Mozambique is an incredible yet relatively undiscovered destination, but is possibly more renowned for its idyllic, palm-fringed beaches, sloping down to meet the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Sail gracefully across the horizon through secluded tropical islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago aboard one of the dhows where colourful fish, sea turtles and whale sharks are in abundance.
In safari terms, Gorongosa National Park in the central region provides a wonderfully exclusive bush experience for the more seasoned traveller. Thanks to the real progress already achieved from the country’s conservation endeavours, the park is going from strength to strength as it recovers from years of civil conflict. It is a beautiful park with a wide variety of game and some excellent walking options.
The bustling city of Maputo, has a Mediterranean-style architecture compared to the Coast, but Mozambique also boasts its fair share of distinctive African wildlife, with big game species such as elephant, lion and rhino roaming freely across the border between South Africa’s Kruger and Limpopo National Park. Game viewing is an off-the-beaten track safari experience for the more intrepid traveller.
If you are looking for an exclusive natural paradise along the East Africa coast, Mozambique is likely to provide some of the most amazing options. With luxury beach resorts and traditional safari camps, coral reefs and savannah grasslands; a safari to Mozambique perfectly combines adventure and relaxation.
Mozambique offers a wide variety of ecological systems that are rich with equally diverse species. There are approximately 750 birds, 200 mammals, 170 reptiles and 40 amphibians that call Mozambique home. Most visitors, however come to Mozambique for the sea. There are hundreds of dive and snorkelling sites along this quite extraordinary coast and besides the abundant reef fish and spectacular coral, there are also the glorious marine giants. The soft-shelled leatherback turtle grows to over two-and-a-half metres long, whilst whale shark snorkelling and dives with manta rays can be found off the beach town of Tofo. Humpback whales can even be seen breaching from shore as they pass down the coast between June and December.
Away from the sea the wildlife is less prolific; Gorongosa National Park was once one of the top safari parks in Africa, and although populations are still recovering, the wildlife still includes big game like lions, cheetahs, elephants, leopards, hippo and rhinos as well as smaller animals like zebras, hyenas, buffalo, large herds of waterbuck, as well as crocodile and many antelope species. There are new species being discovered regularly, many of which are unique to the country, including the Mount Gorongosa pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon gorongosae) which is found only in the forests of Mount Gorongosa.
In the far south, the Maputo Special Reserve protects some of Mozambique’s most pristine lakes and beaches and there’s a small but visible elephant population that calls the reserve home.
Both of these parks and Mozambique as a whole, are truly wonderful especially if you have a soft spot for birds. Pack your binoculars to see some of Mozambique’s 750 or more species – that’s 50 more species than across all of mainland Europe!
Mozambique Safaris Holidays
We are aware that whilst some guests enjoy a more sociable experience when they travel, others prefer a more private experience. Therefore, there are several options available when planning a safari holiday in Botswana including small group tours, independent/private tailor-made safari, or fly-in safaris.
Mozambique Small escorted group safaris
Small group safaris offer a relaxed experience with insightful local driver/guides and quality accommodation. Your vehicle is exclusively for your group and usually has a maximum of six guests, all guaranteed a window seat. Mileages are quite long and road conditions can be poor on occasion, but you’ll get to see much more of the country and soak up the scenery.
If you like the look of one of our small group safaris but would prefer to have your own driver/guide, you can opt to follow the same itinerary on a private basis. You can also upgrade to a 4 x 4 vehicle which are more comfortable than a minibus and are able to cross rivers more easily, which is particularly beneficial in the green season.
Mozambique Independent/Private tailor-made safari.
On a tailor-made or independent safari, you can choose your own camps and lodges and we’ll create a bespoke itinerary on a private basis, just for you! We will be able to make recommendations based on your preferences and requirements and your budget. Please be aware that you may be travelling with like-minded guests on light aircraft flights as well as some game drives, unless you take the vehicle on a private basis.
