Mozambique is a wonderful, under-discovered tourist destination. Discovered by Vasco da Gama in 1498, it was a Portuguese colony for almost 500 years, becoming independent in 1975. Now, with civil strife a thing of the past, more and more travellers are seeking cheap flights to Mozambique to take in all of its bounty. With 2,500km of coastline on the Indian Ocean, the turquoise waters are just heaven for diving, snorkelling, fishing and sailing.
Bustling Maputo, the capital, has a Mediterranean/African vibe with colonial-era buildings, botanical gardens, and an art museum. The colonial era capital was Ilha de Mozambique, a tiny island and Unesco World Heritage site. Reached by bridge from the mainland, it has a mix of Portuguese and Muslim architecture, and fort that dates back to 1522.
For barefoot luxury, head to the Quirimbas archipelago in Northern Mozambique. A string of 32 coral islands teeming with marine life, the southernmost 11 are included in the Quirimbas National Park. Quirimba Island with its sugar-soft and palm-fringed beaches is the place to go for a secluded and exclusive holiday.
To the south, the Bazaruto Archipelago is a protected national park; five islands with no tourist infrastructure, just as nature intended.
When is the best time to book flights to Mozambique
May to October is the dry season. The weather is cooler and drier with temperatures in the mid-20s. Our summer - June, July and August – are Mozambique’s coolest months. This is the most popular time for travellers to seek Mozambique flights to go on safari as the animals gather around the water holes then.
The rainy season runs from October to March, during which coastal Mozambique is warmer and less humid than the inland areas. The weather during this time is hot (temperatures in the mid-30s) and it is quite humid.
Mozambique insider information
Maputo (once known as Lourenco Marques after the Portuguese trader who explored the area in the 1500s) is the capital. Some of the tourist must-sees include Jardim Tunduru, the botanical gardens, designed in 1885 by Thomas Honney, a renowned English gardener, has both indigenous and exotic plants, and the Railway Station, a gorgeous domed and pillared building designed by Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame. The National Art Museum houses a fine collection of Mozambican art. There is also an artists’ workshop there which can be visited. The Museum of the Revolution chronicles the country’s colonial past and its fight for independence.
Some of the best beaches at this end of Mozambique are Macaneta, Ponta do Ouro (renowned for scuba diving), Ponta Malongane, and 40km (25 miles) out to sea, Inhaca Island. Tofo and nearby are very popular surfing spots.
Maputo Reserve, a major elephant sanctuary, is part of a programme that includes the parts of Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa covered by the Libombos mountain range.
Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque and Santa Carolina islands are part of the Bazaruto Archipelago, just 30km (18 miles) off the coast, a national park with beautiful beaches and good diving, surfing, rock and fly-fishing.
Ibo, was, before Pemba, the provincial capital (until the 1950s in fact). The Fort of St John the Baptist is where the Portuguese detained political prisoners, but it is now a happier place, where local craftsmen produce jewellery.
The Quirimbas Archipelago in northern Mozambique is a string of 32 coral islands. Quirimbas National Park was established in 2002 with the involvement of the World Wildlife Fund. The 7,500 sq km park (between the mainland, ocean, inter-tidal and islands) is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world with sea turtles, dugongs, humpback whales and dolphins as well as lions, leopards, elephant, buffalo and several types of antelope.
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