Mozambique at a glance

Continent Africa
Neighbouring Countries Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa & Swaziland
Ocean Indian Ocean
Capitol Maputo
Language Portugese and a rich variety of local languages
Religion African traditions, Christianity, Islamic, Hindu and Moslem
Climate Tropical
Currency Mozambican Metical (Mtn)
Dialing code +258
Area 799 380 km2
Population approximately around 20 million
Independence Date 25 June 1975


The first residents of Mozambique were the Bantu speaking people. They migrated through the ZambeziRiverValley from the north and west, and they gradually moved to the plateau and coastal areas. Their lives were based on cattle herding and they built their communities based on this. The settlements were not very sturdy and today there are very few remains of their settlements.

Swahili and Arab settlements existed for many centuries along the coast and outlying islands. This brought in trade with Madagascar and the Far East.

The Portuguese achieved control in the early 16thcentury. This was largely due to the voyage of Vasco da Gama around the Cape of Good Hope, on the Indian Ocean in 1498, which marked the Portuguese entry into trade. The Portuguese gradually expanded their power over the country.

During the 19th century British companies became increasingly involved in trade as well as the politics. By the 20thcentury there were large private companies namely the Mozambique Company, Zambezia Company and Niassa Company, which were controlled and financed by Britain. These companies were responsible for establishing the railroads to neighboring countries.

In September 1964, The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) began a guerilla war against the Portuguese rule. This conflict became part of the Portuguese Colonial War (1961 – 1974). After over 10 years of warfare FRELIMO gained control of the country.  Samora Machel was elected the president of the new government. Shortly after the country had gained independence, it was overwhelmed from 1977 to 1992 by a long and violent civil war between the RENAMO rebel’s armed force and the FRELIMO government.  Machel’s successor was Joaquim Chissano. He had big changes in store and started began peace talks with RENAMO. The civil war ended in October 1992. By 1993 more then 1.5 million refugees from Mozambique returned to the country. 


Mozambique’s official currency is the New Metical as from March 2011. It has replaced the old Metical at the rate of one thousand to one. US dollars, South African Rand (mainly in southern Mozambique) and in some places the Euro are accepted and used in business.  Credit cards are accepted as most hotels and restaurants.. 


Mozambique is situated in Africa on the southeast coastline. It is the 35th largest country in the world. Tanzania is north of the country while Zambia and Malawi are northwest, Zimbabwe is west, South Africa is to the southwest and Swaziland is south of the country. To the east you will find the Indian Ocean, which is known for its warm waters. The white sandy beaches are studded with palm trees and the dunes seem to go on forever. Mozambique is very unique as it has beautiful beaches on one side, wilderness, rolling mountains and forest on the other from the Great Rift Valley.

There are two different topographical regions which are separated by the ZambeziRiver. To the north of the river the narrow coastline moves inland to low plateaus and hills. Further west the landscape changes to rugged highlands which include the Niassa highlands, Namuli highlands, Angonia highlands, Tete highlands and the Makonde plateau which is covered with miombo woodlands. To the south you will find the lowlands are wider with the Mashonaland plateau and the Lebombo mountains. 


Mozambique has a tropical climate. The Equator being close by, allows for hot and humid days. Winter days in Maputo are an average of 24oC (75.2oF), so for many people even though it is winter, they can still enjoy time on the beaches. The wet season is from October to March and the dry season is April to September. Along the coast rainfall is heavy. Mozambique is affected by cyclones in the wet season, which form in the Mozambican Channel. 

Public Transport

The public transport in Mozambiqueis not recommended for travellers.  The busses or chappas do not run according to any fixed schedules and the arrival times can therefore vary by several hours.  it is advised that you rent a car or use the transport that lodges and hotels supply for transfers. There is a train that operates three times a week from Johannesburg to Maputoand it stops in Nelspruit and Komatipoort. Buses only operate in the major towns where the road conditions are good. 


The combination of the civil war and flooding has left the roads in a poor condition. However, a lot of work has already gone into the upgrading of the road infrastructure especially in major towns and on main routes.  It is therefore possible to self drive in Mozambique - especially in the southern section of the country from Maputo to Vilanculos. 

There are parts of Mozambique that are only accessible by 4x4.

The biggest hazards are the potholes in the roads.  Other things to look out for are vehicles without lights driving at night, livestock crossing the roads and pedestrians. For ecological reasons driving on the dunes of beaches is not allowed.

We do not recommend any driving after dark in Mozambique.  It is important to always remain on the main roads and not to deviate off the route descriptions given. 


Malaria is present in Mozambique due to its tropical climate, large amounts of rainfall, regular high temperatures along with high humidity and stagnant water. The disease is caused by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito, only the female mosquito is the carrier of the disease. The disease is a result of the growth of malaria parasites that enter the body and head straight for the liver. Two weeks later they invade the person’s red blood cells. It is very serious and needs medical attention.

It is important that all travellers to Mozambique visit their local travel clinic or health professional before traveling.  Full and comprehensive Travel Insurance is highly recommended. 



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