is superb, with unspoilt coral reefs, a dizzying display of tropical fish and a good chance of seeing turtles of dolphin. Note that whilst Pemba is not really a beach destination. Most visitors spend a night or two here to sample mainland culture, before hopping across for a true tropical break on the Quirimbas Islands.
Aim 4 Africa organises tailor-made and scheduled safari-beach holidays to suit different people's interests and to suit where, when and what visitors wish to do. It is possible to combine a visit to Mozambique with a safari in Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Malawi or Zambia. Please ask for further details on a holiday to Mozambique or a quote for an itinerary of your choice.
The Quirimbas Archipelago is one of the most unspoilt destinations left on the planet. Start your adventure by exploring ancient Ibo island from the comfort of beautiful Ibo Island Lodge. The area is filled with history, culture, birding, mangrove forests, seafood, intrigue and tranquillity.. Explore a coastline fringed by tropical islands on an ancient Arab dhow with friendly guides. Discover idyllic island beaches with pristine turquoise waters. Snorkel some of Mozambique’s richest coral reefs and maybe catch sight of turtles, dolphins, and amazing species of fish. Snack on cashew nuts, tropical fruit and fresh seafood cooked over an open fire under the stars. Dazzling bird life abounds with storks, egrets and herons roosting in thick mangrove branches.
Vamizi Island, in the Quirimbas Archipelago, is a place for people who want to relax and enjoy the leisurely pace of island life. The biodiversity at Vimizi Island is incredible, with abundant tropical vegetation and samango monkeys playing in the trees. You can walk forever along deserted beaches where you may see tracks left by hawksbill and green turtles; over 300 turtle nest sites have been protected to date. The Quirimbas islands are rated as one of the world's top dive sites. Reefs of unbleached coral provide idyllic conditions for both snorkeling and scuba diving, and all six of Vamizi's beaches slope gently into the sea - so you can safely wade out into the warm tropical water. Vamizi also offers phenomenal deep sea fishing. In fact in 2008 guests staying on the island broke 2 world fishing records and 2 African fishing records. Aim 4 Africa recommends staying in one of the luxurious beach houses at Vamizi Island Lodge, where a selection of loungers, swinging beds and 'Swahili day beds' provide perfect spots to while away the heat of the day - gazing over dog-eared pages at the translucent ocean.
The Bazaruto Archipelago is a cluster of five islands (in size order: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina and Bangue), however only Bazaruto and surrounding reefs are officially within a National Park. These waters are home to over 80% of all marine fish families of the Indo-Pacific. Resident Minke and Southern right whales are plentiful in this area, alongside the common spinner and bottlenose dolphins and the highly-threatened dugong - this is a wonderful area not to be missed.
The tiny island of Bangue is so small that it hardly ever appears on maps. Benguerra and Bazaruto have luxury accommodations, where you can relax and be pampered as the humdrum of everyday life quickly becomes a distant memory. It is not possible to stay on the other islands, but you can sail across and find a deserted stretch of soft sand for a private picnic lunch and a spot of snorkelling if you wish. On the short flight from Vilanculos (flights from Dar es Salaam, Maputo and Pemba available regularly) to the islands of Benguerra or Bazaruto, you pass over the calming turquoise of the Indian Ocean, stained a turquoise blue by hidden coral reefs holding the promise of world-class scuba-diving. Inland you can explore tall, silky sand dunes, freshwater lakes and mangrove forest, but most people tend to stick to the beaches and, if they have a bit of energy to burn, try some of the many activities on offer. The Bazaruto islands really do have everything you could possibly wish for in a tropical island holiday; endless beaches, warm sea, coral reefs, incredible marine life and even the occasional swaying palm.
The Island of Inhaca lies about 40km off the coast of Maputo, the country's capital city. Like so many of Mozambique's islands, it is a natural paradise of unspoiled forests, grassy plains, breathtaking beaches and coral reefs. This is a particular favourite spot for divers and snorkellers (particularly at Santa Maria or the lighthouse), Inhaca is easily accessed by ferry or boat trip from Maputo's ferry terminal, or via a short flight from Maputo. Since 1976 large areas of Inhaca Island have enjoyed ecological protection. Inhaca's biological station, built in 1951 for research and education, offers accommodation and oversees the administration of the island's diverse marine and terrestrial ecology. The ecologies of Inhaca's four shores are sharply differentiated from one another: grassy plains in the north, forested sand dunes in the east, and exposed mudflats in the south and west. More than 200 species of birdlife have been recorded on the island.
The Praia do Tofo is one of Mozambique's most beautiful areas with an expansive and wonderful beach. It is developed enough so that visitors can get there easily and enjoy the surf, mangroves and palm groves all around the area! The trees are filled with parrots and monkeys which provide some entertainment while relaxing on the beach.
Praia de Xai Xai is located near the provincial capital of Gaza, and is one of the single most beautiful beaches in the world. Enjoy the great expanse of the cleanest golden sands along these warm tropical waters.Whilst at Xai Xai, you can visit Inhambane (see below)
Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on the East Coast, and was once an important port. Although large ships seldom call here any longer, it still has the largest fleet of working dhows in the country. In the old quarter of town is the 170 year old Cathedral of our Lady of Conception where a rusted (and somewhat scary) ladder leads to the top of the spire, offering grand views of town and harbour. You should also take in the old governor's house on the waterfront, the fascinating railway station (it has a workshop filled with old stream trains and memorabilia and men clanking away on old machinery) and the mercado which sells a colourful array of spices, prawns, fishes, vegetables and cashew nuts. You could sail in a Dhow across the bay for lunch and a ‘cerveja’ (beer) in the small town of Maxixe.
