9 Best Places to Visit in Mozambique

With a 2,500-kilometre (1553-mile) coastline and two sun-drenched archipelagos, there are plenty of holiday destinations in Mozambique from which to choose. Whether you’re in the mood for some barefoot luxury on a pristine beach or a high-end island getaway in a tropical paradise, a vacation in Mozambique is perfect for every type of traveller.

When deciding on which of the Mozambique destinations to visit, the final choice often comes down to which beach or island best suits your dream holiday. And while it’s obvious that Mozambique is perfect for ‘laze and gaze’ beach holidays, away from the coastline you’ll also find wild reserves offering game viewing, bird watching and guided walking safaris in magnificent wilderness areas – something they don’t often mention in the average Mozambique travel guide.

Find which beautiful places in Mozambique are right for you with our list of the 9 best places to visit in Mozambique:

1. Maputo: Seafood & Spices in the Capital City of Mozambique

The Mozambique capital city, Maputo, is a rejuvenated gem set in the far south of the country and is best known for its colourful markets and thriving nightlife. It’s also the best place to enjoy the country’s signature dish: a plate of sizzling peri-peri prawns washed down with ice-cold Laurentina beer. That said, if it’s a beach holiday you’re after then we recommend that you don’t linger long in this bustling city but head further north to the long mainland beaches or the islands of the dazzling Bazaruto or Quirimbas Archipelagos. But Maputo is a great stop-over to enjoy Mozambique’s rich culture and history.

2. Vilanculos: Incredible Diving Spots Along a Charming Coastal Town

Located along the Mozambique coastline, Vilanculos is the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago and a great destination in its own right. Some of the best resorts in Mozambique are found in this charming coast town, set right on the beach with incredible views of the ocean. The town has a scattering of good local restaurants and the marine life the nearby Bazaruto Marine Park is phenomenal. Mozambique is known for being one of the best diving destinations in Africa – and Vilanculos is well-known for its snorkelling and diving trips to the nearby islands. When on land, you can enjoy horse rides along the beach.

3. Inhambane: Long Beaches, Whales Sharks & Manta Rays

If you’re looking for miles and miles of palm-lined beaches and a lively atmosphere, then set your sights on Inhambane and the nearby holiday villages of Tofo and Barra. The Barra Peninsula has wonderful wide beaches, and its clear waters are home to Manta Reef – known the world over as a top destination for excellent manta ray sightings. To top it off, this region is one of your best bets for swimming with whale sharks (in season).

4. Bazaruto Archipelago: Unforgettable Moments on Tropical Islands in Luxurious Lodges

No Mozambique holiday is complete without visiting the country’s top destination. The Bazaruto Archipelago is a fantastic choice for a relaxing break with an exotic African twist. Comprising five glittering islands set in Africa’s biggest marine reserve, a Benguerra and Bazaruto Island holiday is one of the biggest attractions in Mozambique. In this slice of paradise, there’s no fighting for towel space on the largely empty beaches, while the pace of life here is wonderfully slow, and the game fishing, snorkelling and diving are all world-renowned. Both Benguerra and Bazaruto islands are a short hassle-free flight from South Africa’s Kruger National Park – start your day with an early morning game drive and end it with a sunset dhow cruise in a tropical wonderland.

5. Quirimbas Archipelago: Barefoot Luxury on a Private Island Escape

Scattered on a sea of brilliant blue, the Quirimbas Archipelago is where to go in Mozambique for a private island escape. It is one of premier islands in Mozambique for barefoot luxury. Of the 30 or so islands, only a handful have accommodation or indeed development of any kind: the tiny, thatched chalets on Medjumbe Private Island are perfect for a honeymoon in Mozambique, while Quilalea has coral reefs just a fin’s flick from shore.

6. Gorongosa National Park: A Restored Flagship Reserve

Gorongosa is a wild tapestry of grassy floodplains, fever tree forests, palm thickets, wide rivers and the country’s last rainforest. Having recently undergone a hugely ambitious and successful rehabilitation programme, the rejuvenation of this remote reserve is one of Africa’s true good-news stories. And while it’s not yet the best option for a Big 5 safari, if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track escape with diverse game, rich birdlife and a real sense of untamed Africa then you’re sure to love Gorongosa.

7. Pemba: Gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago

The port town of Pemba is built around a large natural bay and stands today as a reminder of Mozambique’s rich history and culture. The small beach town has some beautiful examples of colonial Portuguese architecture shaded by large baobab trees. There are colourful reefs lying close to shore, but most visitors focus on exploring this city’s markets and craft shops for a day or two before setting off for nearby beach lodges or the islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago – some of the best Mozambique lodges.

8. Niassa Reserve: A Vast, Beautiful Wilderness

More than twice the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Niassa is one of Africa’s largest conservation areas – but this remote and little-visited reserve has only recently opened to tourism. Consequently, the wildlife is still skittish but you’re sure to have some good sightings including – if you’re lucky – lion, leopard or even wild dog. Plus, the bird watching is exceptional. Niassa’s biggest draw card is the chance to experience guided walks and game drives in a truly wild, secluded and beautiful expanse of African wilderness.

9. Ilha de Mozambique: A Stunning Little Island with World Heritage Status

Ilha de Mozambique, or Ilha de Moçambique in Portuguese, sits 4 kilometres (3 miles) off the country’s shore and is connected to the mainland by a narrow bridge built in the 1960s. The tiny island is approximately 3 kilometres (2 miles) long and 500 metres (1,640 feet) wide – minuscule in size but each inch is a testament to Mozambique’s past. When walking through the streets of Ilha de Mozambique, it feels as if time stands still. Beautiful colonial buildings are dotted around the islands, from forts and cathedrals to mansions, dating back to the 17th century, showcasing the collection of religions and cultures that live side by side. Explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site with a tour through Makuti Town, snorkelling in mangroves, whale watching in season and swimming off a deserted island before enjoying a beach picnic. When travelling to Mozambique, this is tiny island gem is a must-visit.