Our Most Popular Mozambique Safari Holidays
We offer an exceptional choice of safari experiences from mobile camps, tented accommodation and luxury lodges visiting Mozambique’s iconic parks as well as some of the lesser-known gems. Whether you are looking for a short fly-in safari, a full week’s circuit safari, a safari and beach combination, a balloon experience or you would like to extend your time to visit a neighbouring country we can help make this happen.
These itineraries are ones we have arranged for many of our clients and will give you the very best wildlife holiday experiences. Where possible we have included other highlights of the country, to make the most of your precious holiday time, but ultimately everything revolves around the wildlife. However, nothing is cast in stone, as we can tailor-make the perfect wildlife holiday to suit your interests, the time you have, the standard/quality of the accommodation you prefer and of course, your budget. No two people are the same, so we will listen to your individual requirements, find out what your expectations and aspirations are and accordingly make suggestions and recommendations, to give you the most memorable wildlife holiday experience.
Our Favourite Safari
Classic Kruger safari & Mozambique
You will be tracking the Big Five during morning and afternoon game drives in Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Then you will be following the magic of the Panorama Route to Hazyview, taking in valleys, waterfalls and canyons. Take a moment to relax on the white-sand beaches of Mozambique’s Machangulo Peninsula and even have a picnic on a secluded island and go snorkelling, fishing, diving and kayaking. It’s a sensuous safari experience.
|Sabi Sands Game Reserve
|Arathusa Safari Lodge
|Machangulo Beach Lodge
Day 1: Sabi Sands Game Reserve
You’re met at the airport in Johannesburg by our representative, who assists you to your one-hour onward flight to Hoedspruit Airport. Once there, you meet your private driver in the arrivals hall for the journey to your safari lodge in Sabi Sands Game Reserve, a private reserve bordering Kruger National Park. After settling into your room and enjoying a freshly prepared lunch, you have time to embark on an afternoon game drive. This is your first chance to track the Big Five, along with cheetah, hyena, antelope and birdlife. After sundowners, return to your lodge as darkness descends, looking out for nocturnal wildlife. Then, enjoy a three-course dinner shared with fellow guests.
Day 2: Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Wake up as the birds begin to sing and, after a quick cup of coffee and a rusk (crunchy South African biscuit), head out at daybreak on another game drive. Diurnal animals search for food and water during this time, before the day heats up, and nocturnal animals may still be active too, such as leopard returning from their night-time hunt. After about three hours, you return to camp for brunch and a siesta during the hottest part of the day — relax by the pool while looking out for passing wildlife. In the late afternoon, you head out on another game drive, returning for dinner and drinks under the stars.
Day 3: Sabi Sands Game Reserve
This morning, you head out on another game drive — it’s a good time to look for tracks on the ground left by predators overnight. Your guide has an expert knowledge of the bush and can take you to the best spots for seeing the wildlife that most interests you. After brunch, you could join a bush walk. These focus on smaller aspects of the reserve’s ecosystem, including insects and birds, plant life and animal tracks. After returning to your lodge for a rest, head out on your final afternoon game drive, then enjoy your last night in the reserve sharing stories around the camp fire.
Day 4: Hazyview
On your final game drive this morning, you can focus on searching for wildlife you’ve yet to encounter with the help of your guide, or find out more about animals you might otherwise overlook. Check out after breakfast and meet your private driver for the journey to Hazyview, a small farming town with a striking setting close to the Mpumalanga Escarpment. You’ll travel along a section of the Panorama Route, which takes in deep-cut valleys, waterfalls, the Blyde River Canyon and several scenic lookout points. You arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon, where you can relax or head out to explore the town.
Day 5: Machangulo Peninsula
After a hearty breakfast, you’re driven to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, where a vehicle awaits for your journey to Maputo Harbour. The drive takes approximately four hours (including time at the border crossing into Mozambique). Once you arrive at the harbour, you board a boat to Machangulo Beach Lodge on the secluded Machangulo Peninsula, which takes about an hour and a half. You have time to settle into your room on arrival, before sitting down to dinner with views over the sparkling ocean.
