Website designed and maintained by Nathan Dixey

Last updated 15th January 2017

All Photographs © Nathan Dixey & Ken Smith 2017

Mozambique

 

It was widely agreed that humanity evolved in East Africa. Mozambique itself has yielded few notable hominid fossils, but it was nevertheless reasonable to assume that it has supported human life for millions of years.

The East African coast has long been a centre of international trade. Starting in around 2,500BC, the ancient Egyptians evidently entered into spasmodic trade with an East African port they new as Punt. From about 600BC, the Phoenicians and Romans are known to have traded with an East African port called Rhapta. The boundaries of modern Mozambique were in many instances shaped by events during the first four centuries of the Portuguese occupation of the coast. 

The topography of eastern Mozambique is dominated by a low –lying coastal belt which widens from north to south to account for almost half of the country’s surface area. The coastal plain rises gradually towards the west to meet a high plateau of 500 to 1,000m. Mozambique is generally characterized by relatively flat terrain, though much of the northwest is mountainous and several areas of the western platteaux are dotted with isolated granite inselbergs known in southern Africa as Koppies.

Climate: The climate in most of Mozambique is tropical and warm with dry cooler season from April until September and a wet hot season with temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius at the coast from October until April. In winter the weather at the coast is sunny and pleasantly warm (the average temperature in Maputo in June and July is 19 degrees Celsius). The dry and relatively cool winter months between April and September offer the most comfortable and easy travel conditions. The beaches of the coast are typically covered in dense, scrubby thickets and palm groves, the later particularly impressive around Inhambane and Quelimane. The flood plains of major rivers such as the Limpopo, Zambezi and Pungue, and the area near Lake Chilwa on the Malawi border, are covered in alluvial grasslands and marshes. The largest alluvial plain in Mozambique is the Zambezi Delta, a vast marshy area of thick grassland and borassus palms that stretches for 120Km along the coast and covers an area of roughly 8,000square kilometers.

Only a tiny portion of Mozambique is covered in true forest. Moist rain forests occur on the upper reaches of a few mountains, notably Mount Gorongosa in Sofala, the Chimanimani and Inyanga Highlands on the Zimbabwe border, and Mounts Murrumbala, Namuli and Chiperone I the western Zambezia. Dry lowland forest occurs in patches in some coastal areas, notably in northern Cabo Delgado and around Dondo near Beira, while several rivers support thin riparian forest.

Wildlife conservation: Mozambique’s four national parks are Gorongosa to the north of the Beira Corridor; Zinave on the southern bank of the Save River; Banhine in the centre of Gaza province; and Bazaruto off the coast opposite Vilankulo and Inhassoro.

Birds: Mozambique’s excellent bird life has been little affected by the civil war, though, as elsewhere in Africa, forest-dwelling species are increasingly threatened by environmental encroachment, as are several species attached to wetland environments.

Mozambique is an important destination for southern African birders. Of the 850-odd bird species that are resident in or regular migrants to Africa south of the Zambezi, roughly 30 have only been recorded in Mozambique or else have their main concentration there.

Cahora Bassa Dam: Situated on the Zambezi in the north of Tete Province, Cahora Bassa Dam is the fifth largest dam in the world and it dams one of Africa’s ten largest bodies of water, covering an area of 2,660 square kilometers. Construction of the 300m wide and 160m high concrete wall started in 1969, and despite Frelimo’s attempts at sabotage, it was completed in 1974.

Ilha Do Mocambique: The town of Mocambique, on the smallest coral island of the same name, is not only the oldest European settlement in East Africa, but arguably also the most bizarre. Declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site in 1992, Ilha do Mocambique, known to locals simply as Ilha (pronounced ilia), must surely rank as northern Mozambique’s most alluring travel destination both for singular atmosphere and for its wealth of beautiful old buildings.

Barefoot Safaris is a Member of the Malawi Tourism Association

Suggested Trip Dossiers

 

Mozambique Explorer

17 Days Land Only (767) (ME)

 

Malawi Extension

8 Days Land Only (767e) (ME)

 

 

African Proverbs

“The Axe forgets but not the tree”

“If an idiot is your relative, you should still applaud his dancing

“The animal that has mud on its hooves is assumed to have been to the water hole”

BAREFOOT SAFARIS & Adventure Tours

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