The name itself conjures up azure crystal-clear warm waters, miles of untouched white sand and some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling that Africa has to offer. Add to that the famous coral islands of the archipelagos, and you have a winning recipe! It’s no wonder that Mozambique is one of the top honeymoon destinations and that couples and families alike flock to its sandy shores for the ultimate sun, sand and sea holiday.
So to warm us up as we armchair travel on this wintery day, we’ve decided to feature Mozambique as our top travel destination and will highlight some of its best bits. For starters, this country literally has hundreds of miles of Indian Ocean coastline and easily counts amongst one of Africa’s premier romantic getaways and beach destinations. We fly most of our clients directly to one of the islands in the archipelagos, the two main ones being the Bazaruto Archipelago in the south and the Quirimbus in the north. One of our favourite lodges in northern Mozambique is Ibo Island Lodge.
Intrepid travelers (who have visited Africa a few times), as well as extreme nature lovers, should definitely try and visit the Gorongosa National Park. A sought after destination for biologists and scientists alike, this is where David Attenborough recently shot the final episode of his series Life entitled Africa: The Future.
Another place well-worth a visit is Mozambique’s capital city, Maputo, which is a fascinating African city with a vibrant musical, architectural and culinary culture that is influenced by its legacy as a Portuguese colony.
Where Is Mozambique?
Mozambique lies on the Indian Ocean coast north of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal and just about alongside the Kruger National Park, so is the perfect destination for anyone looking to combine a safari with a beach vacation. Its eastern coastline along the Indian Ocean is more than 1,000 km long – perfect for diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing and chilling under a palm tree on the beach!
Renowned as being one of Africa’s top honeymoon destinations and for the excellent diving and snorkeling (not to mention the legendary and sumptuous seafood), this country offers outstanding family holidays with family-friendly resorts where a wide range of water activities are available from traditional dhow sailing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, fishing and picnics on remote private beaches. Go swimming with dolphins at the White Pearl Resort or in the whale season see humpback whales frolicking in the bay near Nuarro Lodge.
Mozambique’s culture is a vibrant mix of Portuguese and African which can be experienced through the art, music and food. The Portuguese influence on the local cuisine is evident with some of the most unique and eclectic dishes found in Southern Africa being served up here. It also offers the visitor some of the best colonial architecture and relics in Africa and is known for having preserved its African cultural heritage.
Another plus point is that Mozambique holidays are not as expensive as the Seychelles, Mauritius or even the Caribbean. It’s also not as touristy as many other beach destinations, and visitors can look forward to miles of unspoilt, private beaches and unexplored wilderness.
Best Time To Visit
The finest weather months start in about April/ May with June through to October being the dry season and offering visitors the best beach days with clear sunny skies and no rain. June, July and August are the winter months, so expect chilly nights but daytime temperatures can easily reach around 30 degrees.
Mozambique is blessed with tropical to sub-tropical weather for most of the year which is why it rates as one of our best honeymoon destinations. The rainy season is between December and March when the weather can be really uncomfortably hot and humid. The northern parts of Mozambique can become especially unbearable, particularly if you are keen on sightseeing and not just chilling under a palm tree on a white sandy beach! Unlike other Indian Ocean islands, Mozambique is relatively protected from cyclones and tropical storms. The weather in November can be quite windy and somewhat unpredictable.
Best Way Into Mozambique
Southern Mozambique is easily accessible from the Kruger National Park region, Johannesburg, or even one of the Zululand Game Reserves, making it the perfect beach and bush combination. We recommend that most of our clients fly directly from Johannesburg to Vilanculos and take a boat transfer or short scenic air transfer to the Mozambique islands.
Northern Mozambique is a bit more of a journey, but well worth it once you get there! As this region is so remote, it is the perfect honeymoon destination if you are looking to explore a truly unspoilt paradise, Robinson Crusoe style or even ideal for family getaways.
Things To Know When Visiting Mozambique
As with booking most foreign flights, visitors must have a valid passport (for at least 6 months) with a minimum of three blank pages. All visitors to Mozambique need a visa, except those holding a passport for South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Note that you need to get your visa prior to travelling. It is no longer possible to purchase a visa on arrival.
A departure tax of US$20 is payable in cash at the airport (for all international and regional flights) or US$10 for domestic flights. We recommend to all our clients to ensure that they pack light when travelling on most intra-Africa aircrafts, as these have strict luggage restrictions due to their small size. Typically each passenger may only carry a maximum of 20kg or 44lbs (which includes a duffel bag and carry-on), and the luggage needs to be soft with no wheels or hard frames, as these need to fit the cargo hold of a small plane.
Mozambique’s official language is Portuguese, but English is widely spoken in touristy areas and the capital Maputo. The further up north you travel, the less likely it will be to meet English speakers, and in some of the more rural areas even Portuguese is seldom spoken.
Mozambique’s currency is the metical and credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are widely accepted with most city banks having ATM machines available for easy cash withdrawals. It’s a good idea to ask your bank prior to travelling for a card without foreign transaction fees. Visitors cannot buy or exchange meticais whilst outside Mozambique, but you will be able to convert your money back to your preferred currency at exchanges before leaving the country.
Tipping in Mozambique is optional, although generally ‘expected’. When packing for Mozambique keep in mind that you’re most likely going to spend days relaxing on the beach, so pack light and casual. Even at the most luxurious hotels and restaurants formal wear is not required. If you are visiting in the wet season ensure that you pack a rain jacket and something warmer for the evenings. It’s always a good idea to pack sandals or flip flops as some of the beaches may have rocky stretches.
Mozambique lies in a malaria zone so anti-malaria tablets must be taken, and typhoid, hepatitis A, tetanus and polio immunizations are also advised. Whilst in Mozambique, we don’t advise drinking tap water. If entering Mozambique from Malawi or another Yellow Fever zone such as Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda, Yellow Fever immunization is required, and you must ensure that you travel with your Yellow Fever Certificate at all times.
When it comes to mobile coverage, Mozambique can still be a bit shaky in some parts of the country with intermittent connectivity.
For avid shoppers, there are bargains aplenty in many of Mozambique’s roadside stalls and markets. Look out for silver jewellery which are hand-crafted by local craftsmen on the islands of Ibo and Mozambique, as well as colourful paintings by Mozambican artists, locally produced and printed materials, bags, woven baskets and hats.
Mozambique truly has something for everyone and is a tropical paradise island experience with a laid-back African charm that is hard to beat. From its wildlife to its pristine, palm fringed beaches to the most incredible sea life and scuba diving adventures this country is perfect for honeymoon packages or family vacations. But don’t take our word for it, book yourself into a romantic, rustic hideaway or a top-end five-star resort and see the magic of Mozambique for yourself.
For more incredible images of Mozambique, check out our Mozambique Pinterest Board.