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    Situated on the southeastern coast of Africa, Mozambique has persevered through a violent civil war and terrible floods, and is emerging from a ruinous past to stake its claim once again as one of the jewels of Africa. A holiday in Mozambique provides a combination of glorious weather, gorgeous scenery, friendly people and great value for money, ensuring that this country is becoming an increasingly trendy destination for global travellers. In fact, Mozambique has become one of the most-visited countries in Africa in recent years, drawing around two million annual tourists to its welcoming shores.

    The 1,500 miles (2,414km) of palm-fringed coastline is washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and graced with long white beaches, excellent coral reefs and strings of pristine islands. The idyllic Bazaruto archipelago, off the coast of the Inhambane province, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, consisting of four main islands that make up one of the most beautiful places on the continent. The islands offer a classic tropical getaway, with superb fishing, water sports, shaded beaches, surf, and a marine park offering outstanding diving and snorkelling opportunities.

    The Portuguese established the capital city of Maputo, formerly known as Lourenzo Marques. Located in the southern reaches of the country, it became one of the most stylish cities in Africa, with broad avenues lined with jacaranda and acacia trees, sidewalks paved with mosaics, tall buildings and a unique Mediterranean/African atmosphere that attracted a wealthy and cosmopolitan crowd. The civil war and a disastrous flirtation with socialism left the city in a dismal state of disrepair, and although still tainted by shabbiness, Maputo is slowly recovering some of its former glory. Today the bustling capital retains many Portuguese-style colonial buildings, and offers culture and old world charm along with a lively nightlife and a growing array of new restaurants serving seafood platters and spicy samosas.

    Lying just off the coast of Maputo is the popular Inhaca Island, which has extensive coral reefs, a fascinating maritime museum and a historical lighthouse. Most of the wildlife reserves are located in the central and southern parts of the country, with the exception of the important Niassa Reserve on the northern Tanzania border; and although they were largely decimated during the civil war, they are currently being restocked and improved, with large populations of elephant, buffalo and antelope. North of Maputo there are some truly beautiful beaches and some of the finest fishing in the world, notably in the areas around Guinjata Bay and the Mozambique Channel.

    A laidback, friendly, and comparatively very safe tourist destination in East Africa, Mozambique offers visitors numerous things to see and do. Perhaps most popular are the dozens of stunning tropical beaches that are perfect for just lazing around on.

    For beach holidays, Mozambique is arguably the best destination in Africa. It's widely lauded as one of the best destinations in the world for scuba diving and game fishing, and its colourful and well-preserved coral reefs and clear warm waters attract plenty of snorkellers and honeymooners.

    See the enormous sand dunes and freshwater lakes of Bazaruto Island or visit Benguerra Island's forests and wetlands. History enthusiasts will enjoy the historic lighthouse on Inhaca Island and a number of UNESCO-listed cultural attractions.

    Known mainly for its beach resorts and ocean activities, other attractions include Africa's fourth-largest artificial lake, Cahora Bassa, and Gorongosa National Park. The north of the country offers some amazing wilderness areas.

    Go horse riding on the beach in Vilanculos, or scuba diving in its turquoise waters, and take a trip on a Pemba Bay dhow. Ponta d'Ouro, in the south, is good for swimming with dolphins, or surfing one of the most perfect waves in the world.

    Bazaruto Island

    The largest island in the archipelago, Bazaruto Island is about 23 miles (37km) long and four miles (7km) wide, surrounded by magnificent stretches of white sand. Enormous sand dunes comprise the eastern strip, while the interior contains large freshwater lakes inhabited by crocodiles and frequented by a wide variety of water birds, including flamingos.

    On the northern tip of the island is a lighthouse built by the Portuguese over 100 years ago, which signals to the large number of ships travelling the historic Mozambique Channel and affords spectacular views from its tower.

    World famous for its large game fishing, Bazaruto is a popular diving destination with a rich variety of marine life surrounding the island. The Bazaruto Marine National Park offers coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and diverse underwater life.

    Reef sharks, dolphins, manta rays, and turtles are regular visitors to these waters, and the turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of the island. Humpback whales can be found between August and October, and whale sharks between April and July.

