Mozambique General Information

Mozkru5From the overgrown outposts of Portuguese outposts along the mighty Zambezi to the ancient, mysterious Mwenu Mutapa Kingdom and the enchanting and unique Mozambique Island, Mozambique offers an enticing and fascinating blend of cultures. Arab dhows and modern speedboats crisscross the translucent tropical waters of a coral-fringed coastline, where scuba-diving opportunities rival the world’s best. One of the lasting legacies of Portuguese and Arab traders and colonists are the colourful settlements found along the coast. Maputo, Inhambane, Beira, Quelimane and Pemba display a variety of architectural styles- form Manueline to gaudy 1930’s-insprired Art Deco. So far, fortune –seekers have failed in their quest to find the legendary mines of King Solomon, said to contain hoards of gold, yet the stunning diversity of coastal, riverine, mountain and forest environments are Mozambique’s real treasure trove- home to a splendid array of fauna and flora, interspersed with traditional villages.

 

 

Language
Portuguese is the official language in Mozambique. Local newspapers are published in Portuguese and a limited national radio network broadcasts in Portuguese and in local languages. DSTV satellite television with more than 50 regional and international channels is available privately and in many hotels.

Money Matters

CURRENCY:
The unit of currency in Mozambique is the Meticas. Bank notes are in very high denominations. At present new Meticas notes are being issued – these are 1 000 times the value of the old notes. In other words, 1 000 new Meticas are worth 1 000 000 old Metical. The notes are very different but be careful. Banking hours in most centres are 08h15 to l Mondays to Fridays. Banks are closed on Saturday and Sunday.The United States Dollar and the South African Rand are the most acceptable foreign currency to carry and can be exchanged in commercial banks in large towns and cities. Changing currency at a hotel will usually involve the charging of a higher commission than at a bank. When converting foreign currency you will be required to show your passport. Do not exchange money with the locals at the border – you will be cheated. Exchange at the Bureau de Change at Komatipoort (opens at 07:00) or at a bank in Mozambique. Most hotels, shops and restaurants in cities and towns and most resorts accept valid, international credit cards. MasterCard and Visa are accepted for payment. However, carry some cash with you in case.
VISAS:
Holders of passports from outside SADC countries will require a visa. Two passport photographs are required when entering Mozambique for the first time. Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your departure from the country. A visa can be obtained from Mozambique consulates around the world and in South Africa. Allow 7 days for processing. Visas can be obtained at certain border posts – this will be at a higher cost. All air arrivals must be in possession of a valid return ticket; failing which the equivalent cost of the airfare must be deposited with customs. Visitors must be able to prove that they have sufficient funds to cover their stay in the country.
TIPPING:
Tipping for service is standard practice in Mozambique and is usually 10% in restaurants and about US$1 per item for hotel porters; cleaners and maids in hotels and Lodges usually get between US$1 and US$2 per day.
During your trip it is likely that you will come into contact with tour guides. Tipping in this instance ranges between US$4 and US$5 per person per day. Tipping is only recommended if you are satisfied with the service you have received and is entirely at your own discretion.

Climate
The hot rainy season is from November through to end March. The winters are mild which many guests prefer (May through to July) because of the lower incidence of malaria. The average max temperature in centigrade in summer (Oct – Mar) is 30º and in winter (May — Aug) 20º.

