Mozambique is situated on the south-eastern coast of Africa, bordering Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia to the north; Zimbabwe to the west; South Africa and Swaziland to the south; and the Mozambique Channel to the east. It is a tropical paradise in which many a barefoot-luxury hideaway exists. Much of the coastline and its offshore islands have remained wonderfully unspoilt, and due to this low-impact development, the marine life has thrived. Snorkelling and world-renowned scuba diving reveal an underwater wonderland with amazing numbers of whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, turtles, coral fish and reefs.

The country is a great destination for anyone wanting to escape from it all and offers remote getaways with idyllic powder-white beaches fringed with palm trees and lapped by crystal-clear waters. It is also the place to go for those looking for an adventure holiday and plenty of water sports. Besides great snorkelling, diving and fishing, immerse yourself in the local culture in the country’s major cities Maputo and Inhambane, with their exotic art and music. The locals are friendly, the fresh seafood delicious and the nightlife scene lively.

All our excursions to Mozambique are to luxury properties which have recently been upgraded to super-slick standards so you can rest assured that you will feel comfortable and right at home. Places like Benguerra Lodge and Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa, on neighbouring Bazaruto Island, are just a taste of what you can expect. Speak to an Ikewana consultant who will happily advise you on this beautiful and undiscovered part of Southern Africa.

Mozambique's Climate

Mozambique covers latitudes from about 11° to 27° South and has a tropical ocean current running north to south along its length for the whole year. Its climate is tropical, with a hot and rainy season from November to March, and a dry season from May to October, during which there is a cooler period from mid-May to mid-August.

Rainfall varies a little between the north and south of the country, with the rains lasting a few weeks longer in the north than the south, but essentially the pattern is the same. The rains occur primarily in the form of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, so even in the rainy season, the amount of sunshine is not low – except in the northern mountainous areas where the sky is often cloudy. The majority of the rain arrives on moist southeast trade winds and because the country lies in the rain shadow of Madagascar, it has a relatively low annual rainfall. This rain shadow also affords it a great deal of protection from the tropical storms and the occasional cyclone which head towards it during this period. The humidity can be quite high at this time.

The official cyclone season in the south-west Indian Ocean runs from November to mid-May, but the period in which they are most likely runs from late December to mid-April. The most intense cyclones can be destructive, with their load of gale force winds and torrential rains. By around April or May the rains subside, the sun comes out and the humidity drops and better weather spreads gradually from the south to the north. June to October are dry with often perfect tropical weather which means clear skies and plenty of sunlight (and almost no rain).

Although still tropical, June, July and August are Mozambique’s coolest months even though the temperature reaches over 30°C during the day. During September and October, it remains dry and daytime temperatures begin to climb even though it cools down a lot at night. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Mozambique has reversed seasons compared with Europe or North America. Winter falls between June and August and summer between December and February.

  • Subtropical turtles Mozambique's unexplored and unspoilt beaches provide the perfect environment for sea turtles to lay their eggs. These marine turtles (of which the country boasts five species) are threatened worldwide and have been protected in Mozambique for over 45 years.
  • Africa’s only population of Dugongs The rare and endangered dugong can be found in the shallow waters in the Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos, where sea-grass is abundant. Dugongs are also known as "sea cows" and are directly related to the Elephant even though they do not bear any resemblance at all.
  • Love is in the air Mozambique is a romantic island destination where time appears to stand still. What better place to share a romantic holiday than these marvellous beaches with their fine white sand, dunes, palms, azure water and languid ambience.
  • Food For seafood lovers out there, Mozambique will not disappoint. Enjoy platters of fresh seafood laden with succulent lobster, jumbo peri-peri prawns, fresh line fish and grilled, tender calamari.
  • Best dive locations Two Mile Reef offers divers one of the most pristine coral reefs and dive sites in the world. 75% of the Indian Ocean reef fish having been spotted here, 7 different kind of rays including mantas, reef sharks, turtles and more.
  • Ponta d’Ouro This colonial-era town is popular for its excellent long, wide and surf-pounded beach. Its offshore waters are home to dolphins, whale sharks and between July and October, you will see whales.
  • Vilanculos - a sea lover's nirvana The cerulean waters of Vilanculos attract adventure-seekers eager to go scuba diving, fishing, sailing, snorkelling, horse-riding and kitesurfing in this popular holiday destination.

