Mozambique

Driving Directions Mozambique

MOZAMBIQUE is a republic located in southeast Africa. It lies on the east coast of Africa, facing Madagascar’s island across the Mozambique Channel with Tanzania to the north, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to the west, and South Africa and Swaziland to the south and southwest.

Lagoons, islands, and reefs fringe the coastline of approximately 2,500 kilometres or 1,552 miles.

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A coastal plain covers most of the southern and central territory, giving way to mountains in the west and a plateau, including the Nyasa Highlands, to the north. The River Zambezi separates the high plateau in the north from the south’s lowlands before flowing into the Indian Ocean (Mozambique Channel).

The plateau contains some woodlands with stretches of the steppe, and the mountains to the north and west are forested in part with tropical rainforests, particularly in the river valleys. The country’s wildlife is typically diverse – the major population centers found in the coastal plain and productive river valleys. The country has a humid, tropical climate with the highest temperatures and rainfall in the north.

Usually, conditions are reasonably good for agriculture, but a drought in the early 1980s, followed a few years later by severe flooding, resulted in famine and more than 100,000 deaths.

The vast majority of the people occupied with subsistence farming. Fishing, mainly lobster and shrimp, is an essential source of export revenue. There are significant mineral resources to be exploited – diamonds, coal, titanium, and others, and forestry is another potential source of income, which is mostly untapped.

Many industries abandoned when the Portuguese left the country and were not taken over by the local people due to lack of expertise. The economy is now on the upturn, although it has been negatively affected by floods, drought, and civil war.

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Mozambique is a topographically diverse nation. The Zambezi River divides the country into distinct northern and southern halves. The north is known for its mountainous regions and plateaus, notably the Livingstone- Nyasa Highlands, the Shire (or Namuli) Highlands, and the northeast’s Angonia Highlands. The westernmost regions are particularly mountainous, giving way to plateaus and uplands as one travels eastward. South of the Zambezi is the more fertile plains, most notably in the area surrounding the river. In the center of the country are uplands, marshes, and coastal lowlands. Inland areas are dry and thus do not support much vegetation. By area, the country is approximately 44 percent coastal lowlands, 26 percent higher hills and plateaus, 17 percent lower plateaus and hills, and 13 percent mountains. Mozambique is located on the African Tectonic Plate and experiences little or no tectonic activity.

Bordering Mozambique to the east is the Mozambique Channel, a strait in the Indian Ocean that separates Africa from Madagascar’s island. The channel is approximately 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) long, and at its widest point, it stretches more than 950 kilometers (600 miles). This area is particularly susceptible to cyclones. Many coral reefs line the channel, attracting large numbers of divers from around the world. Coral islands also exist in the channel.

Did you know about Mozambique?

Mozambique lies at the southern end of the Great Rift Valley, a massive fault system that stretches over 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles) from the Jordan Valley in Israel to the middle of Mozambique about Sofala Bay. In general, the Great Rift Valley ranges in elevation from 395 meters (1,300 feet) below sea level at the Dead Sea to 1,830 meters (6,000 feet) above sea level in south Kenya. The western branch contains the troughs and rivers that have become part of the African Great Lakes system. Many volcanoes lie along this rift, which was created by the violent underground collisions between the African Plate (Nubian) to the west and the Eurasian, Arabian, Indian, and Somalian Plates to the east. There are no active volcanoes located in Mozambique, however.

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