Transport

VEHICLES:
If you enter Mozambique in your own vehicle you must have the vehicle registration papers and the papers of any trailer or caravan you are towing. If you are driving a vehicle or towing a trailer that is not yours you must obtain a letter of authorization from the registered owner. This also applies to hire cars. If your vehicle is still under an installment sale agreement (hire purchase or lease) it is a good idea to obtain a letter of acknowledgment of your trip from the finance company. You should also check that your vehicle insurance policy covers you for Mozambique.
Remember to carry the vehicle registration papers and your valid driving license at all times; otherwise your vehicle could be impounded. It is advisable to carry insurance papers, letters of authorization and your passport and ID Book, just in case. It is recommended that you make copies of all documents and take these with you. Keep these in a separate place from the originals.
You will need to purchase 3rd party insurance (see ‘At the Border’ below) either before your journey or at the border. You should carry this in the vehicle at all times. If you are towing you must attach a triangle at the front of the vehicle and on the back of the trailer or caravan. Buy special Mozambique triangles before your departure. Stickers may also be used.
DRIVING:
Diving is on the left and most cars are right hand drive. Most roads are in reasonable condition but outside of the main towns or away from the main roads conditions may deteriorate. To get to many of the resorts you will need a 4×4 vehicle or must arrange to be collected from a central point. If you intend travelling on soft sand make sure you deflate tyre pressures to around 1 bar and have a tyre pump/compressor and pressure gauge with you.The speed limit is 120km/h on national roads and 60km/h in built up areas. If you are in a built up area and you do not see speed restriction signs it is advisable to slow to 60km/h until you are out of town. Speed restriction signs, when erected, are prominent. Some end of restriction signs are three diagonal lines on a white background. Note the many South African and foreign travelers have been harassed and extorted by Mozambican traffic officials. If stopped do not be aggressive or hand over any official documentation i.e. passports, ID documents, drivers license etc. Show them but at all times retain possession of them.It is advisable to not drive at night or, if you do so, to be on the lookout for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles with no lights. Look out for cattle, horses and other animals. Many local drivers will signal right when approaching another car at night. This can be disconcerting but in fact means that they are showing you the part of their vehicle which is closest to you. Where there are potholes in the roads try to avoid the worst ones but be careful of other traffic.
ROAD TRAVEL AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT:
The road network is poorly developed. Access to Maputo from the South African border, north up the coast as far as Vilankulo and from Beira to the Zimbabwe border is possible with a normal two wheel drive vehicle as these roads have been rehabilitated, although some damage to these roads have been caused by the flooding of 2001. It is advisable to use a 4X4 vehicle in all other areas of the country. It is recommended that visitors make use of established tour operators operating in Mozambique due to the poorly developed national and tourist infrastructure.
Public transport is practically non-existent although various buses run up the coast. These services are improving all the time. Taxi services are available in the larger cities which can be booked by hotel staff or at airports. Trains and luxury inter-city coaches run between Maputo and Johannesburg in South Africa.
AIR TRAVEL:
Direct flights from Johannesburg and Harare and a service from Lisbon, Portugal are the only effective links to the outside world. The internal airline links Maputo with Beira, Nampula, Pemba and Lichinga. Direct flights from Europe, North and South America, Australia, the Far East and the Middle East provide easy access to Mozambique via Johannesburg in South Africa. Visitors can also make use of private air charter networks, which connect all areas in Mozambique and the southern African region.

At the Borders

AT THE SOUTH AFRICAN SIDE:
Complete a temporary export document, have it stamped and then proceed to immigration with your paper
AT THE MOZAMBIQUE SIDE:
Purchase 3rd Party Insurance at the insurance table or at one of the booths outside.
Proceed to the customs desk, present your temporary export permit.
Do not exchange money with the locals at the border – you will be cheated. Exchange at the Bureau de Change at Komatipoort (opens at 07:00) or at a bank in Inhambane.

Licences & Permits
Boat launch license and fishing permits are available in Inhambane. Spear fishing of bottom fish is punishable with fines of up to 10 000 000 Meticals (R3 000).

Business Hours
Banking hours in most centres are O8hl5 to 12h00 and are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Shops and businesses close for siesta between 12h00 and 14h00 and are closed on Sundays. Most businesses and shops are open between 14h00 and 18h00 on Mondays and 08h30 and 13h00 and 15h00 and 18h30 on other weekdays and Saturday. Shops and businesses are closed on Sundays. Curios can be purchased from street traders and at flea-markets in a more informal shopping environment.

Medical Care
Visitors are responsible for their own medical needs and it is advisable to carry comprehensive medical insurance including emergency medical evacuation cover.Hospital services are generally poor and often non-existent in rural or more remote regions of the country. Chemists/pharmacies, private doctors and other medical practitioners are available in large towns and cities. Hospitals are listed under “H” and private doctors and medical practitioners under “medical practitioners” in telephone directories.
Malaria is endemic to the entire country. Suitable precautions and the use of Prophylactics are recommended for visitors to these areas. There are a number of excellent mosquito repellents available, which are applied directly to the skin or clothes in the evening. Most luxury hotels and lodges have mosquito nets over their beds and I their rooms. HIV/Aids is widespread in Mozambique and it is recommended that visitors do not engage in any high-risk sexual or drug-related activities; which may cause exposure to the disease. Condoms are available in the larger towns and cities however a thorough inspection before use may be prudent and it is advisable to your own.
Tap water should be considered unsafe to drink. Bottled mineral water is widely available.

