A – Z Awesome things in Mozambique + 40 photos
My A – Z list of awesome as well as interesting or unique things in Mozambique
Included: Photos from our friends (Thank You!) who looked at Mozambique with fresh eyes
A tongue in cheek list of things we’ve found in Mozambique on our last trip. Here’s a description of a few.
A: Adventure. Always an adventure waiting to pop up around any corner. The choice is endless. If you can't find it, it will find you.
B: Beaches. Mozambique has the fourth longest coastline in Africa. I always thought it was the longest, but Madagascar tops it in 1st place, although it’s not part of the mainland. Surprisingly Somalia and South Africa are 2nd and 3rd consecutively. Even at 4th on the list, it stands to reason there should be some awesome beaches along the coastline. They’re worth checking out.
C: Camping, culture and chips. Potato chips seems to be the staple diet served at restaurants. If you’re lucky, on occasion you may get rice. There’s an abundance of culture in Mozambique. Go ahead and explore it. There are many places to camp in Mozambique and a relatively inexpensive way to see the country.
D: Diving and dolphins. There are numerous places to dive in Mozambique. Some of the best dive spots are in Mozambique. Do your research and you won’t be disappointed. Equally, there are many places to snorkel with dolphins. Once again, do your research. Ponta Malongane Dive centre have some excursions.
E: Elephant. 400 Elephant were counted in the 2016 census in the Maputo Special Reserve alone. We were fortunate to see a few on this trip, even though they were far away. There was plentiful evidence that they were around though. Fresh spoor (or tracks) with droppings was visible as we drove around the reserve.
F: Four x four tracks and five-star lodges. The roads have improved since our first visit to Mozambique but there are still many opportunities to test your 4x4 skills wittingly or unwittingly. A brief but significant deluge will change a perfectly good sand road to sticky mud or slippery clay. Five-star lodges. There are plenty of those around, if you’re not interested in camping or glamping.
G: Ghetto-blasters. You’ll find them at the strangest places, where you think there is no electricity. If you enjoy some music, you can always visit one of the barracas (bars) and jive to their music.
H: Humidity and history. Humidity hangs visibly in the air, especially in the summer months. Mozambique has a rich but sad history. Yet we always see smiling friendly faces.
I: Insects and interesting electrical connections. A variety of insects and especially mosquitoes are prevalent and so are interesting electrical connections. We’ve seen a few connections that don’t measure up to safety standards in other countries.
J: Jay-walking. You can’t blame them for jay-walking. You would too, when you have to walk many kilometres in soft, hot sand but be on the lookout for pedestrians and vendors that leap at the chance to sell you some curios or produce such as pao (bread) and fruit or cashew nuts as soon as you stop your vehicle, or even as you are still approaching them. There are some suitable places to buy those products, but make sure you’re well off the road.
K: Kids. The cutest and most adorable faces but also plenty of mischievous ones. At least one will steal your heart.
L: Language. Log cabins, luxury and basic lodges, luxury tented camps. Mozambique is multilingual with more than 60 dialects of African languages spoken. Portuguese is the official language although not everyone speaks it, and some speak English. There is a vast array of accommodation from budget to luxury – take your pick.
Two websites for accommodation:
M: Maputo Special Reserve. The reserve is well on its way to becoming a bio-diverse hotspot with a variety of vegetation, topography, geology and animals. It offers a combination of scenic land, turquoise seas and pristine beaches and is worth exploring.
N: Nuts. Delicious cashew nuts are grown quite profusely throughout the coastal tropical area and peanuts are also grown abundantly. Just wait till you’ve tasted them! From plain to roasted, from salted to flavoured with peri-peri. It’s the real deal.
O: Ocean air. Fresh air from the ocean has a positive effect on one’s health. I’m convinced it boosts your immune system.
P: Peri-peri sauce, pao, pot holes, Preta and people. They say dynamite comes in small packages. Peri-peri sauce that is placed on the table when you eat at a restaurant, comes in small bowls, but it sure packs a punch, so go lightly on it. It also comes in a huge array of bottles, from rum bottles to mayonnaise jars if you’d like to sample bigger quantities.
Pao is a delicious Portuguese bread, baked either traditionally or in a more modern oven. I’d opt for the traditional way, because it has more flavour but anyone will do. Just don’t expect to save it for a few days. Firstly you’ll want to eat it all at once, but if by some chance there is something left, after a couple of days it morphs into a hard rock.
Preta is Mozambique’s equivalent of Guinness. It might not be as smooth as the traditional Irish drink, but when in Mozambique….
