People don't generally think of Mozambique when the topic of warm-weather destinations comes up. Which is a shame, because this beautiful country has many of the features which make the islands so appealing: beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, exotic wildlife, and a variety of adventures to go on. Even better, the places are generally free of crowds, and accommodations can be quite inexpensive. The next time you plan a trip to the tropics, consider these unique destinations and experiences.

01Learn to Scuba Dive at Tofo Beach

Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) Swimming Right beneath the Surface. Tofo, Mozambique AndamanSE / Getty Images

Found in Inhambane province, there are few places better to learn diving. The waters tend to the calm and clear, and many instructors are happy to walk newcomers through their first few lessons before going on an inaugural dive. Once under the waves, explore colorful fish, beautiful coral reefs, and swim with the manta rays. If you're an experienced diver already, the Bazaruto archipelago features stunning underwater vistas.

02Watch Exotic Wildlife

Sunset over the National Park Gorongosa in the center of Mozambique nicolasdecorte / Getty Images

No trip to Africa is complete without seeing some incredible animals in their natural habitat. Gorongosa and Marromeu National Parks are dedicating to protecting these wonderful animals. At Marromeu, you can also watch rare African waterbirds, such as the African skimmer or wattled crane. For best results, you absolutely want to book a tour with a professional safari guide.

03Explore Wild Inhaca Island

Inhaca Island wildacad / Getty Images

When you feel the need for some true isolation, charter a boat to take you to Inhaca Island. Primarily a research station, nothing lives here except wildlife. Enjoy the tranquil beaches or wander through palm tree groves. There are no trails or signs, so make sure to dress and equip yourself appropriately.

04Go Camping at Vilankulos

Traditional grass huts in Vilankulo (Vilanculos) Mozambique holgs / Getty Images

Reachable by passenger car from the beachfront town of the same name, this fully-developed campsite is available year-round. The campsites feature water taps and hot water showers, and campers are invited to swim, hike, or sail among the islands. Electricity is unreliable, so campers are advised to bring their own generators if needed.

05Climb Mount Mabu

The splendor of Mount Merapi seen from Mount Merabu

In the highlands of Mozambique, the forests surrounding Mount Mabu are some of the last remaining old-growth forests in the country. The forest is home to some truly unique species, many of which wait to be discovered by botanists. Because this place truly is wild, book a tour to ensure the best possible experience.

06Count the Fish in Lake Niassa

Small fishing boat moored in the shallows of Lake Malawi. Cobue, Niassa Province. Mozambique.

Or don't, you'll be there all day! Nowhere on Earth is home to more fish species than Lake Niassa, many of which are only found here. Once called the Lake of Stars, several nearby lodges provide a variety of adventures. Book an overnight stay, then take a snorkeling trip the next day. You can also canoe along the Rift Valley, or catch fish in a traditional dugout.

07Explore the Maputo Train Station

View of CFM (Caminho de Ferro de Mocambique) Railway Station in Maputo, capital of Mozambique. This Victorian style building was designed by Gustave Eiffel. In 1910 he used wrought iron for the roof dome and marble for the outside pillars and arches. andyKRAKOVSKI / Getty Images

Trains are one of the preferred ways to get around Mozambique, and if you find yourself disembarking at Maputo, take some time to appreciate the station. Alexandre Eiffel, of the famous Eiffel tower, designed the beautiful architecture. The station resembles a dollhouse, with its picturesque latticework and graceful verandas. When you're done exploring the architecture, swing by the Kulungwana Espaco Artistico, and pick up an art piece from a local crafter.

08Fly Over the Quirimbas Islands

Beautiful view of Quirimbas archipilago in Mozambique from above

Experience the beauty of the islands from thousands of feet in the air! Pilots are available to take you up in their small crafts. This can be a unique way to get to your next travel destination. Or just take a sightseeing tour by air. If airplanes aren't your thing, yachts are also available for charter on the ground.

09Visit the Macuti Shipwreck and Lighthouse

Shipwreck in Beira Mozambique

On the shores of Beira are what remains of an old shipwreck. Much of the boat has rotted away, but some of the hull and core engine remains. Take a few selfies at low tide, then wander down the beach to iconic red and white striped lighthouse. If you want to go inside the ruins, be prepared to pay the guards a small fee.

10Explore Ruins on the Island of Mozambique

An old weathered white washed church on the beach of the Island of Mozambique

Connected by bridge to the mainland, this tiny island was once a nexus of trade between Asia, Africa, and Europe. Portuguese buildings, many of which have been long-abandoned, cover the island. This incredibly Instagrammable area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and features an old church, an abandoned hospital, and several forgotten fortifications.

11Visit Independence Square

Aerial view of Independence square with statue of first president Samora Machel, Maputo, Mozambique Jacek_Sopotnicki / Getty Images

In the heart of Maputo, a larger than life statue celebrates Samora Michel, the first president of Mozambique. Surrounding the square are several other buildings of interest, such as the Tunduru Botanical Garden and a gorgeous cathedral. If you travel here in June, the whole square, and the city beyond, light up with a weeks-long party celebrating Mozambique's independence in 1975.