Away-from-it-all rustic beaches and off-the-tourist-map adventures beckon in Mozambique, where palm-fringed sands, national parks, seafaring traditions and a rich melting pot of cultures combine to create one of Africa’s most interesting and enigmatic countries.
Best time to visit Mozambique
Mozambique is a great year-round destination. Its coastal areas have a warm, tropical climate, with average maximum temperatures between 25 and 30°C. July to October is peak season here, thanks to the pleasant temperatures. May is hot and dry, while December to March sees relief rain showers and cooler evenings.
Mozambique holiday highlights
Maputo is Mozambique’s south-coast capital; an attractive port city of faded grandeur with classic Mediterranean-style buildings (the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975) on wide, palm-lined avenues sitting alongside colonial hotels, concrete apartment blocks, colourful spice markets and chic cafés. It’s by far the country’s most developed area, but with this comes a fascinating insight into its history and modern-day life. While there’s a cosmopolitan vibe in Maputo, its main attractions are its colonial buildings – the Maputo Central Train Station is a must-see. Explore the Fortress of Maputo (Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Conceição) which dates back to 1787 and head towards Independence Square (Praça da Independência) to see the neo-classical City Hall, The Iron House (Casa do Ferro) and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Imaculada Conceição).
Maputo offers a great introduction to Mozambique, but it’s the vast sweep of largely unspoilt coastline and simple, laid-back beach life that draws travellers here. Long favoured by South Africans as their secret beach escape of choice thanks to direct flights from Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park, you’ll find low-key, boutique lodges (not glitzy or showy, but wonderfully rustic and authentic), dazzling white sands and mineral-rich waters inhabited by abundant marine life. If you’re lucky, you might spot rare dugongs. Here, snorkelling, diving, eating and sleeping is the rhythm of life and a strong Mozambican identity exudes, even on the islands.
East of the capital and reached by an hour’s speedboat journey, the Machangulo Peninsula is a secluded area of sand dune forests and all-but-deserted golden beaches.
Alternatively, a short flight from Johannesburg or Kruger National Park will transport you to Vilanculos. This small beach town is much-loved for its coastal charm, sandy beaches and watersports scene. Vilanculos is also the gateway to one of Mozambique’s highlights – the Bazaruto Archipelago, a glittering cluster of tropical islands and sandbar swirls.
Mozambique is one of our favourite destinations to twin with South Africa. A direct flight can whisk you from Johannesburg to Vilanculos in two hours and from the Kruger in just over an hour, so you could head out on a morning game drive and arrive in time to watch the sun set over the ocean.