Mozambique Safari Overview
One of the newest tourism destinations in Southern Africa has come alive. Being a maritime country, along a 1500 mile coastline, the country offers a magnitude of highlights and sightseeing attractions. These include the National Parks of Mozambique, Banhine, Zinave, the Bazaruto Archipelago, Gorongoza and the Maputo Elephant Reserve. The coral reefs of Mozambique are some of the world’s richest, making the country a haven for snorkeling, diving and sun bathing. The cosmopolitan existence of Mozambique started well before the first Europeans arrived in the region. Arab sailors are thought to have been trading with Mozambique prior to 600 AD, bringing spices and architecture into the country. With the combination of Portuguese and Arab, as well as African influences, Mozambique offers one of the greatest combinations in culture and architecture on the African continent. Mozambique is a diamond in the rough offering simple pleasures in stunning surroundings.
One of the most popular tourist areas in Mozambique is the Bazaruto Archipelago consisting of four islands – Bazaruto, Benguerra, Margaruque and Santa Carolina. They are situated just off the mainland, but 470 miles from Maputo, and are accessible by dhow from the town of Vilanculos or by private air charter. Activities on the islands revolve around every form of motorized or non-motorized water sports including water skiing, parasailing, and wind surfing. Deep sea fishing expeditions, and rock, surf and fly fishing are also on offer. The Mozambique Channel is well known for its trophy sized marlin, kingfish and sailfish. Mako, wahoo, serra, yellowfin tunny and queenfish are also regularly caught. The archipelago’s coral reefs and clear waters are a magnet for snorkeling and scuba diving fans, where night and wreck dives are also offered. And the rugged terrain of the archipelago combined with its natural beauty, make it an ideal place for hikers. The Bazaruto Archipelago is a bird watchers paradise, with 164 different species identified. Benguerra Island alone is home to 115 different types including the rare crab plover, the olive bee eater, green coucal and narina troga. The varying habitats throughout Mozambique account for its incredible wealth of bird life with more than 900 species recorded. Marine life includes the most spectacular of marine mammals, the dugong, and several types of dolphin. Humpback whales can be seen during the summer months. Land animals include the small suni and duiker antelope, which have recently been re-introduced to the island.
Beira is Mozambique’s second major port located at the mouth of the Pungwe River in the central region. In the heart of the city is the square of Largo do Munincipio, surrounded by old colonial buildings, terraces, tea rooms and shops. The cathedral, erected in 1925, was built partly from stones from the 16th century Fort of Sofala, which has since been submerged under the sea. Other buildings of note are Casa Portugal, built in typical colonial style, and the magnificent Casa Infante de Sagres. You’ll definitely want to spend some time in the lively markets – the Mercado do Maquino is famous for selling traditional potions used by local healers – and a visit to the shipwreck near the lighthouse is also worthwhile. Beira’s best beaches are found between the Cube Nautico and the lighthouse. Six Miles is a resort situated about 6 miles from the city center. It consists of an artificial lagoon with islands, where visitors can swim or hire pedal boats.
The capital, Maputo, located to the south and formerly known as Lourenco Marques, evokes some the atmosphere of its Portuguese colonial past with its wide streets lined with acacia and jacaranda trees. The Cathedral, on Independence Square, is an imposing sight, as is the neo-classical City Council Chambers nearby. The gothic style Museum of Natural History houses exhibits on many of the animal species in Mozambique. The Fortress, one of Maputo’s oldest buildings, is now a colonial history museum. In the bay, about 20 miles from Maputo, is the lovely Inhaca Island, which is accessible by both boat and aircraft. Tours are organized to various parts of the island such as Ponta de Santa Maria or to Portuguese Island. Surfers seeking big waves will be drawn to Praia da Macaneta, which again can be reached by boat from Maputo.
Vilanculos is a piece of paradise with dazzling powder-white beaches, coconut palms, crystal blue waters, superb all-year round temperate climate and is the perfect hideaway for a holiday that offers a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. There is a wide variety of accommodation anywhere from camping and backpackers to sublime luxury hotels and private, self-catering homes. Dining out is a pleasure as there are a handful of excelled restaurants offering the freshest sea food among other delights and specialities in Portuguese fair. For those who prefer self-catering, the local markets and fishermen have all that is necessary to do your own thing. Plus there are small supermarkets for all your little necessities. Adventure comes in so many forms – best marlin fishing in the world, snorkelling, boating, diving, kite surfing and just good old swimming. Dhow sailboat trips and motorboat trips are offered by many to fulfil your adrenalin rush or provide the amazing opportunity of swimming with dolphins or sea turtles. The people are friendly and in no time at all, you would have made life-long friends. Vilanculos is just pure bliss! Indulge yourself!.