Which locations shouldn't you miss, from paradise islands to buzzing cities and beyond
Director of Mozambique Voyages
01 Aug 2018
23 Nov 2020
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Are you thinking of heading off on a Mozambique holiday but aren't quite sure where to start? We have all the answers right here, to help you decide whether you want a picture perfect tropical beach paradise, a crystal clear inland lake under a blanket of stars, or perhaps a bit of culture to discover more about Mozambique's fascinating heritage.
So which are the best places to visit in Mozambique...
Best for: barefoot castaway island exclusivity and pristine reefs
It's probably the islands of the Quirimbas Marine National Park that you've been dreaming of all these years when you picture palm-laced white sandy beaches with world-class marine life and the ultimate in luxury castaway lodges. Hidden away in the far north of Mozambique these islands seem wild and remote but they're actually fairly easy to get to. The Quirimbas is especially popular with divers and snorkellers, honeymooners and those seeking seclusion and pampering in paradise. For travellers wanting an injection of culture there are day visits to explore the history of Ibo Island (overnight stays are possible here too).
Best for: indulgent luxury and diving with big game fish
A stunning string of islands surrounded by peacock blue waters, with fragrant orange groves, unspoiled beaches and top notch luxury lodges. Ocean life in the Bazaruto Archipelago is diverse, and explorers may well see dolphins, whale sharks, humpback whales, manta rays and sea turtles. The waters here are protected so it's a fabulous place for diving and snorkelling. Popular excursions include dhow sailing, island hopping, picnics on deserted beaches and romantic dining at various secluded spots. Lodges here are all about sinking into that slow pace of island life, whether it's honeymooners looking for a private getaway or families searching for intimacy and fun. More affordable and just as charming accommodation can be found on the mainland at Vilanculos, where guests can still enjoy the same excursions as those staying on the islands themselves.
Best for: fresh water exploration under a canopy of stars
Lake Niassa (also known as Lake Malawi) is simply stunning, with crystal clear waters perfect for snorkelling and lots of hidden little beaches just calling out for private picnics. Locals call the lake 'the end of the world' thanks to its remote and pristine location, far off the beaten track yet accessible to the adventurous traveller. This wild beach paradise is beautiful and tranquil, with opportunities for water sports, canoeing, hiking and birding. Guests can also visit local communities, and admire the giant baobabs that line the lake shores. As night falls it's time for some romantic dining beneath a sky full of stars, making it an ideal place for budding astronomers too.
Best for: going back in time on an historical coral island
A beautiful coral island lost in time, Ilha de Mozambique is the place to go for your fix of culture, and to understand more about this fascinating country. Shaped like a crescent, the island is a world away from other resorts in Mozambique, being the historic Portuguese trading base of East Africa. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1992 thanks to its abundance of traditional buildings and colonial past. Ilha de Mozambique is easily accessible with a 1.5 km causeway across to the mainland. If you fancy wandering historic streets by day and relaxing on rooftops with a cool drink in hand watching the sun dip below the horizon at night, then Ilha de Mozambique is for you.
Best for: accessible beaches and abundant off-shore reefs
Recognised as one of the oldest settlements in Mozambique, Inhambane and the surrounding peninsula is the perfect spot for relaxing amongst the sand dunes. The beaches are some of the best in Mozambique, and the marine life viewing is superb thanks to the numerous offshore reefs. It's a great place for scuba diving, and manta rays, whale sharks and turtles are often seen here. Visitors can explore the historic colonial town of Inhambane, and watch as the dhows drift around the bay carrying cargo and passengers.
Best for: wildlife, and having a break from the beaches
Mozambique isn't all about beaches. It is possible to enjoy a safari here too, and the best place for this is Gorongosa National Park. Located at the southern end of the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, Gorongosa covers more than 4,000 square km and has one of Mozambique's densest wildlife populations. Thanks to a conservation programme the species list here is vast, and includes lions, elephants and antelope. Birding is fabulous too, with endemic species such as the Green Coucal, Spotted Creeper and Collared Palm Thrush often making an appearance. Gorongosa is easily accessed by road or a short internal flight, and makes a great addition to your Mozambique holiday.
Best for: culture, entertainment and a great stopover
The capital of Mozambique is often referred to as the 'Havana of Africa' and considered by many as one of the most beautiful cities on the continent, with its Mediterranean style architecture and cafe-lined streets beneath vibrant red flame trees. The markets are bustling with life, selling everything from fragrant spices to fresh seafood, and carts trundle past piled high with sweet ripe bananas. There are plenty of museums, galleries and shops to explore, which give visitors an insight into the history and culture that are the foundations of this amazing country. Maptuo makes a great stopover on your way to other parts of Mozambique.
Best for: untouched coastline not far from South Africa
The southern coastline of Mozambique is famous for its wilderness vibe, and is a great place for watersports such as surfing, snorkleling and scuba diving thanks to its world-class marine wildlife viewing. Whale watching is popular between October and December, and it's also possible to see dolphins and whale sharks in these waters. This area of Mozambique is well developed for tourism making it easy to move around, and a stay here is often combined with a South African safari. There are also forest drives and walks available.