Terrain shapes and bedrock
The Zambezi River with the Cabora Bassa Dam divides
Mozambique into a low, southern part with a wavy surface and
a plateau-like, higher part in the north and northwest. The
former forms southern Africa's largest coastal plain. North
of Zambezi's estuary, the coastal plain narrows, and there
are rock pads and islands with bedrock from chalk and
tertiary and numerous coral reefs. The inner plateau north
of Zambezi lies at 150–600 m above sea level. and is
composed mainly of Precambrian crystalline rocks. At the
border with Zambia and Malawi, the terrain becomes
mountainous. The highest peaks in northern Mozambique, e.g.
Namuli (2,419 m asl), belongs to the southernmost horstberg
of the East African rift system. The River Shire dewateres
Lake Malawi to the south and falls into lower Zambezi. In
central Mozambique, on the border with Zimbabwe, there are
several mountain areas with high peaks such as Binga (2 436
m above sea level).
Among rivers that flow across the plain in the south are
Save and Limpopo. The bedrock here in the south is from
Precambrian times as well as from law, chalk and tertiary.
Quaternary deposits cover most of the plains. The soil is
mostly heavily leached, most fertile is the alluvial
deposits of the river valleys.
COUNTRYAAH, Mozambique has a tropical savannah climate and is
affected to some extent by the warm Mozambique flow and the
constant southeast passage. Precipitation falls mainly
during November – April and amounts to 750 mm per year at
Maputo, at Beira to 1,500 mm and in the highlands to the
north to 2,000 mm per year. Tropical hurricanes can cause
severe rainfall, but even severe droughts occur, especially
in the south.
The annual average temperature in Maputo is 23 °C, while
north of Zambezi the warmest month is 30 °C and the coldest
The vegetation consists mainly of open dry forests or
savannas with thorny shrubs dominated by, among other
things. several acacia species, the genus Brachysteʹgia,
the term Terminaʹlia seriʹcea and several
Combreʹtum species. The total number of vascular plant
species has been estimated at approximately 5,500, of which
just over 200 are endemic.
At higher altitude, especially along the border with
Zimbabwe, there are areas of mountain rainforest, which are
dominated by, among other things, Maeʹsa lanceolaʹta
and Ceʹltis africaʹna as well as the conifers
Widdringtoʹnia and Podocaʹrpus. Other types of
evergreen forests that occur at the foot of the mountains
house species from the genus Chrysophyʹllum,
Manilkaʹra, Cussoʹnia, Diospyʹros and
At the estuaries are mangroves with the genera
Sonneraʹtia, Bruguieʹra and Rhizoʹphora.
Further inland, the mangroves turn into marshlands that are
not affected by salt water.
There are about 75 species of mammals in addition to
rodents and bats, i.a. many of the typical African larger
mammals. The savannas include leopard, lion, cheetah (though
rare), serval, spotted hyena, striped jackal and scabra
jackal. Giraffes are found just south of Zambezi, while
common zebra, several species of large antelope, African
buffalo and warthog are more prevalent. Tip rhinos and
stubborn rhinos have been extirpated by hunting. African
elephants are now rare, while steppe antlers (Maʹnis
temmiʹncki) and ground pigs are common. There
are no human monkeys in Mozambique. The most common monkeys
are green markets and north of Zambezi savannah baby
(Paʹpio cynoceʹphalus) and south of Zambezi
chacmababian (Papio ursiʹnus). Dugong is rare in
estuaries and along the coast.
Bird life is rich, especially on savannas and in river
valleys, with many species of egrets, storks (including
saddle-bark stork), birds of prey, cuckoo and bee-eaters,
and many migratory birds from Eurasia in winter. On savannas
and in forests there are cobras, mambas, rocky pythons and
several species of turtles and in the rivers nil crocodile
and hippopotamus. Along the coast there are coral reefs with
Mozambique had six national parks in 2010, among others.
Gorongosa northwest of Beira with from open savanna to
closed forest and with a very rich big game fauna. In
addition, there were eight other types of reserve.
Supervision of protected areas is generally poor.