There are some important tips that can not be missing on a Mozambique travel guide, to help you plan and to make your experience valuable. 😀
Mozambique Travel Guide:
Chicken is one of the most consumed dishes throughout the country, but it must be a grilled chicken, and if it has piri-piri (spicy chili) the best experience ever. One of the most characteristic places and an icon to eat this delicious chicken is in Costa do Sol in Maputo, right in front of the sea, in the mobile stalls. They will serve it with cabbage salad and xima (cornmeal porridge). But if you do not have time to jump to the beach and prefer to order and takeaway, ask for Take Away Orca, where they prepare a grilled piri-piri chicken that will enchant your palate.
Matapa is another star dish, and is prepared from cassava leaves, coconut milk and grated peanuts, and usually accompanies xima and rice. Some also prepare the matapa with prawns and/or crab. A delight! This dish is easy to find in the Feira Popular, in the lower area (Baixa) of the city of Maputo.
We cannot forget the seafood, which stands out throughout Mozambique. Inside Maputo you have the Mercado do Peixe (Fish Market) where you can choose the fish/seafood you want to buy and then choose a restaurant to cook it for you. Do not forget to also order a garlic bread to join your meal, and all this by the seaside.
And if you are more into snacks, jump to the Dhow Restaurant, where you can enjoy a wonderful sunset while you taste some cheese and honey chamussas.
On the other hand, the last weekend of each month a gastronomic fair takes place in Parque dos Continuadores (also known as FEIMA), a closed venue where artists, artisans and cooks meet. The last weekend of each month it is worth taking a jump here and trying the feijoada (more Brazilian), mucapata (a typical dish from the north of the country), tocossado de peixe…. FEIMA is also the setting we have chosen for our painting workshop: Mozambique Art Day Tour.
Tips: we are friends of eating on the street, because we help the local population that subsists on this, but we always pay special attention to how things have been cooked and these referred places are totally trustworthy by us. Do not forget to carry cash as you will not be able to pay by card.
We could be hours talking about the country’s cousin but you wouldn’t have time to cover all the topics a Mozambique travel guide should cover.
Art & Architecture
All the provincial capitals (Maputo, Xai-Xai, Inhambane, Chimoio, Tete, Beira, Quelimane, Nampula, Pemba and Niassa) have a historical legacy, the fruit of Arab, Indian, Portuguese, Greek and indigenous influence, and have enough arguments to be included in a Mozambique Travel Guide.
For Maputo, see our Maputo Art and Architecture Tour.
Tips: all these cities usually have a tourist information point. If you do not want to miss any detail, go to the tourist office and ask for information about local guides who can show you the charms of the city.
Among the most popular dances stands out the marrabenta, and Xima Pub in Maputo is one of those places that you can visit alone because you will never lack company to dance and learn as much about marrabenta as about quizomba, a more Angolan dance. Continuing the route through Maputo, do not forget to stop at Gil Vicente Café Bar and enjoy its live music and dancing, and at Núcleo de Arte you can have a drink while you chat and chill with artists and musicians.
If you are more into clubs, you have Coconuts and Sixties, on the beach.
If you prefer to have dinner and then link to music and party, choose Dolce Vita or South Beach.
Tips: always go by taxi to these places, and be identified, at least with a certified copy of your passport + visa.
One of the highlights of the country, and absolutely mandatory in any Mozambique travel guide, the National Parks are the most rewarding options for nature lovers. If you want to get lost in the middle of dunes with dense vegetation, fresh and salt water lagoons, elephants, hippos and buffalos, and swim on the beach, come to Maputo Special Reserve. If, on the other hand, you want to go deeper into the savanna and go in search of the Big 5, you can choose between Sabie National Park and Limpopo National Park, both in Gaza province. And if you have more time and days, we advise you to travel to the provinces of Inhambane (Zinave National Park, elephant and giraffe corridor, bathed by the Save River), Sofala (Gorongosa National Park, where lions, wild dogs and virgin mountains are the protagonists) and Niassa (with private reserves where we can see cheetahs, and dive into the waters of Lake Niassa/Malawi).
Tips: don’t forget the binoculars and extra batteries for your cameras, or a charger compatible with the car, so that you can at least charge your mobile; solar chargers are increasingly used, which are an excellent idea for this type of experience. We also recommend mosquito repellent and, depending on the park, preventive treatment of malaria may be recommended, but always consult your doctor/epidemiologist.
If there is a Mozambique travel guide just on this topic, believe, you will not get bored. Within continental Mozambique there are more than 4,000 km of coastline, all washed by the Indian Ocean. We would recommend Ponta do Ouro’s beaches (where the water shines like gold), the beaches within the Maputo Special Reserve (exclusive beaches for you and home to turtles), the wild beaches of Calanga and its endless dunes, the beaches of Chizavane (where there is no lack of whales and vertiginous views), the beaches of Quissico and its lagoons surrounded by seas of palm trees, the beaches of Tofo and Barra and the opportunity to see the Big 5 of the sea (and small animals such as seahorses), the beaches of Vilankulos and its fantasy blue waters, the beaches of the province of Nampula (especially Chokas and Carrusca, where the white sand invades everything) and the beaches of Pemba and surroundings, where the intense blue sea contrasts with a vegetation that has an intense chlorophyll that dyes everything a special green.
