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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Mozambique

Mozambique Weather, climate and geography

Weather and climate

Best time to visit

Climate varies according to area. Inland is cooler than the coast and rainfall higher as the land rises, with most rain between January and March. Hottest and wettest season is October to March. From April to September the coast has warm, mainly dry weather tempered by sea breezes.

Required clothing

Tropical lightweights, with warmer clothing for evenings. Rainwear advisable all year round.

Geography

Mozambique borders Tanzania to the north, Zambia and Malawi to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and South Africa and Swaziland to the southwest. To the east lies the Indian Ocean and a coastline of nearly 2,500km (1,550 miles) with beaches bordered by lagoons, coral reefs and strings of islands. Behind the coastline, a vast low plateau rising towards mountains in the west and north accounts for nearly half the area of Mozambique. The landscape of the plateau is savannah - more or less dry and open woodlands with tracts of short grass steppe.

The western and northern highlands are patched with forest. The Zambezi is the largest and most important of the 25 main rivers which flow through Mozambique into the Indian Ocean. The major concentrations of population (comprising many different ethnic groups) are along the coast and in the fertile and relatively productive river valleys, notably in Zambezia and Gaza provinces.

The Makua-Lomwe, who belong to the Central Bantu, live mainly in the area north of Zambezia, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces. The Tsonga, who are the predominant race in the southern lowlands, provide a great deal of the labour for the South African mines. In the Inhambane coastal district are the Chopi and Tsonga, while in the central area are the Shona. The Makonde inhabit the far north. Mestizos and Asians live in the main populated area along the coast and in the more fertile river valleys.