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Spotlight: Mozambique

Mozambique is a new destination on the map for holidaymakers as its tourism industry has really only established itself over the past few years. Most people are pretty unsure as to where it is and what it might offer. But don’t let this fool you –Mozambique is spectacular and offers some of the most fantastic diving and some of the most stunning beaches in the whole world.

Mozambique is in south eastern Africa on the Indian Ocean neighbouring South Africa,  Zimbabwe,Tanzania and Malawi. It combines beautiful inland scenery with fantastic coastal scenery. Inland you can go on safari as Mozambique has created some national parks including the Maputo Special Reserve and the Gorongosa National Park. Animals numbers are being re-built with help from their neighbours and this is a great place to go on safari if you fancy trying out a new country away from traditional safari destinations. The capital city o f Maputo is interesting to visit as it reflects the country’s mixed heritage of Portuguese and Arab influences combined with Africa. Mozambique has a flavour all of its own.

The best time of year to go is during the dry season which is from April through to September. The wet season runs over the winter months and the rainfall is heaviest along the coast. Heavy rain means diving visibility is limited and its not so much fun on the beach either so aim for the summer months when visiting.

There is a wide range of accommodation in Mozambique from large resort hotels to small safari camps. The best range of accommodation is available along the coast and on the islands where you can find full equipped beach resorts with spas and a huge range of water-sports and diving centres.  You can learn to sail, scuba dive, fish, windsurf or waterski here! You can also find lots of tiny little private islands and boutique hotels which are much smaller and more intimate. These range from basic rustic to barefoot luxury, from eco-friendly to top of the range. In fact the often stylish and romantic accommodation has made Mozambiquea very popular destination for honeymooners wishing to get off the beaten track and have the beach to themselves.

Swimming and diving really are the two main diversions for the holidaymaker in Mozambique and the beautiful coast is the main attraction. The Mozambique Coast is made up of many different islands and bays. Off the coast is a huge range of coral reefs which are home to some fabulous marine wildlife and which make this area such an exciting place to come diving. There are various different archipelagos which are popular depending on their accessibility or their facilities. Some islands are so remote you can only reach them having travelled by plane, helicopter and boat! Much of the coastline is protected as one of the world’s first and most important marine national parks.

Pemba is renowned as being a fantastic destination for scuba diving enthusiasts as it is home to a wonderfully pristine coral reef which is easily accessible. Pemba is a popular holiday spot already for upper-middle class Mozambicans and South Africans and as such as a good range of hotels and restaurants and other facilities. Pemba is the closest major city and airport for those who wish to visit Quirimbas Islands and Quirimbas National Park. The Quirimbas Islands lie in the Indian Ocean off the northeastern coast. The archipelago consists of about 27 islands and was made up of Arab trading posts and small fishing villages. Today, many of the islands are un-inhabitated – just the place for a picnic with the place just to yourselves!

The islands of Mozambique are famous for their high-quality diving sites, including spectacular drop-offs, some up to 400 meters. The Quirimbas National Park, is a protected area in the islands which spans around 7,500 km², includes the eleven most southerly islands. Also worth visiting is the Bazaruto Archipelago which is a group of six islands in near the mainland city of Viklankulo. It is a proclaimed marine national park that boasts sensational beaches and magnificent scenery.

The archipelago comprises of the islands of Bazaruto, Benguerra, Banque, and Santa Carolina and Shell Island. Tourist attractions include sandy beaches and coral reefs – again perfect for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. There is a wide abundance of reef fish, Surgeon, Moorish Idols, Parrot, Angel and Butterfly fish to name but a few. There is so much marine life here in abundance. You see dolphins as a matter of course and often you can catch a glimpse of whales as they pass through the warm waters on their way to South Africa on their migration.

You may also see the majestic spectacle of giant manta and devil rays as the glide smoothly through the crystal clear waters. These are amazing creatures and fascinating to watch. If you are really lucky you might even catch sight of the endangered and very elusive Dugong or sea-cow.  If you like the beach you really are spoilt for choice when you come to Mozambique and it will capture your imagination like nowhere else.