Mozambique is a southeast African nation situated to the south of Malawi and Tanzania, east of Zimbabwe. The Country is a former Portuguese colony and attained its independence one the 25th of June 1975 following close to eleven years of an independence struggle between the colonizers and FRELIMO, a local militant group. Instability and armed conflict however marked its post-independence history.
The country was under the rule of FRELIMO led by Samora Machel who instituted socialist ideas and Soviet Style Rule. This period lasted three decades and the civil war which was fought mainly between FRELIMO and RENAMO a militant group. 1990 brought the first positive change in the country when a new constitution paving the way for multi-party elections was adopted. In 1992, the two groups signed a peace treaty that was closely monitored by the United Nations.
Mozambique is divided into ten provinces; Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia; and the City of Maputo. Maputo is the capital city of Mozambique.
Mozambique has an estimated population of 19,686,505 people. The main ethnic groups in the country are; Makhuwa, Tsonga, Lomwe, Sena and a number of indigenous tribes. There are also small populations of Europeans and Indians. Portuguese is the country’s official language. Other languages spoken are; Xichangana, Emakhuwa, Elomwe, Cisena and Echuwabo.
The current flag of Mozambique was adopted on the 1st of May 1983 and replaced a previous version that had existed since the country’s independence.
The green color represents the fertile lands of the country; white is for peace, black is for the African Continent, yellow is for the country’s mineral wealth and red is for the blood shed in the struggle for independence.
Map of Mozambique:
Health in Mozambique:
A high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is the key health problem at present in Mozambique. It is estimated that over one million people are living with the disease in the country.
There is also a risk of developing malaria though taking anti-malarial medication prior to travel can significantly reduce this. Other health problems in the country are associated with malnutrition and poor food and water hygiene.
Safe drinking water is hard to come by especially out of Maputo and other major cities. It is advisable to boil water prior to drinking or whenever possible; purchase bottled water which is sold at shops and supermarkets.
Hospitals and health services:
There are a number of pharmacies and health centers in the major towns and cities. Maputo has the best health facilities in the country including Central Hospital and the Mavalane Day Hospital.
The Mozambique Metical (MZM) is the name of the country’s currency. The currency was introduced in 1980 to replace the Portuguese Escudo which had been in use since the country’s colonial existence. 1 Metical is equivalent to 100 Centavos.
Coins are available for 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Centavos. Banknotes are available for 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 Meticais.
Exchange Rates against major currencies:
At the time of writing (July 2006), One American Dollar was equivalent to 25,965 MZM, One British Pound was equivalent to 47,492 MZM and One Euro was equivalent to 32,884 MZM.
Mozambique Facts & Figures:
– Location: southeast Africa, south of Tanzania, east of Zimbabwe off the Mozambican Channel.
– Capital City: Maputo.
– Population: 19, 686,505.
– Other major towns and cities: Pemba, Lichinga, Tete, Beira, Nampula, Inhambane, Chimoio.
– Religion: Christian, Islam, Others.
– Languages: Portuguese (Official), Emakhuwa, Xichangana, Elomwe, Cisena and Echuwabo.
– Currency: Mozambique Metical (MZM).
Public Holidays in Mozambique:
-1st of January: New Year’s Day
-Heroes Day on the 3rd of February
-Day of the Mozambican Woman
-Labor day (workers day) on the 1st of May
-Independence day on the 25th of June
-Lusaka Agreement Day on the 7th of September
-Armed forces day on the 25th of September
-Christmas Day on the 25th of December
Sports in Mozambique:
Mozambique has for years been one of the top basketball nations in Africa. The country has a number of players who play professionally or at college level in Europe and the United States. The team is a strong competitor at continental and international levels.
Maria Mutola: born on the 27th of October 1972, Mutola is arguably the most successful sporting icon to ever represent Mozambique. She has over the past decade dominated the 800 women’s race and won a large number of races including winning the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000. She also once held the world 1,000 meter record which she broke in 1995.
Football in Mozambique:
Soccer is another popular team sport in Mozambique. The national team nicknamed “the Mambas” competes regularly at regional competitions including qualifiers for the Africa Nations Cup and the World Cup.
Food in Mozambique:
Mozambican food is a fusion of the country’s diverse cultures and includes local African and Portuguese influences. There are a number of good restaurants in the capital Maputo where you can sample some of the local delicacies.
Foods here are usually hot and spicy so prepare your taste buds. Maize meal and rice are the staple foods and other popular dishes include; chicken, fish, other sea foods, bananas, cashew nuts and beef. Fruits and vegetables are also available and are sold fresh at local markets.
Restaurants in Maputo:
Maputo has the largest selection of restaurants in Mozambique. Here you will find a variety of cuisine including; Portuguese, Indian, African, American and European.
Education in Mozambique:
Mozambique has a very high illiteracy level and education is one of the key priorities for its present day government. Limited funds however hamper the development of education institutions in the country.
