Emerging from the ashes of what once seemed a never-ending state of war, Mozambique is fast becoming one of Africa’s most fashionable destinations. Versatility is the key: cosmopolitan cities, palm-strewn beaches, tea plantations and hillside panoramas. Not to mention flamingos galore, rare rhinos and giraffes roaming the plains.
Seaside capital Maputo, its streets lined with vibrant flame trees, is a striking city where you can subsist on two-a-penny bananas from the countless street vendors, explore the sweet-smelling spice markets and watch locals in vivid clothing drift past with a day on the seafront. Nipa (cashew brew) and matapa (cassava leaves and prawns with a peanut sauce) help the evenings to waft lazily by.
Everything else of note lies to the north of Maputo, and there’s plenty of adventure to be had. Off the white sands of Tofu you can mix with the manta rays whilst diving deep, or party late into the night amongst the swirling sand dunes. Nearby Inhambane is the place to track down colossal flocks of flamingoes and crumbling fishing boats, both filling the bay of a charming old-world town. Offshore the occasional whale greets intrepid scuba divers. Take a boat out to the islands, and you’ll find pricey, secluded and stunningly handsome tourist lodges stretching across their own Crusoe-like beaches.
If it’s on-shore wildlife you’re after, Reserva Do Niassa is home to lions and roaming elephants, as well as wild men and relentless rolling countryside. Parque Nacional de Gorongosa is similarly teaming and spectacular, and a bit of a bird watchers paradise. Rustic, strutted lodges raise visitors above the level of all but the heftiest of beasts to grab a good, safe nights sleep amongst the expansive plains. Gurue is the place to head for hillside panoramas, with abundant tea plantations, verdant landscapes littered with thatched huts, and muddy tracks leading out into a mountainous, waterfall spattered wilderness.
With the troubles seemingly a thing of the past (sporadic land mines aside), Mozambique is an ever more popular, strikingly colorful corner of Africa that belongs on every continental itinerary.