Telephones
A modern and efficient telephone service is available in towns and cities across the country. Direct national and international dialing is possible.

Dining & Drinking
Mozambican food reflects the agricultural products of the country. Superb seafood products feature prominently. Maputo boasts a wide variety of restaurants featuring most of the prominent cuisine varieties of the world. Cashew nuts are plentiful in season and are superb but beware of weights when buying at the roadside. Naartjies (tangerines) are also very tasty and cheap. You can also buy prawns, crayfish, crabs, calamari and linefish from the fishermen, traders or at the market. The sellers will usually clean and prepare the fish.
Coconuts and coconut water are also available. Local vegetables and fruits are available at the markets.
Beers and spirits are readily available with most international brands represented. There are several really good local beers. Wines are generally imported from South Africa and elsewhere.
Tap water should be considered unsafe to drink. Bottled mineral water is widely available. Locally brewed beer is of good quality. South African wines of superb quality are available in most restaurants in Maputo and at reasonable prices.

Water & Electricity
Tap water is not safe in Mozambique. Always boil it first or take mineral water with, except if you’re staying at a lodge or hotel where drinking water usually is perfectly safe to drink.
The Mozambique power grid uses 220/240 volts AC 50 Hertz; Wall sockets (round and square 3 pin) are rated to carry a maximum of 15 amps. It is important to carry a 3 pin round and square adapter, as this is unobtainable in Mozambique.

Security
Although Mozambique has a relatively low level of crime with most offences involving petty thieving, the poor economy in the country is resulting in an escalation of more serious crime and it is important that the visitor is aware of the following:
Certain inner city areas are unsafe and should be avoided, especially after dark. This applies in particular in Maputo and Beira.
Avoid lonely and deserted areas in the city, especially after dark.
Passports and money should be safely locked away in your hotel.
Carry your wallet and other documents you may require in a body belt, preferably under loose clothing.
Be aware of what others around you are doing, both when walking and driving.
If you are unsure about anything ask your tour guide, hotel staff or a local person with whom you are.
Do not leave valuables in your motor vehicle, which are visible from the outside.
Avoid picking up hitchhikers and ensure your car doors are locked.
Do not hand your car keys over to anyone.
The Mozambican Police are available at any time to assist in the event of any difficulties however you may experience communication difficulties if you are not conversant in Portuguese.

 

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Mozambique Guided Tours

 

 

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  • Shingwedzi 4×4 eco-trail: five night, six day fully self-sufficient 4×4 trail. Starts at Pafuri Picnic Site in Kruger National Park, enters Mozambique at Pafuri Border Post and traverses Parque Nacional do Limpopo, the Mozambique sector of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park camping at pans and on river banks.
  • Palarangala Wilderness Trail: three nights spent camping out in a rustic bushcamp with days spent exploring the pristine wilderness area stocked with game from the adjacent Kruger National Park. Guided and fully catered.
  • Elefantes Gorge Backpacking and Fishing Trail: three night and four day fully self-sufficient guided trail spent traversing the plateau of the Lebombos, camping wild and fishing for Tiger from the shores of Massingir Dam.
  • Historical and Cultural Walks in and around Maputo visiting museums, markets, cathedrals, beaches and religous sites.
  • Enjoy all sorts of water sports at Ponto do Ouro and Ponto do Malongane
  • Quad-biking and 4X4 Trails alongside tropical beaches.

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  • Diving with giant Leatherback Turtles and Eagle Rays off the coast of Inhaca Island in the bay of Maputo Bay.
  • Scuba diving at Bazaruto Islands on pristine coral reefs. “Two Mile Reef” is situated just a half hour by boat from Bazaruto.
  • Island Hopping on traditional Dhows off the coast of Vilanculos.
  • Scuba Diving and Snorkeling with Whale Sharks and Dolphins at Tofo, the best place in the world to spot them.
  • Surfing, Kayaking , Kite Surfing and Skiing on blue tropical waters.
  • Enjoy local Portuguese cuisine with an African flavour.
  • Deep sea game fishing excursions- great Marlin, Dorado, Tuna fishing.

