Pemba, Mozambique - Stein Travel
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Pemba

Pemba is a port town and the capital of the Cabo Delgado Province, in the north of Mozambique. It has banks, patisseries, supermarkets and restaurants yet it retains a ramshackle feel with its pot-holed streets. The town was built over rolling hills and most people live in wooden huts set amongst the many thick baobab trees. The history of the people of the Cabo Delgado province lies in many centuries of African, Arab and Portuguese sailing, trading and settling. The Niassa Company founded Pemba in 1904 as Porto Amelia, named after a queen of Portugal. It was renamed Pemba at the end of Portuguese rule, in 1975. Tarred roads connect Pemba to Nampula and Ilha de Mozambique, and international flights and tourist facilities are steadily on the increase.

Pemba is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture; however, many of its attractions are natural, as it is a prime location for water sports and diving. Nearby Ibo Island offers empty stretches of beach to explore some of the world's richest coral reefs, and Quipaco Island is just 12 miles (20km) to the north. Nacole Baobab Nature Estate and Nkwita Lake are also within an hour's drive.

There is an authentic local market (souk souk) in the centre of Pemba selling arts and crafts, as well as traditional silverware. It is quite large, extending 1.2 miles (2km) along one of the town's main thoroughfares. Avoid the ivory sold at the market, as this is sold contrary to Mozambican and international law. Maconde arts and crafts are popular Mozambican souvenirs available from Pemba.

Information & Facts

Climate

Pemba experiences a tropical climate with a very hot and humid rainy season which runs from December to April. Much of the rain is often accompanied by strong monsoon winds. Pemba's dry season runs from May to November and sees average daytime temperatures of around 82F (28C). The average temperature throughout the year ranges from a minimum of 72F (22C) to 90F (32C), making it an ideal destination to visit at any time of the year.

Language

Portuguese is the official language, and there are 13 main national languages spoken. English is taught in secondary schools, but is only spoken in the southern tourist regions.

Money

The official currency is the New Metical (MZN), which is divided into 100 centavos. In the southern parts of the country, South African Rand, US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are also accepted to pay for accommodation. Credit cards are accepted in some upmarket hotels in Maputo, but facilities throughout the rest of the country are limited; it is advisable to carry cash or travellers cheques. ATMs are limited and tend to be unreliable, but local banks have branches in most cities.

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