Mozambique shares a large coastline with the Indian Ocean as well as borders with Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa. The Mozambique Channel to the east of the country separates it from the island of Madagascar.
The area was first explored by Vasco de Gama in 1498 and was colonised by Portugal seven years later. Mozambique finally gained independence in 1975 when it became the People’s Republic of Mozambique.
Home to an extensive set of natural resources, much of the economy is based on agriculture, chemical manufacturing, and aluminium and petroleum production. Most of these industries are experiencing growth, with neighbouring South Africa a key trading partner. Portugal, Brazil, Spain and Belgium also have strong links with Mozambique.
The country is divided into two topographical regions by the Zambezi River. To the north is a narrow coastal strip of land with inland hills and plateaus while the south of the river is home to lowland plateaus and the Lebombo Mountains. The country’s climate is mainly tropical with a wet season between October and March and a dry season from April to September. Rainfall is heaviest along the coast and decreases in the north and south.
The coastal waters of Mozambique are home to some of the richest coral reefs in the world, supporting more than 1,200 species of fish.