    Tourist facilities, upmarket lodges, and exclusive resorts dot the island and most gear themselves towards luxury tourism. Bazaruto is accessible by boat or plane from Vilanculos.

    Bazaruto Island Bazaruto Island Julien Lagarde
    Benguerra Island

    Benguerra is the second largest island of the Bazaruto Archipelago, less than half a mile (1km) south of Bazaruto. Like its neighbour, Benguerra boasts stunning beaches, large sand dunes, and freshwater lakes.

    Its forest and wetland areas attract a huge variety of birds and animals, while its surrounding reefs offer some of the best diving and snorkelling opportunities on the African continent. Two-mile Reef is to the east of Benguerra.

    Its protected lagoon, known aptly as the Aquarium, is an underwater paradise with beautiful corals and a wealth of tropical fish, popular with both divers and snorkellers. People will find the famous Pansy shells along the sandbanks to the north of the island.

    Most visitors go to Benguerra for the big game fishing as its deep waters teem with the likes of marlin and barracuda. The area is world-renowned as a sport fishing destination and is accessible by boat or plane from Vilanculos. Happily, there's plenty of accommodation on the island.

    Tourist facilities are good, with a number of upmarket lodges and exclusive resorts geared towards luxury tourism. Benguerra is a popular honeymoon destination and remains an unspoiled natural paradise, fast becoming one of the best luxury beach destinations in Africa.

    Bazaruto Archipelago Bazaruto Archipelago Richard Moross
    Central Market

    The Central Market spills out of a beautiful yet charmingly shabby old building. It's a hub of activity offering all kinds of goods, from fruit and vegetables, a variety of seafood, and household items, to handicrafts, basketware, and carvings.

    This is a market designed to serve local needs and not tourists, making it an authentic experience and a good opportunity to see how the people in Maputo shop and what they eat. Although it's primarily a food market, one can find many interesting souvenirs and trinkets.

    Vendors are ready to haggle, and you can often negotiate yourself big discounts, though knowing a little Portuguese will help. Bear in mind that the merchants will usually charge foreigners exorbitant prices, so don't be afraid to walk away and compare prices elsewhere.

    It's also a good idea to have small change ready. Unfortunately, the market is a haven for pickpockets and thieves, so visitors should be very vigilant about their surroundings and conceal all valuables from view.

    Address: Av. 25 de Setembro
    Central Market Central Market Cordelia Persen
    Polana Hotel

    The Polana Serena Hotel boasts one of the city's most desirable addresses overlooking the bay. The historic hotel is a majestic building, evoking the style and sophistication of times gone by with its gardens, Victorian lift, and five-star luxury.

    Built in 1922, the Polana is widely considered to be one of Africa's finest old luxury hotels. If you are looking to splurge while visiting Maputo, the Polana Serena Hotel is your best bet. It's centrally located and close to many of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

    There are three restaurants at the hotel: the Varanda Restaurant, which is open all day; the Delagoa fine-dining French restaurant; and the Aquarius sushi restaurant. There's also a stunning outdoor pool area surrounded by tropical gardens, as well as a casino, a spa, and other luxury features.

    A sunset drink in one of its cocktail bars is a must for those passing visitors not tempted to splash out on an extravagant stay. At the very least, it is worth asking permission to stroll around the gardens and see the view.

    Polana Hotel Polana Hotel F Mira
    Cahora Bassa Lake

    Situated in the Tete Province of Mozambique, Cahora Bassa is one of Africa's largest artificial lakes. One of three major dams on the Zambezi river system, along with Kariba and Itezhi-Tezhi, it powers the largest hydroelectric scheme in southern Africa.

    Songo is the nearest town, established in 1969 to house workers for the construction of the dam. There is a number of lodges and camps where tourists can stay, including Ugezi Tiger Lodge which has an à la carte restaurant and a campsite with floodlights and security.

    Fishing is the dam's biggest drawcard and fishing trips are very popular, as the vast stretch of water contains a huge variety of fish, including tigerfish, sharptooth catfish, vundu, bream, longfin eels, and Zambezi parrotfish.

