Mozambique may surprise you

  • Mozambique may surprise you

    Ahh, the beautiful tropical paradise that is Mozambique: white sand, turquoise water, sweltering temperatures, cocktails served in coconuts … This is what springs to mind when most of us think of holidaying there. But Mozambique may surprise you with her depth; she isn’t just a great beach and honeymoon destination.

    First of all, Mozambique CAN have a winter. It’s hardly cold, but temperatures do drop considerably (down to 15°C from 30 plus), and it is dry. So if you want to avoid the extreme heat (January to March, which is also, incidentally, cyclone season), a winter trip to Mozambique can be really pleasant and usually a lot quieter in terms of tourist numbers.

    Mozambique also has a rich history. As Portuguese is the official language, it’s quite obvious that it was once a Portuguese colony, but what many people don’t realise (and this also explains its largely Muslim population) is that when the explorer Vasco da Gama arrived, there were already huge Arab trading settlements all over the Mozambican coast. Wealthy sultans enjoyed lavish lifestyles at what was the southernmost end of the traditional trading world that encompassed the Red Sea, the coast of Arabia and the Indian coast.

    When Mozambique gained independence in 1975, the mass exodus of Portuguese nationals left the country’s economy in tatters, and this is still evident today, 40 years later. When you visit, you’ll see unfinished hotels and civil war-ravaged buildings, a reminder of Mozambique’s shaky start as an independent nation.

    Another surprise is the sheer size of Mozambique. Because most residential areas are on the coast and the population is smaller than in many other African countries, one forgets that it is over 800 000 square metres (almost twice the size of California). Therefore, lots to explore!

    Despite all its past problems, and despite the fact that over 50 percent of its population is under the age of 15, Mozambique is quite obviously a growing nation. It’s an exciting and vibrant country, and there’s hope that the economy will start improving in the short term.

    To end on a high, in addition to its unique history and attractive aesthetic, Mozambique is home to some of the world’s best coral reefs. The Bazaruto Archipelago is one of the world’s largest marine reserves and hosts a huge array of fish and marine life, making Mozambique a must-see on your holiday bucket list!