Beira is the capital of Sofala province and Mozambique’s second busiest port. It is also one of Mozambique’s largest cities with an estimated population of 500,000. However, it is not a tourist destination itself, although it used to be a favorite of wealthy Rhodesians during the 1970s. Today what usually attracts visitors to Beira is business. And these travellers find a city visibly scarred by a difficult recent past. Plunged into chaos during the civil war, the ensuing devastation in Beira is still visible. Even Beira’s crown jewel, the famous Grande Hotel, was closed and occupied by hundreds of homeless residents, never to recover. The year 2000 brought floodwaters, inflicting further havoc on the city and its residents.
These days things are looking up for Beira. Beira’s past, present and future are closely linked to its key position as a major port and transport link for local commerce.