Hot Spots

The 2008 It List

by Ondine Cohane

Mozambique, Africa

Its government is democratic, its environmental policies enlightened, and its natural attractions seemingly endless. The story of Mozambique is looking like one with a happy ending—one of the continent's real success stories. This after a devastating civil war 15 years ago that left almost a million dead and many more displaced. Among the country's highlights: 1,500 miles of gorgeous Indian Ocean coastline and archipelagos that make for superb diving and luscious beaches; Maputo, a vibrant and safe capital with an exciting Afro jazz scene and a nightlife renaissance; and national parks that are slowly restoring the wildlife to prewar numbers. The number of new resorts and hotels is mind-boggling, especially in the formerly undeveloped northern part of the country. Follow the well-heeled to the überluxurious Vamizi (pictured) and Quilálea, and the eco-minded to Guludo Beach Lodge, all on islands in the archipelago of Quirimbas, a pristine stretch of quiet white-sand beaches, translucent water, and undamaged coral reefs. Or take a safari to Gorongosa, the country's largest national park, which is reaping the benefits of a successful animal repopulation program—the antelope and zebra herds have returned. For a glimpse of Mozambique's nightlife, check into the Hotel Polana in Maputo, which is a good base for exploring the capital's colonial past and present, plus you'll enjoy the Portuguese bars with their great live music. Logistics and flights are more than a tad confusing, so it's best to plan your trip through an operator; Colorado-based Explore Africa is one of the most knowledgeable and was an early champion of the country.

Vamizi Island
Tel: 27 11 884 8869

Quilálea
Tel: 258 82 326 3900

Guludo Beach Lodge
Tel: 44 1323 766 655

Gorongosa National Park
Tel: 258 23 535 010

Hotel Polana
Tel: 258 21 491 001

Explore Africa
Tel: 970 871 0065

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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