Day 6: Machangulo Peninsula
After breakfast, you have the whole day to do as much or as little as you like. Machangulo Beach Lodge is surrounded by three nature reserves and two marine reserves, so you can enjoy a variety of activities during your stay. The white-sand beaches might entice you to spend the morning relaxing in the sun, enjoying a beachfront lunch from the lodge. Then, in the afternoon, you could go diving to see what lives beneath the waves — PADI-certified courses are available for beginner and experienced divers.
Day 7: Machangulo Peninsula
You could spend today visiting nearby Inhaca Island or Portuguese Island — staff at the lodge will pack a picnic for you to enjoy on the beach, and you’ll be given snorkelling equipment so you can make the most of the warm Indian Ocean waters. Return in the late afternoon and sit down to dinner while watching the sun set over the ocean, tingeing the water salmon-pink and orange.
Day 8: Machangulo Peninsula
Today you could pay a visit to the nearby Inhaca Village for a glimpse of local culture, pausing for lunch and browsing the shops for locally made crafts to take home. You could also visit the nature reserves close to the lodge, which are known for their varied birdlife including African fish eagles and great white pelicans. A good way to explore is by kayak, gently paddling through the estuaries and bays while looking out for dolphins.
Day 9: Machangulo Peninsula
On your final day, you could completely unwind with a spa treatment or massage in the lodge’s spa or on your private deck with views over the ocean. You might also like to go paddle boarding or join a fishing trip with expert guides who can show you local fishing techniques. Enjoy your final evening with a dinner of freshly caught seafood and toast your trip with a refreshing drink.
Kruger safari & Mozambique explorer
Get up close to the majestic Big Five in Kruger, enjoy a relaxing boma dinner in the African bush, relax on the idyllic beaches of Mozambique and admire the marine life of the Bazaruto’s Archipelago.
|Sabi Sands Game Reserve
|Chitwa Game Lodge
DAY 1: Sabi Sands Game Reserve
When you land into Skukuza Airport you’ll collect your checked luggage and meet your driver in the arrivals hall for your transfer to your lodge. After settling in, you’ll meet your ranger and group. You’ll then head out for your first afternoon game drive.
DAY 2: Sabi Sands Game Reserve
This morning you’ll be woken up before sunset. You’ll then make your way to the main lodge where you’ll have a quick cup of tea or coffee and meet your ranger and the rest of the group on your game vehicle. Morning game drives take place while the sun rises and presents an opportunity to track nocturnal animals that have been hunting through the night. Game drives are usually around three hours long. You’ll have breakfast after you return to the lodge. You’ll head out on your afternoon game drive before sunset to see more of the reserve’s wildlife.
DAY 3: Sabi Sands Game Reserve
You’ll head out on another morning game drive. You may also join a guided bush walk after breakfast to see some of the reserve’s smaller wildlife, follow animal tracks and spot birdlife. The afternoon game drive is an exciting part of the day in the bush as nocturnal animals start becoming active as they prepare for hunting and roaming through the night. Most afternoon game drives will also give you the opportunity of enjoying a refreshing drink and admiring an African sunset. It will be dark as you are driven back to the lodge. The tracker will shine his spotlight through the bush as you search for smaller animals such as bush babies and porcupines.
DAY 4: Bazaruto Archipelago
This morning you’ll enjoy your last morning game drive followed by a hearty breakfast. You are then met by your driver for your transfer to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport for your short flight to Vilanculos in Mozambique. Once you have cleared immigration here, you have a short and spectacular light aircraft transfer to your lodge on the Bazaruto Archipelago.
DAY 5: Bazaruto Archipelago
There are a range of activities on offer including some of the most impressive diving and snorkelling in Africa. Alternatively, you can just relax at the resort.
DAY 6: Bazaruto Archipelago
Today you can relax on the beach and have a swim in the azure waters of the Bazaruto Archipelago.
DAY 7: Bazaruto Archipelago
Away from the beach, you could take a drive around Bazaruto Island today visiting the local community and the towering sand dunes on the ocean side of the island.
DAY 8: Bazaruto Archipelago
A diving or snorkelling trip on the offshore reefs, near the Bazaruto Archipelago, could be a fine way to spend your last day in Mozambique. You could have a picnic on the exquisite white sandy beaches of Pansy Island to round things off.
