Mozambique is a beautiful country blessed with numerous attractions, not the least of which is its long coastline on the Indian Ocean with sparkling beaches of sugar-fine sand and brilliant turquoise waters. It also boasts magnificent wildlife regions, a rich historic and cultural heritage, and a wide choice of accommodations including over-the-top luxury hotels and budget properties to intimate boutique hotels and eco-tourism resorts. The country lies on the southwestern coast of the continent. It shares borders with Malawi and Zambia (northwest), Tanzania (north), Zimbabwe (west), and South Africa, and Swaziland (southwest). Fewer tourists visit here than more popular Tanzania and South Africa, but people who travel to Mozambique are becoming more numerous each year, as the country's tourism infrastructure is fairly sophisticated and as word of its charms begins to spread.
Most who travel to Mozambique are drawn to the ocean where there is a rich influence of Arab and Swahili peoples, just as there is all along the coasts of both Kenya and Tanzania and on the island of Zanzibar. As with Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the Portuguese influence began after Vasco da Gama sailed around the Cape of Good Hope in the late fifteenth century. The entire country remained a Portuguese territory until independence in 1974. Much of the architecture in the cities and towns along the coast reflect the culture, including mosques, Swahili-style coral buildings, and grand colonial buildings and boulevards. Visit the capital city of Maputo in the far south for a taste of sophisticated and cosmopolitan charm not found anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa outside of Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The Mozambique beaches and warm tropical waters draw the most visitors. There are long stretches of coral reefs and protected lagoons that make the scuba diving and snorkeling superb. Farther out, deep sea fishing is extremely popular. All along the coast from Pemba in the north to Maputo in the south, you will find elegant and exclusive five-star beach resorts. There are also more modest accommodations to be found, including all inclusive resorts and self-catering beach rentals. This coastal region has long been popular with South Africans for weekend holidays, as well as for Europeans (especially from Portugal). Americans are beginning to discover it also, and Mozambique beach properties have become popular as destinations for weddings and honeymoons.
For two decades after independence in the mid-1970s, the country suffered from bitter civil war and internal conflict. The civil war ended in 1992, and by 1995, the nearly 2 million refugees who had fled to neighboring countries returned. As with wars and conflict throughout the sub-Saharan continent, the wildlife and national parks of Mozambique suffered devastating losses as did the civilian population. Today, committed management and care has brought many parks back to pre-war levels, and many people who travel to Mozambique will spend some time on wildlife safaris. The two best parks are Gorongosa in the central part of the country and Limpopo (a trans-border park spreading into South Africa where it becomes Kruger National Park). Here you will find most of the exotic birdlife and big game found in neighboring countries as well as some species unique to the region.
You can travel to Mozambique fairly easily by car from South Africa. There are also reliable and comfortable buses from Johannesburg. Flights from other countries land in Maputo. There are flights from Lisbon in Portugal, as well as from several other African countries.