Mozambique Travel Guide

Mozambique is a country situated on the Indian Ocean coast of Southern Africa, and is bordered by Tanzania to the north, South Africa to the south, and shares inland borders with Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Zambia, and Malawi. With a coastline of more than 1,000km long, Mozambique is an absolute paradise for beach lovers, fishermen, sailors, and scuba divers.

Languages in Mozambique

Portuguese is the official language of the country, although many of the local people speak English in the capital city of Maputo, as well as all the touristy areas. English is spoken less and less the further north you travel, and even Portuguese is hardly heard, as you get to the more rural areas.

Swahili is spoken the closer you get to the border with Tanzania, particularly along the coast, and the people who live close to the Zambian and Malawian border, speak Nyanja. It can be useful if you know a few words and phrases in the Shona language, if you’re traveling in the region of Cabora Bassa.

Currency of Mozambique

The new Metical, plural meticais, (Meticais Nova Família, MZN), is the currency of Mozambique, and it is divided into 100 Centavos. Many businesses in the tourist centers are run by South Africans, and often quote their prices in Rand (ZAR).

ATMs are found all over the country, with the most likely brands that you will see being Millenium Bim, Standard, Pro Credit, Barclays, and BCA. Standard accepts Mastercard and Visa, Millenium accepts all international cards including Cirrus and Maestro, but Barclays doesn’t accept many cards at all.

Airports in Mozambique

The majority of international flights come from South Africa, but there are other direct international flights which arrive in Mozambique from Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania, Portugal and Ethiopia.

Documentation for travelers to Mozambique

All visitors to Mozambique, except citizens of South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Tanzania, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, need a visa to enter the country. Until August 2014, visas were obtainable from some airports upon arrival, but the US Embassy in Maputo has advised all visitors that visas upon arrival are no longer available, and that they should get their visas before they arrive in the country. Any traveler not having a visa when they arrive will be deported.

Weather in Mozambique

Since almost all of Mozambique falls in the tropics, the country’s climate is mostly tropical. The climate along the coast is warm and tropical, and it’s rarely cold when the sun goes down, except for the odd night or two in June and July, and it doesn’t rain very often.

Temperatures can soar in summer, and the humidity levels increase. Temperatures are higher in the north though, around the Zambezi and Pemba.

Beach destinations in Mozambique

There are many beaches here, all of them clean and lined with palm trees, and this, together with the lovely warm weather, makes Mozambique an absolute dream for beach lovers. Just a few of the many great beaches in the country include: Azurra Benguerra, Bazaruto Island, Benguerra Island, as well as those situated on Napula Island.

Pros and cons of visiting Mozambique

In general, the people of Mozambique are extremely warm and hospitable, and tourists here experience less hassles than they do in just about all other African countries.

The risks here are pretty much the same as other countries in Africa though, and muggings, theft, murder and rape do occur, so you should take the same precautionary measures that you would anywhere else. Women should never be on the beach on their own, as attacks on women have increased in recent years. It’s best to check with hotels, hostels, and other travelers as to which areas are dangerous.

Many South African tourists have been attacked recently, ever since the violence started up again between Frelimo and Renamo. This is only evident north of Vilanculos though, so as long as you stay south of this region, you should avoid any violence.

Find out from your local Ministry of Foreign Affairs whether it is still safe for you to travel to Mozambique, and when you arrive in the country, inform your embassy in Maputo, or your consulate in one of the other major cities, about your arrival in the country.

The police here cannot be trusted, so if you do have to go to a police station for some reason, make sure that you have someone with you, and don’t take any valuables or too much money with you.

You are compelled by law to carry identification with you at all times, and present it to the police if they request it from you. In other words, see that you have a notarized copy of your passport photo page - as well as your visa and entry stamp, with you wherever you go. If you are stopped by the police and do not have a notarized copy of your passport, do NOT give them your passport, because it will probably cost you a lot of money to get it back. Usually, speaking to them calmly for a little while will get them to leave you alone.

See your doctor about adequate malaria protection prior to visiting the country, and get all your vaccine shots before you arrive. HIV levels are high in Mozambique, so don’t have unprotected sex with the locals during your stay. Mind what you eat, steer clear of ice, and only drink bottled water.

Check the shower fitting wherever you are staying, because many of them have underground heating, and are dangerous. DON’T touch the fitting while you are showering, because they are known to give a nasty shock. Better still, switch the heater off at the wall, and have a cold shower instead.

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