Mozambique Holiday

The ultimate guide to your Mozambique holiday

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    Everything you need to know about your Mozambique holiday

    Welcome to Discover Africa’s ultimate Mozambique holiday guide. Mozambique, while one of the more rustic and rural destinations in Southern Africa, offers a plethora of experiences for the traveller who enjoys an off-the-beaten-track experience. Rich cultural history and a coastline that most countries would envy, this destination offers sun, sea and sand on its islands, marine life that is unmatched, and some top class hotels and resorts. Curate your holiday experience and let us do the rest for you. It couldn’t be more easy.

    Blissful Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (6 days)

    This luxury honeymoon will take you to Mozambique’s slice of paradise; Benguerra Island. You’ll stay at an incredible lodge with romance, exclusivity and barefoot luxury as the main themes on this magical escape.

    • aerial view of benguerra island mozambique holiday

      Day 1

      Welcome to Mozambique! … A tropical island paradise awaits you. You’ll land in Vilanculos from Johannesburg and be met by a representative of andBeyond Benguerra Island before being whisked away by helicopter to the island. Don’t miss out on enjoying the incredible views of the Mozambican landscape of sand and sea.
    • beach picnic mozambique honeymoon holiday

      Day 2-5

      Your next couple of day at Benguerra will be spent at your leisure. … Make the most of your time with exciting and thrilling sea and beach activities.
    • sunset dhow mozambique holiday

      Make memories

      Activities on the island … There’ll be no want of things to do. Look forward to your choice of:
      • Romantic beach picnics
      • Coastal horseback riding
      • Snorkelling and scuba diving
      • Marine life interactions, including dolphins, dugongs, turtles and the gentle whale shark
      • Kayaking, SUPing
    • snorkelling with turtles mozambique holiday

      View the complete tour

      Activities on the island … There’ll be no want of things to do. Look forward to your choice of:
      • Romantic beach picnics
      • Coastal horseback riding
      • Snorkelling and scuba diving
      • Marine life interactions, including dolphins, dugongs, turtles and the gentle whale shark
      • Kayaking, SUPing

      Where to go

      Travelling to Mozambique

      • Maputo

        maputo mozambique

        Maputo is Mozambique’s fun, chaotic capital, fanning back from the northern shores of the sparkling Maputo Bay. On its downtown grid of jacaranda and acacia-lined avenues you’ll find Art Deco architecture alongside colonial-era Portuguese homes. Not all are well-maintained and there are certainly potholes here and there, but on the whole the impression is of a city on the rise. You’ll find excellent restaurants, vibrant nightlife and good hotels, and there’s also a three-hour ferry (or you can fly) to nearby Inhaca Island if time allows.

        • Highlights
          dhow coastal belt

          Don’t miss Maputo’s Casa de Ferro (House of Iron), the strange pre-fabricated iron mansion that was imported from Belgium in 1892. The Natural History Museum should also be on yor list, although more for its wonderfully ornate Manueline gothic building than for the slightly dishevelled exhibitions inside. There are seven major street markets selling fresh fish, delicious food and crafts, but the huge Barracas do Museu night market deserves special mention. Hardly a market at all, it serves nothing but drinks – an absolute must if you’re on the hunt for a vibe! On the far side of the bay, the Ilha de Inhaca is the most accessible island in Mozambique. It’s an utterly beautiful, palm-fringed subtropical paradise and surprisingly crowd-free considering its proximity to the capital. Across the channel below Inhaca lies Cape Santa Maria, and the Machangulo Peninsula, which connects to the mainland in the south. Machangulo’s beaches are some of the most immaculate in Mozambique, through they’re hard to reach unless you stay at one of the region’s exclusive lodges.

          • Travel tips

            Maputo has a reputation as a friendly, relatively crime-free city, but take the usual precautions, especially regarding pickpockets. By law you’re required to carry personal identification at all times so it’s worthwhile bringing a certified copy of your passport and leaving the actual document at your hotel. Most larger establishments will accept payment by credit card, although mostly Visa over MasterCard (Amex is unheard of). Besides walking, the best way to get around the city is by taxi and if you plan on taking multiple trips, then it’s less expensive to negotiate a day rate in advance. A few days in Maputo is a rewarding option for the adventurous, a lively, attractive African city that’s more inviting than overwhelming.

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      • Ponta do Ouro

        dhows ponta do ouro mozambique holiday

        Ponta do Ouro, literally ‘Tip (or Point) of Gold’, is a family-friendly beach holiday town, just north of the South African border. It’s the first of a succession of undulating sandy points that stud the wide, golden beach which rolls unbroken to Inhaca Island. This 85-kilometre ribbon of sand is one of the most beautiful and pristine in all of Mozambique. And ‘Ponta,’ as the town is affectionately known, is the most accessible and popular gateway into this slice of heaven.

        • Highlights
          reef shark diving mozambique holiday

          Ponta has a reputation as a bit of a party town, especially during the Christmas and Easter holidays when it’s a firm favourite with visiting South Africans. It’s a long way off the famous party resorts of the Med, but expect lots of kids on the beach, lively campsite barbeques and buzzing beach bars. It’s a great place to go if you’re travelling alone or with a young family, though there’ll more for the kids if they’re old enough to snorkel or take boat rides. Ponta’s Scuba diving is world-class and the conditions for underwater photography are ideal. The water is warm and clear and the offshore reefs are famous for their reef sharks, whale sharks, turtles, dolphins and rays.

          • Travel tips

            Ponta is a year-round beach destination, but for the best diving and snorkelling pick your dates with care. Whales and whale sharks are most common between July and January, while shark diving season (a specialty in Ponta) runs from September through to April. Dolphins, turtles and rays can be seen throughout the year, but the summer months (November to March) are the most pleasant to be in the water. Until recently Ponta could only be reached by 4x4, but a new sealed road now runs to Maputo and South Africa. It remains to be seen what impact this will have on the town, but if exclusive solitude is what you’re after then there are some superb, quieter lodges just a short way up the coast.

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      • Inhambane & Tofo

        northwest safari circuit
        Credit: Sava Dunes

        The sleepy town of Inhambane was once a key trading centre in southern Mozambique. But the days are long gone since Portuguese galleons plied these shores for ivory and slaves. A neat, attractive town it’s now best known for its handful of good restaurants, Art Deco cinema and 19th century Catholic church. Most visitors stop only briefly, however, on their way to the popular beach resort of Tofo to the east. Tofo Beach, and the adjacent cluster of cottages at Tofinho, attracts a steady stream of sun and sea devotees. This chilled dive and surf hotspot is a firm favourite with backpackers, but there are also some stunning upmarket guesthouses and lodges, spread up and down along the coast.

        • Highlights
          string rays mozambique scuba holiday

          Tofo’s beaches and nearby resorts are some of the most popular in Mozambique. There’s plenty of space so it rarely feels crowded – just Christmas and Easter can get full. There are chilled bars and beach restaurants, and excellent seafood, especially the fresh prawns. And for surfers, the Indian Ocean swell throws up a couple of solid point breaks, one off the main beach and one around the corner in Tofinho. The main attraction, however, is undoubtedly the diving, and the off-shore snorkelling trips where you’ll swim with huge whale sharks and manta rays. Tofo is considered one of the best places in the world to see these giants – especially the mantas which can have wingspans over seven metres wide!

