Perhaps the best way to approach a trip to Mozambique is to combine luxurious leisure time in one of the beachside resorts with self-drive or an escorted tour around the country’s outdoor spaces and national parks. Africa wouldn’t be Africa without its wildlife, and there’s plenty to see here. Mozambique’s magnificent Indian Ocean provides plenty of opportunities for all kinds of water sports and beach fun as well as balmy evenings in waterfront restaurants and bars.

Safaris come in all shapes and sizes from horseback riding to escorted trips to the Maputo Elephant Reserve, the national parks and diverse wildlife destinations. The spectacular Zambezi Delta is a favorite destination for its wetlands and birdlife, and photo safaris are based in remote camps amongst giant baobab trees and along riverbanks, giving a totally different and private experience with the animals. Mozambique is a unique destination for eco-tourists, and those interested in Africa’s colonial history will find much to do in the heritage towns.

If beach life is your dream vacation, look no further than the Bazaruto Archipelago, an exquisite group of five tropical islands set offshore from Vilanculos. It’s one of the loveliest beachs in all of Africa and home to several luxury resorts and lodges. Some of the best diving in the world is found here. Dhow trips can be taken through the unspoiled waters and game fishing is a favorite occupation. The entire archipelago and its waters are a protected area, boasting white sands and incredibly blue seas. Imagine Africa specializes in these pearls of the Indian Ocean.

Mozambique’s stunning coast is one of the longest and most beautiful in all of Africa, with horseback riding safaris along its sandy shores the best way to enjoy all it has to offer. Mozambique Horse Safaris offers a variety of itineraries from full weeks exploring the dunes, fishing villages and beaches on horseback to cliff-top rides close to the Bazaruto Archipelago and days in the water with their finely-trained, beautiful horses. For those with little or no experience, there are lessons on basic riding and techniques on calm, friendly mounts.

Traditional wildlife safaris here are geared toward the photographer in all of us, with Safrique offering dedicated one- or two-week photo sessions based in remote, exclusive camps in shady spots along the river bank and in the bush. Visitors stay in three or four different habitats, giving them the best chance to see a large selection of animals, guided by experienced locals traveling on and off-road in four-wheel drive jeeps. Private wildlife locations are used, allowing for night and walking safaris forbidden in the national parks.

A visit to Ilha de Mozambique and its charming, historic former Portuguese colonial capital is a must for visitors fascinated by heritage buildings and life in the olden days. Set on a tiny island just offshore from the northern coast, the town is approached by a bridge leading to stunning mansions amid a feeling of time stood still. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its numerous national monuments including Sao Sebastio Fortress, the Portuguese Stone Town and the African Macuti Town. Audley Travel can arrange guided tours to ensure you don’t miss a single place of interest.

Eco-tourism in Mozambique is supported by the World Bank, especially in the area of the Maputo Elephant Reserve, encouraging locals to get involved in protecting the animals from poaching and the destruction of the environment. Baobab Travel offers combination trips around the country’s superb natural sites which include days in lovely Quirimbas National Park with its coastal bays, traditional African villages and eco-friendly safari lodges.