    Other attractions in the area include boat cruises and waterskiing. The lake and surrounding landscapes are very picturesque, replete with lush vegetation, dramatic mountain scenery, and a large population of hippos.

    Majestic baobab trees grow on the southern shores, while the area's rich birdlife will enthral bird enthusiasts. Sunset cruises and boat tours down the beautiful gorges of the dam are a must for travellers in the region.

    Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam EmjayE2/Magnus Manske
    Gorongosa National Park

    Often referred to as the 'place where Noah parked his ark', Gorongosa National Park was a popular tourist destination for the rich and famous back in the 1960s. During this time, the region's abundant wildlife attracted stars like John Wayne, Joan Crawford, and Gregory Peck.

    The subsequent years of war and poaching decimated the wildlife count, with programmes implemented to restore the park to its previous star status as one of the richest wildlife refuges on the planet.

    Dominated by savanna and grassland, Gorongosa has a variety of terrain. Along with woodland and impressive limestone gorges, with lush rainforest covering the slopes. The park now includes the verdant Mount Gorongosa, source of the life-sustaining rivers that traverse the reserve.

    The mountain is sacred and features prominently in traditional folklore. Even after 17 years of civil war and extensive poaching, the Gorongosa National Park still supports astounding biodiversity and wondrous beauty.

    Experts have documented 398 bird species, 122 mammals, 34 reptiles, and 43 amphibians. Comfortable lodgings are available for visitors, and game-viewing highlights include elephants, buffalo, lions, crocodiles, and zebra.

    Buffalo are being reintroduced to the park Buffalo are being reintroduced to the park PaulRae
    Ilha de Mozambique

    Ilha de Mozambique is an island in the Nampula Province of northern Mozambique, up the coast from Beira. Home to a fascinating heritage, it was an ancient trading port and the capital for nearly four centuries while under Portuguese rule before the move to Lourenco Marques, now Maputo.

    Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Island of Mozambique is an exquisite mix of Portuguese and Muslim architecture. These divide old Stone Town in the north and Reed Town in the south. There's a great museum found inside the Palacio Govierno, a big red building in Stone Town.

    Also worth seeing is the fort at the eastern tip of the island, home to the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte. It is possibly the oldest surviving European building in the southern hemisphere, dating back to 1522.

    On a beach on the northern end of the island, there is a dive centre where visitors can take boat trips or just laze on the sand. The more adventurous should travel by dhow to Chaga or Mossuril on the mainland to explore the coast.

    Requilias and Escondidino are two popular restaurants in Stone Town, and there are a number of local places serving fish and rice, or chima. One of the best options for accommodation is the campsite on the mainland, next to the bridge.

    Ilha de Mozambique Ilha de Mozambique Stig Nygaard
    Vilanculos

    Vilanculos is a popular tourist destination and the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, a group of islands incorporated into Mozambique's stunning underwater national park. Visitors on day trips from the town are encouraged to go scuba diving and snorkelling in the clear waters.

    There's also the chance to go horse riding along the unspoiled beaches of the Vilanculos coast. Sailing around the archipelago in a traditional dhow is a great way to enjoy the azure ocean waves, sandy beaches, palm trees, and coral reefs of the islands.

    Vilanculos is also a great fishing area, ranked as the best black marlin destination in the eastern Indian Ocean. The region is best explored on foot, offering a number of good restaurants, a few bars and shops, and a central market in the village of Vilankulo.

    Although it has been experiencing a tourism boom and has decent amenities and great accommodation options, it has retained its local flavour. There is even a new international airport on the outskirts of town, with flights to both Johannesburg and Maputo.

    Enjoy horseriding on the beach in Vilanculos Enjoy horseriding on the beach in Vilanculos graemenewcomb
    Tofo Beach

    Tofo Beach is in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique. It has certainly become a hotspot for young travellers, with beautiful stretches of beach, a friendly laidback atmosphere, an entertaining nightlife, and great diving and snorkelling sites.

    Restaurants in Tofo mostly specialise in seafood and piri-piri spiced dishes. The bustling nightlife owes much to the many beach bars, with Fatima's Nest and Dino's Bar and Grill drawing big crowds.

