8 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Mozambique
In this land of gorgeous beaches, fertile farmland, and dramatic, awe-inspiring mountains, home to more than a million people, it is easy to see why Mozambique is known as the Pearl of Africa. The diverse cultural diversity and wild nature of Mozambique are so unlike anything else in this part of the continent, that it's a delight for tourists of all ages and interests, offering everything from diving and white-water rafting to hiking, mountain biking, and some of the world's finest beaches.
The beaches and islands of the southern African nation are protected and well protected, providing excellent opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, and surfing. It's only possible to reach the diverse, diverse attractions of Mozambique with a trip to South Africa, which you'll pass through on the way to Maputo, the capital.
Most tourists begin and end their Mozambique vacation in Maputo, as it's the capital, the largest city, and the main gateway to the south, and is also the best base for accessing much of the country.
Discover a variety of beach resorts and activities with this list of the top things to do in Mozambique.
One of the most popular destinations in the former Mozambique, Maputo's wide streets are lined with attractive colonial buildings and dotted with the brightly-colored wrought-iron works of Frelimo posters. Both are reminders of Mozambique's lengthy conflict with South Africa. The city's main attractions are the Independence Square and its colonial architecture, the Independence Museum, and the bustling open-air markets. Other places of interest include the Antiques Museum, where interesting objects have been collected from the early Portuguese period; the College of Human Rights; and the lakeside beach of Tofo. The first of the Mozambican ferry services was established in 1932 by a Belgian missionary, but regular services only began in 1948. The capital city has several airports with international and domestic flights, and the largest of these is in nearby Tete, a thriving agricultural and industrial center.
Pemba is one of a group of islands off the coast of Mozambique. It's regarded as the most attractive and intriguing of the group, as it was once the commercial and administrative capital of this little-known southern African nation. The island is home to the 18th century Catholic Church of St. Francis Xavier, Mozambique's oldest, which was built in the same Spanish Baroque style as the Cathedral of Havana, Cuba, although the church is twice as big. The interior is lined with splendid wood-carved altarpieces. Frequent ferries and fast boats link Pemba to Nacala on the mainland, but the city is a far less interesting place than the island, where you'll find a French-built fortress and a handful of interesting buildings. Highlights include the Chikundu Palace and the Museum of Natural History, which contains several prehistoric human and animal skulls and a fascinating display on the history of the island. The island is less than 20 km from the south coast of Tanzania, but you should allow three or four hours to visit the nearest town, Nzega. This is mostly a vehicle border crossing to enter Mozambique, but it's very easy to visit Mozambique from here by crossing the river on a regular ferry.
Mozambique is southern Africa's most spectacularly located country, boasting everything from scenic beaches to immense rainforests. Largely a rainforest and covered in highland wildlife, it has few major settlements. Instead, the country's colonial towns are a fascinating, affordable mix of Portuguese-influenced traditional architecture. While Mozambique's best-known destinations are its largest cities and beaches, there is much to see in this diverse, little-visited land. South of the cities is the southernmost tip of Africa, with the beautiful southern beaches at Inhambane one of the country's premier tourist destinations. Inland are the wetlands of Nampula, which attract wildebeest and hippo. Maintaining the cultural diversity that has been part of the country's DNA since the colonial period, the small cities of Beira and Macomia are fascinating to visit. Also, visit the idyllic lakes of the game parks, the endless forests, and ancient churches and mosques.
Beira is Mozambique's third-largest city and the capital of the Sofala Province. Beira is a city with strong Portuguese and Indian influences. Many Portuguese and Italian colonial buildings have been built during its development. It's an emerging tourist destination and business hub with new facilities for Mozambique's developing tourism industry. The airport has been built in an attempt to attract direct international flights from major tourism hubs in East and South Africa, including Johannesburg and Cape Town, respectively. Beira is situated along the coast about 750 km (475 miles) east of Maputo and has a total population of 1.5 million. There are about 20 parks, gardens, beaches and archaeological sites to visit in Beira, where colonial buildings in the city have been converted to museums.
Pungwe National Park
Although people have inhabited Africa for tens of thousands of years, the continent has yet to produce a distinct culture. The first European colonists to arrive in Mozambique were Portuguese in the early 16th century, followed by the Dutch, British and French during the 18th and 19th centuries. Currently, the center of the region is divided between Mozambique and Malawi, the two countries were united in 1974, with the capital in the former and now the largest city in Malawi, capital of the Mzimba Region. The countries share borders along with Zimbabwe and Zambia in the north, South Africa in the south, and Swaziland in the west. Known for its tropical forests, lakes, and savanna, Pungwe National Park, located just east of the Zimbabwe border, is the only true African rainforest in southern Africa. There is also a white-sand beach on a secluded lagoon inside the park, which is a good swimming spot in the dry season when the water is not too cold.
Bazaruto is known for its excellent diving, and boasts that it is the world's smallest island. This off-shore island, between the Mozambican and Swaziland coastlines, is known for its white-sand beaches, clear waters, and nice coral reefs. It is approximately 30 kilometers long and up to eight kilometers wide and was named after the Zulu word meaning "Bay of Birds," as the scenery here is abundant with birdlife. The island is uninhabited, with only a single fisherman's home and a basic local school. For those looking for a more exciting expedition, diving excursions to the nearby reefs are also available. The Bazaruto Archipelago is one of the largest in Southern Africa and is made up of more than 140 islands, of which 13 are inhabited.
Ponta do Ouro
The Tofo beach at Ponta do Ouro is renowned for its emerald-green water, soft white sands and plenty of natural beauty. It has attracted surfers for several decades and now draws regular visitors to this region. Beaches like Fazenda Silva and Praia do Meio are easily accessible by jeep and taxi from the small settlement of Santo Antonio dos Mártires and are good for children. There are also a few small bars and restaurants on Tofo beach, and if you're camping on the beach there are plenty of sheltered spots available. Although quite isolated, Ponta do Ouro is a popular surfing destination, particularly for Brazilian surfers. Further afield is the village of Ocuali with its quaint stone cottages and abundant colonial buildings. It is famous for its orchards and the rest of the surrounding region has a wide variety of birdlife.
Located in the world's second-oldest desert, Niassa Reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including hippos, buffalo, giraffes, elephants, and lions, and offers the opportunity to see wildlife up close without the crowds of other safari destinations. The Reserve is also the largest of the lesser-known southern African national parks. Some of the best wildlife viewing can be done by simply walking the sand river, which cuts through the rolling grasslands. Don't forget to bring binoculars; you can pick them up at the lodge for around US$15-20.