14 Jun 2013 08:00
Once called the the Switzerland of Mozambique, Gurué, in Zambezia Province, center of Mozambique stays forgotten for decades after the independence of Mozambique and three decades of civil war.
In colonial times, the disrict, founded in the 19th century and named Vila Junqueiro, was the biggest tea region in Mozambique, having a total of 5 factories processing tea leafs and exporting worldwide. Now only remains one factory working.
Due to the high level of the region (having the second highest mountain in Mozambique - Namuli Mountain with 2.419 m above sea level) and the wet climate, the settlers, one century ago, found this place with the proper conditions for tea plantations. The landscape was largely transformed to grow tea and tea tasters began building houses. Gurué is a model in colonial architecture with a well preserved number of traditional houses, churches, and other vestiges of Portuguese presence.
Now, the Lomwe people, continue to cultivate the tea, this time owned not by the old settlers but by Indian capitals. However the production is far from the 70´s values of last century. The independence made the old lords run away, back to Europe, everything was abandoned and three decades of civil war made four from the five factory close, get ruined and abandoned.
Meanwhile the intense green, the complete transformation of the landscape made by the vast tea plantations, the unique climate and it's isolation together with the individuality of the Mozambique region make Gurué a tourist destination.