    Those looking to get away from the throngs of tourists can find local taverns on the edge of town. Tofo, easily explored on foot, also has a market in the centre of town, and you can buy local art on the beachfront. However, those looking for authentic culture and history may be disappointed.

    The main draw of Tofo is the natural beauty, with pristine beaches perfect for swimming, diving, and water sports. There's amazing scuba diving at popular sites like Manta Reef, and the chance to spot humpback whales, reef sharks, and whale sharks. Beware of jellyfish though, as the giant Portuguese man o' war float through in swarms.

    Tofo Beach Tofo Beach Erik Cleves Kristensen
    Quirimbas Islands

    Soon to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Quirimbas Islands are fast becoming Mozambique's new tourist hotspot. This chain consists 31 islands in total, stretching south from Cape Delgado for 200 miles (320km).

    Home not only to some fantastic sun-beaches, fishing opportunities, and world-class snorkelling and diving sites, it also offers truly fascinating cultural sites. Easily accessed from Pemba, the Quirimbas Islands should be the first destinations on any tourist's Mozambique travel itinerary.

    Visitors can explore the historic Stone Town on Ibo Island, or the mangrove-fringed Quirimbas National Park. There's also the opportunity to go diving from one of the 1,300-foot (400m) drop-off sites sprinkled around the archipelago.

    The Quirimbas National Park makes a wonderful honeymoon destination, whether one chooses a wooden chalet on the resort island of Medjumbe or a villa on the ultra-exclusive Vamizi Island. Exotic and beautiful, the Quirimbas Islands are a beach holiday sure to rival any in the world.

    Quirimbas Islands Quirimbas Islands Rosino
    Jardim Tunduru Botanical Gardens

    Located in downtown Maputo, the Jardim Tunduru Botanical Gardens offers a welcome shady retreat on steamy tropical days. The gardens were designed in 1885 by Thomas Honney, who in his career also designed gardens for the King of Greece and the Sultan of Turkey.

    Although still beautiful and exquisitely laid, the gardens are not as well-maintained as one might like and are a little overgrown. But they are still a worthwhile stop on a walking tour of the city and a great place to enjoy a picnic or a stroll.

    The Jardim Tunduru Gardens also feature tennis courts, a greenhouse, several wonderful old trees, colourful tropical flora, and a statue at the entrance of Mozambique's famous first president, Samora Machel.

    The gardens are centrally located and situated close to a number of other attractions in Maputo, with several restaurants in and around them. They're open daily and admission is free. Homeless people sometimes sleep in the grounds at night and it's quite dangerous after dark.

    Jardim Tunduru Botanical Gardens Jardim Tunduru Botanical Gardens James and Alex BonTempo
    Niassa Game Reserve

    Spanning an area of some 24,000 square kilometres (10 million acres), the Niassa Game Reserve is the largest protected area in Mozambique. It's one of the most pristine wilderness regions in the whole of Africa.

    Roughly the size of Denmark, the Niassa Reserve is twice the size of South Africa's famed Kruger National Park and boasts an abundance of wildlife, including varied birdlife, and absolutely stunning natural scenery.

    The park is special because it's essentially a wilderness area and is relatively unexplored. Visitors to the Niassa Game Reserve are spellbound by the changing landscape, ranging from mountain forests to miombo woodlands and savanna grasslands.

    This is not to mention the high concentration of wild animals, including something like 13,000 elephants, 200 endangered wild dogs, lions, leopards, and a huge assortment of birds. Giant rock formations, of which Mecula Mountain is the largest, are another exciting feature of the park.

    Tourists usually visit between April and October, the prime season for game viewing. The best place to stay in the Niassa Reserve is definitely the world-class Lugenda Wilderness Camp, which offers comfortable lodgings, game drives, hiking trails, rock climbing, and stargazing opportunities.

    Lugenda River inside Niassa Reserve Lugenda River inside Niassa Reserve TimCowley
    Beira

    Situated in the central region of Sofala Province, Beira is the second largest city in Mozambique. It is home to the Port of Beira, acting as a gateway for the central interior portion of the country and the landlocked nations of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi.