The people of Mozambique are on a whole extremely friendly and helpful. They appear out of nowhere from least expected places but are willing to help where they can.
Q: Quad bikes. All shapes and sizes of quad bikes drive on the sandy tracks and roads in Mozambique. An exhilarating and thrilling way to drive around but be on the lookout for people with no road sense, (or pickled by intoxicating liquor) especially in high season.
R: Rum, R & R’s and restaurants. Talking of intoxicating liquour, Tipo Tinto, a local rum, is added to red raspberry cold drink to make R & R’s. It is poured in varied size tots and can pack a potent punch that will pound your head the following morning if you sip it like non-alcoholic beverages, because it is as sweet.
S: Sand, sharks, spiders and scorpions. Sand is the order of the day when you go to Mozambique, even if you are slightly more inland.
At Ponta Malongane, Ponta Mamoli and Ponta Do Ouro, divers regularly go to a dive spot called Pinnacles. The highlight of course is to see shark in the big deep blue.
There are also spiders aplenty, so watch where you walk or you might find yourself caught up in one of their webs or be nipped by one or two. The same goes for scorpions.
T: Turtles, trumpeter hornbills, three hundred and sixty-degree views and theft. One of the highlights to watch out for is the turtle season. Between November and February, they lay their precious eggs and sixty days later they start to hatch. It must be an unforgettable experience and one that I still have to witness. I have however seen two stragglers struggle their way from their nest to the sea.
Even in this Utopia theft has occurred, and this year it happened to us. Although ours was only a small incident it was the first time in the sixteen years that we’ve been going to Mozambique. That’s a pretty good record. What I’d like to bring to your attention though is the manner in which it was handled. My husband and I left our beach thongs on the edge of the beach near the path in the coastal shrub back to our campsite, so we could walk on the beach. We have done this on numerous occasions and our shoes were never taken. This year however, we were astounded when we returned from our walk to find our shoes missing. Not having many pairs of shoes with us for beach and sand walking we were rather disappointed as they are so comfortable and cool. We decided to tell the security guard who patrols the campsite about the incident. He took it very seriously and came to look where it was taken. They followed the tracks and asked the people of the area and within two hours our shoes were returned to us. That, to me, was beyond the call of duty. After all it was only beach thongs, but we were told they want to keep the area safe for tourists to return. Even if it was only petty theft, they didn’t want it to escalate into something far bigger. I think it was also to send a warning out to anyone contemplating theft. In the busier towns and cities, though there is a huge problem with theft, so make sure your vehicle and possessions are secure.
Trumpeter Hornbills are quite large birds that frequent the coastal shrub. Their calls sound like a crying baby so don’t be alarmed when you hear it.
Three hundred and sixty-degree views. There are quite a few places that you can find a spectacular view to peruse the landscape, vistas and views around you. It is totally worth it.
U: Expect the unexpected. When you least expect to find something, you will. When you think there should be a surplus there isn’t. When you imagine you are going to be disappointed you won’t be. Get my drift?
V: Vistas & views. Did I mention there are beautiful vistas and views? Sorry, but it’s worth a mention again.
W: Wood carvings, wrecks and war. Beautiful wood carvings are on display at the curio shops. Some are just little knickknacks, but others are outstanding. The craftsmanship will surprise you.
War has played a devastating and sad part in the history of Mozambique. They are still trying to recover from that dreadful time, and I fear it may still take longer, like any country.
Throughout Mozambique there are wrecks of all kinds. Sometimes, it’s just a vehicle that has broken down, next to a sand track and cannot be moved. It isn’t long before the elements of nature etch their presence in and around the wrecks.
X: X-trails (ok I made that up – and it’s not the vehicle.) There are indeed many tracks that make x’s as they cross over each other. The first time you drive on the sand tracks you think you’ll end up in a different spot if you take the wrong one, but most of the time they all seem to end at a similar point. There is the odd one though that could cause a lengthy detour in the wrong direction you are heading to. You can take the low road or the high road. It depends on your sense of adventure.
Y: Yearly sojourn. Yes, we aren’t the only ones that make this a yearly sabbatical. There are many others that do the same. Can you blame us?
Z: Zebra. See if you can spot one when you go to a reserve, LOL! Wordplay intended.
Reverting to S. and spiders. A bug of a different kind from Mozambique has bitten us. It’s quite severe. Unlike all other bites, this one is not painful. In fact, it leaves a sensation of euphoria. It’s called the Mozambican travel bug. I think it has really affected us rather badly and the only cure is to return to Mozambique – on a regular basis.
Hope you enjoy the photos from our friends that came with us to Mozambique. It’s great to see our Moz through their fresh eyes.
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