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HISTORY - MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique FlagMozambique's first inhabitants were Bushmen hunter-and-gatherers. Between the first and fourth centuries A.D., waves of Bantu-speaking tribes migrated from the north through the Zambezi River valley, and from the sixth century A.D. onward Arab and Asian traders worked along the southern coast of Mozambique. They traded gold brought from powerful civilizations inland and raided the north for slaves and ivory.

When the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama reached Mozambique in 1498, Arab-trading settlements had existed along the coast and outlying islands for several centuries. The Portuguese set up trading posts, which became regular ports of call on the new route to the East. By the 1760s, slavery was the most profitable trade. Over a million slaves were sold to North America and to the sugar plantations in Brazil and Cuba.

Portuguese influence gradually expanded, and individual settlers were granted extensive autonomy. As a result, investment lagged while Lisbon devoted itself to the more lucrative trade with India and the Far East and to the colonization of Brazil. At the Berlin Conference of 1884, Mozambique became a Portuguese colony. Land was leased to British and French companies, these companies expanded into cash crops such as cotton and tea. The colonial rulers raised income through heavy taxes and a brutal forced-labor system.

The drive for Mozambican independence developed, and in 1962 several anti-colonial political groups formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, FRELIMO, which in September 1964 initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule. After ten years of sporadic warfare and major political changes in Portugal, Mozambique became independent on 25 June 1975. By that time, the country was in ruins. Over 90 percent of Portuguese settlers had left, taking everything they could. Of the country's five hundred doctors, only eighty remained.

The FRELIMO party that came to power quickly set about re-building health and education services, but it had little experience, and even fewer resources. The leaders of the FRELIMO military campaign established a one party state allied to the Soviet bloc and outlawed rival political activity. FRELIMO eliminated political pluralism, religious educational institutions, and the role of traditional authorities.

The new government gave shelter and support to the South African ANC and Zimbabwean ZANU liberation movements while the governments of Rhodesia and South Africa fostered and financed an armed rebel movement in central Mozambique called the Mozambican National Resistance, RENAMO. In the rural areas, people coined the phrase, “FRELIMO by day, RENAMO by night” since the government blamed all lawless behavior on RENAMO. Civil war, sabotage from neighboring states, and economic collapse characterized the first decade of Mozambican independence. The result was devastating. Thousands of civilians were injured or killed and schools, health centers, railways, and roads were destroyed.

In the third FRELIMO party congress in 1983, President Samora Machel conceded the failure of socialism and the need for major political and economic reforms. He died, along with several advisers, in a 1986 plane crash. His successor, Joaquim Chissano, continued the reforms and began peace talks with RENAMO. The new constitution enacted in 1990 provided for a multiparty political system, market-based economy, and free elections.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, droughts and the disruption caused by the full-blown civil war between RENAMO and FRELIMO led to severe food shortages and famine for millions. Eventually, with the country brought to its knees, the civil war ended in October 1992 with the Rome General Peace Accords. Under supervision of the United Nations, peace returned to Mozambique. To add further misery to the people, in 2000 and 2002 Mozambique was hit by devastating floods that destroyed the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.

Today, Mozambique has taken a unique path to repair, caused by years of civil war and white flight. The United Nations have cleared most of the land mines and still continue on their quest to rid the country of its difficult past. Mozambique's new government has started rebuilding, but this time, not only their shattered country but their international image as a tourist getaway and a once forgotten great hunting destination.

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What People Are Saying

"It was everything we could ever have hoped for or dream of.Our crew comprising of Greg and Bles were amazing, and took great care of us – sharing the many laughs and memories. Thank you again!"

~ Rob & Lashanda Terry '14 from

" ... Awesome experience! Got a once in a lifetime chance at Lynx and Bushpig, trophy animals everywhere. Wonderful accommodations, we never waited for anything. Gary did a great job and was very patient. We could not have asked for a better honeymoon. Thanks for everything. We will be back!"

~ Dusty & Candace Phillips '12 from USA

"What a spectacular adventure we had in the Eastern Cape and the Karoo with John X Safaris. Years from now, as an old man, I can’t wait to gather my grandchildren around and tell them of my wild adventures in South Africa. I’ll tell them about my legendary P.H., the incredible accommodations, the unmatched hospitality, the breathtaking views, and the most stunning animals I’ve ever seen. It was a trip for the ages!"

~ Jason Nelsen '14 from

"Words cannot express the amazing, incredible, awesome experience I've had. My PH, Greg, and tracker, Bless, were brilliant. I learned so much from both of them. I thank them for sharing their knowledge. The animals were vast and stunning. So many! I almost learned how to spot them and know what they were! John X Safaris does such an excellent job with all aspects of the trip - From the hunting, the service, the accommodations, the food, and the game drives. I did not have one bad day or even one bad minute. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart."

~ Cari Smith '14 from

"One of the best hunting experiences of our lives! Greg's expertise is greatly appreciated, his knowledge of both game, flora and fauna was truly exceptional. Greg made our first trip to Africa a true trip of a lifetime."

~ Norm & Karen Amstrup '12 from USA

"We had a wonderful time and staff was awesome! Our stay was amazing and made lots of special memories. We will certainly recommend this place to others! Everyone was always friendly and courteous and so willing to make our stay perfect. The food was amazing, we never went hungry. The game drives were exciting, seeing all the different animals & getting our photos!
Thank you again!"

~ Michelle Fairchild '14 from