Travel to Benguerra Island
Benguerra is the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago, which broke away from the mainland thousands of years ago. The island is approximately 55 square kilometers (7 miles long x 3.4 miles wide), and lies 8.5 miles offshore. It is famous for its unspoiled white beaches, remarkable dive sites and excellent fishing (subject to a strict “catch & release” policy).
Some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world is available off Benguerra’s shores with the surrounding coral reefs rich in sea life. The archipelago is one of the last remaining habitats of the endangered Dugong. A pale, voluptuous sea mammal fabled to have made bygone mariners believe in mermaids.
Inland, Benguerra Island comprises forest, savannah, freshwater lakes and wetland Eco-systems that sustain a diverse population of fauna and flora. Fresh water crocodiles can be found in the three lakes, bearing testimony to the island’s mainland past. The island, which is home to approximately 140 bird species, was declared a National Park in 1971.
Due to its prime location on the East African coast, Mozambique became a significant trading post for gold, ivory and later slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries. Civil war followed the end of Portuguese rule in 1975, but since 1992 the Mozambican government has set about transforming the country into a modern economy. Now a stable democracy, Mozambique remains little explored and the country’s spectacular natural treasures are one of the world’s best-kept secrets.
Mozambique’s major ethnic groups encompass numerous subgroups with diverse languages, dialects, cultures, and histories. Many are linked to similar ethnic groups living in neighboring countries. The north-central provinces of Zambezia and Nampula are the most populous, with about 45% of the population. The estimated 4 million Makhuwa are the dominant group in the northern part of the country. The Sena and Ndau are prominent in the Zambezi valley, and the Tsonga and Shangaan dominate in southern Mozambique.
Despite the influence of Islamic coastal traders and European colonizers, the people of Mozambique have largely retained an indigenous culture based on small-scale agriculture. Mozambique’s most highly developed art forms are wood sculpture, for which the Makonde in northern Mozambique are particularly renowned, and dance. The middle and upper classes continue to be heavily influenced by the Portuguese colonial and linguistic heritage.
During the colonial era, Christian missionaries were active in Mozambique, and many foreign clergy remain in the country. According to the national census, about 40% of the population is Christian, at least 20% is Muslim, and the remainder adheres to traditional beliefs.
The official language is Portuguese. In general people understand and speak some English. Outside the urban areas, each region has its own Mozambican languages.
The first people to inhabit Mozambique were the Bushmen. Between 200 a 300 AD, the Bantu, a group with different ethnic strains but with similar characteristics, migrated from the Great Lake to the North and pushed the local people into the poorer areas in the South. Towards the end of the VI century, the Swahili-Arabs established trading posts to trade for gold, copper and iron.
The Portuguese reached Mozambique in the 15th century. From 1502 up until the middle of the 18th century Portuguese interests in Mozambique were controlled by the Portuguese India administration. Right from the outset, the Portuguese built “feitorias”, or trading posts. The division of Africa between the European powers, determined in the Berlin Conference of 1884/1885, obliged the Portuguese to maintain permanent occupation of the territories assigned to them.
Just as had happened with the other Portuguese colonies, Mozambique also rose up against Portuguese colonial rule. On the 25 September 1964, armed fighting broke out led by FRELIMO - The Mozambique Liberation Front - This party was a joint force of three movements that had organized themselves in exile.
The first leader of the movement was Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane and after his death on the 3rd of February 1969, Samora Moises Machel assumed leadership to become the first President of the Republic of Mozambique on the 25th of June 1975. In 1977, civil war broke out, between FRELIMO and RENAMO (National Resistance Party of Mozambique) and lasted for 15 years, until 1992, when a peace accord was finally signed by both parties.
Mozambique today is a democratic country holding its own elections as foreseen in the Constitution.The last elections ran smoothly in December 2004. Armando Emílio Guebuza, the Frelimo leader was elected President.
The local currency is the metical. US Dollars and South African Rand are accepted in many places. Exchange is easily available in the banks and exchange agencies.
In the North and along the coast, the climate is tropical and humid, in the Interior, the South and in the Province of Tete, tropical dry and in Gaza, tropical arid. The rainy season is between October and April, with temperatures between 80ºF and 84ºF. The dry season between May and September has temperatures between 64ºF and 68ºF.
All travelers entering Mozambique, having previously visited a country where yellow fever is present, must present a valid certification of vaccination against yellow fever. We recommend all travelers be vaccinated to avoid complications at the border. Any passenger who cannot present such a certificate at the port of entry will be vaccinated at a cost of $50 US dollars or the equivalent in metical. Additionally, all travelers entering Mozambique must carry their yellow vaccination book. Please speak to your local pharmacist/doctor about any other vaccinations.
A visa is required for entry into Mozambique. It is recommended that travelers acquire the appropriate visa prior to departing for Mozambique, although a one-entry visa can be obtained at country points of entry, including airports.
Visa and Mastercard and travelers checks are accepted in most establishments.
Local voltage is 220/240 V 50 Hz.
You should only drink bottled water.
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