Reasons to Visit
Accommodation is invariably in small, boutique lodges with privacy and tranquillity guaranteed. Despite offering safari destinations for the purist and some of the finest coastal scenery you could wish for, Mozambique is still blissfully off the beaten track.
Mozambique's shores are scattered with beautiful beaches, some just small coves that are uncovered with the tides, others endless, deserted stretches of soft pearly sand, speckled with shells. There are few better places to relax with a champagne picnic under the shade of an umbrella during the heat of the midday sun.
Mozambique boasts some of the best diving and snorkelling sites in Africa, many of them only recently discovered. There are miles of colourful, untouched coral and a multitude of tropical fish species. Dive sites range from six metre beginner spots to vast coral walls for advanced divers to explore.
A certain amount of patience and open mindedness is required for a safari in Mozambique, but there is big game present in both the Niassa Wildlife Reserve and the Gorongosa National Park. These are incredibly scenic tracts of wilderness, where guided walks and water based activities complement the game drives superbly.
Ibo Island and Ilha de Mozambique are undoubtedly the jewels in Mozambique’s cultural crown. Both have an evocative collection of colonial ruins that is slowly being brought back to life. Dig below the surface and you will also find much of interest in Pemba, Vilanculos and the small communities living on the Bazaruto and Quirimba islands.
Exploring the waters of Mozambique reveals a wealth of marine life, from moray eels and groupers to parrot fish and reef sharks. Both the Bazaruto and Quirimba Archipelago’s attract nesting turtles at varying times, while there are conservation projects in place in the south to protect the rare, endangered dugong.
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Africa and The Indian Ocean
Our Mozambique specialists are experienced and passionate about the country - between them they have spent many weeks a year researching new experiences and ensuring everything is of the highest standard. They know Mozambique inside out.
RobMozambique Specialist01993 838 507
TimMozambique Specialist01993 838 508
The Niassa Game Reserve and Quirimba and Bazaruto archipelagos are remote, but knowing them well we can arrange access with ease.
We will fly you from Johannesburg or Dar es Salaam to small airstrips, where we will either have charter aircraft to fly you to the reserve or small motorboats waiting to take you to the islands.
On the two archipelagos we have chosen lodges with pristine locations, friendly staff and outstanding food, while there is only one small lodge in the reserve.
The islands are perfect for a few days of relaxation after a safari in Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia or Zambia, or for a complete get-away-from-it-all break.
The official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, however this is only spoken by about 25% of the population who have been to school. All of Mozambique's indigenous languages belong to the Bantu family. The root Bantu language is thought to have spread through eastern and southern Africa during the first half of the first millennium AD, since when it has diversified into many linguistic subfamilies and several hundred languages and related dialects.
Roughly 60 distinct languages and dialects are spoken in Mozambique. At all the lodges English is fluently spoken, although it never hurts to learn a few words of the local dialect.
Along the coast the meals of choice are, naturally, seafood based. Choose from a variety of locally caught fish, calamari, crab and some of the finest lobster and prawns in the world.
Whatever the main ingredient of your meal, the likelihood is that it will be cooked using a spicy red-pepper sauce called piri-piri. If chicken is cooked in this way, it might be described as 'frango a calria': 'chicken, the African way'. Other traditional Mozambican dished to look out for include 'matapa', a clam and peanut stew made with pumpkin leaves, 'mu-kwane', a costal dish made from coconut mixed with the leaves of the cassava plant, and 'ncima' or 'posho', a maize porridge popular in the interior.
The Portuguese influence has also made its mark on Mozambican cuisine, and in the more upscale restaurants of major towns such as Maputo and Beira you will find dishes made with wines and Port. Hotels and restaurants that cater to overseas visitors will serve a very international fare. If you do have any dietary requirements please let your specialist know and we can arrange for the hotels to cater for your requirements.