          • Travel tips

            Diving with manta rays is possible all year, but as the reef they frequent is around 24 metres deep you’ll need an advanced dive qualification to see them. Whale sharks are most common from November to April, and for them boat-based snorkelling trips are best. There’s a bustling little market just off the main beach, selling fresh fish, groceries and drinks. There’s also an excellent selection of local crafts, paintings and souvenirs, though you’ll find the prices in Inhambane slightly cheaper. There is no bank in Tofo, and no way to draw cash, so bring enough with you as few places accept cards.

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      • Vilanculos

        vilanculo boat cruise mozambique holiday
        Credit: Bahia Mar Boutique Hotel

        Vilanculo is probably Mozambique’s fastest-growing and most bustling beach town, a jumbled network of half sealed, half sandy streets, on a typically lovely ribbon of coastline. With a small, but international airport that sees daily flights from South Africa, it’s popular with luxury fly-in visitors and backpackers alike. Though it has its own gorgeous beaches and is a much-loved destination in itself, the town also serves as the perfect gateway to the Bazaruto islands. This stunning, protected archipelago beckons, just a lazy dhow-ride offshore, and for those who can’t quite manage the ultra-luxury lodges on the islands themselves, there’s a huge diversity of more affordable resorts in town.

        • Highlights
          boating in mozambique
          Credit: Santorini Mozambique

          Day trips to the nearby reefs are arguably Vilanculo’s major draw – the diving and snorkelling is simply some of the best in East Africa. Two Mile Reef in particular is an absolute must and from July to November you may see humpback whales cruising by underwater. Even if you miss them, you’ll almost certainly hear their haunting songs, as a myriad bright fish flash by, along with rays, turtles and perhaps even a whale shark. Big-game fishing is also hugely popular off Vilanculo as marlin, sailfish, barracuda and tuna all frequent these waters. With its wide range of resorts, bare-foot bars and palm-fringed beaches, there’s really something for everyone in what remains a laid-back, uncrowded holiday town.a

          • Travel tips

            Daily flights from Johannesburg and Nelspruit make travel arrangements easy. Nelspruit lies on the southern border of the Kruger National Park and with a flight time of only an hour and 10 minutes, it’s easy to combine South Africa’s most famous wildlife park with the beach. There are banks in Vilanculo as well as a pharmacy and a private hospital, plus a couple of well-stocked supermarkets if you’re booking a self-catering villa. Before you leave be sure to check out the two main central markets, where you’ll find an excellent selection of local handicrafts and souvenirs.

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      • Bazaruto

        beach picnics bazaruto mozambique holiday

        The Bazaruto Archipelago is made up of five glorious main islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina and Bangue. Bazaruto Island is the largest, sporting a 30-kilometre spine of dazzling dunes that roll down its eastern flank above an impossibly turquoise see. Across a narrow channel to the south, Benguerra Island is less than half the size, and Magaruque Island and Santa Carolina are even smaller still. Bangue Island, in the far south, is little more than a sandbar, while a sixth tiny satellite called Pansy (or Shell Island) gets completely submerged at high tide. The whole area is protected within a 1430km2 marine park and offers some of the best diving, snorkelling and recreational game fishing in Africa.

        • Highlights
          dugong mozambique marine life
          Credit: andBeyond
          • Travel tips

            A handful of world-class luxury resorts are the only options for staying on the islands. For understated, intimate, exclusive escapes these lodges are some of the best in East Africa. Guests have the option of a short, spectacular flight from Vilankulo, or an equally beautiful transfer by boat. The sea can get choppy if the wind picks up so flights are preferable if you’re prone to getting seasick. The hotter summer months, from November to March, are best for spotting whale sharks, but with the greatest risk of rain and, occasionally severe, storms. Humpback whales are common during the dry, warm winter, but whenever you visit you’ll find astonishing life beneath the waves.

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      • Mozambique Island

        capela de nossa senhora do baluarte mozambique holiday

        The Ilha de Moçambique is a historical gem, and just a wonderfully laid-back slice of heaven. The entire island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and architectural significance, in particular its fine 16th century fort and associated chapel. It’s the island, not the mainland that first took the name ‘Mozambique’, derived from the sultan Ali Musa Mbiki who was the ruler here in the late 15th C. When the Portuguese arrived, and drove the sultan out, they established an outpost that would dominate the region for nearly four hundred years. Eventually the mainland assumed the name of this European base and when the bulk of trade then shifted south to Maputo, the Island of Mozambique faded from the world stage.

        • Highlights
          coral reef mozambique marine life

          The Island of Mozambique is the oldest European settlement in East Africa, with the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte (Our Lady of the Ramparts) thought to be the oldest European building south of the equator. The chapel dates to 1522 and is protected by the impressive limestone of Fort of São Sebastião. The fort was completed in the second half of the 16th century and saw off a number of major attacks, most notably by the Dutch in 1607 and 1608. The São Paulo Palace Museum is fascinating, as are the Sacred Art and Maritime Museums. And to top off these more cultural pursuits, there’s also sea-kayaking trips, excellent snorkelling, diving and boat-based humpback whale watching.

          • Travel tips

            The Island of Mozambique is not easy to get to. It’s in the far north of the country and the roads can be slow. The closest airport, at Nacala, is a two-hour drive to the north and the international airport at Nampula about three hours’ drive inland. The island’s upmarket hotels will arrange all necessary transfers, but if you’re on a tighter budget then prepare for an adventure. Regional buses and taxis only cost a few dollars, but you may have to switch between them en route. When you arrive you’ll find a wide range of hotels, from breezy romantic suites to family resorts and affordable backpackers. There are cash machines on the island and the bigger hotels accept credit cards, and everywhere you stroll you’ll feel completely safe, day and night

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      • Ibo Island and the Quirimbas Archipelago

        dolphins ibo island mozambique holiday

        The Quirimbas Archipelago lies like a forgotten string of pearls, carelessly flung out along the far northern coast of Mozambique. 12 main islands and 20 smaller make up the chain, scattered along with shell-strewn sandbars and gleaming white tidal spits. The 11 most southerly isles are protected within the Quirimbas National Park, including Ibo Island, which is also the most accessible. Ibo was once an important trading centre on the East African coast, but its stately mansions now lie in ruins, amidst a laid-back community of subsistence farmers, fishermen and silversmiths. On Ibo Island, you’ll travel back in time to catch a glimpse of East Africa as it once was. And on the surrounding atolls you’ll find some of Mozambique’s most exclusive, romantic lodges, world-class diving and phenomenal beaches.

        • Highlights of the Northwest Circuit
          fort jesus ibo island mozambique holiday

          Ibo’s old town has been suggested as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and shares a similar cultural and architectural significance as the Island of Mozambique further south. Most of the historical buildings are from a later period, however – late 18th and 19th century forts, churches and villas. Ibo itself lacks a truly postcard-perfect beach, but it’s an ideal staging post for island hopping along the coast. Dhow and kayaking adventures can be booked from here, and there are fantastic diving and snorkelling on the protected reefs nearby. This is a region that still sees very few visitors so even if you’re not headed to one of the private island lodges, you’ll likely feel like you have the whole exquisite archipelago to yourself.

          • Travel tips

            The easiest way to access the Quirimbas is by air. Pemba is the main local airport and from there you can connect to Ibo or fly directly to your lodge. Ibo Island has a handful of budget-conscious options, but for the most part the Quirimbas Archipelago is the realm of stunning private islands and exclusive romantic escapes. The proximity to Tanzania also allows for great beach and safari combos, just be aware that December to April can see heavy rain and, in some years, violent storms. In early 2019, two huge cyclones battered this coastline, with devastating effect on the community and infrastructure. Tourism is a vital way to support those in the region, but be sure to check the current situation before you travel.

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      When to go

      When to visit Mozambique

      • January
        anvile bay lodge lightning mozambique weather
        January is one of Mozambique’s hottest, wettest months, with daily highs along the coast averaging 31°C (88°F). The nights are warm and there’s often a stiff breeze, especially in the south which tends to be a little cooler. Though highly unpredictable, January mornings often begin bright and clear, with clouds building around lunchtime into powerful afternoon thunderstorms. As you move up the coast, it gets warmer and wetter; Pemba and the Quirimbas see two to three times more rain than Maputo. The severity of the storms also increases, with cyclones a regular scourge in the northeast. If you’re thinking of visiting Mozambique in January, then the beaches from Ponta do Ouro to Inhaca Island are best. Early January will be busy in Ponta, but the town quietens down by the end of the month. Further north, towards the Machangulo Peninsula, you’ll find a succession of excellent lodges boasting secluded beaches and a distinct lack of crowds. Tofo and Vilanculo are also popular in January, though being further north they tend to see more rain. On the whole, January is an uncertain time to visit Mozambique. Gorgeous, hot beach days will flip erratically with sudden storms. Stick south of Vilanculo and you’ll have the best chance of good weather, but expect heat, humidity, and some rain.

        Travel tips

        • Once the holiday rush ends in the middle of January, you may find some good deals and even entire resorts to yourself. The water is warm (28°C / 82°F) and lovely for snorkelling and diving. There’s also a good chance of seeing nestling turtles along the coast and it’s prime time for whale sharks, especially in Tofo and the waters around Vilanculo and Bazaruto.
        • The main disadvantage of January is the weather. It can get very hot and humid and you’ll almost certainly have some rain. Early January can also get very busy along the south coast, especially in Ponta do Ouro, Tofo and Vilanculo. January marks the very end of the humpback whale season and you’re unlikely to see many at this time of year. Gorongosa National Park is also off-limits. It stays closed due to flooding until mid-April.
      • February
        wet season mozambique holiday
        January and February are much the same in Mozambique. It’s the height of summer, with similar conditions through to March. Temperatures along the coast average 31°C (88°F), the nights are warm and humid and hot days can top 35°C (95°F). There’s regular rainfall, which can be torrential at times, especially in the north where there’s a chance of severe storms. December to April is cyclone season in Mozambique and the north-eastern coast has been seriously affected in recent years. The southern coast is less at risk, but expect partly cloudy skies, building to rain every few days. Mornings are often bright and clear, but for full-day, predictable sunshine, it’s better to visit later in the year. February is certainly best in the south. From Vilanculo down, you’ll have sunnier days. It’s a relatively quiet month across Mozambique and a great time be in Tofo and Ponta do Ouro. The coast north of Ponta can be especially worthwhile, with off-peak specials and empty resorts. It’s important, however, to stress the unpredictability of the season – all along the coast you’ll likely get some rain. Lounging indoors, watching squalls roll off the ocean, can be a wonderful thing unless your heart’s set on the beach. Rough seas may also impact boat trips and diving, though it’s rare that poor conditions persist for very long.

        Travel tips

        • February is certainly best in the south. From Vilanculo down, you’ll have sunnier days. It’s a relatively quiet month across Mozambique and a great time be in Tofo and Ponta do Ouro. The coast north of Ponta can be especially worthwhile, with off-peak specials and empty resorts. It’s important, however, to stress the unpredictability of the season – all along the coast you’ll likely get some rain. Lounging indoors, watching squalls roll off the ocean, can be a wonderful thing unless your heart’s set on the beach. Rough seas may also impact boat trips and diving, though it’s rare that poor conditions persist for very long.
        • As with January, February’s main disadvantage is the hot, humid weather, and it’s impossible to predict whether you’ll get sunny or rained-out days. It’s also the worst period for sighting humpback whales, and Mozambique’s main national park, Gorongosa, is closed.
      • March
        baraka beach mozambique weather
        Temperatures remain high as Mozambique’s long, wet summer continues. Expect humid nights above 20°C (68°F) and average daily highs still over 30°C (86°F). In the north of the country, it remains peak cyclone season and many of the biggest storms strike the coast in March. Flooding is exacerbated by rivers swollen with inland rain and northern Mozambique can be difficult to reach at this time. When the rains do recede, their slow withdrawal begins in the south and by late March the far south may see some sunny days. Although it’s still undoubtedly hot and wet across the country, there’s a hint of change in the air and you may get lucky with some intermittent fine weather. If you’re visiting Mozambique March, it’s still best to head south, from Vilanculo and the Bazaruto Archipelago, down to Ponta do Ouro. Be aware that southern Mozambique can get busy towards the end of March, when South African schools break for the Easter holidays. If you’re searching for solitude there are still plenty of secluded resorts, especially around the Machangulo Peninsula, south of Inhaca Island. The lodges on Bazaruto and Benguerra Islands offer exclusive escapes year-round, and there are a number of out-of-the-way guesthouses and villas north and south of Tofo. If bare-foot beach bars and a more social vibe appeals, then take your pick of Vilanculo, Tofo Beach or Ponta do Ouro. Vilanculo and Tofo Beach have more of a backpacker feel, while Ponta attracts a lively, family crowd from across the South African border.

        Travel tips

        • February and March are some of the best months for nesting turtles, March is still great for whale sharks in Tofo, and the warm water is ideal for diving and snorkelling all along the coast. If you’re looking for a party then the Easter holidays can be fun, especially in the resort towns of Vilanculo, Tofo and Ponta do Ouro.
        • Resorts and lodges fill up quickly over Easter so be sure to make bookings fairly far in advance. There’ll likely still be rain, at least every few days, and both days and nights up and down the coast will be humid and hot. March is not good for seeing humpback whales – they only start to arrive in June. And Mozambique’s main safari park, Gorongosa National Park, is closed during the wet season and only reopens in April.
      • April
        anvil bay lodge camp fire mozambique holiday
        April is usually a lovely month in Mozambique, as the summer rains slowly clear, starting in the south. Day and night-time averages gradually fall, dipping below 30°C (86°F) and 20°C (68°F) in the south for the first time since October. The north of the country is warmer and may yet receive heavy rain – it’s still the tail end of the cyclone season and recent years have seen late storms. On the whole, however, you should see more sun than rain if you stick to the coastal regions in the south. Early April can be busy in the south when the South African schools are on Easter break. Ponta do Ouro, Tofo Beach and Vilanculo will all be at their fullest, and securing bookings can be tricky. That said, there’s still plenty of room in these sprawling beach towns and even more options around them. You’ll find a bustle of activity at a few central campsites and bars, and oodles of peace and quiet on the fringes. The north of the country is still much wetter in April and anywhere north of Beira is at greater risk of late-season cyclones. By the middle of the month, the central highlands are usually drying and Gorongosa National Park reopens.

        Travel tips

        As April unfolds, and the Easter holidays end, there’ll be fewer and fewer people around. You won’t get endless sunny days, but it’s wonderfully peaceful to be on any of Mozambique’s southern beaches. April is also the tail end of the whale shark season and it’s a good time to snorkel with them, especially in Ponta do Ouro and Tofo. Mozambique’s inland safaris also get going in April when Gorongosa National Park reopens. The park closes in December, at the start of the rains, and usually opens mid-month once the summer floods have subsided. It can be hard to secure bookings at the beginning of the month, especially in Ponta do Ouro. In the north of Mozambique there’s still a high chance of storms and even in the south you may get unlucky with late rain and overcast weather.

      • May
        maputo mozambique holiday
        May is an excellent month to visit Mozambique. It’s not yet peak season, but the weather is generally fine and warm. In the south of the country, daily highs average below 30°C (86°F) and the nights are cooler and less humid, sometimes dropping below 15°C (59°F). The north stays hotter longer, with average highs of roughly 31°C (88°F). The nights are also much warmer and more humid, and seldom less than 20°C (68°F). Although the end of the rainy season varies greatly year to year, May is usually warm and dry, especially in the south. A final few clouds may still unleash the occasional downpour, but by the end of May you can expect clearer skies across the country. Anywhere from the Bazaruto Archipelago south, is usually ideal throughout May. The weather will improve as the month continues, and the far south – from Inhaca Island to Ponta do Ouro – will get the best of conditions as the last of the rains move north. Pemba, Mozambique Island and the Quirimbas are still a gamble weather-wise, but can be warm, quiet and generally idyllic, especially in late May. May is also a great time for a city break in Maputo. The days are usually warm and bright, without the humidity of mid-summer. And the AZGO Festival of arts and music, brings an added flair to the capital.

        Travel tips

        • Maputo’s AZGO Festival runs for four days, mid-May, and attracts a lively mix of top Mozambican and international artists. Across the bay, Inhaca Island hosts the annual Inhaca Challenge, a deep-sea fishing competition that draws sport anglers from across Southern Africa. Late May is also a great time to visit Gorongosa National Park. By now the summer floods should have significantly retreated, leaving the park at its lush, green best.
        • If you’re keen on marine giants then May is an uncertain time. There will probably still be whale sharks in Tofo, but sightings are less regular than earlier in the year. In Ponta do Ouro, the shark diving season also ends in April and humpback whales only start to arrive along the Mozambican coast in June. Some lodges, particularly in the north, take their own holidays in May and some sea-based activities might therefore be limited in certain areas.
      • June
        humpback whale mozambique marine life
        June marks the start of Mozambique’s cooler, drier winter season, strewn with bright, hot days that can still climb over 30°C (86°F). Average highs in the south are closer to 26°C (79°F), however, and nights are far less humid making it easier to sleep. Throughout the year, the south of Mozambique is cooler and drier than the north. By June, even the north has very little chance of rain. All along Mozambique’s coast you can expect clear, blues skies and the occasional wisp of cloud. Inland the skies will also be clear, and it can get relatively cold in the highlands where night-time temperatures can drop below 10°C (50°F). June is a great time to start thinking about the far north. Pemba, Mozambique Island and the Quirimbas are at their best from June to October. The bright warm days are perfect for spending time on the beach, although September and October will be hotter if you’re after a serious tan. As you head south, the great beach weather continues – it’s prime time all along the coast from Vilanculo and Tofo to Ponta do Ouro. As ever, these resorts are influenced by the South Africa school holidays and tend to get busier when the winter break begins in late June. With its handful of luxury resorts the Bazaruto Archipelago is less affected. June is an excellent time to visit these islands, as humpback whales return.

        Travel tips

        • June is the start of humpback whale season, especially along Mozambique’s southern coast. Conditions are often calm and clear and it’s a wonderful time to interact with these giants. In the Quirimbas Archipelago, Ibo Island hosts its Kueto Siriwala festival. The festival (which means ‘don’t forget your roots’), begins on 23 June and song, dance, food and dhow racing takes over the island for a fun-filled three days.

        • There are few disadvantages of visiting Mozambique in June. It is the start of peak season, however, so it’s safest to book limited-space activities (such as whale watching boat tours) in advance.

      • July
        sandy beach mozambique holiday
        July is warm and pleasant all across Mozambique. It’s mid-winter, and the days are bright and clear. The daily average in the south is roughly 26°C (79°F). It can get a little hotter along the north-eastern coastline, but only the hottest days might touch 30°C (86°F). Away from the coast it’s generally about 5 to 10°C cooler, and cold nights in the highlands can drop below 10°C (50°F). July and August are Mozambique’s driest months. Despite the very occasional, very localised brief shower, there’s little chance of rain anywhere in the country. July is a good time to go anywhere in Mozambique. Maputo is warm and sunny, not at all humid and ideal for exploring on foot. The southern beaches that run from Inhaca Island to Ponta do Ouro are just as pleasant, and the same can be said of Tofo, Inhambane and Vilanculo. The first two weeks of July are usually slightly busier along the coast – until the school holidays end in neighbouring South Africa. Both of Mozambique’s beautiful archipelagos are truly superb throughout July. The northern Quirimbas will be slightly warmer than Bazaruto, but both offer clear skies and great conditions for snorkelling, boat tours and diving.

        Travel tips

        • By July, Mozambique’s humpback whales can be seen from the Quirimbas to Ponta do Ouro. Tofo and Vilanculo/Bazaruto are particularly popular places to spot them. July to December are the best months for anglers, with the early part of the season ideal for sailfish off Bazaruto. All along the coast you can expect warm, clear weather and some of the best diving and snorkelling conditions of the year.
        • July is a popular time in Mozambique so be sure to book your holiday well in advance. If you want to swim with whale sharks, this isn’t the best time – rather delay until October or November.
      • August
        santa maria island machangulo lodge mozambique holiday
        August is another excellent month to visit Mozambique. It’s slightly warmer than June and July, and perfect beach weather. Average temperatures in the south are between 17°C (63°F) and 27°C (81°F), while Pemba, Mozambique Island and the Quirimbas are usually a few degrees warmer. August is one Mozambique’s driest months, though there may still be a shower or two, especially in the south. Away from the coast, it almost never rains and the temperature range is more extreme. Expect nigh-time lows of around 15°C (59°F), and hot days well over 30°C (86°F). From August to October Gorongosa National Park steadily dries out. Traditionally these are the best months for spotting animals as the vegetation thins and animals congregate around the handful of permanent water sources. The park is still recovering from extensive poaching during the war, but there’s been a concerted effort to rejuvenate the area and animal populations are growing. If you’re heading to the beaches, then really the entire coastline is ideal. It’ll be slightly hotter in the far north of the country, but expect beautiful, balmy days wherever you go.

        Travel tips

        • August is an excellent time to visit Gorongosa National Park, one of Southern Africa’s most beautiful wilderness areas. The region is famous for its extraordinary birdlife, and the elephant and lion populations have been consistently increasing since the war. Mount Gorongosa is one of the world’s last uncharted wildernesses, with numerous endemic species, some brand new to science. Up and down the coast, August is prime time for humpback whales, and it’s one of the best months of the year for diving and snorkelling. Across the country the weather is superb – it’s arguably the best month to hit the beach. Both nights and days get gradually warmer, but are still a long way off the humid heat of mid-summer.
        • August is still a bit too early for guaranteed whale shark encounters. If these wonderful giants are on your bucket list, then October onwards is better. Otherwise there’s very little downside to August, except that being such a great time to visit, it will be slightly busier.
      • September
        secluded beaches in mozambique
        September in Mozambique sees steadily warming days and nights. The northern coastline, always slightly hotter, consistently averages over 30°C (86°F). The south and interior are generally cooler, but there’s far more daily variation and the highs and lows are more extreme. Hot days can reach well over 35°C (95°F) inland, while the nights cool rapidly, averaging around 16°C (61°F). September is typically still dry across the country, but along the southern coast the clouds start building and there may be the occasional, brief spring storm. As the month goes on you can expect more partly-cloudy beach days in the south, and a freshening breeze – it’s the windiest month in Maputo. Pemba and the Quirimbas are postcard perfect in September. You’ll have hot, sunny days with bright blue skies and fluffy clouds. In Vilanculo, Bazaruto and Tofo the norm is slightly less blue and a bit more cloud, while Maputo and Ponta do Ouro will get a few completely overcast days. That said, the southern coast is hardly to be avoided in September. It’s still great beach weather, and the diving and snorkelling conditions are usually excellent. This is also a good time of year for a safari in Gorongosa National Park. Just be aware that temperatures will be climbing – September to November are the hottest months in the park.

        Travel tips

        • September is another great month for seeing humpback whales in Mozambique. Whale spotting boat tours can be arranged from most major coastal resorts. Divers all along the coast will almost certainly hear their enigmatic calls, and off Bazaruto, Tofo and Ponta do Ouro you may even catch a glimpse of them underwater.

        • Although rain is very unlikely in September – and then only in the south – it’s generally cloudier and windier than July and August and there may be the odd spring squall. Diving conditions are generally excellent, but visibility may drop on more blustery days.

      • October
        wildlife in mozambique gorongosa park lion
        Throughout October the heat gradually builds and there’s an ever-increasing chance of thunderstorms in the south. The southern coast averages around 29°C (84°F) although some days can get considerably hotter. The north-eastern coastline is always slightly warmer than the south, and has a more consistent local climate with fewer extremes. Nights are warm – about 20°C (68°F) – and most days will hover around 32°C (90°F). Away from the coast and the sea’s cooling breezes, temperatures of 35°C (95°F) or more are common. As the humidity rises the clouds gather overhead, Mozambique holds its breath for the first summer rains. For the best beach weather, head north in October. Pemba and the Quirimbas are excellent at this time of year. Vilanculo and the Bazaruto Archipelago are also good to visit October, with fewer cloudy days than in Tofo and the south. By late October there is some rain in Ponta do Ouro, as well as in Maputo which can get particularly hot and humid. The fresh ocean breeze brings welcome relief in the capital; October is one of the windier months along the southern coast. To the north and inland, Gorongosa National Park is sweltering. It’s arguably the best time for seeing wild animals as they flock to the park’s few permanent water sources, but be prepared for temperatures up to 38°C (100°F).

        Travel tips

        • October is an excellent month for sport fishing, in particular for marlin off the Bazaruto Archipelago. It also marks the start of the turtle breeding season when there’s an increased chance of seeing them while diving and snorkelling along the coast. October remains a great month for seeing humpback whales, and by the end of the month the magnificent whale sharks return to the waters off Tofo.
        • Although October is generally still a great time to visit Mozambique, there’ll be fewer optimal beach days, especially in the south. By the end of the month the south will also likely see some rain, but usually not enough to get in the way of outdoor pursuits.
      • November
        santa maria island coral reef marine life mozambique
        Mozambique’s rainy season begins in November, starting in the south and moving slowly up the coast. The arrival of the rains is unpredictable and irregular, a succession of hot, humid days interspersed with impressive thunderstorms. Temperatures in the south can top 38°C (100°F), but conditions cool rapidly as soon as the rain begins to fall. Along the north-eastern coastline this is the hottest time of year and it’s usually the last area in the county to receive any rain. Pemba and the Quirimbas Archipelago are the driest regions in November. The weather is generally hot and clear, with light sea breezes and balmy evenings on the beach. The southern beach resorts are less certain, however. The diving and fishing can be excellent in Vilanculo and the Bazaruto Islands, for example, but rough conditions may hamper activities some days. Similarly, in Tofo, with the whale sharks returning, there’s every reason to visit, despite the chance of choppy seas and rain. All down the coast you’ll find hot, humid conditions – great for being in the water, but less comfortable when you’re trying to sleep.

        Travel tips

        • Although November can be hot, humid and occasionally wet, it’s just the start of the rainy season and there’ll still be plenty of bright, sunny days. It’s a good time to risk uncertain weather for top marine activities, such as snorkelling with whale sharks, deep-sea angling and shark diving.

        • If your time in Mozambique is short, then the summer months do present a risk. Rough seas can disrupt dive activities and although it rarely lasts long, you may miss out. The heat and humidity is also not for everyone. If you prefer cooler (drier) weather, then June to September are better.

      • December
        anvil bay lodge mozambique holiday waves
        Mozambique’s summer rainy season begins in earnest in December. The south of the country receives the rains first, which get heavier and more frequent as they spread north up the coast. Inland areas also see heavy rain, although like the far north, the biggest downpours usually arrive in January. December is one of Mozambique’s hottest months with average day-time temperatures well above 30°C (86°). Nights are also warm and humid everywhere, seldom dropping below 20°C (68°F). December marks the start of Mozambique’s cyclone season and powerful storms can hit the northern coast until April or May. Despite the chance of rain, the far southern beaches are still very popular in December. The usual pattern is for bright, clear mornings, with thunderclouds building in the early afternoon. When the rain does fall – and it’s not every day – it brings a welcome relief from the heat. And rain or not, the sea is always warm and inviting, and clear days can offer spectacular diving. On the whole, in December, it’s best to pick a region for its activities. Tofo for whale sharks and manta rays, Ponta do Ouro for shark diving and turtles. Vilanculo and the Bazaruto Islands are well-known for all of the above, plus outstanding deep-sea sport fishing.

        Travel tips

        • The summer months are arguably Mozambique’s best for marine life and one of December’s major highlights is the chance to see turtles. Various species, including giant leatherbacks, nest along the coast and can be seen on the beaches as they come ashore to lay their eggs. If marine giants are what you’re after, then December is a great time. Although humpback whales are only rarely spotted this late, it’s great for whale sharks, reef sharks and manta rays.

        • Generally speaking, December is a risk if your time is short – there’s always a chance you’ll hit a succession of rained out days. It may mean that boat dives are not possible for a period, or that underwater visibility is poor for the duration of your stay. For land-based safaris December is also not ideal. Gorongosa National Park usually closes mid-month, when flooding makes the roads too waterlogged to drive.

