Two decades ago the name Mozambique conjured up in the minds of many tourists and travelers a place where landmines lurked, banditry burgeoned, hunger held sway and road travel was slow and dangerous. With an economic growth rate (now mostly driven by the massive coal and gas reserves of Tete Province and the Rovuma basin) of over eight percent over the past fifteen years, one of the most successful mine-clearing and gun-gathering operations ever implemented, and new tourist lodges opening almost every week, Mozambique has become one of the brightest and most enticing prospects on a continent still sadly best known for its poverty and unrest.
From the golden dunes of Ponta do Ouro in the south, to the remotest reaches of the raging Rio Rovuma in the north, Mozambique’s myriad beaches remain relatively undeveloped and frequently undiscovered. Along this 3500km long coastline there are magnificent mangrove estuaries, blindingly white stretches of sandy beach, tangled river-deltas, idyllic islands, trackless game reserves and virgin reefs. In Mozambique the visitor can view big game in the morning, dive on teeming reefs in the afternoon and dance to the rhythms of Africa and Latin America in the evening. Or alternatively consider a birding safari that can offer a dozen different forest types and hundreds of ticks during just one day.
Dozens of lodges and hotels now cater to the full range of travelers from sun- baked backpackers and organized overlanders to up market fly-ins and seekers after the small and special such as birders, botanists and divers. Inspiring new development such as the 100 000km² Parque Nacional do Limpopo that incorporates South Africa’s Kruger and Zimbabwe’s Gona-re-zhou National Parks, and the complete restocking and rehabilitation of probably Africa’s finest Reserve, the Gorongosa National Park will restore Mozambique’s reputation as being a great safari destination.
And then there’s the ‘other’ coast of Mozambique – Lago Niassa (better know as Lake Malawi) which can only be described as “real Africa – at last!”
Mozambique’s Niassa Province is sparsely populated, elevated enough to be cool during the long summer months and has a Game Reserve that has been called “Africa’s last truly wild place”. Not to mention an historic port called Inhambane – the ‘nicest town” on Africa’s East Coast, an unlikely island called Ilha da Moçambique that is Africa’s most intact Swahili settlement and an immense inland man-made lake called Cahora Bassa where the Tiger fish battle long and hard and are bigger than Kariba’s finest.
Like a Marrabenta dancer sinuously reaching for the sun, Mozambique stretches across South East Africa touching Tanzania to the north, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to the West, the Indigo-blue Indian Ocean to the East and South Africa and Swaziland to the south. Mozambique is like a Universal Woman with her feet firmly on the verdant, friendly African soil, her head in the clouds of European conquest and grandiose schemes, her body in the steaming, sultry heart of Latin America, her heart firmly at home and her soul somewhere indefinable, somewhere you have to find for yourself by visiting her.