The Bazaruto Archipelago is a group of 6 islands off the coast of southern Mozambique. They lie within Bazaruto National Park and are known for their white-sand beaches. Bazaruto, with sand dunes, is the largest island.
Coral reefs around Magaruque and Santa Carolina islands protect rare marine animals, like dugongs. The wetlands, forests and grasslands of Benguerra Island’s interior are home to many bird species.
Pemba is a port town and the capital of Cabo Delgado Province, on Mozambique’s north-eastern coast. It sits on a peninsula jutting into the wide Pemba Bay, with coral reefs close to shore.
East of the center, the long white-sand Wimbi Beach is backed by palm trees. The town is a jumping-off point for Quirimbas National Park to the north, which is home to dolphins, whales and endangered dugongs.
Gorongosa National Park is a preserved area in the Great Rift Valley of central Mozambique. Its forests and savannahs are home to lions, hippos and elephants. Lake Urema and its surrounding wetlands and rivers attract scores of water birds.
The multitiered Murombodzi Falls spills over jagged rocks on the slopes of Mount Gorongosa. Limestone gorges and bat-filled caves define Cheringoma Plateau.
The Quirimbas National Park is a protected area in the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique, encompassing the southern part of the Quirimbas Islands, as well as a significant mainland area. The mainland region of Taratibua contains various inselbergs.
Quirimbas National Park encompasses 7,500km² of mangrove forests, coral reefs and idyllic beaches along the northern coastline of Mozambique.
While the park contains a significant inland area, which protects important elephant migration routes, it is perhaps best known for the postcard-perfect islands that make up the Quirimbas Archipelago.
These islands are renowned for their natural beauty, with powdery white-sand beaches and turquoise waters teeming with diverse marine life.
The 12 main islands and numerous atolls and coral islets of the archipelago provide essential habitats for sea turtles and migratory seabirds, as well as nursery areas for bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales.
These, along with the abundance of tropical fish species that reside in the park’s rich coral reefs, make for some incredible diving experiences.
Quirimbas is less developed for tourists than the Bazaruto Archipelago to the south, but offers a number of small, upscale beach resorts that are scattered across the islands.
Inhaca Island is a subtropical island of Mozambique off the East African coast. The 52 Km² Island separates Maputo Bay to the west from the Indian Ocean off its eastern shores.
Like so many of Mozambique Islands, it is a natural paradise of breath-taking beaches and coral reefs.
A favourite destination for South African divers and snorkelers, particularly at Santa Maria or the lighthouse. Inhaca Island is easily accessed by ferry, or via a 20 min flight from Maputo.
Maputo – Casa do Ferro
Mozambique’s handsome capital is a lesson in all things colonial. It was raised to the place of first city after the Portuguese drained the surrounding swampland.
Then it was just a case of building the grand, imperial likes of the railway station, the pretty Casa do Ferro (courtesy of one Gustav Eiffel no less!) and rings of wide boulevards peppered with palm trees a la the Algarve – bingo you’ve got yourself a small enclave of Europe in Africa! However, Maputo has long been reclaimed by the locals here, and today the town is known for its enthralling bazaars that pulse with chatter and burst with East African batik, its raucous hip hop bars, and that mouth-watering fusion of Keralan and Arabic foods in the eateries!
A wide and sunny arc of powdery beige sand carves its way along the shoreline to the north and south of tropical Tofo. Meanwhile, the turquoise-blue rollers of the Indian Ocean buffet the bays, snorkelers and swimmers whiz through the shallows, and bobbing fishing skiffs house smiling locals.
Laid-back life mixed with the heady after-dark atmosphere of the half-Rasta beach bars of Tofo town make this all nearly irresistible for travellers in search of sun, sand, sea and relaxation.
It’s no wonder the popular town on the coastal bends of Jangamo District is being touted by some as the next Goa!
Island of Mozambique
Believe it or not, this tiny speck of land that languishes out in the shimmering waters of the Indian Ocean was once the very epicentre of Portuguese East Africa.
Raised to greatness by the European traders and merchants that came its way around the cape, it became an important hub for commerce and admin during the 16th century.
