An exclusive paradise retreat or a journey of exploration, the choice is yours in Mozambique
Not as well known as some of its oceanic neighbours off the east coast of Africa, Mozambique is a tourism destination on the up and it certainly has the natural beauty, deserted tropical islands, sweeping white sand beaches and marine life to rival the likes of the Seychelles, Mauritius and the Maldives.
The coastal capital of Maputo is in the south of the country and is easily reached on flights from Johannesburg making it simple to combine a safari elsewhere in Africa, such as Botswana or Namibia, with a beach escape in Mozambique. It is a particularly popular add-on to safari in Kruger National Park and other Eastern Cape Reserves.
Maputo itself is the most developed part of the country, the faded colonial, Mediterranean style building provide a glimpse into the past of the country, which gained independence from Portugal in 1975.
The Machangulo Peninsula is a short speed boat ride east across Maputo Bay (or a more adventurous 4x4 transfer) and has several low-key boutique beach lodges. Don’t expect over-the-top luxury here but instead authentic, barefoot-chic lodges on pristine bays surrounded by wilderness. Depending on the lodge there are numerous activities on offer from riding fat bikes on the beach, stand up paddle boarding, forest walks in the Maputo Special Reserve and ocean safaris looking out for whales, dolphins and turtles.
A little further north and a direct flight either from Johannesburg in around two hours or straight from Kruger in just over an hour, is the small town of beach town of Vilankulos, the branching off point for the stunning Bazaruto Archipelago which is just a few kilometres across the turquoise ocean. Five dune islands are strung out along the coast, surrounded by a marine national park making this one of the best places for divers or snorkellers of any level. Just a few luxury lodges sheltered by wild fruit trees hiding twittering monkeys, colourful coucals and slaloming lizards.
In the far north of the country in the Cabo Delgado Province, 2,500 km away from Maputo are the dazzling Quirimbas Islands. There are a handful of lodges on the 32 islands which stretch for 200km, however the tourism and development here is still fairly new. For those willing to venture this far north, rare dugongs, endless palm fringed beaches and a diverse, historic culture await, but for those looking to link with a quality South Africa or Botswana safari the quality might be more consistently found in the Bazaruto Archipelago.