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Though not yet a major wildlife destination, Mozambique is nevertheless renowned for its sublime coastline, offering visitors some of the most blissful beach settings in all of Africa. The lodges and resorts here don’t disappoint, as they know how to use their paradisiacal setting to greatest advantage. If you love sand, water, sunshine, and marine life, then Mozambique may just be the safari destination for you.
Beaches, seafood, and Portuguese wines are just some of the hallmarks of the Mozambican cultural flavour. Though still a developing destination, steps are nevertheless being taken to reinvigorate the local wildlife industry, as the country is still recovering somewhat from former devastating internal conflicts. Perhaps additional safari options are not far off, but for now it’s the marine species that remain the major accessible wildlife attraction.
The north of Mozambique has numerous idyllic islands, found in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Visitors here taking in diving and boating expeditions can observe literally thousands of species of brilliant tropical fish, dolphins, turtles, and even maybe the dugong, in topaz-blue waters that have remained almost entirely unmarred by human habitation.
Also, the food here is, to put it mildly, really really good. Especially the seafood.
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A quintessential tropical island resort, Matemo Island is located in the picturesque Quirimbas Archipelago, with a backdrop of white sand, azure blue water, and thousands of swaying palms. A venue of exclusive sophistication within an unspoiled marine environment, each of Matemo Island’s 24 luxury palm-thatched chalets open onto the beach, just a few steps from the sea.
An island sanctuary of 12 private 5-star beachfront villas, Medjumbe Island Resort is a halcyon paradise found in Quirimbas Archipelago. Melt into blissful relaxation as you lounge by the white powder sands or your private plunge pool, or unwind at the resort’s full service spa before a dinner of outstanding international cuisine.
A blend of peaceful island life and signature experiences, Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort is found in the idyllic Bazaruto Archipelago. Offering barefoot luxury, with views of pure white sands and turquoise seas, activities at Anantara include sunset cruises to Paradise Island, world class scuba diving and snorkelling, big game fishing, and relaxing at their serene day spa.
An all-inclusive beach & island resort, Pestana Bazaruto Lodge is nestled in what could be this world’s closest definition of paradise. As a haven for nature lovers, activities at Pestana include excellent bird and wildlife watching on nature walks, a wide range of outdoor water sports, and catch-and-release tropical fishing.
Benguerra Island is the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago (11km x 5.5 km), lying 15km northeast of Vilanculos. Azura Benguerra is made up of only 20 villas nestled along a pristine stretch of white sandy beach. It hasall the creature comforts one could wish for; sparkling private pools, Mozambican Butler-hosts to look after guests’ every need, seafood fresh from the ocean, a fantastic range of activities and an African spa to relax in.
Azura Quilalea is a hidden gem, located on a small (35 ha) tropical island floating in the azure waters off Mozambique’s coast. It is the perfect retreat from the mania and pace of ‘normal’ life, with a relaxed and understated ‘Robinson Crusoe’ castaway atmosphere. Snorkel the island’s shores, dive from the main beach, kayak the mangroves or relax in a hammock beneath the giant baobabs on the island. Quilalea is the ultimate private luxury hideaway in a stunning, paradise-like destination for just a discerning few to discover.
More than just a lodge, Nkwichi is a calm blue paradise hidden on the virgin shores of Lake Malawi, in an area that might just be Africa’s best-kept secret. Guaranteeing guests a 5-star luxury experience, combined with sustainable and pro-conservation practices, Nkwichi offers vibrant snorkelling safaris, shoreline canoeing expeditions, sunset dhow cruises, and fishing trips in traditional dug-outs.
Comprising five main islands, the Bazaruto Archipelago is habitat to numerous types of wildlife, including dolphins, green turtles, dozens of bird species, 2,000 types of fish, and even elusive dugongs. Accommodation here is tranquil, luxurious, and relaxing, just what you’d expect from a perfect island getaway.
Quirimbas is over thirty islands of tropical splendour, which also hide secluded gems such as brilliant coral reefs and ancient baobab trees in their beautiful midst. Enjoying immense quantities of bird and marine life, a stay here at one of the numerous luxury resorts is like an aquatic wildlife safari and magical island escape all in one.
Absolutely teeming with tropical fish of hundreds of varieties and colours, and alive with scintillating marine scenery such as untouched coral reefs, the waters of Mozambique are the ideal place to take in some scuba diving. With numerous dive sites available, the avid diving enthusiast can spend literally days in the water here and not run out of things to see.
As if untouched by man since the dawn of time, the beaches of Mozambique and its archipelagos are white, refined, unspoiled, exclusive, and almost too good to be true. Add to that a diverse array of marine wildlife, and you have no less than a nature lover’s paradise. Whether staying at a luxury beach resort, or simply taking a break from whatever else you might be doing, Mozambique’s beaches are world class and worthy of your time and attention.
With its gorgeous Indian Ocean coast and many islands, naturally there is a thriving industry for boating and fishing trips in Mozambique. Whether it’s on a traditional dhow, or a more modern vessel, coastal fishing and deep sea angling are both favourite activities thanks to the pristine coastal waters and abundant tropical fish. Don’t be too disappointed if you have to put some of the fish back, however – that’s part of how the coast stays so protected.
