Mozambique can be divided into three main geographical regions: Mozambique plain, Zambezi highland and Malawi plateau east of Lake Malawi.
The Mozambique plain covers about two-thirds of the country’s area, and consists of younger sedimentary layers, especially marine chalk deposits. There are also large areas with barren, sandy soils. The plain is widest in the south, and rises evenly from the coast towards the Manica Plateau and the Malawi Highlands. The most fertile areas are found around the rivers (Zambezi, Pungué, Buzi, Rovuma, Save, Limpopo). South of the Zambezi Delta, the coast is characterized by dunes and lagoons.
The Zambezi Highlands include the Manica Plateau and the southern parts of the Malawi Highlands. The area is largely made up of Precambrian rocks, crystalline shales and granite, but the eastern coast consists of karroo- lava, which borders the highlands towards the Mozambique plain. The Manica plateau has its highest part to the west. At the border with Zimbabwe lies the country’s highest mountain, Binga (2437 meters above sea level). Around Zambezi, the highlands are degraded and appear at the river’s lower course as a lowland, characterized by isolated insel mountains. The Malawi Highlands extends from the Rovuma River in the north to about 16 ° C, and encompasses the land between Lake Malawi and the coast, to the south bounded by high-lying massifs, reaching 3000 meters above sea level in Mlanje (in neighboring Malawi). The plateau country consists largely of Precambrian rocks, punctuated by north-south faults.
In February 2000, Mozambique was hit by the biggest rainfall of 40 years. Both Limpopo, Save and Zambezi flooded, and floods with disastrous consequences for large parts of the country.
Plant and wildlife in Mozambique
Dry savanna is the predominant vegetation type with grass, acacia, monkey bread trees and other drought tolerant species. Clusters of tropical forests grow along the rivers and streams inland. At the coast, mangrove forest and coconut trees grow. In total, more than 5500 species of vascular plants have been found, of which more than 200 are endemic, ie they are not found anywhere else in Mozambique.
Very rich wildlife with most well-known large African mammals except the human monkeys. Elephant, lion, cheetah and hyena are on the list of vulnerable species, while the pointed horn is endangered. Along the east coast, the sea cow dugong is found. Nearly 750 bird species have been observed. Birds of prey include many vultures, fishing, river, fighting and avian eagles. Numerous herons, storks, ducks, horn birds, kingfisher, bee-eater and leads. Of the sparrow birds are pirols, sunbirds, alerters,stares, widows and weavers especially conspicuous. 195 species of reptiles, i.a. many snakes (python, cobra, puff spider) and more than 50 amphibian species.
The cheetah is among the fastest mammals and the speed can exceed 100 km/h.
Geography and environment
Mozambique is located in southern Africa and has a coastline of 2470 km towards the Indian Ocean in the east. The northern part of the coast is characterized by cliffs and rocky terrain, with a number of coral islands outside. To the south, the coast consists of long sandy beaches and mangrove forests.
From the coast, the country gradually rises towards the African continental plateau. Along the edge of the plateau marks a mountain range crossing to the lowlands. The highest point in Mozambique is the Binga mountain on the border of Zimbabwe, which is 2440 meters above sea level.
Two of the most important rivers in southern Africa flow through Mozambique. Zambezi, Africa’s fourth longest river, ends in a delta a little north of the city of Beira, while Limpopo flows further south, north of the capital Maputo.
The climate is tropical, but varies with the height of the sea. Mozambique has two seasons. The rainy season lasts from October to March, while the drying season lasts from April to September. It rains a lot along the coast, but less in the northern and southern areas. The amount of precipitation varies between 500 and 900 mm per year. The temperature in Maputo is between 13 and 24 ° C in July, and between 22 and 31 ° C in February. The southern parts of the country are often hit by hurricanes.
Mozambique has a rich wildlife, with 232 mammal species and 740 different birds. Several species of whales and sea cows are threatened with extinction, while black rhino and rodent paraxerus vincenti are critically endangered.