Mozambique’s National Parks And Areas Of Interest
Gorongosa National Park
The vast wilderness of Gorongosa National Park known as the ‘The Eden of Africa’ was once considered one of the best game reserves in Africa, prior to the country’s civil war. It has however, witnessed a rapid recovery of wildlife populations in recent years, which is great news! Gorongosa, means ‘place of danger’ in the indigenous Mwani language and is a preserved area at the southern tip of the Great Rift Valley, covering 40,000km². The rich floodplains of Lake Urema in the centre of Gorongosa National Park have given rise to diverse ecosystems and its surrounding wetlands and rivers attract scores of water birds and many mammals. From savannah grassland to montane rainforests; to the multitiered Murombodzi Falls spills over jagged rocks on the slopes of Mount Gorongosa; to the limestone gorges and bat-filled caves that define Cheringoma Plateau; this national park has undergone an ambitious restoration project, which has been widely hailed as a remarkable conservation success story.
Today, the scars of the civil conflict are still visible in Gorongosa, but there are encouraging signs of recovery for many of the wildlife species. The Gorongosa Restoration Project was launched in 2004 with an aim to restore the park to its former glory while benefiting the local community through ecotourism. The rainforests that once carpeted the slopes of Mount Gorongosa have been replanted, and improved security and reintroductions have dramatically increased the populations of elephant, lion, buffalo and zebra and the largest population of waterbuck in any of Africa’s protected areas can now be found grazing in the park’s floodplains. The restoration project has been so remarkable that biologists declared that Gorongosa was “the most diverse park in the world”. Much of the park still remains unexplored with new animal and plant life being discovered all the time.
Niassa National Reserve
Niassa National Reserve is located in the Niassa province and covers an area of 42,000 square kilometres. It hosts different landscapes including miombo forests, mountain forests, open savannahs and prairies and contains by far the greatest concentration of wildlife in Mozambique. Niassa Reserve is a wildlife paradise, providing refuge for over 200 endangered Cape Hunting Dogs (African Wild Dog), an estimated 12,000 elephants, as well as other predators such as lion, leopard and Spotted Hyena, and general game such as buffalo, kudu, bushbuck, impala, wildebeest, waterbuck, reedbuck, hippo and crocodile. Three sub-species, the Niassa Wildebeest, Boehm’s Zebra and Johnston’s Impala are endemic to the Niassa area. This is one of the last areas in the world where such a wide array of wildlife thrives without any management by man.
The North Coast
The extensive Quirimbas Archipelago consists of 27 offshore islands strung along the coast parallel to Pemba. They support a wide variety of wading birds, turtles and terns. With only a handful of island lodges and resorts in the Quirimbas, this area remains one of the last undeveloped areas in Africa.
Quirimbas National Park in Mozambique’s northern-most Cabo Delgado Province is close to the border with Tanzania. This new park is a conservation triumph with a rich array of coastal forests and mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass beds and boasts an exciting mosaic of wildlife.
There are many charismatic species such as dugongs, marine turtles, whales, dolphins and sharks as well as elephants, leopards, buffalos, lions and African hunting dogs. The park also includes the St Lazarus Bank – a world-class diving spot, 42 nautical miles off the coast.
The South Coast
Benguerra Island is one of the five islands that make up the Bazaruto Archipelago off the south coast of Mozambique. Benguerra is approximately 11 kms by 5 kms in size and is made up of forest, savannah and wetland eco-systems which sustain a diverse population of flora and fauna.
Some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in the world is available off Benguerra’s shores with the surrounding coral reefs rich in sea life. It is famous for its unspoiled white beaches and remarkable dive sites. The archipelago is one of the last remaining habitats of the endangered dugong: a pale, voluptuous sea mammal fabled to have made bygone mariners believe in mermaids.
Best Time To Visit Mozambique
Mozambique has a subtropical climate.
April to December is the dry season with temperatures between 25°C and 32°C.
January to March is the rainy season with temperatures slightly higher between 30°C and 32°C.