Where there’s water, you’ll find water sports. And Mozambique has plenty of both. Water-skiing. Jet-skiing. Parasailing. Windsurfing. Kayaking. Fishing. Snorkelling. Diving. You name it. Please note that resorts and lodges typically supply guests with equipment for water sport activities, but otherwise visitors should bring their own.
Not many African countries are known for their stellar cuisine, but Mozambique is an exception. With five hundred years of Portuguese influence under its belt, the food is a real standout – especially, we have to say, the seafood! We love most of what’s on offer, but if it’s a dish recommendation we have to make, it’s the peri-peri prawns. Don’t miss them.
The best times to visit are between May and November, when both rainfall and temperatures are at their lowest. It’s also possible to travel during the early part of the warmer, rainy season from November to January (though be prepared for high temperatures, especially in January).
If possible, avoid the height of the rains (from about February to March/April) as many roads become impassable and flooding is common in the south and centre of the country.
Around Easter, Christmas/New Year and in August, Mozambique’s southern coastal resorts become overrun with vacationing neighbours, meaning advance bookings are highly advisable.
The climate varies according to area. Inland is cooler than the coast and rainfall increases as the land rises, with most rain falling between December and March.
From April to September the coast has warm, mainly dry weather tempered by sea breezes.
November to February are the hottest months with temperatures ranging from 28– 38ºC.
The unit of currency is the Metical (plural Meticais). 1000 Meticais is often called a Conto. Banco de Moçambique is the central bank and has branches throughout the country. Please remember that you can only change money at border posts and in the three major cities at banks and bureau de changes.
Banking hours are 07:30–15:00, Monday to Friday.
Major hotels have foreign currency facilities. Most shops, lodges and travel agencies will accept travellers cheques. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most places, with Diners and American Express less often taken. In many cases, although your bill may be in USD, if you pay by credit card the figure will be converted to metical as a result of foreign exchange regulations. For cash, small US$ denominations are recommended.
In the hot season, light, tropical clothing (preferably pure cotton) will suffice, but in the evenings you will need a sweater. A lightweight raincoat will also be needed. In the cool season, wear lightweight clothing and a jersey, especially inland.
Sundresses and shorts are permissible, though scanty clothing should not be worn in public in the larger towns.
Always take precautions against the sun (even in winter). Sunscreen, sunglasses and a sun hat are essential items, as is insect repellent and comfortable footwear.
Mozambique is also home to a rather beautiful but very sharp shell, the razor clam. We suggest taking some beach/swimming shoes to protect your feet when swimming or walking in the sea at low tide.
No vaccinations are currently required for entry into Mozambique when arriving directly from North America or Europe. However, we recommend that tetanus boosters for children and adults are kept up to date, with courses or boosters usually advised for diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid.
A yellow fever certificate is required if the visitor is over one year old, and arriving in Mozambique from an infected area or a country where yellow fever is endemic (such as Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zaire). In the case of yellow fever, the vaccine must be administered at least ten days before arrival.
Malaria precautions are essential in all areas, all year round. Fortunately, there are several safe and effective options for both adults and children. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers, especially after sunset. We also advise the use of insect repellents on exposed skin and, where necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net. Prompt investigation of fever or flu-like symptoms anytime within six weeks of travel is essential.
As with all travel to remote places, we recommend bringing a small supply of any medicines you may need, including a course of emergency “standby” treatment for malaria.
The primary languages are Portuguese, English and Swahili, with Portuguese the official language. Dialects of English are very widely spoken. All staff at coastal lodges/resorts are English speaking.
All charter transfers on our luxury Mozambique safari tours are in light aircraft that carry between five and seven passengers. Please note that these planes are limited with regards to the weight that they can carry. It is therefore vital that all passengers adhere to the luggage restriction of fifteen (15) kilograms per person in a soft bag.
This excludes a reasonable amount of camera equipment and carry-on luggage (up to 5 kilograms – 20 kilograms in total). In addition, please let us know if you are over 188 cm (6’2”) tall or weigh over 100kg (220lbs), so that we can plan our trip appropriately.
Tickets are generally not issued for charter flights; you will however receive a voucher for your trip.
Passport requirements: Each visitor to Mozambique must be in possession of a valid, signed passport that is valid for at least six months beyond his/her scheduled departure date.
PLEASE ENSURE YOU HAVE AT LEAST FOUR BLANK PAGES IN YOUR PASSPORT FOR STAMPS/VISAS ETC. IF NOT, YOU MAY BE REFUSED ENTRY INTO MOZAMBIQUE. FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, WE SUGGEST THAT YOU CARRY A PHOTOCOPY OF THE RELEVANT PAGES OF YOUR PASSPORT AND ANY OTHER IMPORTANT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS WITH YOU. IN ADDITION, WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT YOU LEAVE COPIES OF YOUR DOCUMENTS WITH SOMEONE AT HOME.
VISAS: South African passport holders do not require a visa. Most other countries do require visas and these can be obtained upon arrival, although you may have to stand in a queue for a while. Alternatively, they can be obtained prior to arrival from a Mozambique consulate. The approximate cost is US$50.