Mozambique has regained its position at the forefront of the international tourism scene and is now, once again, one of the most attractive and intriguing tourist destinations in Southern Africa. Many new, international hotels and award-winning, luxury lodges have opened while country’s national parks and game reserves, some under private management, are being re-stocked and returned to their former glory. The establishment, with neighbouring countries, of cross-border wildlife reserves being a vital factor in this resurgence.
Mozambique’s 2,500 km of white, palm-fringed beaches – and the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago in particular are the major draw for tourists. The extensive coral reefs host a dazzling array of unique marine life and offer unbelievable diving and fishing opportunities.
But Mozambique offers much more. The Quirimbas Archipelago, in Northern Mozambique, is now a prime attraction. The first lodge to open there was rated one of the top 100 hotels in the world by an international magazine. Luxury Lodges have recently opened on four other islands while two further island projects are scheduled for 2006. Other exotic destinations include the mysterious mountains of Namuli and Unango; the historical settlements of Angoche; the World Heritage Site of Mozambique Island and the magnificent natural harbour of Pemba from which one can take a boat to nearby Ibo Island.
Culturally, Mozambique provides a contrast to other countries in Southern and East Africa, with its blend of African, Arab and Portuguese influences. The Mediterranean charm lives on within a fun-loving African setting, creating an atmosphere that is unique within the region. This mix is especially in the Afro-Portuguese cuisine and the Latin beat of the music in the clubs and disco.
Mozambique covers an area of over 800,000sq. km, three time the size of Great Britain. Situated to the south east of the African continent, it shares borders with six other Commonwealth countries. Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia in the north; Zimbabwe to the west; and South Africa and Swaziland to the south.The 2,500km long coastline boasts superb beaches fringed by lagoons, coral reefs and strings of small islands.A vast, low, grassland plateau, which rises from the coast towards the mountains in the north and west, covers nearly half the country’s land area. The population is concentrated along the coast and the fertile river valleys. The Zambezi is the largest of the country’s rivers. Mozambique, rich in mineral resources such as gold, emeralds, copper, iron ore and bauxite, is currently engaged in oil exploration.
Tropical to sub-tropical with coastal temperatures high for much of the year while the interior is warm to mild, even in the cooler, dry season from April to September. In the south the hot, humid rainy season is from December to March, farther north this period lengthens by a few weeks. The coast of northern Mozambique is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones. It is usually sunny throughout the year.
Mozambique has eight major tribal groups, the largest of which is the Makua-Lomwe (almost half the population). The next largest is the Tsonga, and the rest of the population is made up of Shona and the Zambezi Valley tribes (the Chuabo, Sena and Nyungwe), as well as the Yao.
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