Over 40% of the territory is made up of coastal alluvial plains and reliefs below 300 meters. The remainder presents the geological structure typical of the African continent, tabular, rigid, without corrugations, affected by deep fractures: in the northern section, which represents the direct continuation of the East African plateaus, it is extinguished with the lake basin of Malawi (Niassa) the great African rift system. The plateau area has an average altitude of 600 m and is mainly made up of Precambrian rocks, mostly gneiss, schist and granite. The northern portion, to the E of Lake Malawi, is a strip of an ancient penepiano scattered with isolated residual reliefs that reach 2419 m in the granite massif of Namuli. Central Mozambique is dominated by the wide and deep incision of the Zambezi valley: there are paleozoic continental sediments of the Karroo type and above all Mesozoic formations. Along the narrow coastal strip, between the Ruvuma riversand Zambezi, arenaceous, marly and calcareous rocks emerge, which testify to the marine ingress that occurred during the Cretaceous. AS of the Zambezi valley only a few isolated massifs, fragments of the eastern escarpment of the Zimbabwe highlands, break the monotony of the landscape, dominated by the vast coastal plain made up of neozoic floods: among these Mount Binga reaches 2437 m, the highest peak in the country. Effusive rocks, mainly basaltic, meet in the Zambezi basin and in the Lebombo mountain chain, linked to the formation of the Rift Valley. The coastal strip, originating from the connection of the alluvial plains of the main watercourses, includes vast swampy and unhealthy areas; rather narrow to the N, it reaches the maximum depth, ca. 500 km, in correspondence with the Zambezi valley. The coast, which extends for a total of 2470 km, is high and steep in the northern section engraved by deep and narrow inlets; There are also some panoramic bays, such as that of Nacala, a splendid natural harbor, kept clear of sediments by the fast Mozambique current. In the central stretch, the coast, low, sandy and marshy for long stretches, has no landings except where madreporic formations ensure a certain shelter, as in Beira and Nova Sofala. AS the coast, often bordered by sandy bars, opens into two excellent bays, those of Inhambane and Maputo.
Beira [ bεira; Portuguese »Rand«, »Grenzsaum«], city in Mozambique, at the mouth of the Pungwe in the Indian Ocean, on the swampy flat coast area, (2017) 533 800 residents.
Beira is the administrative seat of the Sofala Province and the seat of the Catholic Archbishop. The city has a Catholic university (founded in 1995). The seaport is also important for the transit traffic from Zimbabwe and Malawi, with which Beira is connected by railways via the so-called Beira Corridor. An oil pipeline leads to Zimbabwe. In industrial companies there is a cable factory, a jute sack factory, wood, etc. Industry. The international airport is located in the northeast of the city. There are beaches for bathing in the suburbs of Palmeiras and Macuti.
In 1891, Beira was founded on the site of an old Arab settlement as a Portuguese trading post. In March 2019, the city suffered severe damage from cyclone »Idai«.
Nampula, city in northeast Mozambique, 540 m above sea level, on the Nacala – Lichinga railway line, (2017) 743 100 residents.
Nampula is the capital of the province of the same name and the seat of the Catholic archbishopric. The city has a military academy and an ethnological museum. Nampula is an agricultural trading center in a cotton growing area. At industrial plants there is tobacco processing and a peeling system for cashew nuts. The international airport is in the north of the city.
Nampula, originally an Arab trading post, was conquered by the Portuguese in 1507 and was called Mozambique. The city was the capital of the colony of the same name until 1897. It has been called Nampula since 1975.
Maputo (until 1975 Lourenço Marques), capital of Mozambique, on the Baia de Maputo of the Indian Ocean, with 1.23 million residents. Maputo is the country’s cultural center and an important industrial location. It was founded around 1550.