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Holidays in Mozambique

Understanding Mozambique

From the 2,436m Monte Binga peak to the stunning beaches along the coast Mozambique is a country of contrasts As well as some of the best colonial era architecture and relics to be found on the continent, Mozambique has also preserved its African cultural heritage which can be experienced through art, music and food

Geography

Mozambique stretches for 1,535 mi 2,470 km along Africa's southeast coast It is nearly twice the size of California Tanzania is to the north; Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the west; and South Africa and Swaziland to the south The country is generally a low-lying plateau broken up by 25 sizable rivers that flow into the Indian Ocean The largest is the Zambezi, which provides access to central Africa In the interior several chains of mountains form the backbone of the country

History

In 1500 the Portuguese established a string of forts and trading posts up and down the coast, starting with present day Isla de Mozambique at that time simply known as Mozambique and where the country gets its modern name, where the Portuguese plied the spice and slave routes from Mozambique up until 1891

After World War 1 Portugise investment in commercial, industrial, agricultural, educational, transportation, and health care infrastructure for the indegenious population started providing for better social and economic possibilities and these continued to gain pace up until independence in 1975

In 1962 several anti-colonial political groups formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique FRELIMO, which initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule Mozambique became independent after ten years of sporadic warfare on June 25, 1975 FRELIMO took complete control of the territory after a transition period and within a year of independence, almost all the Portuguese population had left Mozambique – some expelled by the new government of Mozambique, some fleeing in fear

Upon independence Mozambique had less than 5 engineers in the entire country and the previous colonial infrastructure investments stopped entirely resulting in the rapid disintegration of much of Mozambique's infrastructure FRELIMO responded to their lack of resources and the Cold War politics of the mid-1970s by moving into alignment with the Soviet Union and its allies FRELIMO established a one-party Socialist state, and quickly received substantial international aid from Cuba and the Soviet bloc nations

In 1975 the Mozambican National Resistance RENAMO, an anti-communist group sponsored by the Rhodesian Intelligence Service, the apartheid government in South Africa as well as the United States after Zimbabwe's independence, was founded and launched a series of attacks on transport routes, schools and health clinics, and the country descended into civil war

In 1990, with apartheid crumbling in South Africa, and support for RENAMO drying up in South Africa and in the United States, the first direct talks between the FRELIMO government and Renamo were held In November 1990 a new constitution was adopted Mozambique was now a multiparty state, with periodic elections, and guaranteed democratic rights With the signing of the Rome General Peace Accords the civil war ended on the October 15, 1992

Climate

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs °C 30 30 30 29 27 25 25 26 27 28 29 30
Nightly lows °C 22 22 21 19 16 14 14 15 16 18 20 21
Precipitation cm 130 124 97 64 28 27 13 13 38 46 86 103

Almost all of Mozambique falls within the tropics and as such Mozambique features a mostly tropical climate

Along the coast Mozambique has a warm, tropical climate Evenings are rarely cold, except for a few nights in June and July and the rainfall isn't too high In summer temperatures can soar and the humidity levels rise Temperatures are typically higher in the north, around Pemba, and around the Zambezi

The interior plains generally have a higher temperature then that of the coast and have higher rainfall throughout the year The mountainous regions generally remain cool throughout the year

Public Holidays

The public holidays in Mozambique are:

  • 1 January New Year's Day
  • 3 February Heroes' Day
  • 7 April Woman's Day
  • 1 May Workers' Day
  • 25 June Independence Day
  • 7 September Lusaka Agreement Day
  • 25 September Armed Forces Day
  • 4 October Peace Day
  • 25 December Family Day

Smoking

Smoking in all public places was banned in Mozambique in 2007 However many restaurants and bars have ignored this ban as it is almost entirely unenforced

Talking in Mozambique

The official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, though many people speak English in the capital Maputo and in touristy areas The further north you travel the less likely you are to encounter English speakers, and as you enter more rural areas even Portuguese is limited

Swahili is useful in the far north of the country as you get close to Tanzania, especially along the coast, and Nyanja is spoken near the border with Malawi and Zambia Some native words from the Shona language can be useful if you are traveling near Cabora Bassa

What to do in Mozambique

  • Dive, see Diving in Mozambique for details

Buying stuff in Mozambique

The currency of Mozambique is the new Metical Meticais Nova Família, MZN, plural meticais Mts, pronounced 'meta-caysh', divided into 100 centavos As of January 2010, one US Dollar is worth about 299 meticais, one Euro is worth about 422 meticais, and one GB Pound is worth about 487 meticais

Three zeroes were dropped from the currency in 2006 Old currency can be exchanged at banks up to the end of December 2012 People will occasionally still refer to the old currency, so if someone asks for "1 million", they generally mean one thousand new meticais

Note that many businesses in the tourist centers are run by South Africans and prices are often quoted in Rand for which the usual abbreviation is ZAR In this guide we've also quoted in Rand when applicable

US$, ZAR, British pounds and Euros are freely convertible at commercial rates at any bank or exchange Other currencies such as Canadian or Australian dollars or Japanese Yen, are not accepted anywhere, even at official banks and exchanges

There is very little black market currency exchange, since the commercial exchanges offer the best market rate You cannot exchange meticais outside Mozambique, but you can convert them back at exchanges prior to leaving the country Also you cannot buy meticais outside Moçambique

ATMs are present throughout the country; Standard, Millennium, ProCredit and Barclays are the brands you are most likely to run in to Standard accepts Visa & Mastercard, Millennium accept all international cards including Maestro/Cirrus cards while Barclays doesn't seem to accept any cards with great regularity ATMs will only dispense 3,000Mts at one time although you can insert your card again to withdraw more

Everything in Mozambique that does not have a price attached can be bargained down to whatever you consider a reasonable price to be Remember that while laughing when they give you an insane price is perfectly OK you should not get outwardly angry or hostile, you will be unlikely to get a reasonable price if you do If in doubt about what a fair price is ask your hotel

No one in Mozambique, including often backpacker lodges, have change The 1000Mzn and 500Mzn are almost impossible to use day to day so change them down in to more manageable notes in any bank The one exception to this rule is chapa drivers, if you find yourself running low on small bills pay for your 15Mzn fare with a 100Mzn note

Food and eating in Mozambique

As a country the Portuguese occupation has a profound impact on local foods that has produced some of the most unique and interesting cuisine within Southern Africa Towards the coast a great deal of seafood is used within even the most basic of dishes, however, in land the maize based partridges common throughout Africa becomes staple but with some Portuguese flair

  • Piri-Piri, also known as the African bird's-eye chili this extremely strong chili is common is sauce form throughout the country
  • Pãozinho , also known as Portuguese rolls or Pregobeef no pãu and bifana pork A floury and often semi-sweet bread roll, typically served with meat in the center
  • Matapa, a seafood clam, crab or prawnstew made with Casave leaves and generally served over rice This is one of the Mozambique staples
  • Camarão National, are Mozambican prawns marinaded in a Piri-Piri, garlic, onion, lemon and vinegar
  • Cray fish and other seafood These are caught off the beach throughout the country and will generally be prepared with a piri-piri marinade, served with rice and matapa
  • Kakana This is a bitter tasting local vegetable

Drinking in Mozambique

All tap water in Mozambique should be assumed to be unsafe to drink, even if it not harmful it usually has some sediment that your stomach will not be used to Most western oriented lodgings either provide a fresh water source or sell bottled water

Beer

In Mozambique Cervejas de Mocambique who are owned by SABMiller 14 have a virtual monopoly on beer brewing The three most popular brands are 2M remember to pronounce it doysh-em or you will end up with an extra beer, Laurentina Clara and Manica Other local African beers such as Castle and Windhoek are reasonably widely available but are not as popular as in neighboring countries due to the high quality of the local brews

Liquors

Locally produced spirits such as vodka and gin are relatively common throughout the country and are relatively inexpensive The local drink is Cashu made of the peel from the cashew nut According to the locals it's very good for a mens libido It has a sour taste

Accommodation in Mozambique

Accommodation ranges from inexpensive guesthouses and backpacker orientated accommodation through to some of the most expensive resort accommodation in the region

Hotels

Hotels in Mozambique are generally ungraded and, particularly in the less traveled parts of the country, have not been updated since independence In some cases you can pay up to $50USD a night for a hotel room that should be in the $5 - $10 range based on facilities On the other end of the scale Mozambique hosts some of the most incredible, and expensive, hotels and resorts in the world

Backpacker Lodges

Maputo, Tofo Beach, Vilanculos and Pemba have several backpacker lodges each and are geared up for the budget traveler There are some backpacker options elsewhere in the country but often the only option for a budget traveler will be transient labor guesthouses or cheap hotels

Self Catering

Where they are available facilities are often extremely lacking If you do bring your own gas based cooking equipment keep in mind the typical backpacker lindal valve gas canisters are not available anywhere in the country

Camping and caravaning

Dedicated camp sites with security are available in almost all coastal towns and you can often camp in rural areas with a village chief's blessing If you do decide to use this option a small offering such as food, liquor or cigarettes can be very useful

If taking a caravan keep in mind that a great deal of roads in Mozambique degenerate in to sandy paths that require 4WD, it is advisable to only stick to popular areas along the EN1

Purchasing land or property

If someone offers to "sell" you land in Mozambique walk away immediately it is a scam Private ownership of land in Mozambique is impossible, all land is owned by the government and will only be provided for foreign use, under a 99 year lease, under very specific circumstances

Working in Mozambique

  • You may be able to find work teaching at a school such as The American International School of Mozambique 16
  • If you're a certified divemaster or instructor you could try helping out at one of the dive shops in Tofo Beach, Vilanculos or Ponta d'Ouro

Cities in Mozambique

angoche  beira  chibuto  chimoio  chokwe  cuamba  dondo  inhambane  lichinga  macia  manica  manjacaze  maputo  matola  maxixe  mocambique  mocuba  montepuez  nacala  nampula  pemba  quelimane  tete  xai-xai  

What do you think about Mozambique?

How expensive is Mozambique?
(1 MZN = 0.02 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant475 MZN
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)0.95 MZN
McDonalds meal442.8 MZN
Local beer (0.5 draft)64.79 MZN
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 71.78 MZN
Cappuccino55.01 MZN
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)29.76 MZN
Water (0.33 bottle)25.09 MZN
Milk (1l)58.16 MZN
Fresh bread (500g)46.56 MZN
White Rice (1kg)59.47 MZN
Eggs (12) 72.05 MZN
Local Cheese (1kg) 246.36 MZN
Chicken Breast (1kg) 235.99 MZN
Apples (1kg) 101.12 MZN
Oranges (1kg) 55.67 MZN
Tomato (1kg) 48.84 MZN
Potato (1kg) 52.25 MZN
Lettuce (1 head) 34.7 MZN
Water (1.5l)30.39 MZN
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 318.5 MZN
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)45.34 MZN
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 62.56 MZN
Cigarettes110.8 MZN
One way local bus ticket9.38 MZN
Monthly pass for bus34.65 MZN
Taxi start116.29 MZN
Taxi 1km46.32 MZN
Taxi 1hour waiting307.58 MZN
Gasoline (1 liter) 48.75 MZN
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 661.83 MZN
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 29.76 MZN
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 21.34 MZN
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 62 MZN
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 39.36 MZN
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