Monday, 4 July 2011

Mozambique bares its Soul

For a country which did its best to tear out its heart in the long civil war between 1975 and 1992, Mozambique has a very strong soul, and a very interesting one at that. Practically unknown to foreign tourists until the early noughties, Mozambique is still a unique destination to the discerning traveller, with the best of everything it offers.

Mozambique is a real country of contrasts, from its stunning Portuguese colonial architecture, to its virgin beaches, its unparalleled diving and fishing, and some of the most interesting cuisine in the whole of Africa. This is not a Christian country, nor a Muslim one, no one religion is dominant, which makes for a kind and friendly people. From a kind and friendly people, come great standards of service.

                                                    Image courtesy of

Mozambique is almost twice the size of California, with a coast line which stretches more than 2,470 kilometres along the Indian Ocean. While other places might shout about how good their diving and fishing are, Mozambique chooses not to. When you know you are the best, you do not have to go around shouting about it. The Portuguese have an expression ‘Quem sabe, sabe’, which translates to ‘Who knows, knows’. Enough said there then...

So if complete peace in a tropical paradise is high on your list, then a visit to the Bazurato Archipelago is a must. The five virgin islands were declared a National Park in 1971 with a beautiful underwater marine park. The waters are inhabited by three species of turtle, including the loggerhead turtle, and the spinner and humpback dolphins. This is a very good sign, as the turtles usually know where the best beaches are, and dolphins usually know where there is fun.

                                                Image courtesy of

 Accommodation on the islands is of the highest order. Indigo Bay offers world-class, understated luxury with white sands and swaying palms. There are 30 Beach Chalets and 14 luxury villas with the full range of 5-star facilities, including an outstanding spa. Benguerra Lodge offers a blissful blend of barefoot luxury and ‘maritime’ safari. There is a good choice between rustic bungalows, opulent beachside cabanas and huge Arabic-style casitas and a unique villa complete with personal chef.
                                               Image courtesy of

Be prepared to eat for your money in Mozambique. The food is stylish and interesting, and the seafood is amongst the best in the world. Do not tell anybody that, it is one of those secrets to be consumed silently. You will just have to bite your tongue on that one, and you might have to, because sometimes the food is hot, hot, and hot! Just add the piri-piri. Fresh fish is a speciality, given that long coastline, and Portuguese flair is evident in many dishes.

Another unique destination is the Quirimbas Archipelago, which is a captivating chain of 32 coral islands, just off the coast of Northern Mozambique. This largely undeveloped jewel in the ocean is protected by the Quirimbas National Park and contains some of the richest coral reefs in the world. These islands are inhabited largely by birds, butterflies and tropical flowers, a real paradise.

Accommodation is of a very high standard befitting those who venture to this tropical paradise. Chalets and bungalows on the beach are the perfect scenario to ply one’s time when you are on the ocean’s edge, but the highest standards of service and cuisine are not forgotten. Activities are also not forgotten and there is plenty to do for those who like their diving, swimming, snorkelling, fishing, and other marine activities.  

So for those of you thinking of making the trip to Africa this summer, bear in mind that Mozambique is only a step away, and makes a unique and interesting add-on or a stand-off location. It may be an African step away, but a step away it is.....

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