The best time to visit Mozambique is between September and November. During these months the weather is calm and warm, between 27°C and 32°C. The game viewing is at its best and it’s a great time to observe the whale migration.
The beaches on both the Bazaruto and Quirimbas archipelagos are stunning throughout the dry season, but the winter months (June to August) can be a little breezy, especially in the north.
Why We Love Mozambique
Mozambique is South Africa’s north easterly neighbour and promises an visitor an alluring mixture of beautiful dune-fringed beaches, warm sea, friendly people, great food and hammocks swaying under palm trees against a backdrop of the sun setting over the Indian Ocean. While Mozambique doesn’t yet have wildlife-teeming parks and reserves to rival neighbouring countries, two of the most popular conservation areas in Mozambique are Gorongosa National Park and Niassa National Reserve. Gorongosa National Park spreads 370 square kilometres over three districts, Gorongosa, Cheringoma and Muanta in Sofala province. Lions, leopards, civets, hyenas, buffalo, elephants and hippos among others call the park home. It is considered one of the most important areas of conservation in Mozambique and is recognised throughout the world.
Mozambique is certainly not an “undiscovered” destination but has plenty of spectacular deserted beaches with absolutely no development that aren’t too hard to find – especially if you have a 4×4 and you’re willing to tackle some sandy roads. Having a huge beach all to yourself truly feels like you’ve landed in private paradise!
Mozambique is home to archipelagos of the kind of tropical islands holiday brochures are made of! In the north there’s the Quirimbas Archipelago, a group of 32 islands surrounded by azure sea that have seen little development, so they’re incredibly pristine, with white sand beaches, sand bars, coral reefs, mangroves and traditional dhows sailing past on the horizon.
Further south, offshore from Vilanculos, is the Bazaruto Archipelago – five islands with more hotels and lodges than the Quirimbas, but still blissfully quiet and beautiful – the sunsets go on forever and there’s amazing snorkelling and diving.
In Tofo, it’s tempting to just laze on the beach all day, but there’s so much to do, from horse riding, kayaking, snorkelling with whale sharks, learning to surf or doing a yoga lesson. But the key attraction here, has to be scuba diving. There are also some great restaurants in the village and along the coast.
Maputo is home to great architecture, some bizarre buildings, great art, amazing live music and some fantastic restaurants – and it has a sexy Latin-African vibe you don’t find anywhere else on the continent, so definitely worth a stop in this vibrant city.
Despite the hardships that Mozambicans have encountered over the last few decades, they are some of the friendliest people in Africa. You’re always met with a warm smile and friendly greeting pretty much anywhere you go even if the language barrier can be tricky.
Mozambican food is truly delicious cuisine with a strong influence from Portugal and amazing seafood. You can get delicious pasteis de nata (baked egg custard tarts) from bakeries, matapa, which is traditional stew made from cassava leaves, coconut and peanuts, usually with crab, prawns in spicy piri-piri sauce. Then there’s the juicy sweet mangoes sold by the bucket load on the side of the road, along with piri-piri covered cashew nuts.
Mozambique Top Tips
Mozambique’s distinct culture, untamed wildernesses and stunning coastline combine to create a safari destination like no other
Mozambique’s coral reefs are home to sea turtles, dugongs and manta rays, while big game species roam within her many national parks and reserves
Explore the rugged coastline of Cabo Delgado by sea kayak or traditional dhow for a holiday experience with a difference
White sandy beaches and clear, warm waters with few tourists make Mozambique the ideal destination for honeymooners or those seeking relaxation
Gorongosa National Park is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the world and is home to a number of endemic bird species
The constant expansion and contraction of the parks floodplains creates a variety of ecosystems, supporting a rich diversity of wildlife
The Mount Gorongosa pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon gorongosae) is found only in the forests of Mount Gorongosa.
Access to all regions of Mozambique is usually best by air from South Africa
It is also possible to fly from Kenya or on private charter flights from other countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Accordingly, a beach holiday in Mozambique can easily be combined with a wildlife safari in any of the major safari destinations.