Mozambique: Holidays, climate, national customs
|January 1||New Year|
|3 February||Heroic day|
|7th of April||Mozambique Women’s Day|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|25th June||National holiday/independence day|
|7th of September||Victory Day (commemoration of the Lusaka Agreement)|
|25th of September||Armed Forces Day|
|25 December||Family Day and Christmas|
Source: Countryaah – Mozambique Holidays
There are three different climatic zones in Mozambique, the north, the central area and the south.
The climate in the north is constant. The average daytime temperatures from October to May are 31-32 °C and from June to September 28-30 °C. At night they are 24 °C from November to April and 20-23 °C from May to October. The north of the country has relatively little rain. There is only a small rainy season from April to December, when it rains about 10 days a month.
There are greater temperature differences here. The hottest time is from September to May. During this time, the average daytime temperatures are around 33 – 35 °C. In October they rise to 37 °C. The coldest months are June and July, when it only gets around 28 °C. At night the temperatures fluctuate from October to April around 23 – 24 °C and in June/July they drop to 15 °C. The rainy season lasts from November to March. There is about 100 mm of rainfall per month. January and February are the rainiest months. During this time, up to 300 mm of precipitation can fall. The humidity during this time is around 70%.
It is cooler in the south. From November to April the average daytime temperatures are 19-21 °C. In the remaining months the temperature increases to 25 °C. Temperatures fluctuate even more at night. It is warmest at night from January to February with around 22 °C. By July it cools down to 14 °C. Then the temperatures rise again. From November to March there is a rainy season with an average of 8 rainy days a month. The rest of the time there are only 2 rainy days. This means that the humidity is around 60% during the rainy season and 50% during the dry season.
Cyclone “Idai” with a force of four hit land on the night of March 15, 2019 with wind gusts of up to 160 km per hour from the Indian Ocean near the 500,000-strong city of Beira. After the storm hit, the city and large areas of the surrounding area were without electricity, communication networks and land connections to the outside world for days. The number of fatalities is estimated at over 1,000. In addition, up to 90% of the city’s houses were destroyed.
The tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean – in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea – and in the South Pacific are referred to as cyclones. The cyclones in the Indian Ocean south of the equator in the area of Mauritius, La Réunion, Madagascar and on the African east coast are also called cyclones.
National customs, code of conduct
Security in the country
The security risks are roughly comparable to those in the other black African countries – with the exception of South Africa. The security situation is actually better. Mozambicans are very warm and friendly and you will have far fewer problems than anywhere else. However, thefts, assaults, rape and homicides do occur, so normal security precautions should be taken. Women in particular should never walk along beaches alone at night. Common sense applies here too.
In Mozambique it is a legal requirement that everyone must always carry some form of identification with them. A copy of the passport (with visa and passport photo page) is sufficient. The original passport should never be given out of hand during police checks, as numerous cases have been reported in which it was quite expensive to get it back.
Police – No helper in the country
An important note concerns the police in the country. You should definitely not trust the police and use their “help” as little as possible. With the exception of Maputo, the police are known for robbing tourists (including) and putting them in cells If you still need the help of the police, you should not carry valuables or large sums of cash with you. You should be polite and calm when dealing with the police.
In rural areas in the provinces of Sofala, Tete, Manica, Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo, there is still a risk of landmines. Even though most of Mozambique has already been demined, there are still around two to three incidents a year in which injuries are caused by mines.
homosexuality is considered an offense in Mozambique and is punishable by up to three years in prison. Again and again there are attacks on and discrimination against homosexuals.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that MZ stands for the nation of Mozambique as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Moçambique Island Moçambique
is an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique in southeast Africa. The area of the elongated island is only about 1.5 km² and consists of coral limestone. The residents of the island used to trade with Zanzibar and other African countries. The city of Mozambique was occupied by the Portuguese in 1506.
Fort São Sebastião in the north of the island was built with numbered stones brought from Europe. In the city you can still find many colonial buildings with Portuguese characteristics – fused with local elements from the colonial era that you want to preserve. The port used to be a hub for the slave trade. The much smaller neighboring island of St. Laurent is also part of the world heritage.
The island with its Portuguese colonial buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.
The second largest city in Mozambique with 550,000 residents also functions as the capital of the Sofala province.
Alongside Maputo and Nacala, the modern city is the third major seaport for international shipping.
