Introducing Central Mozambique
In the annals of ancient Africa, central Mozambique – Sofala, Manica, Tete and Zambézia provinces – had a much higher profile than it does today. It was here, at the old port of Sofala, that 15th-century traders from as far away as India and Indonesia gathered in search of vast caches of gold. And it was here that some of the region’s most powerful kingdoms arose, including the Karanga (Shona) confederations along the Zimbabwe border and the legendary kingdom of Monomotapa southwest of Tete. It was also in central Mozambique, along the Zambezi River, that early explorers and traders first penetrated the vast Mozambican hinterlands. During the 17th and 18th centuries, they set up a series of feiras (trading fairs) that reached as far inland as Zumbo on the Zambian border.
Today, the tides have turned and central Mozambique is seldom given more than passing mention in the tourist brochures. Yet while it lacks the accessible beaches of the south, the region has many attractions. In addition to wildlife watching at Gorongosa National Park, there’s hiking amid the misty mountain landscapes of the Chimanimani range and in the tea country around Gurúè; fishing and relaxing around Lake Cahora Bassa; and birdwatching.
Central Mozambique is also an important transit zone, flanked by the Beira corridor (connecting landlocked Zimbabwe with Beira and the sea) and the Tete corridor, which links Zimbabwe and Malawi. As such, it makes a convenient route for travellers combining Mozambique with neighbouring countries.