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Praia do Tofo



Mozkru1Praia do Tofo (Tofo Beach) lies on the Indian Ocean coast, on Ponto do Barra peninsula in Inhambane Province, 22 km drive from Inhambane city. Tofo is home to beach villas, laid back rustic beach bars and backpackers, hammocks underneath palm trees , full- moon beach parties, snorkeling with whale sharks and sea turtles, surfing at unspoiled beaches, deep sea fishing, hiking to villages in the palm-forests, and experience a conglomerate of cultures and nationalities’ in its purest form.
Tofo’s tourist industry is built around its exceptional opportunities to see Manta Rays and Whale Sharks which are permanently resident in these waters- Tofo is one of the best destinations for divers/snorkelers to see Whale Sharks.
Diving centers run snorkeling trips to swim with the Whale Sharks and diving trips to see the Manta Rays (these dives are below 20 metres). Tofo beach, running from a rocky point in the south up much of the length of Ponto do Barra is a haven for surfers and bathers.
Direct flights to Inhambane from Johannesburg have enabled this industry. Otherwise Tofo is about 6 hours drive north of Maputo on rough roads. From the north, Tofo is about 5 hours drive from Vilankulo.

Inhambane



Mozkru2Inhambane is a sleepy historic town known for its rusting colonial architecture and has been popular with tourists in recent years. The settlement owes its existence to a deep inlet into which the small river the Matamba flows. Inhambane is one of the oldest settlements on the East Coast of Mozambique. Dhows traded at the place as early as the 11th century. Muslim and Persian traders were the first outsiders to arrive to the area by sea and traded pearls and ambergris and also traded at Chibuene in the south. The area became well known for its local cotton spinning and production by the Tonga tribe. Sometime before the Portuguese came to this town, the Karanga had invaded Inhambane and formed a number of local chieftains which dominated over the Tonga cotton workers and the rewards of trading with the Muslims went to them.
When Vasco da Gama rounded Africa in the late 15th century he pulled into Inhambane to replenish stocks and to explore. He took an immediate liking in Inhambane and named it Terra de Boa Gente or ‘Land of the Good People‘. The Portuguese eventually established a permanent trading post at settlement in 1534. Inhambane was then chosen as the first Jesuit mission to East Africa in 1560.The 170 year old Cathedral of our Lady of Conception is located in the old quarter of the city where a rusted ladder leads to the top of the spire, offering panoramic views of the city and harbor. The city is now home to a museum and a market and is known for its nearby beaches of Tofo and Barra. The central market located along the main boulevard called simply “Mercado Central” offers numerous foods, ranging from a colorful array of spices and vegetables to prawns, fishes and cashew nuts.

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Xai-Xai

Mozkru10Xai-Xai, formerly João Belo, developed in the early 1900s, under Portuguese rule, as a companion port to Lourenço Marques (currently Maputo), though its economic significance was never on par with Mozambique’s largest city. Before independence from Portugal in 1975, Xai-Xai was known as João Belo, in the Overseas Province of Mozambique. João Belo grew and developed under Portuguese rule as a port, agricultural and industrial centre (rice and cashew were produced and transformed), a provider of services, including a district hospital and banking, and an administrative centre. Tourism was also important with beaches and hotels. In 1970, the city had 63,949 inhabitants.
After independence from Portugal it was hit hard by 2000 floods of the Limpopo, with some buildings 3 metres (10 ft) under water. However, shortly after the waters receded the town was opened for business again.
Xai-Xai is a bustling town with markets, shops, restaurants and bars. A few blocks from the central market, there is an open-air furniture factory, located underneath several cashew trees. The beach of Praia do Xai-Xai, approximately 12 km from Xai-Xai, has been a popular tourist attraction since Mozambican tourism, originally under Portuguese administration, was first developed before 1975. A coral reef running parallel to the shore offers good snorkeling and protects the beach from strong waves. In addition, the Wenela Tidal Pool, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) south of the town, includes a natural tunnel and blow hole that links the pool to the Indian Ocean.

