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Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique, is a country in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawiand Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest. It is separated from Madagascar by theMozambique Channel to the east.
The capital and largest city is Maputo (known as "Lourenço Marques" before independence).
Between the 1st and 5th centuries AD, Bantu-speaking peoples migrated from farther north and west. Swahili, and later Arab, commercial ports existed along the coasts until the arrival of Europeans.
The area was explored by Vasco da Gama in 1498 and colonized by Portugal from 1505. After over four centuries of Portuguese rule, Mozambique gained independence in 1975, becoming the People's Republic of Mozambiqueshortly thereafter. After only two years of independence, the country descended into an intense and protracted civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992.
In 1994, Mozambique held its first multiparty elections and has remained a relatively stable presidential republic.
Mozambique is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world. Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country's economy is based largely on agriculture, but industry, mainly food and beverages, chemical manufacturing, aluminium and petroleum production, is growing. The country's tourism sector is also growing. South Africa is Mozambique's main trading partner and source offoreign direct investment. Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain are also among the country's most important economic partners.
Since 2001, Mozambique's annual average GDP growth has been among the world's highest. However, the country ranks among the lowest in GDP per capita,human development, measures of inequality, and average life expectancy.
The only official language of Mozambique is Portuguese, which is spoken mostly as a second language by about half of the population. Common native languages include Makhuwa, Sena, and Swahili.
The country's population of around 24 million is composed overwhelmingly of Bantu people. The largest religion in Mozambique is Christianity, with significant minorities following Islam and African traditional religions.
Mozambique is a member of the African Union, the Commonwealth of Nations, theCommunity of Portuguese Language Countries, the Latin Union, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Southern African Development Community, and an observer at La Francophonie.
Climate of Mozambique
Mozambique has a tropical climate with two seasons, a wet season from October to March and a dry season from April to September.
Climatic conditions, however, vary depending on altitude.
Rainfall is heavy along the coast and decreases in the north and south. A
nnual precipitation varies from 500 to 900 mm (19.7 to 35.4 in) depending on the region, with an average of 590 mm (23.2 in).
Cyclones are common during the wet season.
Average temperature ranges in Maputo are from 13 to 24 °C (55.4 to 75.2 °F) in July to 22 to 31 °C (71.6 to 87.8 °F) in February.
Mozambique has excellent tourism assets.
The country's natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural heritage provide excellent opportunities for beach, cultural, and eco-tourism.
Despite its tourism assets and its nearness to South Africa, one of the world's top tourist destinations, Mozambique has the lowest tourist numbers of all its neighbours except Malawi.
Tourism was a very profitable industry in the pre-independence period. Rhodesians and South Africans visited Beira and Mozambique's southern beaches. Gorongosa National Park, halfway between Zimbabwe and Beira was a large tourist attraction.
After independence from Portugal in 1975, the Mozambican Civil War that took place in the newly independent country between 1977 and 1992 decimated the tourism industry and wildlife conservation in Mozambique. Organized tourist travel in the country had ceased by 1978. The confidence of tourist operators has been growing since the end of civil conflict in the country, and the country now has the opportunity to revamp and further develop its tourist industry. Inadequate marketing budgets and a lack of tour operators limit the growth of the tourism industry.
By the end of the 1990s tourism was the fastest growing sector of Mozambique's economy.
A Minister for Tourism was appointed in 1999. In 2003 tourism accounted for about 1.2% of the country's GDP, far below the Sub-Saharan average of 6.9%. In 2005 the tourist industry grew by 37%, the fastest tourist industry growth rate in the world.
The industry attracts more foreign investment than any other part of the country's economy. Tourist arrivals in the country numbered 240,000 in 1999. UNWTO figures suggest approximately 578,000 tourists, an increase of 23% from 2004. Tourism receipts in 2001 were US$ 64 million and in 2005 were US$ 130 million. The sector employs 32,000 people. About one-third of the country's visitors are from South Africa.
There are about 7,700 hotel beds in the country, with an approximate occupancy rate of just below 40%. The capital Maputo has about half of the hotel nights. It is slow and expensive to access land for new hotel developments. Many tourist operators supply their own power. Air access is limited, with only one connection to Portugal other than regional services to Dar es Salaam, Harare, Johannesburg and Nairobi.
Flight prices are high.
Domestic air transport is very limited, although the price of fares is limited because of new small air carriers. The country's visa regulations are a problem for the tourist industry because many other countries near to it, such as Mauritius, Seychelles, and the Maldives, do not require European Union citizens to have visas.
The government hopes that the country's game and nature reserves will become a major tourist attraction. Despite game numbers being decimated during the wars there is positive growth in many of the nation's parks, especially the Maputo Special Reserve, and Gorongosa Parks.
Areas of interest:
- Quirimbas Islands
- Quirimbas National Park
- Banhine National Park
- Limpopo National Park
- Banhine National Park
- Bazaruto Archipelago
- Bazaruto National Park
- Pomene National Reserve
- Zinave National Park
- Chimanimani National Reserve
- Inhaca Island
- Maputo Protection Area
- Maputo Special Reserve
- Niassa Reserve
- Ponta do Ouro
- Ponta do Ouro
- Gorongosa National Park
- Marromeu Buffalo Reserve
- Vamizi Island
- Gilé National Reserve