Mozambique is an Indian Ocean beach paradise with incredible pristine beaches, but it’s also so much more than that. With its rich history, abounding wildlife, diverse landscapes and endearing locals, it’s offers an all-encompassing experience on relatively uncrowded islands and reserves. Here are our top ten things to do and see…
1. Safari in Gorongosa National Park
Situated at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley, the Gorongosa National Park is home to a wide variety of landscapes and ecosystems and a dizzying array of wildlife and flora, many of which can be found nowhere else in the world. You’ll enjoy close encounters with lion, warthog, antelope, vervet monkeys, over 400 species of birds, reptiles, elephant and more. The park’s elephants are survivors of the Mozambique civil war of the 80s, during which their numbers dropped drastically. They tend to be anxious around humans, but trained guide ensure you’re kept safe at all times.
Also great for safari:
- Limpopo National Park – Big Five territory
- Niassa Game Reserve – the largest protected area in Mozambique, it’s wild and underdeveloped and offers a taste of untouched Africa (features three endemic species: Boehms zebra, Johnstons Impala and Niassa wildebeest)
2. Immerse yourself in Maputo’s vibrant culture
Mozambique’s bustling capital city Maputo is a colourful mix of Mediterranean-style buildings, tree-lined boulevards (it’s often referred to as “The City of Acacias”), buzzing restaurants and heaving markets. Because it’s located in a natural bay of the Indian Ocean, it manages to combine that seaside feel with a unique urban energy. Explore the many landmarks such as the Tunduru Gardens, Independence Square and Maputo Fortress and hunt for local wares and souvenirs at the famous Maputo Central Market (remember: bartering is encouraged!).
3. Visit the Quirimbas National Park
Offering every ocean adventure you could wish for including snorkelling, diving, sailing and whale-watching, this is a must for water babes wanting to explore the azure waters and their amazing creatures. It is a protected area stretching over 100km along the north east coast of Mozambique that encompasses the southernmost 11 of the Quirimbas islands. Apart from the magnificent coral reefs with their varied marine life (sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins, sea horses and more), there are also lush coastal forests, mangroves, mountains and other landscapes bursting with land animals such as leopard, elephant, lion, crocodile and wild dogs.
4. See colonial architecture in Pemba
A port city lying in Pemba Bay, Pemba is a well-known diving, snorkelling and general water sport spot (thanks to a coral reef that lies close to its shore), but it’s also renowned for its stunning Portuguese colonial architecture. This popular tourist destination has vibey restaurants and classy hotels in abundance as well as the closest major airport to the Quirimbas. Walk the streets admiring the fascinating buildings or spend some time at the authentic local souk (market) in the city centre perusing the arts, crafts and traditional silverware.
5. Meet whale sharks and manta rays in Tofo
A delightful fishing village that has grown into an international tourist stop, Tofo is known for its beach villas, bars and restaurants and diving retreats. Whilst it’s not ideal if you’re wanting to see coral reefs and fish, it is one of the best destinations for divers to spot manta rays and whale sharks. The many dive centres regularly offer snorkelling and diving excursions that allow you to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.
- Diving in Memba Bay
- Swimming with dolphins in Ponta de Ouro
- Spotting humpback whales off of Bazaruto Island during August as they make their way across the warm waters to the Bazaruto National Park.
6. Soak up views from Monte Binga
Standing at over 2400 metres above sea level in the Chimanimani Transfrontier Park in Zimbabwe, Monte Binga is Mozambique’s highest mountain. Although a challenge to ascend, the summit can be reached in a day and the spectacular views across the whole of Mozambique are worth it. There are a number of paths, but the best one will see you climb southeast then eastward up from the Bundi valley. There are no water sources during the climb, so be sure to take an adequate supply with you.
Just off northern Mozambique and between the Mozambique Channel and Mossuril Bay, you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilha de Mozambique. Once a major trading port, it has an interesting history illustrated by several historical buildings. The Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte on the eastern tip of the island was built by the Portuguese in 1522 and is considered the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere, whilst Fort Sao Sebastiao, with its unique architecture, is the oldest landmark of its kind in the southern part of Africa. The small island is also home to several gorgeous beaches so you can easily combine your culturetrip with some beach bliss.
8. Sail the ocean on a dhow
Dhow (a traditional Arabian boat) sailing is the best way to enjoy the turquoise blue waters of Mozambique. Whether you take a day trip or a longer dhow safari, you’ll get to see the islands in a leisurely way while enjoying the simple thrill of sailing. From the water you can access more remote areas where you can indulge in secluded beach picnics and sundowners with no one else around.
9. Hike around gorgeous Gurúè
Found in the northern part of the country, Gurúè is not only the country’s largest tea estate, it is also one of Mozambique’s primary hiking areas. With Mount Namúli providing the picture-perfect backdrop, you can enjoy pleasant strolls through the plantations, walks to waterfalls or tackle Namúli herself with her steep (and sacred) slopes. The top of the mountain is usually shrouded in clouds so be sure to take in all the amazing views as you make your way up. If you wish, we can organise guides from the town to trek with you, beginning about 6km outside of Gurúè near an old tea factory.
10. Go fishing on Vamizi Island
Located in the Quirimbas, Vamizi is considered one of the best fishing spots in East Africa with a catch pretty much guaranteed every time. The variety of fish is also amazing, from tuna to wahoo and kingfish to barracuda. You don’t have to be all about the fishing though to enjoy this island haven. There are plenty of water activities including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, snorkelling, kite surfing and dhow sailing, not to mention the lure of powder-white beaches. Savour sunset strolls, mountain biking and walks along the many trails as well. Tip: a visit to Vamizi comes with a rather hefty price tag so prepare yourself, but we promise it’ll be worth it.
We’d love to help you plan an unforgettable trip to Mozambique that includes any of these attractions – or others that we’ve missed. Get in touch with our experienced and knowledgeable travel consultants so they can start piecing an itinerary together for you – remember, our advice is free and there’s no obligation to book.
Take a look at our Mozambique itineraries to get an idea of what’s on offer, but we’ll custom-make your journey just for you: