South Mozambique Explorer

With a startingly beautiful tropical coastline, dotted with small islands that are surrounded by offshore reefs, Mozambique is most well-known for its abundant and varied marine life, and is also home to plentiful populations of birds. Although not typically considered a safari destination, due to population depletion during the civil war, Mozambique is also now home to a few protected national parks where it is possible to spot large wild game, such as elephant, with few other visitors around.

We spend a couple of days looking out for herds of elephant in Maputo National Elephant Reserve, before moving on to the salt lake of Inhampavala, the shores of which are home to various species of birds, followed by the coastal resort of Tofo. In Tofo we head offshore in the hope of spotting some of the incredible marine life that frequents these waters, namely the majestic whale shark, and we also get to grips with the local culture, joining a cooking demonstration in a nearby village and wandering the leafy avenues of Inhambane, a city lined with attractive colonial buildings and with a distinct Mediterranean character.

Whilst many nearby east and southern African countries draw people from across the world for terrestrial safaris, the main draw in Mozambique has to be the country’s underwater world, teeming with marine life, including ten species of cetacean, sea turtles, and the endangered dugong, which exists in one of its last strongholds in the Bazaruto Archipelago. We spend time exploring the largest island of the archipelago and snorkelling off its sublime shores, looking out for the extraordinary creatures that habitate these waters.

At the end of the trip we have time to relax on the beaches of Vilanculos, enjoying the sunshine and reflecting on our time in a truly idyllic part of the continent, where the laid-back life on land is balanced by the energy bubbling beneath the waves…


  • Snorkel amid stunning marine life around the islands of Bazaruto
  • Explore the old-world charm and fading colonial architecture of Inhambane
  • Sample famed Mozambiquan prawns and other seafood delicacies
  • Watch the bountiful bird life at the saltwater Inhampava Lake
  • Relax at the protected bay at Tofo with its turquoise coral lagoon

Day 1 - Maputo

Arrive into Maputo and transfer to the hotel. Overnight Acacia Inn Guesthouse or similar.


Maputo, Mozambique’s capital is a bustling port city that lies on the Gulf of Maputo with an attractive harbour and seafront. An energetic city with a relaxed afro-Mediterranean atmosphere that is lined with palm trees and full of Portuguese colonial architecture. With an abundance of restaurants and vibrant markets, the city is a culinary delight for seafood enthusiasts.


Day 2 - Maputo - Ponta Membene

A very early start as we depart for the Maputo National Elephant Reserve, where we have a morning and afternoon safari. Overnight Ponta Membene or similar. (BD)

Maputo National Elephant Reserve

Established in 1932, the Maputo National Reserve is one of the oldest conservation areas in Mozambique. As with most Mozambique reserves the area was heavily poached in the 1970s and is now slowly being developed as a tourist destination. The scenic reserve has a combination of lakes, wetlands and mangrove forests set alongside a pristine coastline and you will find large herds of elephants grazing in the open floodplains. The park is also home to zebra, giraffes, hippos and more than 350 species of birdlife.

Day 3 - Ponta Membene - Maputo

Another early start as we head out on a morning safari. Time permitting, we also visit the town of Ponta do Ouro before returning to Maputo for the night. Overnight Acacia Inn Guesthouse or similar. (BD)

Day 4 - Chidenguele

In the morning we depart for the small town of Chidenguele, located on the shores of Lake Inhampavala. On arrival explore the town to learn a bit more about the local customs and culture. Overnight Naara Eco Lodge or similar. (BLD)


Chidenguele is a sleepy town with its name meaning ‘high place’ in the local Chope language, which refers to the striking colonial church sitting on a hill above the town. The main attraction here is not the town itself, but the pretty lakes that surround the town, which host a variety of birdlife.

Day 5 - Chidenguele - Praia do Tofo

We take a boat trip on Inhampavala Lake this morning, an isolated saltwater lagoon, surrounded by densely forested dunes and reed-fringed shores. The lake is home to various bird species, including herons, cormorants, flamingos and kingfishers. In the afternoon we drive to Tofo Beach, a protected natural bay known for its white sand, turquoise lagoon and coconut trees. Overnight Turtle Cove or similar. (BLD)

Praia do Tofo

Sprawling for several kilometres along the slice of land that separates the Indian Ocean and freshwater Lake Pembane, is the beautiful beach of Tofo, flanked by black coral rock on its south side and the lake and vegetated dunes to the east. A small village acts as the hub with an assortment of eateries, shops and a central market that overlooks the beach below. The beach is the main attraction here and it is a great spot for fishing, diving and surfing. Manta rays can be found off the coast of Tofo, as well as the gigantic whale shark, both gentle species and commonly spotted in the area, particularly between November and April for the latter.


Day 6 - Praia do Tofo

After breakfast we take a boat trip in hope of spotting marine species such as whales, whale sharks, rays and dolphins. Later we venture to a local village where we see how they prepare ‘matapa’, a typical dish made with ground cassava leaves. Overnight Turtle Cove or similar. (BL)

Day 7 - Praia do Tofo

We head out this morning in a fibreglass boat to explore Inhambane Bay. The shallow waters of the estuary are perfect for snorkelling to search for seahorses and other small marine creatures. When we reach Pansy Island, we disembark and take a stroll along the sandbank at low tide. In the afternoon we visit a local village for lunch, with the rest of the day free to relax and explore the area at leisure. Overnight Turtle Cove or similar. (BL)

