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Filed Under (Accommodation) by BC Travel on September-25-2008

Southern Mozambique, specifically Ponto do Ouro, is the host to this truly unique and memorable experience. That means a passport is required to discover swimming with the dolphins in Mozambique. Non South African passport holders need a visa which can be obtained at the border.

Sightings are never guaranteed as the dolphins are, in fact, wild animals. However, with the right people the chance of seeing these majestic creatures is about 80%. Whale Sharks can also be spotted during the summer months and guests can enjoy swimming with these gentle giants.



Filed Under (Mozambique Travel) by Marian on September-16-2008

Maputo, Mozambique – The Mozambican Tourism Ministry is drawing up a new approach to the sector, in order to make it more profitable and reduce the disorder that henders marked growth in the sector over the last few years, Minister Fernando Sumbana said in Maputo.

According to Mozambican newspaper Notícias, the new approach is based on two initiatives, namely the “Arco Norte” project, covering three northern provinces, which could generate US$1.1 billion per year for the state and the “Tourism Investment Anchor Programme,” which could employ 1,300 people.

In Nampula, Pemba and Niassa areas with great tourism potential have been identified, combining the best beaches, animal and plant life and culture, particularly on Mozambique Island, the country’s first capital and a Unesco World Heritage Site.

“This is a circuit that has all the natural conditions to be successful on an international level. There are few countries that can combine these three aspects (beach, animal and plant life and culture),” the minsiter said.

The “Arco Norte” project is expected to attract investment of some US$5 billion and, based on tourism, will develop other areas, taking an additional 700,000 tourists per year to the area, expected to spend around US$700 million per year.

In Cabo Delgado, the plan covers the city of Pemba, with three luxury tourist resorts, Ibo Island, preservation of its historical centre and encouraging rebuilding of ruins, and in Nampula the plan covers the 5 kilometres of coast between Lumbo and Sancol on Mozambique Island.

In Niassa the idea is to use the shores of Lake Niassa to build a luxury resort, establishing a link between the beach and the countryside to the Niassa Reserve and the Selous National Park (Tanzania).

The initiative, which is due to be carried out in two stages (2008-2010 and 2016-2020), also aims to reduce the disorder characterising tourism, particularly at Ponta D’Ouro and Tofo, in Maputo and Inhambane provinces, in which places that could become tourist resorts have been transformed into areas of summer homes.



Filed Under (Mozambique News) by BC Travel on September-2-2008

Mozambique gained independence from Portuguese rule in 1975, after nearly 5 centuries of colonization. Economic dependence on South Africa, a severe drought, a prolonged civil war and mass scale emigration has slowed the development of the country. Marxism was officially abandoned in 1989, with a new constitution put into place in 1990 providing multi-party election and an open market economy. In 1992 the UN negotiated a peace agreement with rebel forces ending the civil war. 1999 and 2000 the economy was severely hurt by heavy flooding. Mozambique is now working towards stability and a strong economy and with all the country has to offer, the future looks bright.



Filed Under (Maputo, Mozambique Travel) by Marian on August-19-2008

Maputo is fast coming into its own and is now considered an ideal destination for an exotic weekend adventure. Old buildings have been restored, new buildings are going up at an alarming rate and business is booming, and still retains a distinctly Mozambican charm. In a single weekend you can explore the cultural heritage of the city, relax on beautiful Inhaca Island, gorge yourself on the famous Mozambican prawns and – if you’re brave enough – venture into the legendary Mercado Xipamanine. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of 48 hours holiday in Maputo

For the culturally inclined….

Cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao
Maputo’s famous cathedral, built in 1944 in dedication to ‘Our Lady of Conception’, is situated in Independence Square at the top of Av Samora Machel. Keep an eye out for the strong Portuguese Catholic influence in the awe-inspiring stained-glass windows and elaborate interior.

Train Station on Praca Trabalhadores
While train stations are usually a means to an end rather than a sightseeing destination, this particular train station is definitely worth a visit. The beautifully domed station was built in 1910 by Gustav Eiffel (he of the tower fame) and is considered to be one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

Keep an eye out at the entrance to the station for the curious monument to the soldiers killed in the Great War (1914-1918). The stone statue, which depicts a woman killing a cobra in a pot of boiling porridge, is the work of the Portuguese sculptor Rui Gameiro and simultaneously honours the fallen soldiers and a local woman who rid her village of a deadly cobra. Better than another cenotaph I guess!

