Mozam-huh? Never mind pinpointing it on a map. If you’re from North America, chances are you’ve never even heard of Mozambique, but who can blame you? This far-flung destination in southeastern Africa escapes our radar because, quite simply, it’s a challenge to reach.
Flights from Canada and the U.S. are long, tiresome and pricey. Travellers should also be aware that, up until recently, everyone (with the exception of nationals of a few African countries) is required to obtain a visa prior to arrival, despite anything you read to the contrary. For Canadian citizens, visas must be issued by the Embassy of Mozambique in Washington, DC.
If you do know something about Mozambique, it might be that it’s a former colony of Portugal (and, therefore, one of the few Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa) or that it was ravaged by natural disasters and a 16-year civil war following independence.
But don’t be disenchanted by its turbulent past or the challenges of getting here. Thankfully, today, Mozambique experiences political stability and, owing in part to the blossoming tourism sector, much-needed economic growth.
And this svelte nation on the edge of the Indian Ocean begs to be discovered by intrepid and adventure-seeking travellers.
One of the most popular destinations for visitors (mostly from South Africa) is Vilanculos (also known as “Vilankulo”), a small coastal town in the southern province of Inhambane.
Its biggest draw? Pristine, palm-fringed beaches and translucent blue waters that put tourist-swollen Cancun to shame.
And, with easy access to the Bazaruto Archipelago, a World Wildlife Trust marine reserve and Mozambique’s only underwater national park, Vilanculos offers world-class diving and snorkelling excursions without the crowds.
Other popular water activities include dhow safaris on traditional Arab sailing vessels, fishing and kite-surfing.
Casa Cabana Beach Resort
A kite-surfing school is adjacent to Casa Cabana Beach Resort, the beachside refuge I called home for two nights.
And don’t forget to sample the best of Mozambican cuisine: fresh seafood caught right from Indian Ocean.
As you fill your stomach, or just unwind with a cocktail or beer in hand, Mozambicans will go about their daily lives on the sea: fishermen bringing in their catch, women cleaning the fish and children splashing about during low tide.
It’s a laid-back vibe in one of the most exquisite beach destinations in Africa.
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If you’ve been to Vilanculos or Mozambique, I’d love to read about your experience in the comments section below.
Thanks to Casa Cabana Beach Resort for providing accommodations during my stay.