      Why Mozambique?

      Once the darling holiday destination of Southern Africa, Mozambique has suffered turbulence and tragedy in its recent past. It’s perhaps too much to say it was the ‘Algarve of East Africa’, but it’s unique, vibrant blend of sun, sea and Afro-Portuguese heritage attracted hundreds of thousands in the years before the war. Although the struggle for independence from Portugal began in the early 1960s, it was not until civil war broke out in ‘75 that all tourism effectively ceased. Lodges closed, resorts fell to ruin and millions of people were killed or displaced.

      benguerra island mozambique holiday

      When the war ended in 1992, there was little infrastructure and no tourism to speak of. But as stability returned, so did an adventurous few, braving the rough roads and uncertain, often dilapidated lodgings. What the war could not destroy was arguably the most beautiful stretch of golden coastline in Africa. The lack of development simply added to the charm. Those who came found a country looking forward to the future, a laid-back seaside paradise of sun, surf and phenomenal seafood. In the years since the war Mozambique’s shores have been battered by storms, but the upbeat outlook and easy-going charm remains. The roads are now much better and the quality and variety of lodges and resorts have vastly improved, but this magnificent coastline still feels wonderfully new and untamed. Mozambique’s two main island archipelagos, Bazaruto and the Quirimbas, are among the best in the world for ‘barefoot luxury’ breaks. Scattered up and down the mainland beaches, you’ll find high-quality, affordable lodges, secluded villas and attractive family hotels.

      mozambique holiday marine life dolphins

      Though development is ongoing, the pace is slow and measured, and one of Mozambique’s major draws remains its wide-open views and lack of crowds. Although the far south can get busy over Christmas and Easter, for the rest of the year you’ll likely have entire beaches to yourself. The north of the country is harder to reach and quieter still, and inland the wildlife parks see only a trickle of adventurous guests. Most visitors still come specifically for the beaches and with over 2,500km of stunning coastline to choose from, there’s no shortage of room to stretch your legs.

      inhambane market mozambique holiday
      Credit: Travessia Beach Lodge

      In a sense, it’s Mozambique’s troubled past that makes it such a unique destination today. It’s been over 25 years since the end of the war, yet it remains relatively undeveloped and in many places, pristine. With its unique cultural blend, great food and sublime seas, Mozambique has a strong claim on the best beach holiday in Africa.

      Animals and marine life

      Most visitors, quite rightly, come to Mozambique for the sea. There are hundreds of dive and snorkelling sites along this quite extraordinary coast. And besides the abundant reef fish and spectacular coral, there are also the glorious marine giants. The soft-shelled leatherback turtle grows to over two-and-a-half metres long and the beach town of Tofo is famous for its whale shark snorkelling and dives with manta rays. Humpback whales can even be seen breaching from shore as they pass down the coast between June and December.

      scuba diving whale shark mozambique holiday

      Away from the sea the wildlife is less prolific; Mozambique’s parks and reserves suffered extensive poaching throughout the war. To some extent the problem of poaching continues, but two reserves in particular are showing hopeful signs. Gorongosa National Park was once one of the top safari parks in Africa, and although populations are still recovering, lion, elephant and numerous antelope species can be found. In the far south, the Maputo Special Reserve protects some of Mozambique’s most pristine lakes and beaches, and there’s a small but visible elephant population that calls the reserve home.

      elephants gorongosa national park mozambique safari

      Both of these parks, and Mozambique as a whole, are truly wonderful if you have a soft spot for birds. Pack your binoculars to see some of Mozambique’s 750 or more species – that’s 50 more species than across all of mainland Europe!

      Type of traveller

      What type of traveller are you?

      • Solo travel in Mozambique

        If you’re thinking of visiting Mozambique on your own, don’t let anything dissuade you. It’s a friendly, safe choice for solo travel and can be as adventurous or laid-back as you like. Those looking for solitude will find endless, empty beaches, ideal for long, peaceful strolls. And if you’d like to meet people there are lively beach towns, with restaurants and group tours and buzzing bare-foot bars.

        horseback beach holiday mozambique
        Credit: andBeyond Benguerra Island

        It’s not advisable to leave valuables unattended while you swim, or to wander Maputo’s backstreets alone after dark. But these are the kinds of precautions you’d take almost anywhere and, infrequent petty theft aside, Mozambique is a very safe country to visit. Mozambicans have a well-earned reputation for being easy-going and friendly. The seafood is delicious, and very affordable, and there’s a fascinating history and a wonderful underwater world to explore.

        • Best regions to visit
          beach cycling mozambique
          Credit:Financial Times

          Perhaps Mozambique’s only drawback is that it can be challenging to get around. Public transport does exist, but it’s often bumpy and slow and can be difficult to figure out. The more exclusive resorts, especially on the islands, offer a seamless fly-in service. But if you’re a solo traveller, and in particular if you’re on a budget, then bear this in mind.

          The far north of Mozambique is the hardest to reach, involving relatively expensive internal flights, long, bumpy roads, or quite often, both. If you’re feeling adventurous you’ll discover Mozambique’s rich cultural past – the evocative, deserted mansions of Ibo Island and the 16th century Portuguese fort and chapel on the tip of Ilha de Moçambique.

          The far north of Mozambique is the hardest to reach, involving relatively expensive internal flights, long, bumpy roads, or quite often, both. If you’re feeling adventurous you’ll discover Mozambique’s rich cultural past – the evocative, deserted mansions of Ibo Island and the 16th century Portuguese fort and chapel on the tip of Ilha de Moçambique.

          Travelling in the south is much easier than the north. There are direct flights to Vilanculo from Maputo and Johannesburg, and busses and/or backpacker shuttles between Maputo, Vilanculo, Tofo, and Ponta do Ouro. These main centres are by far the most popular destinations for solo travellers and many visitors pick just one or two spots and stick to them. Your choice will depend on ease of access and time of year, and especially on the key activities available in the area.

        • Highlights

          If you’re looking to meet people, then Vilanculo and Tofo Beach are best. They’re at their most lively over Christmas and Easter, and again from the end of June to September. June to September sees the best beach weather and the far south usually has it better early in the season (May/June). Further north, it tends to be hotter and drier in October and, in the far north, it usually stays hot and dry well into November.

          The weather is often a secondary consideration when it comes to Mozambique’s marine attractions. Snorkelling and diving with whale sharks is quite simply mind-blowing and although they can be seen year-round, October to March are best. Another marine giant, the humpback whale, is common off the coast from July to mid-November. So, while October and November can be increasingly humid and cloudy in the south, it’s the perfect time to see Mozambique’s magnificent marine giants and all other considerations might be secondary.

          dolphina marine life mozambique diving holiday

          Turtles, dolphins, reef sharks and manta rays can be seen along the coast year-round. But specific local areas may have subtle seasonal variations so be sure to check with a local dive operator before you travel. If you’re not a diver already, then this is the time to learn! Mozambique has a number of excellent dive schools, and they’re a great way to socialise and meet new people.