Casa de Ferro
Ever heard the saying ‘people who live in the tropics shouldn’t build iron houses’?

Nope? Neither had old Gustav when he came up with the highly impractical Casa de Ferro (Iron House), which he designed as a residence for the governor of the Portugese colony. Unfortunately the prefabricated iron building became (unsurprisingly!) unbearably hot under the African sun and the governor couldn’t live there.

Jardim Tunduru
Behind the Casa de Ferro lie the Jardim Tunduru (botanical gardens). At times a little overgrown, these beautiful gardens, which were designed in 1885 by the English gardener Thomas Honney, provide welcome shade on a hot steamy afternoon. Honney also designed similar gardens for the Sultan of Turkey and the King of Greece. At the entrance to the gardens you will find a statue of Mozambique’s first president — Samora Machel.

Potter around a museum…

Museum of the Revolution
Situated on Av 24 Julho, this museum recounts the violent struggle against Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique. The history is fascinating, but be warned that all of the captions and texts are in Portuguese.

The National Museum of Art
Tucked away at 1233 Av Ho Chi Minh, the National Museum of Art houses an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures by famous Mozambican artists. The exhibitions include works by Chissano, Malangatana, and Naguib, along with a variety of temporary exhibitions.

The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum, which is housed in a beautifully restored colonial building, is situated near the Hotel Cardosa. While the building is definitely worth going to see, the museum displays will appeal to a rather specific audience — its main attractions are a large shark collection and a collection of elephant foetuses, showing the stages of development during gestation. Interesting…

Do some shopping

Mercado Xipamanine (Rua dos Imaos Roby)
Don’t visit the Mercado Xipamanine — the largest market in Mozambique — expecting to find the usual selection of counterfeit trainers and plastic junk. Xipamanine is known far and wide as the place to stock up on capulanas (traditional multi-purpose cloth worn by women) and for its traditional medicine (curandeiros) section, where you can take your pick from animal parts, herbs and lucky potions.

Saturday Craft Market (Praca 25 do Junho)
Taking dried herbs and animals back through customs could be interesting, so for a few souvenirs make sure you drop by the Saturday Craft Market. Here you’ll find a wide-selection of handcrafts from carvings and jewellery to paintings and batiks. As the name suggests, it’s only open on Saturdays, so make sure to work this into your itinerary.

Central Market (Av 25 de Setembro)
Almost anything can be found at the Central Market: fresh fruit, veggies, curios, a steady supply of pickpockets… make sure your belongings are safely stashed on your person and don’t flash too much money around.

Take a trip…

Inhaca Island
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax on one of Mozambique’s many unspoilt islands. The coral reefs around the island are easily accessed from the shore and abound with a variety of tropical fish. The island is also home over two hundred bird species as well as a biological museum and research centre.

If you can’t tear yourself away from the beach, just check yourself into the comfortable Inhaca Lodge. A luxury ferry runs daily from Maputo to Inhaca Island, which is about 35 kilometres offshore. You can catch the ferry at the bottom of Av Samora Machel (from the Porto de Pesca).

Catembe
If you wish to take a shorter trip or are on a bit of a budget, Catembe is just across Maputo Bay. Ferries leave fairly often (about every two hours), the trip is short (no longer than fifteen minutes) and very cheap. Once you reach the island, you can pop into one of the many little restaurants, munch on some prawns and drink a couple of icy Dos M beers.

Enjoy the local flavour…

Av Julius Nyerere
This street (just south of the well-known Polana Hotel) is the best in town for restaurants and cafes. You’ll find anything from peri-peri chicken, seafood and spicy Indian food to coffee shops and delicatessens selling pastries.

Fiera Popular
This quaint and festive fairground can be found on Av 25 de Setembro. The restaurants here tend to offer very good value for money and if you really aren’t stomaching the tastes that are Maputo, you could always cross the road and go to one of the many South African fast food joints that have sprung up in the capital.

For a more local flavour, try out either Restuarante Escoriao or O Coqueiro, which both have great Mozambican and Portuguese dishes. Escoria has a huge menu, a good wine list and although upmarket is not too pricey.

So, there you have it — 48 hours jam-packed full of culture, history, nature, fun and surprises holiday in Maputo Mozambique

by Rebekah Kendal



Filed Under (Accommodation) by Marian on August-15-2008

Reconstruction of the fishing port in Beira, in the central province of Sofala, will start within days after donors gave the green light to the project, the Noticias newspaper reported.

