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Mozambique

Vamizi Island

Mozambique is an attractive alternative to well-established beach destinations like the Seychelles and Mauritius.

Mozambique is a paradise beach destination. Imagine softly-rolling crystal waves lapping against white sand while you stretch out on an empty island, the fringes of a line of palm trees in the distance behind you. You spend the morning languid under the sun and staring beyond the horizon, hypnotised by the sparkling aquamarine sea until you wade out into the warm water at noon. You glide above coral reefs and swim with dolphins for the first time, and as the sun sets you meander to the bar at your luxury lodge to sip a cocktail. This is Mozambique.

Mozambique lies in the southeast of Africa, bordered by the Indian Ocean, with remote beaches stretching out for hundreds of miles. Tropical islands – notably  in the Bazaruto Archipelago and the Quirimbas Archipelago – dot the coast. While Mozambique has a reputation as a dazzling island beach getaway (which it is!), the country has plenty to offer. In the south Maputo, the capital city, is a busy social and commercial hub, with many hotels, restaurants, museums, markets, and historical buildings. North of the Zambezi River are the rugged highland hills, and south of the river are the Lebombo Mountains. There are four main lakes in the north – Lake Niassa, one of the African Great Lakes shared with Malawi and Tanzania; Lake Chiuta; Lake Cahora Bassa; and Lake Shirwa.

The past civil strife of Mozambique damaged the wildlife of this once world-renowned safari destination, but with intense care and conservation projects, the country is slowly recovering its wildlife reserves. Gorongosa National Park is a landscape of grassy floodplains, fever tree forests, palm thickets and wide rivers. The lush Mount Gorongosa rainforest is a tower of dense trees, reached by hiking up the mountain slope; wanderers who look carefully may see the Pygmy Chameleon – found nowhere else in the world – hidden amongst the leaves. The Niassa Reserve in the north is one of Africa’s largest conservation areas and is home to lions, leopards and wild dogs, although they are not yet used to tourists and it may take a practiced guide to uncover sightings. While under rehabilitation, the country’s safari expeditions are preferable for explorers who want a quieter (but still phenomenally beautiful and diverse) experience of the safari.

The marine world of Mozambique is truly remarkable. In the far north,the Quirimbas Archipelago has about thirty islands – only a few of which have lodging options including luxurious Vamizi Lodge, making this a deeply private and romantic island escape. Further south, the Bazaruto Archipelago has  several islands, the two largest being Bazaruto and Benguerra. The beaches offer the best of water sports and diving, in particular. Snorkelling, scuba diving, whale-watching, swimming with dolphins and historical excursions are but a few favourites.

The climate is tropical, with a hot, wet season from October to March and a warm, dry season from April to September. Travellers are advised to avoid the islands when southern Mozambique has its cyclone season during January and February.