    The Portuguese Mozambique Company originally established Beira in the late 19th century, with the Portuguese colonial government developing it further from 1947 until 1975. After gaining independence, Beira still sports aspects of colonial architecture but has deteriorated in some areas.

    Beira has a few interesting sights, including the Cathedral of Beira and the Fort of San Gaetano. Many of the shops, restaurants, and facilities in Beira cluster around the Praça do Município and Praça do Metical squares in the centre of town.

    There are some charming houses along the Ponta Gêa and the port, including the Casa Infante de Sagres. Macuti Beach, with its iconic lighthouse, is easily the most fashionable part of Beira, though many parts are in need of repair. Savanna Beach is 16 miles (25km) out of town and you have to take a little boat across to the beach.

    The water is cleaner than in Beira and it's a great spot for fishing. About 8 miles (12km) out of Beira, between Macuti and the airport, Rio Maria is set between the sea and a lovely river. There are no facilities there but it is a very relaxing spot.

    Beira Beira Atamari

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    The climate of Mozambique is typically tropical between October and March, with a wet season during the long summer, and a dry season in the winter, from April to September. There is little variation of temperatures between the seasons.

    Differences in climate are dependent mainly on altitude. The wet season brings the heaviest rain along the coast, and cyclones occur during this period. Mozambique's climate varies in different regions of the country. But generally, the inland areas are slightly cooler and more humid than the coastal areas during the rainy season.

    Rainfall is usually heaviest between December and March. The southern parts of the country are drier and less tropical than the north, with temperatures along the coast averaging 80ºF (27ºC) during winter. The rainy season can get swelteringly hot and humid with average coastal temperatures of 88ºF (31ºC).

    The best time to visit Mozambique is in the cooler, dry winter season between April and September, when it's sunny and the water is still pleasantly warm. The country is also a popular New Year's destination, particularly for South Africans, but those travelling in December and January should be prepared for rain.

    Maputo International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated four miles (6km) northwest of the city centre of Maputo.
    Time: Local time is GMT +2.
    Getting to the city: Buses service the airport during the day, but the schedule is a bit erratic. Some hotels will organise airport transfer and taxis are available.
    Car Rental: Several car rental companies are represented at the airport, including Avis and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are usually available at the airport, metered and unmetered, and some hotels will arrange airport shuttles for guests if contacted in advance.
    Fascilities: Facilities are not extensive, but food and drinks are available and there is a VIP Lounge.
    Parking Car parking is available at the airport.
    Beira International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated eight miles (13km) north east of Beira.
    Time: Local time is GMT +2.
    Getting to the city: There are buses and taxis available to the city centre.
    Car Rental: Rental cars are available at the airport.
    Fascilities: The airport has a restaurant, shops and a post office.
    Inhambane Airport
    Location: The airport is located on the outskirts of the city of Inhambane in Mozambique.
    Time: GMT +2
    Getting to the city: Taxis are readily available at the airport. Ask one of the friendly airport staff members what they feel a reasonable fare into Inhambane city is, and agree on this price before getting into the taxi.
    Fascilities: Inhambane has very limited facilities, although there are a few snack kiosks available. On the plus side, queues are ridiculously short at the airport, so you will not have too much time to kill.
    Parking There is plenty of both short- and long-term parking available at Inhambane Airport. However, parking is largely of the uncovered variety, and security might be an issue.
    Money:

    The official currency is the Mozambican Metical (MZN), which is divided into 100 centavos. In the southern parts of the country, South African Rands, US Dollars, and Pounds Sterling are often also accepted to pay for accommodation. It's prudent to carry some cash is these currencies for times when an ATM is out of order or nonexistent. Credit cards are accepted in most upmarket hotels in Maputo, but card facilities throughout the rest of the country are limited so, again, it's advisable to carry cash.

    Language:

    Portuguese is the official language, though over 40 languages are spoken in the country. English is taught in secondary schools, but is only spoken in the southern tourist regions.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. The rounded three-pin plug is common, particularly near the border with South Africa and in Maputo. Two pronged, round- and flat-pin plugs are also found.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: US citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

    UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

    CA nationals: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

    AU nationals: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

    ZA nationals: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 30 days after their arrival in Mozambique. No visa is required.

    IR nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

    NZ nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All foreign passengers to Mozambique must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country. Until recently visitors of most nationalities could obtain a 30-day tourist visa on arrival in Mozambique, but visas can now no longer be purchased at points of entry and must be organised beforehand. Those visiting Mozambique from a country where there is no Mozambican diplomatic mission should be able to get a visa on arrival but this should be confirmed in advance. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Mozambique, if arriving within six days of leaving or transiting through an infected area. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    Health regulations in Mozambique require visitors to have a yellow fever certificate if travelling from infected areas. Malaria is a risk throughout the year and prophylactics are recommended, as well as precautions against mosquitos.

    Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid. Visitors who will be spending a lot of time outdoors and may be at risk of animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination.

    Diseases caused by unsanitary conditions are common throughout the country, and untreated water should be considered as unsafe to drink. Cholera and other waterborne diseases are prevalent during the rainy season.

    The government has declared tuberculosis (TB) a national emergency and expects it to be a problem for the next 15 years. Hospital facilities are generally poor in Mozambique, and outside the major cities of Maputo and Beira medical facilities are limited.

    Comprehensive medical insurance is essential and visitors should carry personal medical supplies with them. Make sure that all medication is in its original packaging and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor, detailing what the medication is and why it is needed.

    Tipping:

    Tipping has become standard practice in Mozambique, particularly in tourist areas where a tip of about 10 percent is expected in restaurants.

    Safety Information:

    Safety is not an issue for the vast majority of visitors to Mozambique, but tourists should remain vigilant at all times. Violent crime is on the increase in the major cities and tourist areas. Mugging, bag snatching, and pick-pocketing is fairly common, and visitors are advised to be alert in public places, to keep valuables out of sight, and to avoid walking anywhere at night. All visitors, especially women, should avoid walking alone on the beach, as beaches and offshore islands are not policed.

    Visitors are advised that it is extremely risky to wander off well-travelled paths and roads, as a few unexploded landmines still lie scattered about the southern parts of the country. Local information should be sought before going off-road outside provincial capitals.

    Remain vigilant when driving, as traffic accidents are common due to the poor condition of the roads. Many roads can become impassable in the rainy season (November to April), when there is also a risk of cyclones. Overland travel after dark is not recommended, and travellers should be especially alert when driving near the Mozambique-South African border. Police checkpoints are common, where foreigners may be at risk of harassment. There have been many reports of police attempting to solicit bribes, but travellers should insist on a written citation that can be paid at a police station.

    Local Customs:

    Identity documents should be carried at all times; drug offences are taken very seriously, and can receive long jail terms and heavy fines. Ask permission before photographing anyone, particularly in remote parts of the country.

    Business:

    Conducting business in Mozambique can be difficult, as many people only speak Portuguese or their own ethnic language. Translators are usually found in Maputo, but remain hard to come by. Punctuality is important and dress is usually conservative, with lightweight materials recommended.

    Business associates should be addressed by their professional titles unless otherwise stated, and meetings generally start and end with a handshake. Men and women may shake hands, but any additional physical contact can be interpreted as romantic interest.

    Communications:

    The international dialling code for Mozambique is +258. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Internet access is easy and fast in Maputo and other major centres; upmarket hotels offer wifi. Mobile coverage is expanding to all main cities in most provinces.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Mozambique may enter the country with the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, perfume for personal use, and 750ml of spirits or three standard bottles of wine. Drugs are strictly prohibited and a permit is required for firearms and ammunition.

    Useful Contacts:

    Department of Tourism official site: www.visitmozambique.net

    Mozambique Embassies:

    Mozambique Embassy, Washington DC, United States (also responsible for Canada): +1 202 293 7146

    Mozambique High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 (020) 7383 3800

    Consulate in Melbourne, Australia: +61 3 9652 9000

    Mozambique High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 401 0300

    Foreign Embassies in Mozambique :

    United States Embassy, Maputo: +258 21 492 797

    British High Commission, Maputo: +258 21 356 000

    Canadian High Commission, Maputo: +258 21 244 200

    Australian Consulate, Maputo: +258 21 498 778

    South African High Commission, Maputo: +258 21 243 000

    Irish Embassy, Maputo: +258 (0)1 491 440

    New Zealand High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa (also responsible for Mozambique): +27 12 435 9000

    Mozambique Emergency Numbers : Mozambique has no short emergency number. Travellers should have their embassy emergency number on hand, and look up local police numbers in each city or region.
    Mozambique
    Xai Xai

    Just 124 miles (200km) north of Maputo, the small town of Xai Xai is a popular excursion for those seeking a relaxing day on the beach. Xai Xai has a scattering of shops, bars, restaurants, and accommodation, but the real draws are the superb scuba diving and snorkelling sites.

