#A great cultural richness
Mozambique is rich in a great diversity of peoples: Shangan, Sena, Macuas... The Makonde people, originally from the North, are one of the most famous in the region, known in particular for their crafts. Across the country, shops are filled with Makonde sculptures, usually made of ebony. But craftsmanship is not the only Makonde specificity. This people is also and above all at the origin of the struggle for the country's independence, the current president, Filipe Nyusi, himself comes from a Makonde family. A visit to the Mueda region, Makonde land, will be full of surprises.The Portuguese have also left their mark, which is still very apparent. Colonization was not only reflected in intensive trade between countries, but also in the presence of honorary buildings. The island of Mozambique, for example, is magical in this respect: a city of old colonial buildings, all in ruins for lack of money to maintain them, but which distill a unique and mysterious atmosphere.
A country to discover before everyone else :
Mozambique has only enjoyed peace for about 20 years, so tourists have been able to visit the country for a short time. Apart from the South African neighbours, who are numerous in the country, there are still few tourists, especially in the North where the smell of adventure is most pronounced.Tourist routes are well marked out in neighbouring countries: South Africa of course, but also Botswana, Malawi... Within this region with immense tourist potential, Mozambique, the only non-English-speaking island, is still to be explored. Of course, there is another side to this situation: knowing how to be resourceful if you want to get off the beaten track. But that itself represents the attraction of "adventure" stays.
Between beaches and islands
Imagine nearly 2,500 km of coastline, some parts of which are still completely untouched... On one side is the dream of softness, the vast turquoise expanse disturbed by a light sea breeze; this space which, seen from the air, is declined in variations of blue and green, promise of a very warm swim. On the other hand, the large spaces of fine sand, the high dunes covered here and there with bushy bushes, protecting the coast from the ocean, the real one, with its waves and foam. Between the two, the coast is divided, in the true sense of the word: it gradually separates from the mainland, giving rise to very many brackish lagoons, which will one day become inlets, while the pieces of jagged land will carry their high sand dunes offshore to become strings of islands. The Bazaruto archipelago is a perfect example: five islands of sand and green, which gracefully emerge from the infinite azure of the lagoon...In the far north, near Tanzania, the Quirimbas archipelago (with about 30 islands and as many sandbanks) has begun to attract the attention of investors. Desert islands can be visited; others are reserved for luxury tourism, only inhabited by the lucky ones who can spend a few days in paradise. Fortunately, the Quirimbas' chief island, Ibo, is accessible to all budgets and can be combined at any time for everyone's happiness: if heaven exists, it must look very much like it. And then there is Ilha de Moçambique, whose name alone sums up the essential importance of this jewel... By plane, the landscapes on offer, particularly from Xai-Xai to Vilankulos, are among the most amazing that can exist. Sitting at the top of the sandy mountain, you can see the whales that cross the ocean during their migration period. In short, relaxing on the beaches of Mozambique is a must for the destination. In addition, with a mask, snorkel and fins, you can enjoy the view without going far, not to mention that diving clubs have developed very quickly in the country. Finally, we cannot talk about Mozambique without taking an interest in its many parks and natural reserves; there are about ten of them. A varied nature, forest in the north and savannah in the south, shelters the big five (lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos...) which, let us note in passing, have suffered the consequences of the war. Many rehabilitation projects are underway to protect these species and their territory.
A wind of Afro-optimism
"Terra da Boa Gente" had nicknamed her Vasco de Gama. And indeed, Mozambicans are very welcoming. You can be lost, without money, without means of transport, in a village 6 hours by car from your hotel, you will always find someone to help you, feed you or provide you with accommodation, on the express recommendation of the village chief. The traveller who passes quickly through Mozambique will be reassured by the sight that the street offers, and may feel a wind of Afro-optimism refresh him. While the guns only fell silent in the early 1990s, the country has an annual growth rate of 7%, is attracting the support of global donors and is achieving economic growth through the construction of basic infrastructure, but also large modern buildings, shopping malls... The city centre of Maputo is far from the desolate images of war, endemic poverty and insecurity that too often stick to Africa.Admittedly, if we look at certain details, we quickly realize that Mozambique will have to get rid of some handicaps that always bring it down to a very low rank in the list of poor countries. Despite everything, the country has made spectacular progress in these few years of peace.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette