There’s never a shortage of travel consultants wanting to go on a familiarisation trip to Mozambique and when you look at the photos, it’s no surprise! Here Lisa Fisher and Kirsten Woolley answer some of the questions we are often asked about this highly rated holiday destination.
Why choose a holiday in Mozambique?
Mozambique has some truly magnificent Indian Ocean beaches, completely untouched by mass tourism and away from the crowds, where there’s excellent snorkelling and scuba-diving, charming boutique lodges and magical sunsets. As one of the few previously Portuguese colonies in Africa, which also has Swahili / Arab influences in the north, Mozambique has unique and fascinating cultural influences. It’s also an emerging safari destination, with lodges being restored to their former glory, looking back to a time when it rivalled South Africa’s Kruger. This combination of action-packed wildlife activities and jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches, really does gives Mozambique the ‘wow’ factor.
How do we get there?
Southern Mozambique can be accessed from Maputo with daily flights from Johannesburg or even from South African, via the KwaZulu Natal border. The Bazaruto Archipelago is easily accessible from Johannesburg on a daily basis and the Kruger area with direct flights three times a week. Northern Mozambique is also accessible via Johannesburg, other Mozambican hubs such as Maputo, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, so it a possible add on to an East African safari. Once into the major hubs you are transferred to your lodge by road, boat or aircraft.
What’s the best way to travel around the country?
Mozambique is a relatively big country which means it makes sense to use the extensive internal flight networks. Once you are away from the centres, in remoter parts, its best to travel by small plane, boat or private road transfer.
If there was one thing I shouldn’t miss, what would you recommend?
The unexplored and well preserved coral reefs are a must and it may be worth considering taking a diving course ahead of your trip, although many can be seen even if you are just snorkelling. Don’t miss the culture and history however, even if you just take a simple city tour of the capital Maputo as you pass through or spend time in the small fishing village of Vilanculos, as you head to Bazaruto Archipelago, or Pemba when en route to the Quirimbas. If you are in the north, the crumbling historic towns of Ibo Island and Ilha de Moçambique are facinating . That’s more than one thing, but you couldn’t visit Mozambique without eating the seafood – it’s heavenly. So make sure you eat piri piri prawns with your fingers!
See our selection of Mozambique holidays and tours.
Is Mozambique safe?
In major cities like Maputo petty crime can be common place, and caution should be exercised. Our advice would be to leave valuables you don’t need at home, or in your room safe. Really a holiday in Mozambique is a very relaxed affair – it’s probably the place where the idea of barefoot luxury really came into being, as often shoes aren’t even required at dinner time.
Can I drink the tap water?
We’d advise you to play it safe and only drink bottled water – it’s widely available. Lodges will always advise if the water is safe on-site.
Is English widely spoken?
English is spoken by all our guides and those in the hospitality industry, and in practice its pretty widely understood. Keep in mind this is a developing country and many lodges take pride in using the local village staff, so your requests may not always be understood the first time around. This is improving all the time however and lodges will often show you the training and education projects that they are involved in. Many lodges in Mozambique are closely involved with their local communities.
What is the local cuisine like?
Mozambican cuisine used lots of fresh fish and seafood. The Portuguese presence in the country for nearly 500 years has greatly influenced the food and flavouring. Vegetarians will enjoy foods like cassava, paozinho and maize while Portuguese dishes like Inteiro com Piripiri and Prego are common place.
How much of a culture shock is travelling to Mozambique?
Poverty is apparent in many areas but your visit can help to improve the general standard of living, from community upliftment to the preservation of natural habitats and the wildlife it supports. Many of the hotels and lodges we use directly support local communities and charities. The NEMA foundation, for example, was one of the first charitable funds developed by lodge owners; Amy and Neal Carter the owners of Guludo Lodge in the Quirimbas are a shining example of what can be achieved by integrating philanthropy into a tourism business. If you are interested in responsible tourism, do ask us to highlight which lodges we feel really do make a positive difference to local people.
Do I need to get any vaccinations ahead of travel and/or malaria tablets?
Malaria precautions are recommended and you should always consult your doctor or travel clinic at least six weeks ahead of travel. Yellow fever inoculations may be required - if you are arriving via East Africa for example – but again always get up to date professional advice.
I am pregnant, can I travel to Mozambique?
As Mozambique is a malarial area, we wouldn’t advise travelling here. Do discuss all travel plans with your doctor.