Mozambique, with an area of 799,380 sq. km. is situated between latitude 10° and 27° south and longitude 30° and 41° east and is bordered on the north by Tanzania, west by Zambia and Zimbabwe, northwest by Malawi, southwest by South Africa, south by Swaziland and east by the Indian Ocean. The capital, Maputo, with a population of more than 2,000,000 is the largest city. Other important towns are Nampula, Beira, Inhambane, Quelimane and Tete.
Portuguese is the lingua franca with other major spoken languages being Shangaan, Sena and Shona. In most cases, there is a wide variety of dialects within the same linguistic group. Various sects of Christianity (52%), Islam (17.8%) and traditional Animist beliefs (29.5%) constitute the main religions in Mozambique. The total population of Mozambique is 24.50 million. The average growth rate is 2.44% per year while literacy is around 56.1%.
Geographically, Mozambique consists of a plateau of moderate height descending to a sub-plateau zone in the long coastal strip, which is considerably wide in the south so that around half of the country's area consists of terrain below 1000 metres. Around 25 major rivers empty into the Indian Ocean, the most important being Zambezi which flows across the country for 820 kms. The climate is tropical in the centre and north and sub-tropical in the south. There are alternating dry and wet seasons with the latter extending from October to April. Temperatures average 27- 30°C during the wet season and 17-20°C during the cooler season. Vegetation includes open forest, dense, tropical, subtropical rainforest and savannah. While much of the animal life was decimated during the years of conflict, there are efforts underway to reintroduce many species to the country and to conserve the diverse wildlife including the bird species, reefs and remaining larger mammals.
The country is divided into ten provinces: Maputo, Gaza, Inhumbane, Sofala, Manica, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado. Each of these is further sub-divided into total 128 districts. The capital city of Maputo has also been given the status of a province.