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Climate - Mozambique

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go, what to pack

United States version (°F - inches - feet). See also the metric version (°C - mm - meters)

Flag - Mozambique

Map - Mozambique

In Mozambique, a country located in southern Africa, very extended in latitude, the climate is tropical, with a hot and rainy season from November to March, and a dry season from May to October, during which there is a cooler period from mid-May to mid-August. In inland areas, especially in the north-central, there are highlands and mountain ranges, where the altitude temper the climate, but in the lowlands, like is the Zambezi Valley, the heat can be intense in the summer months, and even more so in the period preceding the rainy season (September to November). Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Mozambique has reversed seasons compared with Europe or North America.
During winter, the south-east trade winds bring pleasant and sunny weather, although in the southernmost provinces (Gaza, Maputo, Inhambane) sometimes the temperature can drop because of air masses from South Africa, so that there can be cold at night especially in inland areas. Almost everywhere it rains very little from June to October, although some brief showers are possible along the central part of the coast, from Quelimane to Beira.
During summer, the north-west monsoon prevails, at least in the center and north, which are affected by humid currents from the Democratic Republic of Congo, while in the south the trade winds still prevail, which, however, unlike in winter, bring rain as well, because of the higher temperature and humidity which provide sufficient energy for the formation of thunderclouds, even though these rains are less intense than in the center-north.
The rains occur primarily in the form of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, so even in the rainy season, the amount of sunshine is not low, except in the mountainous areas of the north, where the sky is often cloudy.
The most arid regions of the country are the Limpopo National Park in the south-west, where precipitation drops even below 20 inches per year, and the Zambezi Valley, in the west, in the Province of Tete. In Tete, 24 inches of rain per year fall.
Here is the average precipitation in Tete.
Average precipitation Tete
Tete J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 6.6 5.6 3.8 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.4 1.8 5.5 24.8
Days 11 9 7 2 1 1 1 0 0 1 4 10 48

Tete is also one of the hottest cities in the country, so much so that here the temperature can reach 113 °F in October and November, but it can exceed 105 °F from December to April. Here are the average temperatures of Tete.
Tete average temperatures
Tete J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 74 74 73 71 65 61 60 63 68 73 75 74
Max (°F) 92 92 92 91 88 83 84 87 92 96 97 94

The wettest areas are the central coast (see Beira, Quelimane), and the north-west inland area, ie the mountainous areas south-east of Lake Malawi (or Niassa) and near Mount Chiperone and Mount Namuli: in both areas, precipitation is around 55/63 inches per year, or even more.
Here is the average precipitation in Quelimane.
Average precipitation Quelimane
Quelimane J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 9.9 11.9 10.8 5.5 3.3 1.9 1.9 1.7 1.0 1.5 4.3 9.1 62.7
Days 11 13 12 8 7 7 8 5 3 5 7 10 97

Mozambique offers many potential attractions which so far are little known, not explored by many tourists and thus still pristine. In the Niassa National Reserve there are elephants, zebras and other animals of the savanna. There are also coral islands and marine parks like the Quirimbas National Park in the north, located in the Quirimbas archipelago where the island of Matemo is found, and the Bazaruto National Park, in the southern Bazaruto archipelago. On the contrary, the Gorongosa Park was damaged during the civil war that ended in 1992, and is now undergoing redevelopment.
Being located in the southern part of the coast, the Bazaruto National Park is a little cool in the winter months.
Bazaruto average temperatures
Bazaruto J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 75 73 73 70 63 59 59 61 64 68 72 73
Max (°F) 88 88 88 84 82 79 77 79 81 82 84 86

From July to September in the Mozambique Channel you can watch humpback whales, which come to breed before returning in colder seas.

Mozambique, beach

The capital Maputo is located in the far south, on the coast, and has an average temperature ranging from 79 °F in January to 66.5 °F in July. Although the maximum in January and February is on average around 86 °F, sometimes it can get uncomfortably hot, reaching 105 °F.
Maputo average temperatures
Maputo J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 72 72 71 67 62 58 58 60 63 65 67 71
Max (°F) 86 85 85 82 80 76 76 78 79 80 81 84

On average, 32 in of rain per year fall, most of which from November to March. The rainiest month is January. The rains are, however, quite erratic and may be more abundant in some years. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Maputo
Maputo J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 6.7 5.1 4.2 2.2 1.3 0.7 0.8 0.6 1.7 2.2 3.2 3.3 32.0
Days 8 8 7 4 3 2 2 2 3 6 8 8 60

The sea temperature in this southern part of the coast is high enough for swimming all year round, however, it decreases to 73 °F from July to September.
Sea temperature Maputo
Maputo J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°F) 81 82 81 81 77 75 73 73 73 75 77 79

Pemba, the starting point for the national parks located in the north of the country, like the Quirimbas National Park, lies on the coast, and its position near the equator is evident from the fact that it remains warm during winter: the average temperature goes from 81 °F in January to 73 °F in July. The rainfall amounts to 34 inches per year, including more than 4 in from December to April.
Pemba average temperatures
Pemba J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 75 75 73 73 70 66 66 68 68 72 73 75
Max (°F) 88 90 88 88 86 84 82 84 86 88 88 90

The sea temperature in this northern part of the coast is high enough for swimming all year round, however, it decreases to 75/77 °F from July to September.
Sea temperature Pemba
Pemba J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°F) 84 84 84 84 82 81 79 77 79 81 82 82

Mozambique is located in the area affected by tropical cyclones, that hit the east coast, after passing over Madagascar. The official cyclone season in the Indian Ocean runs from November 15 to May 15, but the period in which they are most likely runs from late December to mid-April. The most intense cyclones can be destructive, with their load of gale force winds and torrential rains.

When to go

The best time to go to Mozambique, making safaris and excursions or visiting the cities, is from mid-May to August, because it's the coolest, driest and sunniest. Recall, however, that at high altitudes, above 6,500 feet it's cold and at night there may be slight frosts. In September and October it's definitely hot in inland areas located at low altitude (see Tete and the Zambezi Valley), while the rainy season, as well as being warm and sultry, poses the risk of cyclones.
Those who suffer from the heat, we recall that in inland areas the months of June and July are the coolest: since mid-August, the temperature start to rise, and the first hot days may occur in the interior.
For a beach vacation, in the south September and October are preferable, because from June to August it can get a little cool, while in the center-north you can go from mid-May to October inclusive.

What to pack

In winter (June to August): for the south-central coast (Maputo, Bazaruto, Beira), spring/autumn clothes, light for the day, sweater and light jacket for the evening; for the north coast (Pemba, Mozambique Island), light clothing, a sweatshirt for the evening, a scarf for the breeze. For the mountainous areas, spring/autumn clothes during the day, sweater, jacket and hat for the evening.
For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.

In summer (December to February): throughout the coast and inland areas at lower altitudes (Zambezi valley, Limpopo National Park), tropics-friendly, loose fitting clothing, light shirts and pants of natural fibers (cotton, linen), sun hat, a light sweatshirt for the evening, light raincoat or umbrella. For the mountainous areas, spring/autumn clothes, jacket, raincoat, sun hat, hiking shoes.
For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.

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