Beline


Moz07This peaceful town, known as San Martino in the days of Portuguese Mozambique, is situated on a hill overlooking the sprawling waters of the Uembje Lagoon. It’s a massive stretch of water which is 8 km wide and 27 km long, plunging up to depths of 50 metres, but so shallow near the shores that it’s perfect for children.Although the white sands and clear lagoon make you feel as if you are in Greece, this is real Africa with rolling sand dunes, lush vegetation and just a boat ride away, the powerful breakers of the Indian Ocean.
Large numbers of flamingos and other water birds flock here in summer to pluck the spoils from the shallow fringes of the saline water. For the rest of the year, Bilene is all about sailing, diving, fishing, swimming and snorkeling.
Bilene is about 180km from Maputo and offers a good beach destination for those a bit jaded by life in the ever-growing capital.
It’s also a good stopover spot, being on the coastal road to Xai Xai, Inhambane and the Bazaruto Archipelago. Its location as the closest Mozambican beach resort to Johannesburg means that the town sees a large number of South Africans during the school holidays.

Vilankulo

Mozkru4Vilankulo (or Vilanculos) is a coastal town in Mozambique, lying in the Vilanculos District of Inhambane Province. Vilankulo is named after local tribal chief Gamala Vilankulo Mukoke, and some of the “bairros” (suburbs) are named after his sons. During colonial times the name was changed to Vilanculos since the Portuguese do not use the letter K much, and commonly use the ‘ssh’ sound of the S. At independence the name was changed back to Vilankulo – with a K and no S. Today the district is called Vilanculos and the town Vilankulo, and many residents have Vilankulo as their last name.
Vilankulo has been growing extensively over the last decade, and has been the recipient of considerable inward investment into its tourism infrastructure. The gateway to the archipelago is the town of Vilankulo Dhows travel between the town and the Bazaruto Archipelago. The town itself is only about 5kms long filled with all the amenities needed to make your visit comfortable yet local. The airport is based on the outside of the town with flights arriving and departing on a daily basis. Vilankulo has an array of options when it comes bars (barracas) and restaurants, if local is more your flavor work your way from The Market in the center of town towards the main beaches of Vilankulo. If you prefer something a little more exclusive there is a wide variety of exquisite lodges to visit.
It is home to a new international airport, which serves daily flights to several regional destinations, including Johannesburg, Maputo, Swaziland, and elsewhere.

Bazaruto Islands

Mozkru10The Bazaruto Archipelago is a group of six islands in Mozambique, near the mainland city of Vilankulo. It comprises the islands of Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Banque, Santa Carolina (also known as Paradise Island) and Shell. This Group of islands offer the idyllic unspoiled tropical island setting for your vacation. The area offers unspoiled coral pink beaches, World Class deep sea fishing, salt water fly fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling. The Bazaruto Archipelago is a protected National Park – the islands are pristine and undeveloped – no roads, no shops, no tourist attractions – just unbelievable natural beauty!
The islands were formed from sand deposited by the Limpopo River, which has since shifted its course. Tourist attractions include sandy beaches, coral reefs, and opportunities for surfing and fishing. The archipelago became a National Park in 1971.
Santa Carolina is just 2 miles by 0.3 miles in size Santa Carolina is a true rock island with deep channels. Santa Carolina has three beautiful beaches with coral reefs close to the shore. The island, also known as Paradise Island for obvious reasons is regarded as the ‘gem’ of the islands forming the Bazaruto Archipelago which is a proclaimed marine national park that boasts sensational beaches and magnificent scenery