    Whales Watch humpback whales which come to breed from July to September in the Mozambique Channel.
  • Abundant life in the Bazaruto Archipelago Much of the archipelago has been protected as Bazaruto National Park and, as a result, the turquoise waters are filled with colourful fish, turtles and dolphins. Bird viewing includes fish eagles and pink flamingos. And you will also see red duikers, bushbuck and Nile crocodiles (especially on Benguerra).
  • Capital: Maputo
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Electricity: Current is 220 / 240 volts at 50 c.p.s. You will need a three-point round-pin adapter plug for your appliances (available at major airports).
  • Currency: The unit of currency in Mozambique is the Metical (M) which is divided into 100 centavos. South African Rand and US dollars are also widely accepted.
  • Getting Around: Mozambique is not a self-drive destination and travellers who want to explore its inland regions should arrange a guided safari. To get to the islands, visitors will need a boat, light aircraft or helicopter transfer. Cycling is a good way to see the country however you will need plenty of time to cover the long distances. Planning will be most important as long stretches will offer nothing on the route and as a result, you will have to carry almost everything with you, including all spares and water. Avoid cycling in Maputo and along main roads whenever possible, as there is often no shoulder, traffic is fast and drivers have little respect for cyclists. Boat: On Lake Niassa, there is twice-weekly passenger service on the MV Chambo between Metangula, Cóbuè, Mbueca and several other villages along the Mozambican lakeshore. Bus: Direct services connect major towns at least daily, although vehicle maintenance and driving standards leave much to be desired. A large bus is called a machibombo, and sometimes also an autocarro. While there are several larger companies, most routes are served by small, private operators. Many towns don’t have central bus stations. Instead, transport usually leaves from the bus-company garage, or from the start of the road towards the destination. Long-distance transport in general, and all transport in the north, leave early – between 3 am and 7 am. Mozambican transport usually leaves quickly and close to the stated departure time. There is no luggage fee for large buses. For smaller buses and chapas (converted passenger trucks or minivans), if your bag is large enough that it needs to be stowed on the roof, you will be charged, with the amount varying depending on distance travelled and size of the bag, and always negotiable. Where there’s a choice, always take buses rather than chapas.
  • Airports: Maputo International Airport is the main gateway into Mozambique with direct flights from Portugal, Johannesburg or Cape Town. Holiday-makers usually use this airport on their way to one of the country's smaller airports to access the Indian Ocean coast. Vilanculos International Airport - fly from Maputo, Johannesburg, Cape Town or Kruger International for the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago. Pemba International Airport is the gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago. Pemba is accessed via Maputo, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique is the national airline in Mozambique, and has flights linking Maputo with Inhambane, Vilankulo, Beira, Chimoio, Quelimane, Tete, Nampula, Lichinga and Pemba. Always reconfirm your ticket, and check in early. Visa cards are accepted in most offices.

    What to wear: For most of the year you can wear light clothing and with its abundance of beaches, don’t forget to take your bathing suit, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. For summer (December to February) pack tropics-friendly, loose-fitting clothing, light shirts and pants of natural fibres (cotton, linen), sun hat, a light sweatshirt for the evening, light raincoat or umbrella. In winter (June to August) pack something warm as it does get chilly in the evenings. When visiting game reserves, remember to pack sensible walking shoes, a hat and colour-appropriate clothing (browns, greens, etc). In the evenings, it is advisable to wear long-sleeved shirts to protect from the mosquitoes. For the reef, you will need equipment for snorkelling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.
  • When to go: Between May and November, Mozambique experiences cooler, dry weather with clear skies, plenty of sunshine and almost no rain, making this the ideal time to visit. Daytime temperatures reach 28ºC (82ºF). Bear in mind that in this period the interior can get cold at night. For those who don't like the heat, inland areas during the months of June and July are the coolest and then from mid-August, the temperature starts to rise again. For a beach holiday in the south of the country, September and October are preferable, because from June to August it can get a little cool, while in the centre-north you can go from mid-May to October. On a final note, between December and April, it is the rainy season which can bring washed-out roads and occasional flooding in the south and centre.
  • Area: Mozambique’s total land area is 786 380 Km2 (303 623 sq. miles). The country is on the south-eastern coast of Africa, bordering Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia to the north; Zimbabwe to the west; South Africa and Swaziland to the south; and the Mozambique Channel to the east. Maputo, its capital is in the south, near the coast. Its terrain ranges from rain forests and swamps to mountains, grasslands and 2 500 km of spectacular coastline with dunes and beaches. The Zambezi River cuts the country into the northern and southern region and is an important natural resource, supplying power through the Cahora Bassa dam - one of Africa's largest hydroelectric projects.
  • Niassa Game Reserve Niassa Game Reserve in northern Mozambique, is an area of around 42 000 km2 and home to the most prolific wildlife in Mozambique. Unlike other areas, the reserve was left untouched by the two decades of civil war and the wildlife numbers remained constant. It is remote and difficult to access and earns its reputation as one of the last true wilderness experiences left in Africa (read: not for the fainthearted). Game includes more than 10 000 elephant and more than 200 of the critically endangered African Wild Dog. Leopards, lions and hyenas are common with big numbers of herbivores present including three endemic species, Boehms Zebra, Johnstons Impala and Niassa Wildebeest.

    Tofo Beach Thanks to a seemingly never-ending supply of plankton, Tofo Beach is home to one of the largest concentrations of whale sharks in Africa. It is a tiny traveller’s haven and about 400 km north of the capital Maputo. The best time to go is from October to March when sightings of 50-strong congregations are not uncommon.
  • Ponta d'Ouro Located just south of Maputo, this area is a hub for diving and surfing. From a diving perspective it is paradise as it boasts diving throughout the year with well over a dozen reef dives and a good variety of marine life like whale sharks, manta rays, potato bass and more. Along the coast there are loggerback- and leatherback-turtle nesting sites, which are protected by the Ponta d'Ouro Partial Marine Reserve. Surfing is also a popular activity here and the best months are generally between June and August, despite temperatures being a little colder.

    Ilha de Mozambique Ilha de Mozambique (also known as Mozambique Island) is a crescent-shaped coral island that seems lost in time and space. For four centuries it was the capital and trading centre of Portuguese East Africa, a rich bazaar of European, Arab and Indian cultures dominated by the continent’s most formidable fortress. The entire island, barely two miles long and a few hundred yards wide, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ilha’s history is fascinating and well worth a visit. Look out for some of the ancient buildings that are made from coral, the Chapel of Nossa Senhora (dating back to 1552) and the Governor's Palace.

Destinations in Mozambique