Mozambique is a southern African nation with a long Indian Ocean coastline. The nation is rich in natural resources and has a lot of biodiversity with a tropical climate.
15.3 million (2020)
Portuguese, Makhuwa, Nyanja, Ndau
Greet everyone you pass, even if you don’t know them
Don’t engage in too much PDA
Africa, West Southern Africa specifically
Three foods you need to try in this country:
- Mucapata (starch made with mung beans, coconut milk and rice smashed together),
- Grilled prawns
- Galina Asada ( flame grilled chicken typically marinaded in peri-peri sauce)
- Matapa (stewed cassava leaves cooked with onions, garlic, ground peanuts and coconut milk)
What the country is known for :
- Liberation war hero Samora Machel
- Gorgeous secluded beaches
- Fine artisan artwork – crafts and sculptures
- Gold, ivory and pirates
More About Mozambique
My first visit to Mozambique was in 2017. It was the 4th African country I had been to. Please forgive my ignorance, at the time, but I was surprised by how few people spoke English. Which, in hindsight makes complete sense, the country was previously colonised by the Portuguese and therefore in addition to the different local languages, most people speak Portuguese. Mozambique is a coastal country and is well known for being the entry point for various goods and services from other continents. Maputo has the most important harbour in the country.
The country has a unique blend of vintage Portuguese culture mixed with Mozambique’s own indigenous flavour. Many of the colonial structures are still visible in Maputo, including the oldest railway station in Africa, Estacao Central dos Caminhos de Ferro which was constructed between 1908 and 1916. The country gained its independence in 1975, and its first president was the iconic Samora Machel.
Maputo has a vibrant party scene and the people are generally quite friendly and helpful which is quite handy for the non-Portuguese speakers. One of the sounds you will hear as you walk around is marrabenta, which has influences from Latin salsa, calypso and Angolan merengue. Locals love to dance and they have amazing rhythm to boot. For a brief interactive cultural experience as well as context around the history of Mozambique, the Mafalala Walking Tour is an absolute must do. During the tour you will visit the former home of Samora Machel, and other notable individuals in Mozambique’s history. Take a walk around the neighbourhood, try out some street food before sitting down to a traditional local meal at the end.
Due to the coastal location, seafood is a staple in Mozambique, so the fish market in Maputo is highly recommended. It is just off the seaside and therefore the seafood is as fresh as could be. One can hand pick whichever sea creatures available to eat, and they will cook it all for you. Some you might be familiar with (hake, oysters, prawns), while others you’ll have to take a risk and hope for the best. The adventurous spirits are usually pleasantly rewarded, so not to worry.
Mozambique’s subtropical climate and lovely beaches make for a fantastic getaway for water lovers. The breathtaking islands of Inhaca, Benguerra, Vilanculos and Medjumbe are local and international tourist favourites.
Be mindful and keep your wits about you with officials, as there are some individuals who act to taint the image of the country by trying to exploit people who may not be in the know.
Do you speak English?
Voce fala Ingles?
Where is the toilet?
Onde e o banheiro
May I please have some water?
Posso por favor ter um pouco de agua?
I would like some food please
Eu gostaria de um pouco de comida por favor
Where can I get a taxi?
Onde posso pegar um taxi?
NEWS & UPDATES
I always try and immerse myself in the local food culture. In many parts of Asia and South America, I have found that street food is very much part of the culture. As the diligent
South Africa is the first country I went to outside my home country of Zimbabwe. The country shares a border with Zimbabwe, over the Limpopo River. This country offers such diversity in culture, natural features as well as biodiversity – which have been pulling me back over and over again. Interestingly South Africa has two countries, Kingdom of Eswatini and Lesotho within its borders. One of my favourite cities in the world is Cape Town, which is in the Western Cape in the Southern part of southern part of the country.
The country boasts of diversity with the different cultural groups which can be noted spotting some spectacular traditional attire at cultural and traditional events. The tribes I have experienced the most are the Zulu, the Xhosa and the Afrikaans – depending on where in the country you are. The diversity of the country has hugely influenced the countries creative scene, as is demonstrated through visits to craft markets, music shows, tv shows, movies, galleries and the fusion of foods that can be enjoyed across the country. Another thing that you need to understand about South Africa is that, this is place gives what it is supposed to give when it comes to the party scene. It caters for a range of people with a variety of classic genres such as Kwaito, Amapiano and House music. Seeing the locals dance at parties is an experience, they make it look so easy!
To my wine lovers, South Africa has a lot to offer. From the large vineyards producing wines that are exported all over the world to some smaller boutique vineyards producing a few bottles a year. The choices are endless and with the gorgeous landscapes against which to enjoy your sundowners. If you do not like wine, not to worry there are a number of local brews on offer and not forgetting the creamy flavours of Amarula from the marula fruit.
Some of the nation’s famous tourist sites include Table Mountain in Cape Town, Durban’s pristine beaches and of course who can write about visiting South Africa, without mentioning, Kruger National Park. The infrastructure has been set up to ensure that visitors have a wonderful experience no matter their interests or budget.
South Africa became independent in 1994 which is when apartheid (a policy/system of segregation/discrimination based on race) ended. Effects of the recent history of apartheid are still visible in some of the structures of South Africa. For better understanding of this history of South Africa a visit to the Apartheid Museum (near Johannesburg), a Soweto Walking Tour and a visit to Robben Island (in Cape Town) are highly recommended.
While South Africa has gained a lot of bad press in relation to its crime rates, try not to let that put you off visiting the country. Take precautions to minimise your risks, such as using tour guides or travelling with locals in the country.