“Africa is not a country, but it is a continent like no other. It has that which is elegantly vast or awfully little.”
~ L. Douglas Wilder ~
Mozambique is an incredible country on the east coast of Southern Africa. You can find some of the most breathtaking, white sand beaches with excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities all along the coast.
The country is located on the Southeastern African continent and borders with six countries: Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Eswatini (formerly called Swaziland), South Africa.
Interesting facts about Mozambique:
1. The capital city of Mozambique is Maputo with population of 1,2 million. Today Maputo is the largest city and main business centre of the country.
2. The official currency of Mozambique is the Metical (MT), divided into 100 Centavos. South African Rand (ZAR) and US Dollars (USD) are also widely accepted. Money can be exchanged at many banks and the major resorts.
3. The country has two main geographic regions, which are separated by the Zambezi River. In the North, there is only a small coastal strip and there are lower highlands that far in land lead to higher rugged mountain ranges.
4. In the South you will find a broader coastal area and rolling hills. Only in the far Southwest the plateau is framed by the Lebombo mountains which are shared with Eswatini and South Africa.
5. Mozambique has a tropical climate with two seasons. The best time to visit is from June to October during the dry season, with often perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain.
Mozambique's highest mountain is Monte Binga, with 2,436 m
Mozambique's longest river is the Zambezi River.
Mozambique's largest lake is Lake Niassa and this lake is shared with Malawi and Tanzania. The lake is also referred to as Lake Malawi.
The largest dam in Mozambique is the Cahora Bassa Dam which is on the Zambezi River and is one of the largest dams in Africa.
The most fertile region is the northern central region along the Zambezi River.
The longest border is shared with Malawi.
The island of Mozambique is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site so far. The island is the location of the first settlement and fort of São Sebastião. The town once was the main trading post on route to India.
Maputo: Among the main landmarks are the city hall and the Samora Machel Statue at Independent Square as well as Maputo Cathedral and the unique Iron House or casa doferro that is made completely out of iron.
Vilankulos: The town is the main gateway to the Bazaruto archipelago which is known for its splendid white sand beaches. The Bazaruto Archipelago includes five islands and a national park since 1971. There you will find pristine beaches,fantastic snorkelling and bird watching opportunities.
Ponta de Ouro is a popular beach holiday destination with many South Africans due to the vicinity and location across the border. The beaches are golden and usually deserted and there are plenty of family resorts. And in nearby Ponta Mamolione can visit loggerhead and leatherback turtle nesting sites.
Beira: The city was established in 1890 by Portuguese traders and is known since then as an important sea port in Eastern Africa. The famous Macuti lighthouse was built in 1904. The city is situated at two major rivers.
Zambezi Valley: The Zambezi river delta is located only 200 km north of the capital city. The Zambezi Valley is part of the Rift Valley and known for wildlife adventure safaris.
Gorongosa National Park: Gorongosa National Park is located at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley. The park was badly hit during the Mozambican civil war when most animals were poached. Only about 200 elephants survived then, but rehabilitation efforts now bear fruit. The number of elephant herds constantly grow as elephants now are tracked and also other wildlife is protected by rangers.
Facts about Mozambique – Economy:
6. Mozambique is one of the poorest and underdeveloped countries in Africa. The country is often hit by disastrous droughts and cyclones which bring flooding to coastal areas. The country is sparsely populated and most people either live in the coastal regions or in the fertile Zambezi river valley in the north of the country.
7. The economy in Mozambique is mainly driven by agriculture and fisheries. More than 80% of the Mozambicans work in agriculture.
8. Among the main exports are prawns, cotton, sugar and citrus fruits. Mozambique is also one of Africa's largest producers of cashew nuts.
9. Mining plays an important role in Mozambique. The main resources are coal, gold and tantalum, a metal which is used in electronics. Rock salt is mined as well as is marble.
10. The discovery of huge natural gas and oil fields off the northern coast of the country led to the establishment of new industries in the region. However, civil unrest is still creating challenges especially in the country's northern region.
11. The biggest trading partners of Mozambique are South Africa, India, Netherlands, China, UAE and Portugal.
12. The main sea ports are located Beira and Maputo as well as Nacala.
13. Mozambique is home to about 33 million people. Most Mozambicans live along the coast from Maputo to Inhambane and along the Zambezi river as well as around Beira.
14. Only about a third of all Mozambicans live in urban areas, such as the capital city or in larger towns. The largest cities are Maputo, Beira and Nampula. Most people live in rural areas.
15. The northwestern parts of the country are only sparsely populated. In rural areas many people live in traditional huts.
16. As a country ruled by Portugal for a long time, the Portuguese language and Catholicism are still upheld in many parts of the country. Portuguese cultural influences in the Mozambican culture can still be experienced but mostly people practise native cultures.
17. Mozambique is among the top ten countries with the highest birth rates in the world. More than 45% of all Mozambicans are children and under 15 years old.
18. About 2.1 million Mozambicans live with HIV/AIDS and Mozambique is among the three countries that have the highest HIV/AIDS rates among their populations. Mozambique ranks after South Africa and India.
Languages in Mozambique:
19. Portuguese is the most spoken and main working language in Mozambique. More than 80 languages are spoken in Mozambique! Swahili is spoken in the northwestern parts of the country bordering Tanzania and Shona is the main regional language along the border to Zimbabwe. Tsonga is spoken in the southern regions. Portuguese is taught as first language in all schools.
Food in Mozambique:
20. Cassava, cashew nuts, chilli, peppers, corn and fruits such as bananas or avocados are the main agricultural products in the Mozambique.
21. Corn, cassava, cashews and coconut are most common in dishes as are chicken, goat and seafood. Mozambican main dishes contain vegetables and spicy grilled foods.
Here are some typical Mozambican food and dishes:
Piri piri: The red spicy pepper sauce or spice is used for many dishes. Piri means 'pepper' in the Swahili language. The sauce also contains lime, garlic, onion.
Galinha Asada: this is roast chicken, most often basted in the hot piri-piri sauce
Paõ: from the word paõzinho are bread rolls baked in wood-fired ovens and are used for 'prego rolls', which are similar to 'burgers'.
Xima (pap, sadza): corn porride eaten with many dishes - pronounce it 'shima'
Matapa: also referred to as 'mucuane': sautéed cassava leaves mixed with ground nuts or cashews as a thick sauce, that is eaten with rice or xima.
Rissois de Camarão: popular appetizer or snack food, croquettes contain a creamy whole shrimp sauce.
22. Mozambique is home to many rare and endangered animals and plants. The mountain nyala and the Simien jackal are unique to Mozambique. The country is also known for its communities of black and white colobus monkeys and the gelada baboons.
23. In the lowlands many antelope species, wild pigs and monkeys roam freely. In Mozambique there are 12 national parks and national reserves where animals are protected.