The donors, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), have authorized use of available funds, despite these not covering the entire cost of the port rebuilding project.

An overseas study indicated that complete rebuilding of the Beira fishing port would cost US$ 20 million. But after a tender was launched for the project it was concluded that the cost would be double this amount – over US$ 40 million.

In this situation the Maputo government had to enter new negotiations with donors and its was agreed that funds will be used to rebuild only a part of the fishing dock, Fisheries Minister Cadmiel Muthemba told Noticias.

The second phase of the Beira project involves rebuilding of part of the dock for deep-sea fishing and other complementary construction. Maputo’s ministry of fisheries says it will continue to seek funds for the entire port modernization scheme.

The minister said work on the first stage of the Beira port rebuilding would be concluded mid-2009.



Filed Under (Accommodation) by Marian on August-13-2008

Maputo, Mozambique, 13 Aug – Aeroportos de Moçambique (AdM) has launched a tender to undertake further modernization and enlargement of the Quelimane airport in Zambezia province, Noticias newspaper has reported. AdM communication director Sandra Ganancio said the Quelimane airport has registered considerable increase in traffic and its infrastructures are consequently in need of modernization to face new demands, including better safety and comfort for passengers. In parallel, with a contract singed in February with the Phil/SEMCO consortium, AdM will invest US$ 8 million in resurfacing the main runway at the airport, as well as build two taxi ways and aircraft parking bays. This work is scheduled to last 17 months. This stage of the modernization will also give the airport a fence, improve communications, build new power generation sources and provide new airport vehicles and fire trucks. A new departure lounge will also be built from the existing arrivals and departure lounges. The contractor selected for the airport upgrade will finish the work in time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Mozambique estimates that 150,000 tourists will visit the country during the World Cup. As part of preparations for the tournament, Mozambique is modernizing ten airports, renovating the Mozambique airline fleet of its national carrier and also improving rail links to South Africa and Swaziland.



Filed Under (Mozambique News, Mozambique Travel) by Marian on August-11-2008

Maputo, Mozambique – Authorities in Mozambique and Swaziland want to extend the opening times of border posts at Namaacha and Goba but are still discussing finer details of the plan, the Noticias newspaper has reported.

After a meeting Friday of the Mozambique – Swaziland Joint Commission, Clifford Mamba, permanent secretary of the Swaziland Foreign Ministry, said both sides want to extend opening hours of their common border crossings, “probably to 24 hours a day.”

The two neighboring states have also studied logistical, security and budget questions relating to the permanent opening of the frontier posts, he added.



Filed Under (Fishing, Scuba Diving) by Marian on July-30-2008

A second and possibly third species of manta ray discovered

Genetic and morphological analysis has now confirmed the existence of a second species of manta ray, and possibly a third one as well. Up until know, the scientific community only knew about one single species of manta ray and all encountered manta rays were viewed as variants within the same species. PhD marine biologist Andrea Marshall did however suspect that there might be more than one species of manta ray luring in the ocean and in 2003 she to a small coastal village located in southern Mozambique to be able to study the manta rays found off the African coast. During the last five years, she has been carrying out a manta ray study sponsored by the Save Our Seas Foundation and discovered a new species as well as collected invaluable information about the reproductive habits of the manta rays.

The two manta rays species have overlapping geographical ranges, but they have significantly different life styles. One species is migratory while the other one – the smaller and more commonly known species – is resident to particular costal regions where it stays year round. There are also noticeable differences in reproductive biology, skin texture and colouration.

The small, stationary species is commonly encountered by divers and researchers at coral reefs, while the larger, migratory species is much more elusive.

The pectoral fins of a manta ray can span almost 8 meters in width and the weight of this baffling shark relative can exceed 2000 kg. Unlike the stingray, the manta ray is not equipped with a functioning stinging barb, but one of the manta ray species actually has a non-functioning type of sting on its tail.

According to the Save Our Seas Foundation, Andrea Marshall’s new finding is the marine equivalent of discovering an unknown species of elephant.

You can find out more by visiting the Save Our Seas Foundation (http://www.saveourseas.com/manta-rays-a-new-species) and the Mozambique Manta Ray project page (http://www.saveourseas.com/manta-rays-mozambique).