Palmed fringed Indian Ocean paradise
Last night it rained. Hard. Not that drizzly wetting stuff, but proper rain, the kind that lets you know you’re alive. There was thunder too, a distant rumbling like the beat of far-off drums. After the evening drama, you might well wonder what you’ll awake to. But honestly, there’s nothing quite like low season Mozambique in the morning. An unimaginably long beach, white sand washed clean, humid air cleared, a sea breeze bringing in a fresh gift for a new day. It’s to be a day of adventure, wildlife or cocktails. It’s your holiday, your choice.
Running 1616 miles from Tanzania to South Africa, this fascinating country is home to the lengthiest stretches of Indian Ocean coastline on the continent, swathes of pristine beach and little known coves, coral reefs, phenomenal marine life, and national parks. Mozambique today is a country long at peace, rapidly developing a tourist infrastructure to be proud of. It’s an adventure capital which retains an atmosphere of rustic charm. Indeed, the laid back vibe is one of the destination’s biggest draws, but there are plenty of options for those seeking a luxury getaway at one of the intimate lodges with private beach access, spa facilities and world class staff. The most popular time to visit is the southern African winter May to October when the climate is cool and dry. But come in low season from November to April when many travellers are put off by the hot and humid weather and it’s not unusual to enjoy resorts practically to yourself. The exceptions to this are the Easter family break and the Christmas and New Year period which sees celebrating crowds and rocketing prices.
A word of warning, Mozambique can experience low season tropical cyclones coming in from Madagascar. Although thrilling and dramatic, they can’t be predicted far in advance so it’s important to take local advice and wait for a clear spell. If you have the flexibility for a longer stay of 5 nights or more that’s ideal, as between the showers this is a brilliant time to see nesting turtles, go bird watching, explore underwater, try mouthwatering cuisine, and get involved with local culture, all at the very best value.
Enjoy year-round warm water for fantastic diving and snorkeling with experienced staff on hand to advise which reefs have the best sea conditions and visibility. Bazaruto Archipelago has enjoyed protective status since the 1970s meaning it’s teeming with dolphins, turtles, rays, nurse sharks, morays, devil rays and huge potato and camouflage groupe among the coral reefs. Also popular is the Quirimbas Archipelago, a string of 32 breathtakingly gorgeous islands in the north, near Pemba. Low season breezes mean great conditions for kite-surfers and sailers, while guided kayak adventures are also on offer. The low season summer is also a great time for big game fishing, if that’s your bag, with black marlin high on the agenda towards the end of the year.
Mozambique might not spring to mind when you think of safari, but with seven national park and six national reserves, the country is working hard to protect the habitats of elephant, lion, zebra, impala, crocodile, hippo and many other endangered species. Low season is traditionally not the best period for wildlife viewing as the environment becomes lush and trails muddy but it is a beautiful time for seeing newborn animals with their mothers. Low season summer is also the absolute optimum for viewing migratory birds. Maputo Special Reserve and Gorongosa National Park in particular are top birding areas with large flocks of rare and diverse species returning from the Sahara including colourful cuckoos, cranes, bee-eaters, lapwings.