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Maputo

Mozkru6Maputo, formerly Lourenço Marques/Lourenzo Marques, is the capital and largest city of Mozambique. A port on the Indian Ocean, its economy is centered around the harbour. It has an official population of approximately 1,244,227 (2006), but the actual population is estimated to be much higher because of slums and other unofficial settlements.
The town developed around a Portuguese fortress completed in 1787. In 1871 the town was described as a poor place, with narrow streets, fairly good flat-roofed houses, grass huts, decayed forts and rusty cannon, enclosed by a wall 6 ft. high then recently erected and protected by bastions at intervals. The growing importance of the Transvaal led, however, to greater interest being taken in Portugal in the port. A commission was sent by the Portuguese government in 1876 to drain the marshy land near the settlement, to plant the blue gum tree, and to build a hospital and a church. A city since 1887, it superseded the Island of Mozambique as the capital of Mozambique in 1898. In 1895, construction of a railroad to Pretoria, South Africa caused the city’s population to grow.
Prior to Mozambique’s independence in 1975, thousands of tourists from South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) frequented the city and its scenic beaches, high-quality hotels, restaurants, casinos and brothels.
Maputo is home to the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique’s first university, and to the main campus of the Universidade Pedagógica, another major Mozambican university. The city has a museum of Mozambican history, a military museum, Natural History Museum, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima.
Maputo is a planned city with square blocks and wide avenues, with Portuguese traces and their typical architecture of the 1970s. Portuguese refugees fled in massive numbers at the end of the independence war in 1975, and the resultant lack of skills and capital, in the context of a fierce civil war and government mismanagement, contributed to its state of dereliction in the years following the declaration of peace. Nevertheless, the city itself was never damaged, since it was tacitly considered neutral ground during both the colonial and the civil war. Recovery has always been very slow owing to a lack of investment. In many cases new buildings are being erected for the rising middle class, rather than existing buildings being renovated and many city services are still precarious.
An important cultural and artists’ centre in Maputo is the Associação Núcleo de Arte. It is the oldest collective of artists in Mozambique. Seated in an old villa in the centre of Maputo the Núcleo has played a significant role in metropolitan cultural life for decades. Over one hundred painters, sculptors and ceramists are member of the Núcleo, which regularly stages exhibitions on its own premises and over the last few years, has actively participated in exchanges with artists from abroad. The Núcleo became well known for their project transforming arms into tools and objects of art. It played an important role for reconciliation after the Mozambican Civil War. The exhibition of art objects such as the Chair of the African King and the Tree of Life was shown around the world, among others in the British Museum in 2006.
Maputo is home to the Dockanema Documentary Film Festival, and international festival showcasing documentary films from around the world.

Inhaca Island

Mozkru8Inhaca Island (Ilha da Inhaca in Portuguese) is a subtropical island of off Maputo.
The island’s dimensions are approximately 12km (n-s) by 7km (e-w). The highest point above sea level is the 104m Mount Inhaca on the north-eastern shoreline. The south-western peninsula is known as Ponta Punduine while Ponta Torres to the south-east approaches the mainland. Two inland swamps occur at the northerly airstrip and southern Nhaquene respectively. Besides Inhaca settlement on the western shore there are five smaller villages.
Despite being a part of the Portuguese Colony of Mozambique until 1975, the island of Inhaca, so close to the harbour of Maputo, was occupied by the British from 1823 until the Mac Mahon Treaty of 24 July 1875. The British used the island (amongst many others all around Africa) to patrol and control the slave traffic in the region.
The island is regular destination for eco-tourists and ecological researchers. The central land area consists of cultivated fields, while grassy plains are found to the north, flanked by protected under-covered dune forests along the eastern and western shores. Extensive exposed mudflats fringe the western and southern shores at low tide. Three undamaged coral reefs flank the island’s western perimeters, all of which are protected marine reserves. Mangoves cover large sections of the northern shores and southern Saco Bay.
Among 160 coral species are Staghorn and Plate corals. Conspicuous fish are Moray eel, Potato Bass, Baracuda and Kingfish. Others present are Brindle Bass, Scorpion fish, Butterfish, Pufferfish, Parrotfish and Seahorses. Whale sharks and Manta rays visit in summer Humpback Whales migrate seasonally past these shores. Resident populations of the Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphin and the Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphin occur in the waters around the island. The bottlenose dolphin’s abundance fluctuates seasonally, increasing during the austral winter. The humpback dolphin is more resident, living in extremely shallow inshore areas of the western and southern coasts, and form larger groups (11-14 dolphins) than recorded elsewhere in southern Africa. Bottlenose dolphins frequent the waters of the northwestern coast, and their group size varies largely from individuals and pairs to hundreds of dolphins. Two species of Sea turtles (loggerheads and leatherbacks) visit the eastern shores in summer to breed.
Inhaca is home to about 300 bird species, both resident and migratory. Species of conservation concern are the Pink-backed Pelican, Lesser Crested Tern, Crab Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Mongolian Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Mangrove Kingfisher, Grey-rumped Swallow and Spotted Ground-Thrush. The southerly Nhaquene Swamp and Saco Bay are strongholds for the Sooty Falcon, while Terns roost on northerly Portuguese Island. Bird species of limited distribution are Rudd’s Apalis, Neergaard’s Sunbird and Pink-throated Twinspot. House Crows are present since the 1970′s.

