The Island of Mozambique is a small coral island located at Mossuril Bay, two miles off the Northeastern coastline of mainland Mozambique. The tiny island is only 3km long and very narrow. It’s connected by a concrete bridge with the mainland and it is inhabited by around 16000 inhabitants, most of them living in Macuti Town in the south, although Stone Town occupies the northern half of the island and is much grander.
The country broadly follows a southern African weather pattern, with the rains falling largely between December and March. This does vary a little between the north and south of the country, with the rains lasting a few weeks longer in the north than the south. Humidity can be uncomfortably high during this period. By around April or May the sun comes out and the humidity drops. The better weather spreads gradually from the south to the north.
June to October is the dry season, with often perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sun and almost no rain. This is the best time for most people to visit Mozambique. Although still tropical, June, July and August are Mozambique’s coolest months; During September and October it remains dry as daytime temperatures climb, though it cools down a lot at night. November is a less predictable month of transition. Sometimes the rains start, although many days remain sunny and hot. The rains generally start earlier in the north of the country.
For up-to date weather forecasts and tide tables you can visit this web-site!
How to get there
Mozambique Island can easily be reached by road from Nampula. If you’re driving follow the road towards Nacala, and turn off at the signpost for “Ilha de Mozambique”. It’ll take around 2 hours and the road is good. When you get there you’ll need to cross a 3.5 km causeway, which costs about Mts 5,000.
It’s possible to hire a car with a driver.
Alternative way to get to the island, cheaper but not always reliable, is get to the island via Chapas (little vans), which arrive at the southern tip of the island, from where it’s a short walk north through the makuti (reed) town to the old colonial stone town. If you’re taking a chapa they leave from Ave de Trabhadores in Nampula near the railway station and cost Mts 80,000.
Ilha’s is fairly tiny and you won’t have any trouble walking around it – it’s about a 20 minute walk from end to end, and only about 3 blocks wide. A number of places have bike hire including Ilha Blue who also arrange local guides to show you around.
All visitors (except citizens of Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe) need a visa, which can be obtained on arrival at some airports (Maputo, Vilankulo and Pemba), at some land borders and at Mozambican (and some British) embassies/high commissions/consulates. Visas on entry can be purchased in Meticais and US dollars, in the South African Rand are also accepted.
As of January, 2011, the cost for EU and US passport holders at the recently opened and modern Maputo International Airport facility was US$82 for a single entry visa. Euros and US dollars are accepted, although be prepared to have currency that has been issued within the past five years. Not all borders and airports issue visas, contact your nearest Mozambican embassy, high commission or consulate to ensure that the border you intend to use does, otherwise you should apply for a visa before travelling to Mozambique.
If you require a Mozambican visa, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Mozambican diplomatic post.
A tourist visa is valid for 90 days after issue and permits a 30 day stay. This can be extended by a further 30 days at immigration offices in provincial capitals, but given the risk of passport theft, it is much safer to exit via a land border and re-enter to obtain a new visa.