Mozambique stretches for 1,535 mi (2,470 km) along Africa’s southeast coast. It is nearly twice the size of California. Tanzania is to the north; Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the west; and South Africa and Swaziland to the south. The country is generally a low-lying plateau broken up by 25 sizeable rivers that flow into the Indian Ocean. The largest is the Zambezi, which provides access to central Africa. In the interior, several chains of mountains form the backbone of the country.
In 1500, the Portuguese established a string of forts and posts up and down the coast, starting with present day Ilha de Mozambique (at that time simply known as Mozambique and where the country gets its modern name), where the Portuguese plied the spice and slave routes from Mozambique up until 1891. After World War 1, Portuguese investment in commercial, industrial, agricultural, educational, transportation, and health care infrastructure for the indigenous population started providing for better social and economic possibilities and these continued to gain pace up until independence in 1975. In 1962, several anti-colonial political groups formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule. Mozambique became independent after ten years of sporadic warfare on June 25, 1975. FRELIMO took complete control of the territory after a transition period and within a year of independence, almost all the Portuguese population had left Mozambique – some expelled by the new government of Mozambique, some fleeing in fear.
Upon independence, Mozambique had less than 5 engineers in the entire country and the previous colonial infrastructure investments stopped entirely resulting in the rapid disintegration of much of Mozambique’s infrastructure. FRELIMO responded to their lack of resources and the Cold War politics of the mid-1970s by moving into alignment with the Soviet Union and its allies. FRELIMO established a one-party Socialist state, and quickly received substantial international aid from Cuba and the Soviet bloc nations. In 1975, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), an anti-communist group sponsored by the Rhodesian Intelligence Service, the apartheid government in South Africa and the United States after Zimbabwe’s independence, was founded and launched a series of attacks on transport routes, schools and health clinics, and the country descended into civil war. In 1990, with apartheid crumbling in South Africa, and support for RENAMO drying up in South Africa and in the United States, the first direct talks between the FRELIMO government and Renamo were held. In November 1990, a new constitution was adopted. Mozambique was now a multiparty state, with periodic elections, and guaranteed democratic rights. With the signing of the Rome General Peace Accords, the civil war ended on October 15, 1992.
Almost all of Mozambique falls within the tropics and as such, Mozambique features a mostly tropical climate. Along the coast, Mozambique has a warm, tropical climate. Evenings are rarely cold, except for a few nights in June and July and the rainfall isn’t too high. In summer, temperatures can soar and the humidity levels rise. Temperatures are typically higher in the north, around Pemba and the Zambezi. The interior plains generally have a higher temperature than that of the coast and have higher rainfall throughout the year. The mountainous regions generally remain cool throughout the year.
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Three mainland national parks occur in Mozambique, namely the Gorongoza, the Zinave and the Banhine. Bazaruto National Park is situated off-shore and, at present, is the main attraction for visitors to the country. Both Zinave and Banine parks are still closed, while the infrastructure of the reopened Gorongoza National Park is extremely limited. Five wildlife reserves occur, namely Niassa, Marromeu, Pomene, Maputo and Gile. Only the Niassa and Maputo Elephant Reserve are open to tourists. Various other Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA’s), which will include the use and management of local communities, are in the pipeline to be opened. Such areas include linking the Maputo Elephant Reserve with South Africa’s Tembe Elephant Reserve, the Chimanimani National Park incorporating Zimbabwe, and the Gaza TFCA, which encompasses South Africa’s Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park.
Visitors to Mozambique unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries can obtain a visa on arrival at all border posts or from one of the Mozambican diplomatic missions. Mozambique is expected to become part of the universal SADC visa in the future.
|Bazaruto Island Airport|
|Benguerra Island Airport|
|Indigo Bay Lodge Airport|
|Maputo International Airport|
|Mocímboa da Praia Airport|
|Ponta do Ouro Airport|
|Vilankulo Airport (Vilanculos Airport)|
Currency: Mozambiqan Metical
Population: 29 million
Official languages: Portugese