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Gorongosa National Park

Mozkru9This park is at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley in the heart of central Mozambique.Seasonal flooding and water logging of the valley, which is composed of a mosaic of different soil types, creates a variety of distinct ecosystems. Grasslands are dotted with patches of acacia trees, Savannah, dry forest on sands and seasonally rain-filled pans and termite hill thickets. The plateaus contain miombo and montane forests and a spectacular rain forest at the base of a series of limestone gorges. This combination of unique features at one time supported some of the densest wildlife populations in all of Africa, including charismatic carnivores, herbivores and over 500 bird species. But large mammal numbers were reduced by as much as 95% and ecosystems stressed during Mozambique’s long civil conflict at the end of the 20th century.
In 1983 the park was shut down and abandoned during the Mozambique Civil War. For the next nine years Gorongosa was the scene of frequent battles between opposing forces. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting and aerial bombing destroyed buildings and roads. The park’s large mammals suffered terrible losses. Both sides in the conflict slaughtered hundreds of elephants for their ivory, selling it to buy arms and supplies. Hungry soldiers shot many more thousands of zebras, wildebeest, buffalos, and other ungulates. Lions and other large predators were gunned down for sport or died of starvation when their prey disappeared.
A cease-fire agreement ended the civil war in 1992 but widespread hunting in the park continued for at least two more years. By that time many large mammal populations—including elephants, hippos, buffalos, zebras, and lions had been reduced by 90 percent or more. Surveys counted just 15 buffalo, 5 zebra, 6 lions, 100 hippos, 300 elephants and just a handful of wildebeest. Fortunately, the park’s spectacular birdlife emerged relatively unscathed.
In 2004 the Government of Mozambique and the US-based Carr Foundation agreed to work together to rebuild the park’s infrastructure, restore its wildlife populations and spur local economic development—opening an important new chapter in the park’s history.
Between 2004 and 2007 the Carr Foundation invested more than $10 million in this effort. During that time the restoration project team completed a 60 square kilometre (23 square mile) wildlife sanctuary and reintroduced buffalos and wildebeests to the ecosystem. They also began the reconstruction of Chitengo Safari Camp.
Due to the success of this initial three-year project, the Government of Mozambique and the Carr Foundation announced in 2008 that they had signed a 20-year agreement to restore and co-manage the park. Several thousand visitors now enter the park each year, most staying overnight at Chitengo Safari Camp. Some of these visitors go to see the progress being made in the restoration project, and many others are seeing the park for the first time.
In 2009 the first private ecotourism venture started in the park. Explore Gorongosa is a unique safari experience based from a seasonal luxury tented camp. Guests can take guided game and birding walks, night drives, and play an exclusive part in the park’s visionary Restoration Project.

Wildlife: Gorongosa is home to an astounding diversity of animals and plants—some of which are found nowhere else in the world. This rich biodiversity creates a complex world where animals, plants and people interact. From the smallest insects to the largest mammals, each plays an important role in the Gorongosa ecosystem.
Many of the park’s large herbivore populations were greatly reduced by years of war and poaching. However, almost all naturally occurring species—including more than 400 kinds of birds and a wide variety of reptiles–have survived. With effective management and reintroduction of key species, wildlife populations will regain their natural numbers and help restore the park’s ecological balance.

Limpopo Transfrontier Park

slide6Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is a 35,000 km² peace park that is in the process of being formed. It will link the Limpopo National Park (formerly known as Coutada 16) in Mozambique, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as the area between Kruger and Gonarezhou, the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa.
Fences between the parks have started to come down allowing the animals to take up their old migratory routes that were blocked before due to political boundaries.
On the October 4, 2001 the first 40 (including 3 breeding herds) of a planned 1000 elephants were translocated from the over-populated Kruger National Park to the war-ravaged Limpopo National Park. It would take 2½ years to complete the translocation.
The new Giriyondo Border Post between South Africa and Mozambique has started in 2004. There are new plans that should increase the size of the park to 99,800 km² (36,000 sq. mi.).

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