Choosing our next destination to travel is not so easy as one can consider at first sight. We usually want a place to relax, with beautiful nature, delicious gastronomy so we can enjoy with new and exotic tastes, smiling people, a little bit of adventure and not really crowded … too much to ask? do these places still exist nowadays? Yes, they do. Try southeast Africa, try Mozambique.
Why Mozambique is a good place to visitRecently, I decided to change my life into a more inspired, vocational and human approach. After many years working as a businesswoman, I left behind the automatic cruise control and put my hands on the wheel. A transition needed to be made and, in my case, this meant a long trip. Mozambique was my first step on a one-year solo trip around the world. The discovery was astonishing.
Mozambique is an undiscovered paradiseFew places in the world are as pure and untouched as Mozambique. Mass tourism is nowadays present in every corner of the globe. It means it can be difficult to perceive how the local reality is made of or how their oldest traditions are present today in their daily life. In many touristic countries, their real soul is far from being discovered by a tourist. Mozambique shows its soul to you from the moment you land. It is a soul full of joy, smiles and good hearts.
O país da boa gente (The country of good people)Being a solo traveler and a woman, I am very aware of the risks and dangers when traveling. That being said, in Mozambique I never ever felt unsafe. On the contrary, I always had a feeling of care and community around me. They adopted me from the very beginning, like their sister, child or friend. In Mozambique, the community is very important. It is not a coincidence that this country is known as the country of good people. You will find yourself surrounded by clean and honest looks in wide smiley faces. In case of need, they will help you before you even ask for it. This is Mozambican style. A good proof of it, the many different religions sharing the same land in a peaceful and respectful way. In Mozambique, there are Muslims, Christians, Protestants, ethnic religions, all of them equally respected.
Ready for some beach?Imagine a wild, clean, white-sanded beautiful beach with the Indian ocean roaring next to you. It is a semi-deserted beach, some kids playing on the shore, some guys selling fresh oysters. Do you like the idea? Mozambique has 3000 km of coast with some of the most amazing beaches I have ever seen. In many of them, you can easily have a plate of good shrimps or a tasty chicken (part of their best dishes) in a nice restaurant by the beach for less than 10 USD. And always with a smiley face.
My recommendations about how and when to get thereYes, a visa is required and not such a thing as an online visa. You need to go old school and contact the Mozambican embassy in your country to check the requirements. They are not complicated. My advice is, if you can, hire a professional agency and let them do the paperwork for you. It is much simpler and you won’t invest time and energy in bureaucracy. Regarding transportation in Mozambique, public transport doesn’t really exist. You actually have two choices and they depend on your budget. You can whether use chapas (small vans or buses from private drivers) without fixed schedules or prices but a source of beautiful interactions with locals, or renting a car and move as you please. Are you eager for adventure or you prefer comfort? Such a good question to start. When to get to Mozambique then? I would suggest October and November as the best months to visit the country, though from March to November any month is a good choice. Very nice temperature and the dry season make them ideal to enjoy the beaches. December to March rainy season contributes to finding floods and blockages on the roads. One last point to take into account: try avoiding Christmas, Easter or August when tourism from South Africa make the few resorts fully booked. Mozambique is a great choice for them, cheap and beautiful.
Maputo, an unexpected surpriseAfter two months surrounded by nature and living by the beach in my Xai-Xai community, I was not expecting too much from Maputo. My visit proved me wrong. Maputo showed itself as a dynamic, cultural, artistic, historical, multicultural and joyful city. And this is a lot to say of a city submerged for 15 years in a civil war. The scars are still visible in the city, but the joy of living you can see in people do transcends it. In Maputo, you cannot miss the crazy architectonical mix of styles, chaotic and charming at the same time. From my favorite buildings, I recommend you A Casa de Ferro and the Railway station but you can find many more. Take some time for the discovery. You can even hire a local guide in place, as I did, who will illustrate your visit with interesting local information and historical background. Make sure you also pay a visit to the food and artisan markets, good ingredients and creativity at the same time. My best recommendation when in Maputo: go to a concert and to an art exhibition. The bohemian and cultural life of this surprising city will be crystal clear.
My Top 5 secret plans
- Visit Xai-Xai beach and the inspiring Fudaçao Khanimambo, an amazing project for one of the poorest communities in the south of Mozambique. The smiles of the kids show how love is the intention of this project. They build it under three legs: food, health and education. Their aim is to give the kids a better quality of life. They are an oasis in the middle of the poverty ocean.
- Take at least a couple of days and relax in the best eco-lodge, a paradise rural resort in Quissico, LaGoa Eco Lodge. I still remember the stars completely covering the night sky and the quietness of the whole place, the soft sound of the lake as my only company. Leo, the manager, will make your stay easy and comfortable. In the surroundings, you can visit the small local villages and one of the most beautiful and deserted beaches in Mozambique.
- If you want to try some surfing or diving, the top places are on Tofo beach. Tofo is a whole experience, one of the few touristic spots where you can find anything with comfort. Cool atmosphere, cool people and a good amount of artistic events.
- Last but not least, Bilene, my best memories enjoying the beach and eating deliciously grilled shrimps.