This somewhat sleepy, but also historic city attracts with numerous colonial buildings and is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in Mozambique.
The city, located about 500 kilometers from Maputo, spreads out on a peninsula on a picturesque bay and also serves as a gateway to the popular coastal resort of Tofo Beach (see below).
Around 185,000 people live in northern Mozambique’s economic center, a bustling administrative, banking and trading city. Nampula is the commercial epicenter for the entire region.
The two-towered cathedral De Nosa Senhora da Conceicao, which rises imposingly over the roofs of the surrounding area, is probably more interesting for tourists.
In addition, the privately run Universidade Católica de Moçambique settled in Nampula in 1996.
The capital of the Cabo Delgado province is in the north of the country. It is a port city that hugs the south side of the third largest natural bay on earth. As an important center of northern Mozambique, numerous banks, supermarkets and restaurants have settled in Pemba, but the streets that are held together by potholes give one a rather shabby feeling. Still, there are some pretty colonial buildings on display, and the city is popular with wealthy Mozambicans and South Africans alike for its good water sports.
The Mozambican capital of water sports, also known as Vilankulo, is a large and popular beach resort with numerous accommodation options from cheap to expensive. The place is also considered the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique’s only underwater national park. Vilanculos can be reached by bus from Maputo or Beira or by minibus from Inhambane. There is also an airport close to the city, Vilanculos International Airport.
Maputo, the largest and capital of Mozambique with 1.2 million residents, extends on the western side of the bay of the same name and up to 95 kilometers long. Maputo – the seat of a Catholic and an Anglican bishop as well as two universities – is one of the most interesting cities in Mozambique for tourism. In addition to the majestic Portuguese fortress from 1787, the Museum of Mozambique, the Teatro Avenida and the very attractive train station from 1910, Maputo attracts thousands of tourists every year with its fine sandy beaches. The entire church is called “Catedral Metropolitana de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao”
São Sebastião Fortress on Ilha de Moçambique
On the northern tip of the island of Ilha de Moçambique rises one of the oldest fortresses in Africa, which has been preserved in its original form. The monumental structure was built between 1508 (or 1558) and 1620 by the Portuguese, who called it the fortress of St. Sebastian. The defense structure has had to withstand several attacks in the course of its existence, most recently that of the French in the 19th century. Whoever visits the fort today will find numerous cannons, an old hospital, a church and cisterns for drinking water.
Cathedral of Nampula
The otherwise not very romantic city of Nampula is dominated by the two imposing towers of the cathedral De Nosa Senhora da Conceicao, which is popularly known as Gina Lollobrigida. The majestic church still exudes the touch of the old colonial rulers and with its dome architecture rises self-confidently from the city center.
Maputo Train Station
If you are ever in Maputo, do not miss the train station in the Mozambican capital.
This head station was built between 1908 and 1910 according to plans by the Portuguese military engineer Alfredo Augusto Lisboa de Lima and by Mário Veiga and Ferreira da Costa during the Portuguese colonial period.
The train station is still one of the most beautiful train stations in Africa.
Recently, however, the station has been increasingly used for other purposes due to the low level of rail traffic.
There is a bar in a former waiting hall and fashion shows, parties and dance events can be visited on the platforms on the weekends.
There is also a railway museum at the rear of the station.
Portuguese fortress in Maputo
The most outstanding building of the Mozambican capital is the old Portuguese fortress of the city. It was built in 1787.
Cahora Bassa dam
The Cahora Bassa dam, located in the Tete province, is one of the largest dams in the world. It was built between 1969 and 1979 and dams the Cabora-Bassa reservoir.
The dam has a height above the valley floor of 165 m, with a crown length of 303 m and a crown width of 4 m. The width of the wall is 23 m. The plant is primarily used to generate electricity and has an electrical output of 2,025 gigawatts (GW).
The dam was built by Portugal in its former colony between 1969 and 1979. The approximately 165 m high arch dam is located in a mountain bottleneck on the lower Zambezi in Mozambique, about 700 km from its confluence with the Indian Ocean and is mainly used to generate electricity. Companies from South Africa, Italy, France, Portugal and Germany were involved in the construction.
The anti-colonial liberation movement FRELIMO fought against the dam project right from the start of planning. The West German student movement also joined the resistance with a campaign against Cabora Bassa. Acts of sabotage during the civil war from 1981 onwards prevented electricity production for more than ten years.
