Travel Guide to Ilha de Mozambique

Ilha de Mozambique

If you have never been to Ilha de Mozambique, then now is the time to go – book a Mozambique special package that will include a visit to this small island which today still bustles with street markets and offers delicious food. Visitors love the long white beaches, excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities in the nearby Indian Ocean.

A visit to Stone Town (Fort São Sebastião) is captivating as the town is still filled with ancient fortifications and interesting architecture. Ilha de Mozambique was initially the capital of Mozambique for nearly 400 years before the Portuguese moved it to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo). Today, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a museum of cultural wonders and natural sites.

Getting there:

Getting to Ilha de Mozambique is not hard to do. The island is close to the Mozambique mainland at Nacala. It is easier if you fly into Nampula and travel via road to ‘Mozambique Island’, taking the picturesque three-kilometre bridge that connects it to the main coastline.

Flights to Nampula go via Maputo from Johannesburg and Mozambique’s national LAM airlines use this airstrip regularly.

For adventurous visitors who like to self-drive, it will take you up to three hours to drive from Nampula or Nacala to Ilha de Mozambique – local minibus taxis are another option. Contact one of our consultants to tailor make your trip to the island.

When to go:

Most of the time, Mozambique Island is warm, the sand clean and white, the sea clear and blue – a diver’s paradise. It is best to visit this region between May and November when the weather is drier and cooler. The early wet season from November to January is also fine but remember that the beaches will be filled with South Africans on their December holidays and the humidity is high.

Visa requirements:

While South Africans do not require a tourist visa to Mozambique, other visitors can either get theirs from the Mozambican embassy and consulate, or on arrival at the border post.

What to take:

Remember to take waterproof bags for boat transfers and water sports and keep bags light. Beach gear, flat shoes, cool clothing and snorkelling gear, some basic medical supplies plus your malaria medication, just in case. Camera, hats, sun cream, rain coat and sunglasses. That’s it!

Malaria:

There is malaria in Mozambique so take anti-malaria medication and use plenty of insect repellents.

Travel Guide – Your questions answered on Mozambique

Anvil Bay Mozambique

Planning a summer holiday to Mozambique opens up a box of questions that need immediate answering. We are here to assist you to answer as many of these queries before you set off into Africa. For now, it is safe to say that Mozambique is one of the most stable countries on this vast continent, its ongoing infrastructural development enhancing its tourism potential.

Mozambique has a complex and fascinating history that dates as far back as 9 AD when merchant ships visited from India, Persia and Arabia. The Portuguese arrived in the 15th century and the struggle for power intensified around the 19th century. Click here to plan your holiday with one of our consultants.

Safety:

Mozambique is today a safe place to visit, although you still need to be aware at all times and avoid being alone in strange places. Be careful of petty theft and carrying items of value. You will no doubt be bribed somewhere along the way during your holiday and you need to carry your passport on you all the time. Always remain polite and stick to the rules. There are still landmine remnants off the beaten track so avoid wandering around off roadsides or pathways into the bush – always ask locals first.

Money:

Mozambicans use the metical (meticais) but tourists can change US Dollars at most banks and South African Rands are widely accepted in southern Mozambique. All main towns have ATMs and all accept Visa Cards, not MasterCard.

Visas:

Everyone needs to get a visa to enter Mozambique – except if you come from South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Botswana. They can be bought at most borders but it is wise to get them long in advance to avoid any hitches and delays on your journey. If you travel by bus and you don’t have your visa, buses await no man and will leave you behind!

Climate and what to wear:

Mozambique is loved for its constantly balmy temperatures during winter and summer – between 24 and 30 degrees C. When the rains come during December, January and up until April, it gets extremely humid and uncomfortable so stay near the sea, where sea breezes help to ease the heat. The most stable weather is during the dry, cooler season from May to November – which also happens to be whale season. Remember that South Africans flock over the borders into Mozambique for their Easter and Christmas holidays!

Getting there:

You can jump on a large ‘luxury’ bus that travels daily between Johannesburg and Maputo via the Komatipoort / Ressano Garcia border post. If you travel from Durban via the Kosi Bay border post, you need a 4×4 vehicle from there so need to book a transfer. Getting to Maputo from Ponto do Ouro is simple, if you are willing to board a chapas (taxi) twice weekly.

All in all, travel to Mozambique can be done with very little fuss – have you booked your holiday package yet?

Travel Guide – Your Questions Answered on Pemba

Pemba Manta Reef

Pemba is a port where fishing boats sail in and out, a base for tourists from which to explore northern Mozambique. It is a picturesque town which offers some of the best diving, snorkelling and fishing in Africa! The town is small with basic facilities, plenty of delicious seafood and Wimbe Beach which is frequented by travellers moving between the Quirimbas Archipelago and other delightful Mozambique destinations.

The capital of Cabo Delgado Province, Pemba boasts some up to date facilities such as  shops, banks, patisseries, cafes and restaurants and pubs. In the old town, find the traditional arts and crafts, especially the handmade silverware.

Getting to Pemba:

Flights land daily at Pemba airport from Mozambique centres, Johannesburg and Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania). From Pemba, you can take a helicopter, a light aircraft or a boat to the islands in the Quirimbas Archipelago. You can also visit Niassa Wildlife Reserve where a pristine wildlife wilderness awaits you – spend days roaming the vast, untouched vistas which stretch into the horizon towards Tanzania.

When travelling by car to Pemba it is wise to have a 4×4 vehicle for sandy roads and potholes. It will take you an entire day to drive from Johannesburg, a total of 2 557 kilometres! Contact one of our consultants today to work out the best itinerary for you.

When to go:

The dry season is less humid in Pemba – May to November – and the summer months can be very hot and humid with monsoon winds and rain – December to April.

What to take:

Remember to take waterproof bags for boat transfers and water sports and keep bags light. Beach gear, flat shoes, cool clothing and snorkelling gear, some basic medical supplies plus your malaria medication, just in case. Camera, hats, sun cream, raincoat and sunglasses. That’s it!