The southeastern African state borders on the Indian Ocean and is located between Tanzania and South Africa. Its western borders are formed by Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland. The total area of Mozambique is about 801,580 sq km; the ca. 24 million inhabitants live in 10 provinces. The capital Maputo is located in the far South, which has meant less development for the North than the South.
Climate and Terrain
The exceptionally picturesque coastline stretches over 2,800 km. Further inland from the coastal lowlands, the jaggedly ascending landscape reaches high plateaus of about 1000 m.
The country’s vegetation is dominated by shrubland, which can leave the scenery looking dismal during the dry season. 80% of precipitation falls during the rainy season, when the country is in bloom.
Many rivers, such as the Zambezi, flow from the uplands down into the Indian Ocean. Sadly, recurring floods during the rainy season lead to destruction of villages and ruined harvests - and cost lives.
With a tropical climate, day-time temperatures range from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius year-round.
78 ethnic groups speaking over 40 different languages live within Mozambique’s borders. Makhuwa ethnic groups comprise 40% of the population. In Nothern Mozambique Makhuwa is also the most dominant language. Only 2.5% of Mozambicans consider Portuguese, the official language, their mother tongue. A further 20% speak Portuguese as a second language. About half the population is illiterate.
About 47% of Mozambicans have animist beliefs. The 35% Christians (mostly from a Catholic background) tend to live in Southern Mozambique. 19% mix influences from an Islamic background with animist components, which forms a kind of folk Islam.
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