The construction of the plant was welcomed in neighboring South Africa under the impression of the 1973 oil crisis. Henry Olivier, the head of the hydropower energy authority at the time, confirmed in a statement to the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce his government’s intention to build a 1,400-kilometer cross-border high-voltage line from Mozambique in order to keep domestic energy prices low. He also referred to the future capital expenditure for thermal power stations and the reduction of pollution in his country, which would have to be avoided. 
It was not until 1998 that electricity production began under Portuguese management. In November 2005, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza announced that Mozambique would take control with a payment of 787.4 million euros. In October 2006, Portugal and Mozambique agreed to US $ 950 million, with which Mozambique increased its stake in Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa from 18 to 85 percent. Portugal’s share decreased from 82 to 15 percent.
According to the original agreements between South Africa and Portugal, South Africa could expect energy deliveries on extremely favorable terms. However, the increasing demand for electricity in Mozambique temporarily led to the need to buy back the electrical energy required for a secure supply in Maputo at a significantly higher price. 
The dammed water feeds an electricity station with a capacity of 2025 megawatts, the majority of which is sold to the neighboring Republic of South Africa via the 1420 km long HVDC Cahora Bassa. The cavern power plant has five machine sets with 405 MW each. In 1975 the first electrical energy was generated. According to other information, the total output is 1,760 MW. The specification of 2425 MW relates to the 2nd expansion, which was never carried out.
The power plant operator is the Mozambican company Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), SA, which was founded on June 24, 1975 on the basis of a contract between the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) and the then Portuguese government of Vasco Gonçalves. 
The reservoir is approx. 250 km long, 2,800 km² in size and has a storage volume of 65 billion m³ (according to Rißler only 63 billion m³). The catchment area covers 900,000 km². This includes the sub-catchment areas of the Kariba dams above with 520,000 km² and Kafue with 150,000 km².
Museums and galleries
Museu Nacional de Etnologia in Nampula
A very interesting collection of art objects can be seen in the National Museum of Nampula. The exhibits include masks and musical instruments. Behind the museum you can join the Makonde workshop and watch the Makonde carvers at work.
Natural History Museum in Maputo
The small but highly recommended Museu de História Natural in Maputo exhibits loads of stuffed mammals, birds and reptiles. The life-size model of an elephant is particularly interesting.
Museum in Maputo This Maputo museum is dedicated to the chronicle of the Mozambican revolution and the country’s struggle for independence from colonial rulers Portugal. The museum was unfortunately closed in 2008 and was not reopened when we last visited the city (11/2009).
Teatro Avenida in Maputo
The Teatro Avenida is located in Maputo. It is so special because Henning Mankell also worked here as artistic director and director.
Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo
With the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) the capital of Mozambique has the oldest and largest university in the country. It was named after Eduardo Mondlane (1920-1969), the former leader of the FRELIMO rebel movement. The university is currently attended by around 8,000 students and is divided into the following ten faculties:
– Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
– Faculty of Architecture
– Faculty of Natural Sciences
– Faculty of Law
– Faculty of Economics
– Faculty of Education
– Faculty of Engineering
– Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences
– Faculty of Medicine
– Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Catholic University of Mozambique in Beira
The nationally recognized Universidade Católica de Moçambique (UCM) was founded in 1995. That year it was established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Mozambique to change the state that higher education was only available in Maputo. The university, which is currently attended by around 3,000 students, is not bound by the Catholic faith and is therefore also open to non-Catholics.
University of Education in Maputo
The Universidade Pedagógica (UP), whose headquarters are in Maputpo, is the second largest university in Mozambique. Established in 1986 as a secondary educational institution, the university has had university status since 1995. It is divided into several faculties and also has branches in other parts of Mozambique. The faculties of the university are:
– Faculty of Sport
– Escola Superior Técnica (vocational school teacher training)
– Mathematics and natural science faculty
– Social science faculty – Pedagogical faculty
There are six national parks in Mozambique:
Banhine National Park
The Banhine National Park covers an area of 7,250 km². It opened in 1972.
