Mozambique is a country in the southeastern region of Africa bordering the Indian Ocean to its east. The country is one of the poorest countries in the world despite having a rich and extensive endowment of natural resources. The country’s economy largely depends on agriculture with few new industries cropping up in the recent past. The official language is Portuguese, and it is the second language to most Mozambicans. The population of the country is estimated at 24,692,144 people 97.8% being Bantus. The majority of individuals live in the rural areas with only less than five million collectively living in the 16 largest cities in the country. I this article we will look at the biggest cities in the country.
Biggest Cities in Mozambique
Maputo is the largest city, as well as the capital of the country, with a population of 1,766,184. It was formally known as Lourenco Marques before independence, being named after a Portuguese navigator who was sent by the governor of Mozambique for voyage exploration. The city is relatively dry with an average precipitation of 32 inches annually. It is a coastal city and is prone to climate impacts such as cyclones. Maputo was planned by the Portuguese architects, and the central area is well planned with wide avenues. Developers have chosen to develop new building instead of rehabilitating the old ones, and the rates in property have skyrocketed in the recent past. The city faces a myriad of challenges including poor drainage and transport infrastructure, especially in the informal settlements. Major landmarks of the city include the Fortress of Maputo, Independence Square, Samora Machel Statute, the Museum of Natural History, and the Tunduru Gardens. The Tunduru Gardens is the only recreational park found in the city.
Matola is largest suburb of the Maputo city with a population of 893,000 people, making it the second most populated municipality In Mozambique. It covers a total area of 144 square miles and a population density of 6,200 people per square mile. The name comes from Matsolo, a Ronga kingdom that existed before independence. Matola is the main industrial area of the country. It is also an important port for importing minerals from South Africa and Swaziland. A Korean vehicle manufacturer, Hyundai, has also opened a plant in Matola from the year 2014.A huge aluminum smelting company was set up in 2002, and it has doubled the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country in the time since. Other products produced in the city include soap, cement, and agricultural products. An oil refinery has been neglected and is no longer in use.
Nampula is the largest city in the northern regions of Mozambique, and is also one of the most modern cities in the country. It has several western style hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers. A small airport connecting to Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg in South Africa is found only three miles from the city center. The Kenya Airways operate thrice weekly to Kenya, while Airlink connects to Johannesburg. Lam Airways connects locally to Pemba, Lichinga, Tete, Beira, and Maputo. The city is not considered a tourist site. However, 90 miles east of the city, there is attraction Tourist Island known as the Ilha de Mocambique (Island of Mozambique), which is accessible via minibuses from the city. There are three universities in Nampula and also a Portuguese school.
Beira was founded in 1887 and attained its city status in 1907. It has a total population of 436,240 and an average population density of 1,880 people per square mile. Beira is an important port city with the Beira city acting as the gateway to both the central interior of Mozambique as well as the landlocked countries of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. The 1977-1992 civil war almost destroyed the city. In 2000 another catastrophe, the Mozambique flood, struck the city leaving millions homeless and crippling the economy of Beira. In 2013, the local campaigns turned violent as the supporters of MDM party clashed with the police. Tourist attraction sites include the cathedral, lighthouse, and the Grande Hotel Beira. However, inadequate security and lack of hotels and restaurants of tourist standards have made tourists to shun the city.