    The coral reef running parallel to the main beach creates ideal diving conditions, and there are some fun dive sites nearby, including the natural underwater tunnel at Wenela Tidal Pool, just one mile (2km) south.

    The sandy white beaches with their calm waters are a fantastic place to swim, with freshwater lakes nearby great for kayaking, paddle skiing and windsurfing. The resort town of Bilene is also nearby.

    The lagoon at Bilene is very popular for watersports, and with safe and shallow waters, it is an especially good destination for families. However, visitors should anticipate attention from the locals selling crafts and trinkets in the region.

    For those wanting to extend their stay, there are some great accommodation options, including good budget accommodation for backpackers. The roads between Maputo and Xai Xai are in good condition and traversable without a 4x4 vehicle, which is a big advantage for day-trippers.

    Xai Xai Xai Xai Erik Cleves Kristensen
    Ponta d'Ouro

    Located along a sandy road just south of Maputo, Ponta d'Ouro is home to some of the most perfect waves in Africa. Offering spectacular dive sites and a wealth of sea creatures, it is a popular destination with surfers, divers, and underwater enthusiasts.

    Swimming with dolphins is a must and can be a deeply rewarding and life-changing experience. Stroll along white beaches stretching far into the distance or explore the rock pools full of colourful shells and corals.

    Local specialities and trinkets include the locally produced Tipo Tinto Rum, tasting slightly of vanilla and perfect with pineapple or raspberry juice, as well as hardwood carvings in all shapes and sizes. Customers should avoid beautiful shells as they may potentially have been stolen off local reefs.

    Tours of local pubs, called shebeens, allow visitors to explore the rustic drinking-houses along a stretch of rough road. Accommodation ranges from rustic to luxurious, with lovely campsites right on the beach. Ponta d'Ouro is accessible from South Africa, making it a great addition to a tour of southern Africa.

    Go diving in Ponta d'Ouro Go diving in Ponta d'Ouro Derek Keats
    Inhaca Island

    Situated almost 25 miles (40km) off the coast of Maputo, Inhaca Island is an immensely popular African resort destination. It boasts beautiful beaches, some of the Mozambique Channel's best coral reefs, a historic lighthouse, a marine biology museum, and large areas of protected forest.

    Easily accessible from the capital, it's a favourite among snorkelers and divers who usually head for the reefs at Santa Maria, the lighthouse, or the surrounding sunken wrecks. The Santa Maria reefs have strong drift currents running parallel to the shore.

    They're fantastic for snorkelling, while the Wall is a rocky ledge that drops some 66 feet (20m) to the bottom, harbouring numerous caves and ledges filled with a variety of marine life. Game fishing and water sports like water skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and sailing are also popular on the island.

    Beautiful beaches ring Inhaca, visitors can enjoy a sunset cruise or take boats across to the deserted island. The resort has a tennis court and swimming pool, with excursions available to the biology station, lighthouse beach, the mangrove swamps, and the Santa Maria Wall.

    Restaurants are mostly limited to the lodge. However, the nearby village has a takeaway burger stand and an attached seafood restaurant, as well as a few small shops selling typical tourist tat like sarongs and seashells. There is no real nightlife on the island, though the lodge has a bar.

    Many tourists find a visit to Inhaca Island a pleasant way to spend time while in Maputo. However, visitors should be prepared to pay dearly for every service on the island, including a tourist tax levied the second you step off the boat. Swimmers should also take care, as the bluebottles occasionally inundate the beach.

    Inhaca Island Inhaca Island Paulo Miranda