Tourism & Communications
The maritime economy
Mozambique’s extensive coastline has long stretches of white sandy beaches. It is the most important attraction in the country’s rapidly growing tourism industry.
In 2009, over 2.2 million visitors came to Mozambique (according to the World Tourism Organization), spending over 200 million dollars.
As well as its beautiful beaches, the coast has stretches of mangrove swamps, lagoons and barrier lakes, with unique marine and bird habitats. However, it is the marine life out in the open sea which attracts most visitors. The country’s coastal waters have spectacular wildlife, including large populations of dolphins, turtles, sharks and manta rays - see Geography & Wildlife.
A colourful undersea world
Some of the best-preserved coral reefs can be found off the Mozambican coast. The reefs support around 800 species of fish in a vast array of colours and shapes, as well as thousands of other sea creatures like crabs, crayfish, mussels, oysters and barnacles.
The southern waters off Mozambique serve as a winter breeding ground for the humpback whale, which can also be spotted along more northerly parts between July and October.
The importance of a safe harbour
As well as being notable for its beauty and wildlife, Mozambique’s coastline has some of Africa’s best natural harbours. For many centuries, these have drawn traders and merchants to the country. Today, the harbours act as important ports for shipping goods from Mozambique and its neighbouring countries.
This means that while the country has a poor road network running north to south, many of the east to west road and rail links are well-developed. These transport routes carry key mining and industrial goods to places such as Maputo, Beira and Nacala, which are among the best international ports on the continent.
Away from the coast
While many of Mozambique’s service and tourist areas lie along the coastline, visitor attractions are being developed within the interior.
Wildlife suffered as a result of the civil war, but the country’s game reserves are being redeveloped. Important inland wildlife parks include the Niassa Reserve in the north, Gorongosa National Park in the centre and the Limpopo National Park in the south.
The Limpopo is linked to national parks in neighbouring South Africa (the Kruger) and Zimbabwe (Gonarezhou), creating a large transnational conservation area of particular importance to migratory animals.