To many travelers, the idea of visiting a country in Africa might be overwhelming, to say the least. The news and media have inundated people with stories of war, famine and disease – but that’s not all Africa has to offer! In fact, Mozambique’s culture truly does mesmerize its visitors as they are introduced to its awe-inspiring architecture and delectable cuisine – everything you need to know about this tantalizing country can be found right here.
The country has a rich history dating back to the 10th century when it was first inhabited by Bantu speaking people. The Portuguese arrived in the 15th century and colonized the country, which remained under Portuguese rule until 1975. The culture of Mozambique is a mix of African, Portuguese, and Arab influences. The country is known for its paintings, music, and art. It also hosts several festivals throughout the year that showcase its culture.
People often associate paintings with France or Italy, but art is also very important in Mozambique. The country is known for its wood carvings, pottery, and paintings. The best known type of painting from Mozambique is called azulejos which are ceramic tiles that are often used to decorate houses. One famous street lined with azulejos is Rua Moma in Nampula City.
From the moment you arrive in Mozambique, you will be serenaded by the sound of music. Whether it’s the locals singing as they go about their day or the sound of drums emanating from a nearby village, music is an integral part of Mozambican culture. And it’s not just the traditional music that will captivate you; Mozambique is also home to a vibrant contemporary music scene.
In addition to drums, music also features prominently in Mozambican celebrations, including during dances or cultural festivals. Many instruments are traditional to Mozambique, including a drum called a bombo that is widely used in both classical music as well as local folk tunes. Another popular instrument is the mbira or thumb piano, which has been around for hundreds of years and is widely used throughout Africa.
While listening to music is an important part of life in Mozambique, so is dancing. Traditionally, people dance during ceremonies and celebrations, but there are also lots of folk dances that are considered integral parts of culture.
The colors, patterns and shapes of the buildings in Mozambique are mesmerizing. The way the light hits them at different angles creates an ever-changing kaleidoscope of hues. And the patterns are so intricate that it’s impossible to take your eyes off them.
In reality, it’s not all that different from other countries in Africa. But somehow, it’s just more obvious here. The architecture tells a beautiful story through its colour and style. The Portuguese left their mark on Mozambique with their Art Deco influence (which they brought over from Goa), but because it was used to build a lot of public buildings and infrastructure, you’ll find yourself snapping pictures everywhere you go! And while there is some Colonial influence in certain parts like Inhambane, many cities like Beira are more modernised with multi-storey buildings that tell you immediately that yes, you’re indeed in Africa.
The more interesting thing to look out for is local art. You’ll find paintings on everything from walls to lamp posts, which make for a great conversation starter with fellow travellers, especially if you’re lucky enough to run into some locals as well. Imagine your photos taken here appearing in galleries in London or New York!
Some even wear clothing that shows their pride in their heritage, with bold block colours taking centre stage, usually worn during celebrations like Carnival. No matter what part of Mozambique you go to, there’s no escaping how proud they are of their country.
The seafood is definitely worth trying when you’re in Mozambique. Most of the dishes are cooked with coconut milk, giving them a unique and delicious flavor. One of the most popular dishes is called matapa, which is a creamy seafood stew. If you’re not a fan of seafood, don’t worry – there’s plenty of other delicious food to try. The national dish is called peri peri chicken, which is chicken covered in a spicy sauce. Another popular dish is piri piri shrimp, which are shrimp covered in the same spicy sauce.
Along with seafood, there are plenty of other delicious dishes to try in Mozambique. One interesting option is monkey bread, which is exactly what it sounds like – bread made with small pieces of meat that’s baked into a loaf shape. Another tasty treat is callassoupe, which is a mashed cassava root dish served hot. There are many restaurants that serve great local food in large cities throughout Mozambique, so you’ll definitely have no trouble finding something you love. It may take some searching to find eateries that offer these traditional meals outside large cities though, as they aren’t as common.
Along with tasty treats, there are also plenty of interesting drinks to try in Mozambique. If you like coffee, you’re in luck – coffee is actually one of the most popular beverages throughout Africa. There are a variety of different roasts available, so whether you prefer your coffee light or strong, you’ll find something delicious to enjoy. For those who like tea instead, there’s plenty to choose from as well. One traditional drink that’s worth trying is called pombe, which is made from fermented bananas mixed with soda water. It has a bit of an acquired taste since it’s very sweet and fizzy, but it definitely grows on you after a few sips!
Mozambique is a country rich in culture, with festivals that showcase the diversity of its people. The most popular festival is the annual Nampula Carnival, which celebrates the city’s African heritage. Other festivals include the Maputo International Jazz Festival, the Beira International Festival, and the Tofo Music Festival. each with their own unique flair.
The Nampula Carnival is a great example of how cultural festivals are celebrated in Mozambique. Held annually from October to December, it features music, dance, food and much more. The crowning moment comes when King Momo takes his throne atop a large wheeled barge at midnight on New Year’s Eve. During celebrations in other cities, King Momo turns up at major intersections or town squares to shake hands with revelers and parade around with scepters waving above his head. This festival honors African heritage by featuring such things as traditional attire (such as colorful costumes worn by schoolchildren), street vendors selling indigenous wares, plays that pay homage to past kings, marimba performances—even an international gospel choir competition!