        • Travel tips
          • Be aware that outside of the main resorts, English is not widely spoken. A Portuguese phrase book or app on your phone will go a long way to easing communication.
          • Credit cards (preferably Visa) are accepted at most resorts and hotels, but for smaller enterprises and local transport you’ll almost certainly need cash. In Ponta do Ouro, South African rands are readily accepted, but otherwise the best option is to draw local currency (meticais) from an ATM when you arrive. ATMs are common in all the main centres (although Tofo is a notable exception – the nearest one is in Inhambane).
          • Mozambique is generally considered a safe country for women travelling alone. Dress codes and attitudes are less conservative than in other East African countries and homosexuality has been legal since 2015.
      • Mozambique honeymoon

        Mozambique is the very vision of romance, with its endless, empty beaches, swaying palms and turquoise sea. But what makes the country particularly special is the quality and variety of the romantic experiences on offer. From private beach huts to serviced villas, secluded island retreats to polished luxury hotels – whether you’re planning your honeymoon or plotting a more impulsive escape, you’ll find your postcard-perfect paradise whatever your taste or budget.

        azura benguerra island beach mozambique honeymoon
        Credit: Azura Benguerra Island
          • Best regions to visit

            One of Mozambique’s major draws is that, a few bustling beach towns aside, it remains largely undeveloped and unexplored. The kind of intimacy and exclusivity that you might only expect on a private island can also be found on a quiet mainland beach, especially in the south of the country.

            The southern coastline from Ponta do Ouro to Inhaca Island is one of the most beautiful and untouched in Mozambique. Ponta do Ouro itself can be a bit rowdy for romance, but as you head north up the coast the mood rapidly changes. Scattered along the deserted beaches you’ll find a handful of intimate lodges, tucked between the ocean and the stunning Maputo Special Reserve. The reserve protects not just miles of untrammelled beach, but a glorious stretch of inland lakes and forest, home to elephants, hippos and hundreds of species of birds.

            Some 500km north of Inhaca Island, the Bazaruto Archipelago also lies within a protected park. These glorious islands are perfect for couples in search of an even more exclusive romantic break. There are only a handful of lodges across the archipelago’s five islands, all world-class and luxurious and ideal for couples. Think castaway picnics on dazzling white sandbars, candle-lit beach dinners, treatments and spas. The waters off Bazaruto are known for spectacular diving and, if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s lots more to do than simply stretch out on the beach. Besides diving, there’s also snorkelling, sea kayaking and sunset dhow cruises, while on land there’s horse riding, dune boarding and island tours.

            nkwichi lodge star bed mozambique holiday
            Credit: Nkwichi Lodge

            In the far north of Mozambique, the magnificent Quirimbas Archipelago is the most isolated, and arguably the most beautiful region in the country. This is the realm of dazzling private islands, luxury fly-in resorts and spectacular honeymoon escapes. If you’ve ever dreamed of a four-poster bed on the beach, then the Quirimbas islands are for you. Or perhaps you’d prefer to explore palm-fringed atolls on a guided island-hopping safari in your own private dhow?

            • Highlights

              A Quirimbas Archipelago dhow safari is one of Mozambique’s major highlights for adventurous couples. Explore the islands with an experienced skipper and personal chef, picnicking on empty sandbars and sleeping in mobile beach camps under the stars.

              romantic beach dining azura benguerra island mozambique honeymoon
              Credit: Azura Benguerra Island

              For more traditional resort-style pampering, you’ll find top-notch romantic lodges and secluded couples’ retreats up and down the coast. And if a week-long boat safari seems a little excessive you can easily take a day trip or a sunset dhow cruise instead.

              Many of Mozambique’s lodges and resorts also have a strong sustainability and conservation ethos. There’s a real emphasis on low impact tourism, wildlife protection and community development. Whether you’re on an island-hopping safari or ensconced at a stunning beach lodge, there’ll be opportunities for bird-watching, learning about key wildlife projects in the area, and meeting and interacting with the local community.

            • Travel tips
              • Mozambique is perhaps the least conservative country in East Africa. Affection is public is generally not an issue, although topless bathing is not the norm and will almost certainly be frowned upon. Same-sex relationships have been legal in Mozambique since 2015.
              • Mozambique is an excellent choice for honeymooners and romance, whether you’re looking for all-inclusive pampering, adventure or bare-foot luxury. Resorts and lodges in Mozambique are fully aware of what they can offer romantic couples – let them know in advance and they’ll happily tailor an experience just for you!
        • Family holiday in Mozambique

          Mozambique has long been a family holiday favourite with South Africans and over Christmas and Easter in particular, the wide, southern beaches are a playground for kids. There’s plenty of space for children to run around and explore, plus laid-back, family-friendly resorts that offer kids’ clubs, child discounts and day care.

          kids activities mozambique holiday
          Credit: Santorini Mozambique

          You’ll need something of an adventurous spirit, especially if you have very young children. Road transfers can be long and bumpy and there’s a high incidence of malaria throughout Mozambique. While travelling to Mozambique with very young kids is not impossible, it might be better all round to wait until they’re a little older. There’s more effective anti-malarial medication for older kids and teens, and once they reach 10 years old they can take introductory scuba diving courses and access the marvels beneath the sea.

          • Best places to visit

            The best regions for a family holiday are in and around Ponta do Ouro, Tofo Beach and Vilanculo. Of the three, Vilanculo is the most accessible, with its international airport and regular flights from Johannesburg and Maputo. Family activities from Vilanculo include speed-boat trips, dhow rides, shallow dive sites and safe swimming. A snorkelling trip and picnic to one of Bazaruto’s sheltered beaches is an unforgettable experience for kids of all ages.

            Further south, the Tofo Beach region is somewhat trickier to reach. It’s serviced by the tiny Inhambane Airport, but flights are less frequent and only connect internationally through Maputo and Vilanculo. If you’re driving in, it takes about seven or eight hours from Maputo which may be a trial with traffic and poor roads. Once there, however, it’s a great place for families. There are some excellent, affordable self-catering cottages, and the chance to snorkel with whale sharks. Just be aware that the waves here can be bigger than in Vilanculo, and ocean swimming is more suited to teens than young kids.

            mozambique family holiday
            Credit: Travessia Beach Lodge

            In the far south of Mozambique, lies Ponta do Ouro, undoubtedly Mozambique’s most popular family holiday town. A new sealed road has now made Ponta much more accessible and what was once a hot and dusty 4x4-only journey, is now an easy hour-and-a-half drive from Maputo. Ponta is safe and easy going and loads of fun for kids. There are introductory diving courses for the older ones, plus swimming and snorkelling and a stunning, wide beach.

          • Highlights

            Exploring the ocean as a family is one of Mozambique’s major highlights. This beautiful, warm coastline offers incredible marine life. Kids as young as 10 years old can already learn to dive and after a four-day course 10 and 11 year olds can be certified to 12 metres. You’ll need to check that the area you’re visiting has suitable shallow reefs, but 12 metres is more than enough to discover the enthralling world underwater. You’ll find turtles and dolphins and thousands of reef fish and with knowledgeable instructors and so much to learn, it’s an education for the whole family.

            turtle hatchling marine life mozambique

            Above the waves it’s all about dhow rides and speedboats, and learning to fish from the beach. Mozambique’s highlights are very sea and beach orientated, including the culinary – this coast is famous for its fish! But if your kids don’t like seafood, there’s no reason to worry. You’ll find plenty of kid-friendly restaurants and no shortage of classic favourites such as pizza and burgers and chips.