The Gorongosa National Park is a region with a high species diversity and ecological features found nowhere else in the world. The Park comprises dry plains dropping away from Gorongosa Mountain range at the southern end of the Great Rift Valley. Comprised of a great diversity of grasslands, tall miombo woodlands, Afro-Montane forests, valley thickets and seasonally inundated flood plains. The Urema Lake, which is fed by rivers originating from the Gorongosa Mountain, is the main ecological feature of the park. Situated right in the center of the park, it is the main source of water in the peak of the dry season.
Situated in the middle of the country in the Sofala province between Tete and Beira the park covers approximately 5300 sq km, including a 1500 sq km sanctuary. Before the civil war in the 1980s - which destroyed 95% of the fauna - the park was famous for its quantity and diversity of wildlife and was seen as equal to the Kruger National Park although the latter is now considered to me more of a "zoo" than a truly natural wildlife habitat.
The Gorongosa harbors several small herds of elephant, an increasing lion population, rhinos, leopards, zebras, kudus, cheetahs, warthogs and the rare roan and sample antelope. But its real attraction are the over 500 different bird species including some which only can be found in the Gorongosa area - the green headed oriole, white breasted alethe, bluethroated sunbird, blackcap tchagras, Livingstone's Flycatcher, Vanga Flycatcher, chestnut fronted Helmut shrike, singing cisticola, blackheaded apalis, redwinged warbler, moustached warbler, Eastern saw-wing swallow, mascarene martin, Nyasa seedcracker, Mozambique batis, oliveheaded weaver, green tinker barbet, Bohm's bee-eater and sooty tern. The habitat of these birds distinguishes itself through its variety and beauty. The Eastern side of the Park is, the Cheringoma Plateu, an extensive natural forested area considered to be the richest in the country.
The Marromeu National Park is located at the mouth of the Zambezi River and is currently trying to replace the 30000 buffalo that once lived there. The Marromeu Complex consists of the 1500km² Marromeu Special Reserve and is surrounded by an 8252 km² hunting concession that extends from the edge of the buffalo reserve into the adjacent Cheringoma highlands. The area is an open grassland with many rivers and streams - which is part of the Zambezi Delta. It holds diverse array of wildlife including the African Elephant, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Sable Antelope, Eland, Burchell's Zebra, Hippopotamus, Waterbuck, and Reedbuck. Predators include Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Wild Dog, and Spotted Hyena.
The park supports the highest density of water birds in Mozambique, with large nesting colonies of Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Yellow-billed and African Open-bill Storks, Glossy Ibis, and White-breasted Cormorants. It is also sanctuary to 120 breeding pairs of endangered Wattled Cranes and if there are extreme dry seasons the wetland is refuge for up to 30% of their global population! Other bird species of international concern include; Grey Crowned Cranes, Saddlebill Storks, Woolynecked Storks, Goliath Herons, African Skimmers, Redwing Pratincoles, and Caspian Terns.
Furthermore Humpback and Minke Whales can be seen at the coast, along with Bottlenosed, Roughtoothed, and Humpback Dolphins. But the main attraction here is the large Cape Buffalo - historically the park has the largest population of cape buffalo in Africa and that is why the park is also known as Marromeu Buffalo Reserve.
Maputo Elephant Reserve is home to about 400 elephants, which migrate between South Africa and Mozambique. The birdlife is varied and abundant and the infrastructure is minimal with poor roads.
Reserva do Niassa is a remote area that has provided refuge to around 12,000 elephants and the last of Mozambique's buffalo, sable and roan herds. The River Jurege proves excellent game viewing (though it is dry from June to December).
Mozambique is the ideal beach and diving destination. Between April to October the temperatures are cool and the weather is dry. The warmer season is from November to March with hot temperatures and afternoon rain showers. Diving in Mozambique has to be one of the world’s best kept secrets with lots of big game fish and beautiful coral reefs teeming with underwater creatures of all kinds including the Humpbacked whales which are best spotted from April to October, whale sharks from October to April and Manta Rays and turtles throughout the year.
Conditions for diving are as follows: June to August the weather is warm and dry and the sea is calm, September to November can be windy and the sea choppy, December to February can be rainy and the sea can alternate between choppy and calm at different times of the day. From March to May the air temperatures are cooler with little wind and thus the sea conditions are usually calm. If you want to view wildlife in the national parks in Mozambique, the best times are from April through to October.
Contact us for more information on when you wish to visit Mozambique.
Accommodations in Mozambique varies from the luxurious to the simple on safari. Likewise at the many mainland beach and islands in Mozambique, there is a wide range of accommodations from simple beach hotels to larger resorts or the more exclusive beach properties with private villa and bungalows.
We can organise private or group safari+beach combination holidays, or simply a week or two of sheer relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Mozambique to suit your interests. We can also organise a multi destination holiday to the other East African countries of Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi or the southern African countries of Zambia and Botswana depending on specific requirements. For information please Contact us.