Tipping is not compulsory but always enthusiastically received if you are happy with the service and would like to tip. We recommend that you tip your specialist guide direct at the end of your stay in camp; as a rough guideline you might tip US$5 per guest per day. It is also a nice gesture to give general camp/lodge staff tip's; we would recommend a tip of around US$3 per guest per day. This should be placed in the communal tipping box. With regards to tipping porters, here we recommend about US$1. Obviously this is very much a rough guide and you are completely free to give whatever you feel appropriate.
The currency of Mozambique is the metical. The current exchange rate is approximately £1 = 37,000MZM. You can buy Metical on arrival in Mozambique and it is useful for buying curious and items from local shops. All hotels & lodges accept and prefer payment in US dollars. Credit cards are usually accepted only at the more upmarket hotels.
Conservative casual wear is generally acceptable everywhere, but revealing clothes should be avoided since they may cause offence, particularly in towns and villages. Do not take pictures of people without asking permission. It is fine to wear swimsuits on the beaches near the lodges, however if you are walking into fishing villages please ensure you cover up. Note that in Swahili towns and villages in northern Mozambique you should always cover your knees and shoulders.
A lot of native folk music in Mozambique has been influenced by Portuguese music style. Local music is a mixture of New African music with East and West Africa and the Marrabenta is one of the well known styles. Accompanying ceremonial dances and music are often a variety of instruments including the drums, xypexylophone and mbitas, wooden instruments with metal keys.
Africans are not afraid to take the opportunity to dance at any occasion and it is a thrill to watch men, women and children swaying and shaking to the music in perfect time whilst singing laments or ululating with the rhythm. Local tribes will have their own songs and dances but if you pass through the local village discos, there is a definite legacy from the Portuguese with movements synonymous with Lambada dancing.
Fried coconut may sound peculiar but it is a fabulous snack, often served before meals in some lodges and has a lovely smoky taste.
Another way to stave hunger is to eat fresh fire baked cashew nuts. Buy them off the locals and you will never buy packed nuts again. Having a large portion of coastline, seafood is high up on the Mozambique menu and is the staple diet of a lot of the population. Kingfish, mackerel and tuna can be steamed in a banana leaf or perhaps grilled. Singapore chilli crab is superb, sauted king prawns are mouth watering and coriander marinated lobster salad is a close runner up.
The Portuguese have had a heavy influence on the style of cooking and piri piri dishes can be anything wrapped in very hot pepper sauce, the most popular being chicken and prawns. Accompanying your meals could be staple diet local dishes such as sima, a fluffy corn porridge, as well as the green leaves and roots of the cassava plant stewed or fried.
Throughout the year, Mozambique has plentiful fruit and vegetable with succulent mangoes, papayas, bananas, pineapples and avocadoes from December to March and oranges, naartjies and tomatoes from June to September.
MM (Double M) or Dois M is the local beer brand to look for and can be found throughout the country. It is the perfect beverage after a tough day of diving in pristine waters, lying on clean beaches or sailing on the Indian Ocean.
Having been under Portuguese rule, it helps to know a sprinkling of Portuguese to get around Mozambique. Here are some starter phrases to make life a little easier: 'Ola' (Hello), 'Nao entendo' (I don’t understand), 'Dois cerveja por favor' (Two beers please).
Cultural, tropical, untouched, undeveloped, turquoise, remoteness, wilderness, whales and diving.
With European and Arab influence, Mozambique has some beautiful African arts and crafts found in markets and alongside the roads. Markets can overflow with weavers and sculptures. There are numerous mats and baskets, woven from reeds and more notable are the Makonde wooden sculptures from the northern parts of the country. There are also some remarkable silver jewellers selling their ware on Ibo Island.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Mozambique by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in MozambiqueWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationCountry Guides
Other countries in Africa:BotswanaKenyaMadagascarMalawiMauritiusNamibiaRwandaSouth AfricaTanzaniaThe SeychellesUgandaZambiaZanzibar ArchipelagoZimbabwe
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