Duikers (antelope species), cheetahs, hyenas, impalas, kudu, leopards, lions, oribis (gazelle species), servals, goose-bucks, porcupines, ostriches and warthogs live in the park
Bazaruto National Park
The 1,430 km² Bazaruto National Park of the Bazaruto Archipelago extends about 10 km off the coast of the country. In addition to the eponymous 170 km² island of Bazaruto, Benguerra, Santa Carolina, Bangue and Margaruque are also part of the national park, whereby both the islands themselves, as well as the local reefs, waters and marine animals are protected. The islands are among the most beautiful places in Africa. They are surrounded by coral reefs and form the habitat of some endangered animal species, including the Chinese white dolphins and the fork-tailed manatees. Humpback whales, dolphins, dugongs, reef sharks, various species of turtles, swordfish, whale sharks and, of course, numerous species of fish live in the waters. The islands are nicknamed ” Pearl of the Indian Ocean ”. The two cities of Vilanculos and Inhassoro are gates to the island kingdom
The park opened in 1971.
Gorongosa National Park
Established in 1960 as Mozambique’s first national park, the 3,770 km² Gorongosa extends along the southern foothills of the Great African Rift Valley – north of Beira. The park is crossed by several rivers, but also consists of individual mountains and savannah areas.
Before the civil war, the national park was one of the most biodiverse in Africa, but between 1977 and 1992 around 95% of the large game population was exterminated.
But in the last few years gazelles, lions and warthogs, as well as water buffalo, elephants, monkeys, giraffes, zebras and antelopes have been settled again. Leopards and lions can also be found here.
Limpopo National Park
The approximately 10,000 km² Limpopo National Park is located on the border with the Kruger National Park in South Africa. The national park belongs together with the Kruger National Park (South Africa), the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe and some other, but rather smaller, protected areas to the transnational Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
It was named after the 1,750 km long Limpopo, the most important river within the national park. It is interesting that in addition to the rich vegetation and fauna, people also live in the park, which is unique in the understanding of a national park. For the most part, those who want to visit the park can only do so with an off-road vehicle. The park can currently be reached via three entrances, namely the Massingir Gate, the Mapai Gate and the Giriyondo Gate, the latter in South Africa.
The predominant local vegetation is bushland, which is partly crossed by the Sandvelt. are mostly along the tributaries of the Limpopo and the area between the Shingwedzi and Machampane rivers are mopane and acacia forests. After almost all animals were killed as a result of the independence war and the 16-year civil war, which only ended in 1992, antelopes, elephants, giraffes, wildebeest and warthogs were resettled. The park opened in 2001.
Quirimbas National Park
30 islands together form the Quirimbas National Park, which stretches from Pemba in the south to the city of Palma in the north. The islands themselves have a very good reputation as fishing and diving areas. The park also impresses with its rich vegetation, fine sandy beaches and indigenous villages where time seems to have stood still. The Quirimbas National Park covers an area of 7,506 km² and was opened in 2002. In addition to protecting the animals, it should also protect the local coastal forests. Islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago, which gave the park its name, cover an area of 1,522 km², while the remaining parts of the park are on the mainland.
The local elephants repeatedly cause conflicts with the people living in the park, around 8,000 of whom live on the main islands of Quirimba and Ibo. In addition to elephants, you can find buffalo, hyenas, crocodiles, leopards, lions, jackals, wild dogs and a diverse range of birds.
Zinave National Park
The Zinave National Park covers an area of 4,000 km². It opened in 1972. After almost all animals were killed from 1977 to 1992 as a result of the independence war and the civil war that followed, antelopes, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, impalas, kudu, warthogs, waterbuck and zebras were resettled.
More natural beauties
Lugenda Wildlife Reserve
This part of Nyassa, the 42,000 km² largest nature reserve in southern Africa, has been converted into a species protection area.
Divers and surfers get their money’s worth in Ponta d’Ouro in the province of Maputo. But idyllic is something else, because the small village is now covered by tourist camps.
Tofo Beach and Praia de Jangamo
Also celebrated as the second Goa, Tofo Beach in the province of Inhambane has become a backpacker mecca in recent years. That makes sense when you take a look at the pleasant atmosphere, the wonderful sandy beaches, the lively nightlife and the excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. If you want it a little quieter, you should go to Praia de Jangamo Beach, 30 kilometers away.
Mozambique borders the Indian Ocean in the east of the country over a length of around 2,470 km. The Indian Ocean covers an area of approximately 74.9 million km². That is about 20% of the total ocean area. The average depth of the ocean is 3,890 m. It has its greatest depth in its southeast part with 8,047 m below the water surface – in the so-called Diamantina Deep.