Chimoio is the capital of Manica province and Mozambique’s fifth-largest town. While its tourist attractions are modest, it’s a pleasant place with an agreeable climate and worth a stop if you’re in the area. It’s also the jumping-off point for exploring the Chimanimani Mountains to the southwest.
Dry, dusty Tete doesn’t have much in the way of tourist attractions and its reputation as one of the hottest places in Mozambique often discourages visitors. Yet the arid, brown landscape, dotted with baobab trees and cut by the wide swathe of the Zambezi River, gives it a unique charm and an atmosphere quite unlike that of Mozambique’s other provincial capitals.
Cahora Bassa Dam & Songo
About 150km northwest of Tete, near the town of Songo, is massive Cahora Bassa, the fifth-largest dam in the world. It was completed in 1974, and is set at the head of a magnificent gorge in the mountains. It makes a good day or overnight trip from Tete. It’s also a wonderful destination for anglers, and is renowned for its tiger fish.
Gorongosa National Park
About 170km northwest of Beira is Gorongosa National Park, which was gazetted in 1960 and soon made headlines as one of southern Africa’s premier wildlife parks. It was renowned for its large prides of lions, as well as for its elephants, hippos, buffaloes and rhinos. During the 1980s and early 1990s, hungry soldiers and poachers brought an end to this abundance.
The large, lively town of Mocuba is the junction for travel between Quelimane and Nampula or Malawi. About 40km north, near Munhamade in Lugela district, are some hot springs. Also in Lugela district are the large Mt Mulide caves (cavernas do Monte Mulide), used during the war as a place of refuge by local populations.
About 40km south of Beira and just south of the Búzi River is the site of the ancient gold-trading port of Sofala, dating from at least the 9th century AD. Sofala’s importance lay in its role as the major link between the gold trade of the interior and the powerful sultanate at Kilwa in present-day Tanzania.
Remote Zumbo’s history dates back to at least 1715, when the Portuguese established a gold-trading fair at the eastern edge of the Luangwa River at its confluence with the Zambezi. The settlement grew rapidly and by the mid-18th century was one of the most prosperous European cities in Southern Africa, with numerous Portuguese trading houses.
The closest beach to Quelimane is Zalala Beach, about 30km northeast of town. Long and wide, with a row of fringing palms and a large village nearby, it’s an ideal day excursion for getting a taste of local Zambézian life. The drive out from Quelimane is bumpy and scenic, through extensive coconut plantations formerly owned by Companhia da Zambézia.