          • Travel tips
            • If you’re travelling through South Africa to Mozambique, you’ll need an ‘unabridged birth certificate’ for each child younger than 18. It needs to show the full name of the child, as on their passport, as well as the full names of both parents. If one or other parent is travelling alone then you’ll need written consent from the absent parent. It’s all a bit of a hassle, but it’s aimed at curbing child trafficking – a worthy concern that the authorities take seriously.
            • Another concern is the risk of malaria – be sure to consult a doctor before you travel. June to September are the months with the lowest risk, but at any time of the year it’s worth taking your own mosquito nets, and pack a roll of duct tape to repair any holes.

      Budgeting for Mozambique

      • Budget holiday in Mozambique

        For a budget-conscious holiday it’s best to head for one of the main southern beach towns – specifically, Ponta do Ouro, Tofo Beach or Vilankulo. Your principal expenses will likely be diving and boating activities, closely followed by accommodation, meals and local transportation. Internal flights in Mozambique are relatively expensive, as are private vehicle transfers between the more upmarket hotels. A flight from Maputo to Tofo (Inhambane), for example, will cost around $160 one way, while a bus or shared tourist shuttle is about $16 and a local shared taxi (chapa) even less.

        ibo island lodge dhow camping tour mozambique holiday
        Credit: Ibo Island Lodge
        • Highlights
          vamizi island activities scuba diving mozambique holiday
          Credit: Vamizi Island Lodge

          Diving is one of Mozambique’s major highlights, but prices vary widely depending on where you go. Ponta do Ouro tends to be the most affordable at around $40 per dive, including gear. Tofo Beach is slightly more at about $50 (also with rented gear), while in Vilankulo it can be over $100 a dive, with the added boat transfer/fuel costs to reach the outer reefs. If you’re travelling alone, it’s worth making friends as many dive centres offer discounts for groups. And if you’re looking to learn, Mozambique’s warm waters are ideal. You can get your PADI Open Water certification from around $350.

        • Travel tips

          Mozambique has an extensive ATM network so it’s really not necessary to arrive with huge amounts of cash. Take at least two bank cards – Visa is preferred – and hide away some backup currency in case of any emergencies. Camping is by far the most affordable option and there are places to pitch a tent in all the main beach towns. The food is excellent and very well priced and you can feast on local dishes and street fare for less than $10 a day.

        Try our African Safari Cost Calculator
      • Affordable holiday in Mozambique

        beach fun mozambique holiday

        Affordable, mid-range hotels and resorts are more common along the southern coast of Mozambique. Look around Ponta do Ouro, Tofo Beach and Vilankulo for the best quality and variety. Generally speaking, the most affordable option will be to hire a house and self-cater, and all three regions have holiday cottages and villas where guests can cook for themselves. Also, look out for all-inclusive specials, which can be great value if activities are included.

        • Highlights
          dhows mozambique
          Credit: VRio Azul Lodge

          While you’re in Mozambique it’s worth splashing out on a once-in-a-life-time experience. Whether it’s diving with sharks or a desert island picnic, it’s these unforgettable moments that make Mozambique so special. You can go humpback whale spotting, take a dhow cruise or search for giant, loggerhead turtles. All of these can be booked as separate tours when you arrive, or you can book in advance and take advantage of any specials. One affordable route can be to find a more upmarket hotel that offers great value for money on their in-house excursions. Good deals are especially likely during the December to April low season, and the shoulder season months of November and May.

        • Travel tips

          The metical is the local currency, but many mid-range hotels and restaurants will take US dollars, and around Ponta do Ouro South African rands are also widely used. Credit cards are increasingly accepted in the major centres, although Visa is preferred and smaller businesses will likely only accept meticais. Whatever you do, spend all your meticais before you leave. You’ll find it very difficult to exchange outside of Mozambique and will certainly get a very poor rate if you do find a willing FOREX agent.

        Try our African Safari Cost Calculator
      • Luxury holiday in Mozambique

        mozambique accommodation
        Credit: Baia Sonambula

        You’ll find outstanding luxury resorts all along Mozambique’s coastline, but the three main regions are the southern Machangulo Peninsula, the Bazaruto Archipelago, and the stunning coral atolls of the Quirimbas. The Machangulo Peninsula offers gorgeous, serviced beach villas and tasteful hotels, while the handful of lodges on the Bazaruto and Quirimbas islands serve up laid-back, barefoot luxury at its best.

        • Highlights
          horse riding on the beach bazaruto
          Credit: Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort

          A luxury holiday in Mozambique can also be a chance to get involved. Many of the top lodges are linked with local conservation and community projects and there’s an overall emphasis on long-term sustainability. Highlights include rare marine encounters with the highly threatened dugong, nesting turtles, bird-watching kayak adventures and spectacular diving in the Bazaruto and Quirimbas marine parks. Luxury in Mozambique comes with an easy-going island flare – a focus on comfort, breath-taking locations, privacy and exclusivity.

        • Travel tips

          Mozambique is an excellent choice for a beach and safari combo. The Bazaruto Archipelago has easy flight connections to top lodges in northern South Africa, and the Quirimbas Islands are not far from some of Africa’s best wildlife experiences in Zambia and Tanzania. Look out for special deals around the October and November shoulder season – it can be very hot, just prior to the rains, but it’s a great time for spotting animals and is usually perfect beach weather, especially in the Quirimbas. If you’re stopping in Maputo, the capital also has some fine luxury hotels. Slick and well-run, they offer excellent value for money and a convenient, comfortable base from which to explore this vibrant city.

        Try our African Safari Cost Calculator

      Popular Mozambique Safaris

      These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

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       | Mozambique Island Honeymoon Getaway (6 days)

      Mozambique Island Honeymoon Getaway (6 days)

      Spend 5 romantic nights at Ibo Island Lodge, situated in the magical Quirimbas Archipelago in Northern Mozambique. ...

       | Luxury Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (7 days)

      Luxury Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (7 days)

      Powder white beaches and crystal clear, warm ocean water is what honeymoons are made of - and this is the perfect honeymoon option for you if this is what you are looking for. ...

       | South African Bush to Mozambican Beach Holiday (8 days)

      South African Bush to Mozambican Beach Holiday (8 days)

      In this exciting safari holiday, you'll get to experience both Southern Africa's bush and beach beauty...

       | Kruger to the Mozambican Coast (7 days)

      Kruger to the Mozambican Coast (7 days)

      Combining the bush and the wildlife found in the famous Sabi Sand in the Kruger National Park with a tropical stay in one of the sublime lodges of Mozambique's Ponta Mamoli...

      Dhow at andBeyond Benguerra Island | Luxury Land and Sea Safari in Botswana and Mozambique (10 days)

      Luxury Land and Sea Safari in Botswana and Mozambique (10 days)

      Experience the Okavango Delta and the tropical Indian Ocean island of Benguerra for the best of both the bush and the beach...

      The beach deck at Anantara Bazaruto | Bazaruto Private Island Holiday (8 days)

      Bazaruto Private Island Holiday (8 days)

      Enjoy sandy beaches and scenic lakes on Bazaruto private island in Mozambique, try your hand at water sports or simply laze the days away at the pool...