United Kingdom Portugal French
Mozambique tourism
History of Mozambique:

The Bantu people settled in Mozambique about 2,000 years ago, setting up the great Mwenemutapa Empire in the centre and south of the country. By about 900 AD trading links had been forged with India, Persia, China and, above all, with the Arab world. Gold was the major lure for these merchants and it was this precious mineral that first attracted the Portuguese to Mozambique, Vasco de Gama landing there in 1948 on his way to India. The Portuguese setup their first trading post at Sofala in1505, exporting gold and challenging Arab domination. By the late 17th century ivory had replaced gold as the main export while, some 50 years later, slaves became the major commodity. Mozambique was governed from Goa until 1752, when it was brought under direct control from Lisbon. As a result of this link with India, numerous Indian trading communities settled in the country, and their influence can still be seen today. Independent Arab trading 'states' survived until the end of the 19th century when, after Portugal's colonial role was ratified, these trading 'kingdoms' were destroyed leaving the legacy of the Islamic religion in areas where these sultanates had existed. In the early part of the 20th century vast tracts of land were rented to and administered by private companies.
Agriculture became the main activity, creating huge numbers of poor, rural black workers, while a policy of
white supremacy was pursued. Repression and exploitation provoked a backlash which led to the growth of the independence movement and the founding of freedom organisations like Frelimo in 1962.
Armed struggle led to independence on June 25, 1975. A 17-year-long civil war which then broke out was only resolved in 1992. Multi-party elections were then held in October 1994 with Frelimo emerging as victors. Mozambique, which joined the Commonwealth in 1995, is now building on its stability by promoting foreign investment and tourism.


Tropical to sub-tropical with coastal temperatures high for much of the year while the interior is warm to
mild, even in the cooler, dry season from April to September. In the south the hot, humid rainy season is from December to March, farther north this period lengthens by a few weeks. The coast of northern
Mozambique is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones. It is usually sunny throughout the year.


Mozambique covers an area of over 800,000 sq. km, three times the size of Great Britain. Situated to the
south east of the African continent, it shares borders with six other countries, Tanzania, Malawi and
Zambia to the north, Zimbabwe to the west, South Africa and Swaziland to the south. The 2,500 km long coastline boasts numerous superb beaches fringed by lagoons, coral reefs and strings of small islands.
A vast, low, grassland plateau which rises from the coast towards the mountains in the north and west covers nearly half the country's land area. The population is concentrated along the coast and the fertile river valleys. The Zambezi is the largest of the country's 25 rivers. Mozambique is rich in mineral resources such as gold, emeralds, copper, iron ore and bauxite and is currently engaged in oil exploration.


Traditional ways of life are well preserved in Mozambique - varying from province to province. This cultural kaleidoscope provides visitors with a host of treasured experiences and memories. The Makonde, from Cabo Delgado Province in the north-east, are known for their fearlessness and initiation rituals. For male initiation, participants dance in "mapico" masks. The body is tattooed and the teeth are sharpened purely for aesthetic purposes. The Makonde are also accomplished craftsmen,producing fine hardwood - mainly
mahogany, ebony or ironwood and ivory carvings which often depict the stories of earlier generations. Music is very important to the Niassa people who live in the sparsely populated north-western region. They use wind instruments, made from dry and hollowed calabashes, which produce a similar sound to a trumpet. Musicians in a band play instruments of different sizes. Makua women, from Nampula Province, paint their faces with “muciro”, a white, root extract.They also make straw baskets, mats and other
articles as well as sculptures from ebony and clay.The traditional, spicy cooking of Zambézia is highly regarded.
Zambézian chicken, grilled with palm oil, is a particular delicacy. The agility of the Nhau dancers of Tete
Province is much admired. To the sound of resounding drum beats, they dance holding huge and
frightening wooden masks. For the Chope people of Inhambane Province the "timbila" is both the name of a percussion instrument and a dance. The instrument is similar to a xylophone. During the dance, up to 23 different sized instruments are played. The Chope also use the “mbira”, made of strips of metal attached to a hollow box and plucked with the fingers.

Copyright © 2007 - 2008 Mozambique. All rights reserved. | website design by Maa Designs ltd.