While southern Mozambique has long been known as an idyllic, relatively unspoiled beach destination, the north is only now coming into its own. The north is comprised of three provinces: Niassa, Cabo Delgado, and Nampula. Its capital city is the port of Pemba, reputed to have one of the largest semi-enclosed natural harbors in the world. Pemba is a popular tourist destination particularly for monied Mocambicans and South Africans, and there are direct flights five days a week to Pemba from Johannesburg. Massive deposits of yet untapped natural gas have brought new business and prospectors into Pemba, and prices have risen accordingly, but the small city is a casual, cheerful mix of first and third world, best experienced in its Portuguese colonial architecture and the old town near the port, or on the long beaches where plenty of water activities are available. It’s the jumping-off place for one of Mozambique’s star attractions, the Quirimbas archipelago. It's comprised of 32 islands—11 of the most southerly forming Quirimbas National Park—nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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