As a result a number of aid groups such as USAID are carrying out a number of education initiatives including adult education to assist in improving the lives of the people here.
Universities in Mozambique:
Catholic University of Mozambique: a private institution, the university has five faculties; Agriculture in Cuamba, Medicine, Economics and Management in Beira and Education and Law in Nampula.
Universidade Eduardo Mondlane: situated in the capital Maputo, this is the largest education institute in the country. The university was established as Universidade de Lourenco Marques in 1968.
Tourism and travel in Mozambique:
With the country returning to peace and a good level of stability after about three decades of war, it is hoped that the tourism industry in Mozambique can develop to compete with other holiday destinations in the region.
The country has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, wildlife, pristine beaches, a rich history and culture. Local restaurants offer cuisine which is typically a fusion of the cultures that have resided in the country over the centuries and are worth a try.
Interesting places to visit include:
Maputo is a colorful city with a culturally diverse population. The city is home to a good selection of restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. Interesting places to visit in the city are; the nearby Maputo Elephant Reserve, the Museum of Natural History, Nossa Senhora da Conceiao Fort and the Island of Inhaca. Fishing is also a popular activity here.
Another of Mozambique’s key cities, Beira is home to some of the best beaches in the country. The city once flourished and was home to a key port prior to the civil war.
Developing as one of the key holiday destinations in the country; Pemba is home to a good number of beaches, restaurants and hotels. It is also popular for sporting and recreation including; surfing, fishing, swimming and diving.
The Limpopo National Park: one of the premier wildlife parks in the country; it is set to be merged wit the Kruger National Park and the Gonarezhou National Park in South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively to form one of the largest game reserves in the world. Other reserves in the country are; the Maputo Elephant Reserve, Gorongosa Game Reserve and the Quirimbas National Park.
Hotels in Mozambique:
There are a good number of hotels in Mozambique. Many hotels in the country have been rebuilt following the end of the civil war and leading holiday destinations now offer a number of decent accommodation options. Key cities including Maputo, Beira and Pemba are home to some of the best hotels in Mozambique. Popular hotels include;
The Hotel Polana: largely rebuilt and renovated in recent years, this is probably the leading hotel in the city of Maputo. A five star hotel, Polana is situated near the heart of the city at Julius Nyerere Avenue. The hotel offers a wide range of services and facilities including; swimming pool, tennis courts, health and fitness center, bars, restaurants, art gallery, 168 rooms with air conditioning, internet access and satellite television.
The Ibis Hotel Maputo: another popular hotel in the city situated at Ave 25 de Setembro near the city centre. The hotel was established in 1960 and offers; access to a golf course, business and meeting facilities, internet access, gift shop, rooms with satellite television and air conditioning, restaurant and bar.
Hotel Avenida: amicably situated a walk away from the beach near the city centre, the Avenida is another of Maputo’s leading hotels. The hotel offers a wide range of services including; satellite television, air conditioned rooms, restaurant, swimming pool, fitness center and bar.
Game parks in Mozambique:
Mozambique has a good number of wildlife parks and reserves which are home to a variety of animal species living in their natural habitat.
The Limpopo National Park: one of the premier wildlife parks in the country; it is set to be merged wit the Kruger National Park and the Gonarezhou National Park in South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively to form one of the largest game reserves in the world.
Maputo Elephant Reserve: this reserve is located approximately 80 km from the city of Maputo and is a sanctuary for a small elephant population.
Gorongosa Game Reserve: this park’s wildlife population was seriously depleted during the country’s civil war and at present there is only a notable number of bird species here.
Quirimbas National Park: a marine park off the country’s northern coast. This park features an impressive array of marine plant and animal life.
Flights to Mozambique:
There are a number of airlines that offer regular scheduled flights to Mozambique. The country is served by three International Airports; Maputo Airport, Beira Airport and Nampula International Airport.
The Maputo International Airport is the key airport in the country and accommodates the bulk of international flights to Mozambique.
Kenya Airways, TAP Portugal, Star Alliance and South African Airways all offer regular scheduled flights to Mozambique landing at the Maputo International Airport.
Mozambique Embassies and Consulates in Europe:
The Embassy of Mozambique in the United Kingdom
21 Fitzroy Square
London W1T 6EL
Tel: (44) 0207 383 3800
Fax: (44) 0207 383 3801
The Embassy of Mozambique in Portugal:
Av Berna 7 1050-036 Lisbon
Tel: 217 971 994
Fax: 217 932 720
The Embassy of Mozambique in France:
82 Rue Langler, Paris
Tel: 33 1 476 491 32
Fax: 33 1 441 590 13
The Embassy of Mozambique in Germany:
Adennauerallee 46-A, Bonn
Tel: 49 228 224 024
Fax: 49 228 213 929
Mozambique Embassies and Consulates in North America:
The Embassy of Mozambique in the US
1990 M. Street NW Suite 570
Tel: 202 293 7146
Fax: 202 835 0245