Mozambique is one of Africa’s up-and-coming hot-spots, with stunning beaches, excellent diving and magical offshore islands.

Go snorkelling around the Bazaruto Archipelago, sail on a dhow through mangrove channels or laze under the palms in the Quirimbas Archipelago, take an off-beat safari in the wilds of Gorongosa National Park, wander along cobbled streets past stately colonial-era buildings on Ilha de Moçambique, sip a café espresso at one of Maputo’s lively sidewalk cafés (or maybe a caipirinha at one of its jazz bars), watch the silversmiths at work on Ibo Island or dance to the country’s trademark marrabenta music.

For almost two decades, many of these attractions were inaccessible due to a protracted guerrilla war. Now dark times are in the past, and Mozambique is one of Africa’s rising stars, with an upbeat atmosphere, overflowing markets and a 2500km coastline waiting to be discovered. If you’re inclined to something tamer, stick to Southern Mozambique, where roads and transport links (especially with neighbouring South Africa) are good and accommodation options abound. For more adventure, head across the Zambezi into the wilds of Northern Mozambique, one of Africa’s last frontiers. Getting around here takes time, but the paradisiacal coastal panoramas and sense of space, the sheer adventure of travel and – for those with a healthy budget – some of the continent’s most idyllic island lodges make the journey well worthwhile.

With an area of 309,500 sq mi, the Republic of Mozambique is located in Southern Africa. It is surrounded by six African nations: South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the Kingdom of Swaziland. On the other hand, this Texas-sized region has a population of approximately 20 million.

The Country’s Capital City
Maputo is the national capital of the country, famous for its historical buildings -a legacy from Portugal— among them churches, museums, and palaces with an European-style…

Well-Known Athletes
Mozambican-born athlete Eusebio –also known as the “Black Panther”— was one of the 20th century’s most popular footballers joining Diego Armando Maradona of Argentina, Brazil’s Pele, Ferenc Puskás from Hungary and Lev Yashin of the Soviet Union (now Russia). Without a doubt, he shot to fame when he competed for Portugal during the 1966 FIFA World Cup in the United Kingdom- where his squad placed third. Eusebio da Silva Ferreira was born on January 25, 1942, in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique— at a time when the African nation was a Portuguese colony.

A Paradise for Nature-Loving Tourists
Despite being a wildlife-rich country and having a coast with picture- postcard beaches, Mozambique is one of the least-known countries in sub-Saharan Africa unlike other places such as Botswana, Rwanda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the national parks and game reserves there are abundant wild animals, ranging from elephants, lions, hippos, giraffes to monkeys. Furthermore, the country’s birdlife ( with several kinds of sea birds) is unique in the mountains, lakes, rivers and Indian Ocean. This land is also home to host of species of freshwater fishes, butterflies and amphibians. Mozambique’s national park system was established when democracy came to the republic, creating a system that balances conservation and recreation. During Mozambique’s 14-year civil war (1978-1992), on the other hand, thousands of animals -from elephants to rhinos– were killed, one of the worst slaughters in the history of the animal kingdom alongside Uganda’s 1971-1979 xenophobic dictatorship.

National Independence
Under Samora Machel’s guidance, this Portuguese-speaking republic gained full independence from Portugal in the mid-1970s following a long-standing civil war. Prior to Mozambique’s national independence, it was one of the poorest European colonies on Earth. Today Mr. Machel, who passed away in the mid-1980s, is an international hero on the African mainland, along with Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Sir Seretse Khama from Botswana. Over the next years, Machel and followers set up a Marxist state in Mozambique, becoming one of the first Marxist nations in the 1970s. From that time until the 1980s, it also was a Soviet satellite on the continent. At the same time, however, the Southern African country had not good ties with America’s administration of Ronald Reagan. In the post-Cold War, it became a multi-party democracy.

Anti-Apartheid Leader
Between 1976 and 1990, the Portuguese-speaking country of Mozambique was an anti-apartheid activist around the globe with their rulers Samora Machel and Joachim Chissano. In United Nations and other international organizations, the country’s ambassadors put apartheid as a top priority in the global agenda. Despite its extreme poverty and strained relations with white-ruled South Africa, this land was home of several black South Africans during Cold War.

A Peace-Loving Country
After a civil war under a Marxist state, the country has become a real democracy with free elections, women’s rights, and press freedom. As a result of that, the modern republic of Mozambique is one of the most peaceful countries in Southern Africa -well ahead of South Africa (most industrialized nation on the continent), for example.

Maria de Lourdes Mutola: A Global Icon
Despite being one of the world’s least-developed nations, this Portuguese-speaking country is home of Maria Mutola, who was one of the most outstanding female runners on the planet between 1992 and 2000, being an Olympic 800m gold medalist in 2000 after capturing a bronze at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta (Georgia, USA) in 1996. As well as winning two Olympian medals, she earned a host of international trophies in the world championships, continental tournaments, and African Sports Games. Over her athletic career, she was an American-trained athlete like other African idols such as Frankie Fredericks of Namibia and Diedonne Kwizera from tiny Burundi.

1)- Briggs, Philip. Mozambique, Bradt Travel Guides, 2011
2)- Guevara Onofre, Alejandro. “Nations of the World— Fun Facts About Mozambique”
3)- King, David. Cultures of the World: Mozambique, Marshall Cavendish, 2007
4)- Streissguth, Tom. Mozambique in Pictures, Twenty-First Century Books, 2009
5)- Wallechinsky, David. The Complete Book of the Olympics 2004, Edition Aurum Press, London, 2004