Must see attractions in Northern Mozambique

  • Sights in Quirimbas Archipelago

    Parque Nacional das Quirimbas

    The Quirimbas National Park contains most of the southern Quirimbas islands (including Ibo, Medjumbe and Matemo) along with a large tract of coastal mangrove and forest on the mainland. In all it covers 7500 sq km. While there are some hard-to-spot big fauna on the mainland, the park is better known for its myriad bird species, rich marine life, gorgeous beaches and scattered coral islands that have recently sprouted a small selection of – so far – sensitively planned, ecofriendly luxury resorts.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Palace & Chapel of São Paulo

    This imposing terracotta edifice – the former governor’s residence and now a museum – dates from 1610. The interior hosts the recently refurbished Museu de Artes Decorativas, which gives a remarkable glimpse of what upper-class life must have been like during the island’s 18th-century heyday. In addition to household items from Portugal, Arabia, India and China, there are many pieces of original furniture, including an important collection of beautifully ornamented Indo-Portuguese pieces carved by Goan craftsmen.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Fort of São Sebastião

    The island’s northern end is dominated by the massive Fort of São Sebastião – the oldest complete fort still standing in sub-Saharan Africa and, arguably, the finest military building on the continent. Construction began in 1558 and took 62 years. The fort has withstood numerous Dutch, British and Omani bids to diminish it. While the structure remains in a pretty unkempt state, with little explanatory information, it size and aura, along with the views from its battlements, are awe-inspiring.

  • Sights in Pemba

    Wimbi Beach

    Pemba is all about Wimbi Beach, located 4km east of the downtown area. The attractive arc of sand is backed by a varied but never oppressive collection of beach bars, eating joints and places to stay. Swimming is safe and the sea breezes are refreshing. There's first-class diving 1km offshore.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Goa Island

    This tiny island (known locally as Watólofu) is about 5km east of Mozambique Island. It has a lighthouse that was built during the 1870s, and is today run by a lighthouse keeper and his family, who have lived on Goa for more than 20 years. The lighthouse is now solar powered and according to the keeper the batteries give out about 1am. You can climb to the top for views. Below is a lovely beach.

  • Sights in Ibo Island

    Fort of São João Baptista

    At the island’s northern end is the star-shaped Fort of São João Baptista, built in 1791 and designed to accommodate up to 300 people. When Ibo was linked to the slave trade, the fort’s dark, cramped lower chambers were used as slave holding points. Today the fort is known for the silver artisans who have set up shop near the entrance. Much of the silver they use comes from melted-down coins and is often of inferior quality, but the distinctive, refined Swahili artisanship is among the best in the region.

  • Sights in Northern Mozambique

    Niassa Reserve

    About 160km northeast of Lichinga on the Tanzanian border is the Niassa Reserve, a vast tract of wilderness with the largest wildlife populations in Mozambique, although independent access to the area is notoriously hard and the animals are often difficult (or impossible) to spot.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte

    In the shadow of the São Sebastião fort on the island’s northern tip is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, built in 1522 and considered to be the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere. Built by Portuguese sailors en route to India, the chapel was partly restored in 1996. Architecturally it ranks as late Gothic, a style known in Portugal as Manueline and that is closely associated with the Portuguese era of discovery in the early 16th century.

  • Sights in Pemba

    Paquitequete

    If you only visit one of Pemba's bairros (townships), make sure it's Paquitequete, located beside the bay downhill from the centre. Dominated by its waterside fish market and distinctive green and white mosque, it's like a fishing village wrapped inside a larger city. You can wander in the daytime around its unkempt but lively unpaved streets, but the best time to visit is at sunset, when boisterous football games kick off in the large open space in front of the mosque.

  • Sights in Chocas, Cabaceira Pequena & Cabaceira Grande

    Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios

    This isolated church, tucked behind the mangroves close to the shore, retains a rare beauty enhanced by both its age and its setting. Built on the orders of Portuguese governor Pedro de Castro in 1579 for the Dominicans who maintained a convent on nearby Mozambique Island, it was later taken over by the Jesuits. Surviving details include the huge wooden doors, a gold-leaf altarpiece carved in India and an alfresco cistern once used by mariners.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Sena Island

    About 2km south of Goa Island is Sena Island. It takes its name from its location along the old sea route aiming towards the trading centre of Sena, on the Zambezi River. It’s rocky, accessed with difficulty and seldom visited, although it has a lovely lagoon. Boat trips can be organised with Genito Magic Tour, among others, for around US$10 per person (for a group of four).

  • Sights in Ibo Island

    Casa das Conchas

    There's no mistaking how the house of shells (sometimes called the Cowrie House) got its name. The whole facade is covered in them and they make a unique and attractive mosaic. The house sells a small selection of crafts, including locally made silver, and is a good place to taste a cup of smooth, low-caffeine Ibo coffee (Mtc50).

  • Sights in Ibo Island

    Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário

    Ibo might be 99% Muslim, but its most striking religious building is this whitewashed, weather-worn Catholic church that anchors the main square, a legacy of the Portuguese. The date of its foundation is one of many Ibo mysteries. There has likely been a church on the site since the late 1500s, although the present building probably dates from around 1800.

  • Sights in Nampula

    Cathedral of Nossa Senhora de Fátima

    Easily Nampula's most handsome and attention-drawing sight, the creamy white city cathedral dates from the late colonial period: the Portuguese finished building it in 1956. After admiring its twin towers and elegant dome, head inside to see the colourful stained glass and – if you're lucky – catch the choir in full song.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Camões Statue

    Looking like a cross between Shakespeare and Cervantes, this statue of Portuguese poet Luís de Camões stands sentinel over a small triangular park by the sea on the island's eastern side. Arguably the greatest writer in the Lusosphere, Camões resided briefly on Mozambique Island in 1568–70.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Igreja da Misericórdia

    With a distinctive white facade, this church is best viewed while sitting at a table in the Café-Bar Áncora d’Ouro opposite. The original church was destroyed during a Dutch raid in 1607; the current structure dates from the 17th century.

  • Sights in Nampula

    Museu Nacional de Etnografia

    This museum makes a gallant effort to showcase the life and culture of Mozambique's complicated tribes and ethnic groups, although the end product is a little dusty and lacking in resources. Most interesting are the exhibits dedicated to Makonde culture around the town of Mueda in Cabo Delgado province. Even better, there's a Makonde Collective selling handmade artefacts out the back.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Hospital

    Second only to the Fort of São Sebastião in size and grandiosity, this imposing neoclassical hospital was built by the Portuguese in 1877. For a time it was the largest hospital in sub-Saharan Africa, and an attractive one at that, with gardens replete with ponds and statues. Today it's crumbling and semi-ruined, although part of it, amazingly, still serves as a district hospital.

  • Sights in Mozambique Island

    Museu de Arte Sacra

    Containing religious ornaments, paintings and carvings, this museum is housed in the former hospital of the Holy House of Mercy, a religious guild that assisted the poor and sick in several Portuguese colonies from the early 1500s onwards. Entry is included in your São Paulo palace ticket and you'll get the same multilingual guide.

  • Sights in Mueda

    Centro de Local Historico de Mueda

    Looking more like a dusty antique shop than a museum, this tiny place nonetheless makes a noble effort to explain Mueda's rich Makonde heritage and honour the victims of the terrible 1960 Mueda massacre.