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Mozambique

Mozambique is a desperately poor country, the world’s poorest by some estimates, but one where the people are open and generous. It also has some of the best beaches on the east coast of Africa and some of the worst roads. Although the Portuguese arrived here in the late 15th century and set up trading post, colonization did not start in earnest until the late 17th century with the setting up of private agricultural estates. The country consists of a wide coastal plain rising to mountains and plateaus on the Zimbabwean, Zambian and Malawian boarders. The dry season runs from April to September during which the climate is pleasant, the remainder of the year is the wet season where it is hot and humid. The population is around 19 million and the main tribal groups are the Makus, Tsonga, Malawi and Shona. Portuguese is the official language, with many African Languages spoken.

Best time to travel to Mozambique

The May to November winter season is when to go to Mozambique for cooler temperatures and the least chance of rain; December to April is the wet summer season although it generally rains in brief but vigorous downpours after which the sun comes out again. Note that January and February is cyclone season in southern Mozambique and there's every chance of a great deal of torrential rain - we'd advise avoiding the Bazaruto Archipelago at this time. If the main focus of your Mozambique holiday is game viewing then the best time to visit Mozambique is during the dry months of August and September when the bush has thinned out and wildlife is concentrated around rivers and waterholes.

Maputo

Mozi’s capital was formerly named Lourenço Marques after a Portuguese explorer who landed here in 1544. Before Mozamibique’s civil war, Maputo was one of Africa’s most important commercial cities and the main port from where South Africa shipped its mining products. Although the war scars are still visible, it hasn’t lost its distinct Portuguese atmosphere with bakeries on every corner and street-side cafes à la Paris or Buenos Aires. You can also feast on the freshest sea food ever, prepared ‘peri-peri’ (spicy) style. Besides that, Maputo is known for its pumping nightlife. There are a few sights left from pre-war times like the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Conceiao (Our Lady of Conception) and the restored Central Train Station which was built in 1910 by Gustave Eiffel. You will also find a fish and a craft market in town. For an art experience of a different kind, head to Núcleo Arte – a co-operative transforming weapons into art pieces, reflecting the country’s change. The artists are very friendly; they show you how they work and allow you to take pics. For a day out, hop on one of the boats to Inhaca Island. There, you can visit the maritime museum and the historic lighthouse or just go for a leisurely walk. The Maputo Elephant Reserve, south of the capital, covers 104,000 hectares and is famous for its large herds of elephants and flocks of flamingos.

Inhambane

Established in 1534 as a trading post by the Portuguese, Inhambane is one of the oldest towns in Mozambique. It soon became one of the most important ports of the country. The Portuguese influence can still be seen in many buildings today – the almost 200 years old Cathedral of our Lady of Conception (you can climb the spire for an excellent view); the old governor’s house and the railway station. Also visit the former slave market which today is a Mercado that sells seafood and produce. Most tourists use Inhambane as a gateway to the idyllic beaches of Tofo and, less known, Jangamo, Tofinho and Barra. From the harbour, you can also go on a scenic dhow trip across the bay.

Praia de Barra

Praia de Barra is yet another one of Mozambique’s perfect beaches at the warm Indian Ocean. Water activities include snorkeling, diving, fishing. You can also go on a dhow trip.