5 Reasons why Gurué should be on your Mozambican 'wish list'
Gurué is a market town in Zambezia province, not far from Nampula, in the foothills of the southern Rift Valley.
An altitude of 750m ensures a very pleasant year-round climate. Green fertile valleys and spectacular mountain vistas combine to make this a popular destination for walking and other adventure activities. Gurué’s unique geography makes it a biodiversity hotspot and one of the country’s premier birding destinations.
Walk a short distance from your accommodation and you will quickly find yourself wandering through well ordered tea plantations. Exotic flowering trees dripping with epiphytes provide shade, mountain streams and waterfalls offer you the opportunity to cool off. Everywhere granite boulders provide excellent picnic spots.
The more adventurous can take a motorbike taxi to sacred Mt Namuli, at 2419m its Mozambiques 2nd highest mountain. With permission from the Queen (and only after a special ritual has been performed) can walkers begin the day-trek to the top.
Gurué is a bird watchers paradise with lots of rare and even endemic species like the Namuli Apalis to add to your ‘life list’. Serious birders head straight to Mt Namuli and the Ukalini Forest. However there are plenty of impressive avian life in and around the town itself. Trip notes
3. Climate and nature
It's the climate that makes everything possible here. Gurué explodes with colour and life thanks to fertile soils, well watered landscapes, stable temperatures and plenty of sunshine. This is why the tea plantations were introduced here, why holiday villas were built as an escape from the coastal humidity, why physical activities like walking are just so much more doable and why its the perfect place to end the day with a glass of red wine and a hearty meal.
Gurué’s scenery is breathtaking. From everywhere in town the granite protrusions dominate the view. Trek to the slopes and mountain tops to look down into fertile, cultivated valleys and across to distant horizons of jagged mountain ranges. Mozambique has endless magical vistas, but Gurué’s is the best.
5. Culture & history
Mount Namuli near Gurué is sacred to the Makua/Makuwa people. A mythical legend in the oral tradition of the people, tells that their ancestor were the first man and woman born of Namuli which is their original home, while other living creatures came from nearby mountains. Today trekkers to the mountain must first pay respect to the ancestors by participating in a ceremony performed by the Queen.
The town’s layout and buildings date mostly from the post WW2 colonial period when Gurué was home to the largest tea estates in the Southern Hemisphere. The delapidated Zambezia Company plantation buildings are well worth a visit to appreciate the scale of these operations.
Gurué’s continued importance as a market town is obvious. Everywhere there are markets and stalls with an abundance of quality fruit and vegetables.
Getting there and where to stay
Travelling from Nampula.
Public transport is possible but there’s no direct service.
Take the train on the Cuamba line and then a chapa (minibus) from one of the stations travelling south to Gurué.
Alternatively and probably a more popular way is to take the bus along the N1 to Alto Molocue or better still the Ile turning. Then a chapa to Gurué.
By private car you can take either the N1 or the N13 more or less the same as above.
There is another option which is the more direct road from Alto Molocue across to Gurué. This road is very scenic and used to be more popular but the road is now badly degraded. Its 4×4 only, and then with care. Allow 4.5 hours on either route.
Travelling from Mocuba its good road most of the way except the final section into Gurué which is very potholed. Allow around 4 hours.
Where to stay
The most popular options are Pensâo Gurué in the main street, or Centro Polivalente Leâo Dehon (commonly referred to as the priest’s house) which is a short distance out of town, a seminary that also provides great meals.