What you need to know about Chimoio

Chimoio is the capital of Manica Province in Mozambique. It is the fifth-largest city in Mozambique. Chimoio’s name under Portuguese administration was Vila Pery. Vila Pery developed under Portuguese rule as an important agricultural and textiles centre.

The town lies on the railway line from Beira to Harare, near the Cabeça do Velho rock. Located about 95 km from the Zimbabwean border, since the Zimbabwean political and social crisis of the 2000s, it has been a major destination for Zimbabwean immigrants who are looking for work in Mozambique, and today is sometimes described as feeling more Zimbabwean than Mozambican.

Population: 171,056 (1997)

Area: 174 km²

Province: Manica Province

Currency in Chimoio, Mozambique is MZN (Metical)

Language Portuguese is the language spoken in chimoio


In Chimoio, the climate is warm and temperate. Chimoio has a significant amount of rainfall during the year. This is true even for the driest month. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as Cfa. The average temperature in Chimoio is 21.5 °C. The rainfall here averages 1143 mm.


The name Chimoio comes from one of the sons of Ganda, chief of the totemic Moyo clan, who came from M´bire and settled in those lands. Oral history says that Chimoio, who was a great hunter, once killed an elephant in the lands of another clan. Chaurumba, their chief, judged Chimoio’s behaviour to be a crime and ordered his immediate execution. Ganda then requested permission for his son to be buried in Chaurumba’s land and for one of his relatives to settle close to the grave in order to tend and watch over it. From then on, all descendents of the guardians of Chimoio’s tomb, together with the site of the tomb, came to be called Chimoio (which in the local dialect – citewe – means “little heart”). The strategic position of that region made it a privileged centre through which products passed from the hinterland to the coast. The Arabs came up the Búzi and Revué rivers heading towards the lands of the Mwenemutapa Empire, in search of gold and other merchandise, including slaves. To mark their routes, the traders planted Borassus palms, each within sight of the next. In some places, these ancient palm trees can still be spotted. One of the oldest fortresses along this route is believed to be that found on top of the Zembe Mountains, to the south-east of the current city of Chimoio. The Portuguese, already well-established in the coastal areas of East Africa since the 15th century, also ventured into these interior lands seeking the famous Mwenemutapa Empire and gradually settled there as colonists. This region of Mozambique was then granted by charter to the Mozambique Company, one of whose main objectives was to foster agricultural colonization. Hence, the Company undertook to settle Portuguese and their descendents in its territory. One of the first towns to be created was Vila Barreto.