Mozambique is one of Africa’s lesser-known and less traveled nations. Located on the Indian coast next to Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Mozambique is sure to have a volunteer opportunity for you!Photo credit: beckstei.
With its beautiful location on the East coast of Africa and diverse ecosystem, there is plenty of conservation work for volunteers. The Indian Ocean has lots of fishing and tourism. The coral reefs, which are some of the most diverse, are another area of focus for conservation efforts. Mozambique also has many protected nature reserves and parks.
Unfortunately, several factors (including AIDS/HIV and poverty) have contributed to a large amount of Mozambique’s children being abandoned. According to UNICEF, there are more than 630,000 children orphaned by AIDS. In response to this crisis, UNICEF and the local government have worked to create better services for orphaned and underprivileged children. Volunteers can make a difference by spending time with these children to give them support, care, and education.
Best Places to Volunteer: The capital city, Maputo, makes for offers a great taste of the country and is an interesting and lively place to volunteer. From fishing and surfing, there are plenty of great activities to keep visitors busy. The coastal town of Vilanculos is also great for adventurous volunteers. This town is very pedestrian-friendly and boasts beautiful parks, especially great for those interested in conservation.
Know Before You Go: It’s recommended to brush up on your Portuguese and Swahili before traveling to Mozambique. Knowing some key phrases will get you far. Also, make sure to be aware of the accommodations you will have. Knowing how many other foreigners you will be working and living with is important in a less touristy place like this.
Health and Safety of Volunteers in Mozambique
Mozambique is generally a safe and clean country but you should be cautious when drinking water and eating food there. Make sure all water is sterilized and all food washed. Travelers to Mozambique should go to their doctor to get immunizations before their trip, see MD Travel Health for more information.
Although Mozambique is generally as safe as or safer than other African countries, general precautions should be taken to avoid theft. Women especially should make sure to stay in groups. The police in Mozambique are known for being unhelpful and for taking bribes. Hopefully you won’t need to deal with the police at all though.