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With a great climate, pristine beaches and a slowly burgeoning conservation industry, Mozambique is seen as a great place to get away and just relax. The country is the kind of place you go to if you are looking to unwind and get back to the basics in life.
Mozambique is located along Africa’s picturesque south-eastern coast and is bordered by Tanzania, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. It is a country rich because of its beauty, history and the warmth of its people.
Many visitors are attracted to Mozambique by its warm tropical weather and pristine beaches which stretch as far as the eye can see. Over the last few years Mozambique has become an African tourist hot-spot popular amongst leisure, adventure and eco-travellers alike.
Mozambique is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches along the African coast. In the South the beaches of Bilene and Xai-Xai are extremely popular amongst holiday makers. The fabulous atmosphere and the gorgeous scenery make for a leisurely and truly enjoyable African holiday. Some of the beaches in Mozambique are only accessible by four wheel drive vehicles which makes for an awesome rather adventurous day out. There are also many small Islands in this area which are home to a wealth of marine life and unspoilt beaches.
Mozambique is also home to some of the most delicious fresh seafood.
The country’s shellfish is considered by many to be the best in the world. And one of Mozambique’s best-known dishes is peri-peri style shrimp or prawn. As seafood is so abundant and cheap, it also forms a large part of the local diet and one typical dish is a seafood stew known as Matata. Usually made with clams in a peanut sauce, this is one of the few dishes without Portuguese influence.
The best time to visit Mozambique is generally acknowledged to be the country’s winter, which falls roughly between the months of May and September.
This is when humidity on the coast is at its lowest, rainfall also low and the tropical heat more bearable.
Everywhere in the country is accessible during this time – no threat of cyclones or washed out roads – it’s still pleasantly warm and those godforsaken mosquitoes are far less in number too!
Diving and snorkelling at this time of year is great and, besides the few weeks of South African school holidays that fall during this winter period, tourist crowds are thin on the ground and prices low!
The times that the prices and crowds do skyrocket in Mozambique is during South African schools holidays – normally Christmas / New Year time and again at Easter – so avoid visiting then if you can.
Tourist visas for Mozambique are required by most nations (there are some African exceptions) and are now available on arrival at most borders (land and air) due to a recent change in procedure.
You may want to play it safe and get your Mozambique tourist visa in advance at a consulate, either in your home country or in a neighbouring one, such as South Africa.
Depending on where you get your visa, it can cost anything between $70 – $100 USD and is valid for entry for 2 months after issue and allows you 30 days in the country.
The local beer – 2M – is sold everywhere and drunk in abundance.
The coastal and tropical geographic position of Mozambique means a steady and good supply of fruits, nuts, seafood and vegetables – all fresh and incredibly cheap.
Mozambique is predominantly a cash-based system – do not expect to be able to use a credit card anywhere outside of Maputo except, perhaps, in foreign-owned or fancy hotels.
ATMs are plentiful and easy to use across the country.
Travelling with a Visa here will be better than Mastercard and it’s worth noting that there is often a fairly low ATM withdrawal limit.
Foreign exchange offices can be found in many hotels, as well as banks, across Mozambique and the easiest money to change is USD and ZAR.The official currency is the Mozambique Metical (MZN), but almost everywhere you can also pay in South African Rand.
Meticals come in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 notes. There are also a number of coins.
As with most African countries, it’s wise to keep hold of your small Metical notes as no one in Mozambique ever seems to have change!
Xai-Xai (pronounced as 'shy-shy') is situated in the southern part of Mozambique in the Gaza Province. It is a busy town with markets, shops, restaurants and bars. The beach of Praia do Xai-Xai has been a popular tourist destination for many years.
A coral reef just off the shore offers good snorkelling and protects the beach from erosion. The Wenela Tidal Pool, 2 kilometres south of the town, has a natural tunnel and blow hole that links the pool with the Indian Ocean.
Xai Xai (pronounced "Shy Shy")
This bustling town alongside the Limpopo River is the capital of Gaza Province and situated 200km (124 miles) north of Maputo. Xai Xai has been a long-standing holiday destination for many years and has most amenities including markets, shops, restaurants, bars, petrol stations banks and a post office. The main beach is about 15 minutes drive from the town and forms a long sweep of sand with safe swimming.
Xai Xai in Mozambique has a reef running parallel to the beach where great snorkelling can be enjoyed. Popular beaches in this area include Chongoene and Zongoene. Attractions include the fascinating Wenela Tidal Pool and a number of freshwater lakes within a 30-minute drive which are ideal for watersports and windsurfing. Sunset cruises can also be enjoyed on the Limpopo River, Mozambique.
Each visitor is allowed (through the Border):
Tobacco: 400 cigarettes or 100 small cigars or 50 big cigars or 250grm of loose tobacco
Alcohol: 1lt of spirits and 2.25lt of wine
Perfume: 50ml of perfume
Medication: reasonable quantities for personal use
Other articles not exceeding 50US$.
Narcotics and pornographic material are prohibited
Transport of arms must have a special license
In the North and along the coast, the climate is tropical and humid.
In the Interior, South and the Province of Tete the climate is tropical and dry.
The rainy season is between October and April, with temperatures between 27 and 29 degrees.
The dry season is between May and September with temperatures between 18 and 20 degrees.