Day 8 - Inhambane - Inhassoro

Around 30km from Praia do Tofo, we visit the city of Inhambane with its colourful historical and cultural centre. We explore the city on foot, discovering a large number of colonial buildings and a port that still retains a large fleet of dhows. Later we head to the village of Mutamba, where we visit a local pottery workshop, before continuing to the small fishing port of Inhassoro. Overnight Cashew Bay Lodge or similar. (BD)

Day 9 - Bazaruto National Park - Inhassoro

Today we head to the island of Bazaruto, the largest of the archipelago, featuring numerous lakes and swampy terrain, and characterised by immense dunes that rise from its southern shore. We explore the island with time for some snorkelling – the area is home to dugong and five species of sea turtle. Return to Inhassoro for the night. Overnight Cashew Bay Lodge or similar. (BLD)

Bazaruto National Park

Bazaruto National Park is Mozambique’s only dedicated marine park and protects the offshore Bazaruto archipelago along Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline, an area of unspoilt reefs, and exciting snorkelling and diving opportunities.  Back in 1971 the archipelago’s five main islands and surrounding ocean were collectively named as Bazaruto National Park, which covers 1430km2 eastward from the coastline between Vilanculos and Inhassoro. The main attractions of the islands lie off their shores, as the surrounding sea boasts coral reefs supporting brightly coloured fish, marine turtles, humpback whales, bottlenose, spinner and humpback dolphins, and big game fish such as barracudas and marlins. Bazaruto also supports the last viable population of the endangered dugong in the region.

With a long history of human occupation, the islands have been inhabited by the Portuguese and home to East Africa’s most southerly Muslim trading settlements. Around the 16th century, the islands were ruled over by Portuguese traders and the surrounding sea was known for producing high-quality pearls. One of the islands was once an ivory trading post and was later used as a penal colony. Interesting historical relics can be found across the islands, including a 100-year-old light house on Bazaruto.

Day 10 - Vilanculos - Maputo

We move on to Vilanculos today where we spend some time relaxing and enjoying the beach, with an option to visit the local market. Later we catch a flight back to Maputo where we spend our final night. Overnight Acacia Inn Guesthouse or similar. (B)

Day 11 - Maputo

Transfer to the airport for our flight home. (B)

What's included?

  • Airport transfers

    We include arrival and departure transfers regardless of whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you. If you’re booking them yourself, then please let us know the details so that we can arrange the transfers. Please note though that if you arrive earlier than Day 1 of the tour, and leave after the final day, we may need to make an additional charge for an airport transfer.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as listed in the dossier. The nature of the destinations that we operate may sometimes mean that we need to change hotels, but we’ll always endeavour to keep the same standards. Please be aware that as we operate in many countries where tourism is in its infancy, hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.
    Please note that while we prefer to use centrally located hotels where possible, this is not always practical and in some locations they may not be the best option in terms of standards or reliability.

  • Guides

    You will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide.

  • Meals

    As listed within the itinerary / dossier (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner).

  • Entrance fees

    Entrance fees are listed for those sites that we mention within the itinerary. If there are any other sites that you’d like to see, these would be at your own expense. 

What's not included?

  • Visas

    We don’t arrange visas for our travellers, but if an invitation letter is necessary then we will arrange this for you. If you need any advice with visas then just give us a call, or alternatively a visa agency such as Travcour ( can assist.

  • Airport taxes

    If there are any departure taxes to pay that are not included within the cost of your ticket, you’ll need to pay these yourself.

  • International flights

    Many of our travellers arrive from different destinations and so we don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours. If however you would like us to book flights for you, then just give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

  • Travel Insurance

    If you need any assistance with this, then let us know – although we can’t arrange it ourselves we can point you in the direction of a reputable provider that can assist.


All travellers will need a visa to enter Mozambique which must be obtained before travel. You can now apply for an online visa using You must also provide a valid return air ticket on entry and show a confirmed hotel reservation which we can provide for you.

Health and vaccinations

We are not medically qualified and so we recommend that you speak to your doctor or nearest health professional for advice concerning recommended vaccinations. For more advice on vaccinations you can also visit


It is a condition of joining our tours that you have suitable travel insurance in place, and we cannot accept travellers without insurance. All policies differ in terms of what they will cover, but as a minimum you need medical and health cover which will cover you for the whole time that you are away. Most policies will also include cancellation cover, which will cover you if an unforeseen circumstance obliges you to cancel your trip. We recommend that you obtain your insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Please note that government travel warnings often affect the validity of your travel insurance, and you should check this with your insurance company.


The currency in Mozambique is the metical (meticais for plural). The ATM network in Mozambique is good and you can find several in the capital as well as most small towns. Please note however that most ATMs accept Visa cards only and have a daily withdrawal limit of Mt3,000 (about US$60). Credit cards are increasingly accepted in the larger cities, although you should tell your bank before using one in Mozambique. US Dollars and South African Rand are the main exchange currencies.

Local conditions

When travelling to some of the destinations we offer you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work here as we’re used to them working at home. Travelling in underdeveloped and untouristed destinations requires both patience and a sense of humour. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part and parcel of travelling in such a place.

Travelling in Africa can be tiring and hot, and inevitably it can be frustrating. While there are some issues that we are able to solve, others are intrinsic to the countries that we travel through, and you should be aware that many of the countries that we operate in cannot be compared to others on the continent that have better infrastructure. Although travelling in these countries can at times be an ‘unpolished’ experience, this is all part of the adventure. We aim to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, and putting up with a pothole (or ten) is undeniably worth it for the amazing sights and cultural experiences you will encounter along the way.

Travel advice

We keep a very close eye on the travel advice issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office so that we can keep you up to date with any warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to the south of the country or any of the areas we visit.

This relates to advice from the British government – other nationalities need to check the stance of their own governments.

Updated July 2023

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