Mozambique, on the east coast of southern Africa, is mainly a savanna plateau drained by the mighty Limpopo and Zambezi Rivers, with highlands to the north. It has a tropical climate that can produce heavy flooding along the rivers. In 2001 flooding along the Zambezi River valley forced 70,000 people to flee their homes, and the World Bank estimated that a total of 491,000 were displaced by floods throughout the country. Most people live along the coasts or in the river valleys.
Mozambique is one of Africa’s up-and-coming hot-spots, with stunning beaches, excellent diving and magical offshore islands. Go snorkelling around the Bazaruto Archipelago, sail on a dhow through mangrove channels or laze under the palms in the Quirimbas Archipelago, take an off-beat safari in the wilds of Gorongosa National Park, wander along cobbled streets past stately colonial-era buildings on Ilha de Moçambique, sip a café espresso at one of Maputo’s lively sidewalk cafés (or maybe a caipirinha at one of its jazz bars), watch the silversmiths at work on Ibo Island or dance to the country’s trademark marrabenta music.
For almost two decades, many of these attractions were inaccessible due to a protracted guerrilla war. Now dark times are in the past, and Mozambique is one of Africa’s rising stars, with an upbeat atmosphere, overflowing markets and a 2500km coastline waiting to be discovered. If you’re inclined to something tamer, stick to Southern Mozambique, where roads and transport links (especially with neighbouring South Africa) are good and accommodation options abound. For more adventure, head across the Zambezi into the wilds of Northern Mozambique, one of Africa’s last frontiers. Getting around here takes time, but the paradisiacal coastal panoramas and sense of space, the sheer adventure of travel and – for those with a healthy budget – some of the continent’s most idyllic island lodges make the journey well worthwhile.