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With the recent development of Mozambique's 1,500-mile Indian Ocean coastline, this African nation is now emerging as a hot spot for scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, and vacation travel. The most interesting luxury properties have opened in the northern marine-conservation areas (including the 27-island Quirimbas Archipelago and the smaller Bazaruto island group), but Mozambique's lively capital, Maputo, also attracts visitors with its Art Deco buildings, jazz nightclubs, and a culinary heritage that mixes Portuguese, Arab, Indian, and African flavors. And the country is now home to the world's largest transnational game reserve, the new Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which has no artificial barriers or fences, allowing elephants, buffalo, and other wildlife to follow their old migration routes from South Africa and Zimbabwe back into Mozambique. All of which means that Mozambique may soon join its neighbors as a major safari destination.
Know the backstory:
Almost a million Mozambicans died during the country's 15-year civil war (1977 to 1992), a conflict exacerbated by South Africa and Rhodesia, which armed rebel forces inside Mozambique. Rhodesia's transition to a democratic Zimbabwe and the collapse of South Africa's apartheid regime led to democratic elections in 1994.
Still one of the world's poorest countries, Mozambique has little infrastructure outside the capital; in many areas, villagers and wildlife remain at risk from tens of thousands of old land mines. Travel outside the capital can be difficult-to-nightmarish due to poor roads, but five eco resorts in Quirimbas, Lake Niassa, and Gorongosa National Park have joined together as the Mozambique Collection and coordinate transportation for their guests. In Maputo, stay at the waterside Polana Serena Hotel, an architectural treasure built in 1922 and recently renovated by the Aga Khan Foundation.