Thursday, January 24, 2013

A rising star in African tourism, Mozambique has a lot to offer adventurous travelers. With over 1500 miles of palm fringed, white sand beaches, the area has long been attractive to tourists, especially on the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago.

There is great diving and snorkeling on beautiful coral reefs. Sport fishing for Marlin is popular here too.  Those looking for a place to relax and read a good book can enjoy the atmosphere of the wonderful European style cafes.

The Land Of Smiles

The official language in Mozambique is Portuguese and you will notice that Portugal influenced more than just the language when they colonized the area in 1505. In 1975, Mozambique became independent, and almost immediately launched into a lengthy civil war, which lasted from 1977 until 1992.

Since the end of the civil war, the people and the government have pushed to promote tourism, and by the end of the 1990’s tourism had become the fastest growing sector of their economy. Tourists are welcomed by all who understand that the money they bring in is what is helping rebuild their country.

Food And Drink in Mozambique

The Portuguese brought cassava and cashews to Mozambique, and both are featured in many dishes. A cake prepared with cashews and potatoes called bolo polana is served on special occasions. Cashews are also an ingredient in several local beers. Bags of fresh cashew nuts are sold at roadside stands and are nothing like the ones you get at the stores at home.

Cassava is prepared many ways, often cubed up and cooked in a stew as a starchy filler. Cassava are also sliced and fried to make great chips. The Portuguese influence can also be tasted in the seasonings. Onions, garlic, bay leaves, paprika, chili peppers, and fresh coriander were all introduced by the colonists.  Bakeries produce delicious Portuguese breads and rolls.

Breakfast is generally a light meal consisting of coffee, tea and an egg or fish sandwich, or a simple sweet bread.

Lunch is the main meal of the day, and usually consists of rich stews or curries. Another popular lunch is a steak sandwich called a “prego” served on a roll.  You can get very typical Portuguese fare like battered fish or prawns, and chips. Street vendors sell delicious samosas.

Meals typically include cassava or rice, beans, vegetables, and meat, chicken or seafood.   The coastal fishing communities provide shrimp, lobster, squid, and fish.  Seafood is often grilled, sometimes on skewers. Chicken with piri-piri (a hot pepper relish) is considered a national specialty. 

Fresh fruit like pineapple and papaya will often accompany main dishes. The pineapple here is renowned to be the sweetest in the world.


Tipping is customary in the larger towns and cities, usually about 5% of the bill.

Portuguese wines are popular for drinking, and for cooking. They are widely available as are local beers.

Unlike many African countries, meals are served on a table with embroidered napkins, a tablecloth, individual plates, and utensils, rather than on the floor from a large communal dish.

Before you head to Mozambique, you may want to explore opportunities to learn Swahili online. By learning local languages you will be able to fully absorb the culture and discover delights beyond the average tourist.

Image Credit:
Stig Nygaard [1]
F H Mira [2] [3]

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