Consequently, there’s now a clutch of interesting colonial builds, like the old town fortifications, a charming whitewashed hospital and the Church of Santo Antonio.
Mozambique’s own character pops up too, with the thatched town of Makuti and the gorgeous tropical beaches. The whole place is now also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – not to be missed!
Ponta do Ouro
Ponta do Ouro is a breath of fresh ocean air, located just 10 kilometres by road from the South Africa border and butting up neatly to the deep-blue Indian Ocean.
A sleepy fishing town at heart, the place beats with the energy of some local tavernas and bamboo beach shacks. These draw a small but uber-friendly crowd of swimmers and snorkelers and surfers during the high season.
However, Ponta do Ouro is also becoming famous for its most elegant marine creature: the dolphin. Excursions out to see the pods flipping and twisting through the waves out at sea are now one of the most popular activities!
Vilankulo is worth a mention if only as the gateway to the aforementioned beauties of the Bazaruto Archipelago.
But not only for that either, and if you come here to linger a little before hopping aboard one of the bobbing dhows that wait on the shore, then you’re in for a laid-back treat.
Yep, this chilled seaside spot is also home to a clutch of its own campsites and leaning bamboo shacks, a lively local marketplace and beer bars.
Add to that a smattering of deserted Indian Ocean beaches close to the town, where the horizon melds from golden yellow sand to cobalt-skies, and it’s easy to see why Vilankulo’s on the up!
Lake Cahora Bassa
The vast lake waters of Cahora Bassa extend all the way from the Zambia border to the very heart of Tete Province in western Mozambique.
Covering a whopping 2,700 square kilometres in total, they represent one of the largest freshwater lake systems in all of Africa.
At one end stands the colossal Cahora Bassa Dam – a massive wall of concrete and steel that clocks up 171 meters in height and 303 meters in width: definitely worth the journey if you like your breath-taking engineering projects! And all around the banks of the reservoir there are now interesting fishing lodges and a smattering of houseboats, not to mention the occasional baroque church in testimony to the erstwhile Portuguese presence.
Thanks to a series of interconnected reserves that run from the meanders of the Ruvuma River in northern Mozambique all the way to the famous Serous Game Reserve of Tanzania, the Niassa Reserve now plays a part in one of the largest international conservation areas on the planet.
That also means that the vast area of miombo woods and rugged rock bluffs is home to some serious biodiversity, with the likes of the African lion, the African elephant and packs of wild dogs all roaming the breath-taking landscapes.
A clutch of eco lodges and ethical tourism camps are now popping up here, attracting safari-goers eager to see the frontline of African preservation.
Surrounded by swathes of spiny pine trees and firs, Lugela of the Zambezia highlands is hardly the sort of place you’d expect to find in the tropical reaches of East Africa.
But that’s precisely the sort of climactic shock Mozambique is known for, and folks heading to this station under the great colossus of Mount Mabu can expect a unique experience of the country.
Hiking and trekking through the savannah habitats are possible nearby, while the mist-topped reserves of the Mabu Forest (thought to be some of the largest remaining swathes of primeval highland forest in Africa) are home to some seriously weird and wonderful fauna: pygmy chameleons; rare bush vipers; critically-endangered birds.
Limpopo National Park
The Limpopo National Park has all the fascinating biodiversity and landscapes you’d expect of a protected reserve that’s contiguous with the legendary Kruger National Park of South Africa.
Feathering out from the bends of the Limpopo River, it’s home to some of the most coveted of African game, which all now roams freely across the border thanks to some ahead-of-their-time international agreements on conservation.
Safaris are – of course – the main draw and countless tourists come in to hit the grassy plains by 4X4 to seek out lions, elephants, waterbuck.
Long ago, Inhambane attracted traders form across the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Spices, silks and other exotic goods would drift into its wide bay on the southern reaches of modern day Mozambique, only to drift out again laden with coveted East African goods.
Later, the bustling mercantile town and its favourable natural harbour became a favourite of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, and those who followed made sure that Inhambane flourished under colonial rule.
That means there are plenty of charming baroque builds lining the streets, along with some great museums and a cemetery that could easily be plucked from the hills of Lisbon. Oh yea, and Tofo – that picture-perfect beach resort – is also nearby!