Tips: always wear high factor sunscreen. We hear a lot: “factor 20 is OK to me, I don’t get burn…”, but it ends up not being true. So use a factor 50 at least! The water camera and the googles+snorkel cannot be forgotten, because you will surely use them. And if you dive, bring your license and discover the seabed and its live reefs; you can even dive with sharks in Ponta do Ouro if you have the second degree of diver. Ah! Be careful with the currents and tides because these waters may seem calm but the sea is unpredictable and you must always be aware of its behavior.
In Maputo Province you have two options, the popular Inhaca Island (with its neighboring island, the Portuguese Island), where mangroves, starfish, reefs and dense vegetation are your new friends, and the unknown and historic Xefina Island, where you can spend a day or two enjoying the beach and its historic buildings devoured by the sea.
In Inhambane Province, and accessing from Vilankulos, we have Bazaruto Archipelago and its six islands, where we especially recommend Santa Carolina Island and Bazaruto Island. This territory is home to all the fish we saw in the movie “Finding Nemo”, including turtles and dolphins, and a cute and endangered animal, the dugong.
In Nampula Province we have the old capital of Mozambique, Mozambique Island, where you will feel like traveling in time when you stroll through its streets, visit its fortress and explore the museum. Around there are other islands (of the Cobras, of the 7 sticks, of Goa…) and we highly recommend visiting them, as some, like Goa, are uninhabited and you will feel like a Robison Crusoe in the middle of paradise.
In Cabo Delgado Province we have another group of islands, Quirimbas Archipelago, made up of 27 islands, some inhabited and steeped in history, like Ibo, others completely virgin, like Rola, and others private, like Medjumbe. And let’s not forget the sandbanks that form in the middle of the ocean with the rising and falling of the tides.
All of them are accessible by boat, obviously, but some also have private flights by light aircraft and helicopter.
Tips of an alternative Mozambique travel guide: If you are a romantic, you can get married on a sandbank in the middle of the Indian Ocean in the Quirimbas area. If you like diving, Bazaruto Archipelago is a good option. If you prefer history, go for Mozambique Island. And if you like tranquility, we will take you to Santa Maria’s beach on Inhaca Island.
You have endless options, from Backpackers to private and super luxury hotels. Airbnb also works very well and from Booking.com you can compare prices and options.
Tips: we recommend that the accommodation place you choose is located near the beach or the nerve center of the city. Avoid too isolated areas in large capitals, as they are possibly far from points of interest and your safety is surely questionable.
There are several internationally renowned companies that organize car rentals, and you can also request this service from your hotel. We, Mussiro, also offer the option: rental services
Tips: if you rent a car from a private person you don’t know, check that everything is in order: insurance, road tax, radio tax, inspection. Take the car to a gas station where they can do a quick inspection of the vehicle and ask the owner if s/he can help you in case the car has a problem. Remember: cheap can become expensive.
Traveling to Africa does not mean constant heat, because during the winter months (June-August) the temperatures can be cool, especially at night. Although it is true that Mozambique has a warm temperature, the provinces of Maputo and Gaza are a little colder than the others, as they are below the Tropic of Capricorn. And if you sleep in the middle of the savanna or near the sea or a lagoon, there will always be humidity and it can be a cold experience from dusk to dawn.
Tips: bring a jacket and warm trousers.
Health & Safety
Mozambique still has diseases already exterminated in many countries of the world, such as scabies, tuberculosis, hepatitis or cholera, but all of very low risk and easily preventable.
Malaria, however, is endemic and your doctor/epidemiologist will recommend preventive treatment. You choose! We live here, and some of us are expats who have never had malaria. How to avoid it? Use repellent and wear long sleeves and pants during the dark hours of the day. Remember that the treatment for malaria is preventive and does not exempt you from getting it, but today it is easy to detect and it is fought with relative ease. If you are taking Malarone, for example, and you get malaria, it will be much more difficult to mitigate since the parasite has already undergone this treatment. Do not be afraid, we live with it and we have no negative experiences to share.
As for security, it is to take the precautions that you would take in your country of origin: do not leave your belongings unattended, always be identified and do not carry more money than you need. Also, do not wear jewelry or accessories that are visibly expensive. And if you walk through areas with a lot of affluence, ask your guide if it is safe to bring your camera and mobile phone in plain sight.
Tips: make a list with the contact of your embassy in Mozambique, the contact of a taxi, of your hotel and of any hospital/clinic.
Today you can obtain a visa at destination, both at the air and land borders to enter Mozambique, but it is always advisable to contact the Mozambique embassy in your country or closest country, as agreements between countries vary and the requirements and demands are different for everyone.
Tips: always ask your nearest Mozambique embassy.
The official currency is the Metical but the Rand, the Euro and the USD are also currencies accepted at many points within the country and easily convertible to Meticals. Ask your hotel where the nearest money exchange is.
Tips: in Maputo, for example, we recommend the money exchange inside the Polana Shopping.
Always drink bottled water. The water is drinkable throughout the country, and it is good water, but sometimes the pipes can be dirty or your stomach can be sensitive to certain bacteria.
Tips: for the most daring and drinkers of tap water, avoid drinking it during the flood season (rainy season, during the summer, from November to March more or less) as this is when cholera cases usually arise.