Congratulations on choosing Mozambique as your holiday destination. Mozambique has to be considered one of the world’s best tropical holiday destinations, with miles of unspoiled coastline and untouched natural areas. You will be pleasantly surprised at how friendly and open the people are, they have truly put the war behind them. However, Mozambique is a third world African country and time is generally on a different wavelength to what most westerners are accustomed. If you approach the country for what it is, you will love it; If you approach it with attitude and 1st world expectations, you will hate it. People complain about the corruption and bribery – We do not contend that this does not occur (where in the world doesn't’t it?), but if you treat all people with respect and politeness, you should not have a problem.
Mozambique is a different country and therefore normal border restrictions apply. – In the past, the border officials were fairly relaxed, but now they are clamping down more and more on people who take everything with them from South Africa. You do not need to take everything with you, as you can get most supplies there. All towns have basic supplies and the bigger towns such as Maputo, Xai-Xai, Inhambane and Vilanculos have just about everything you need. Red meat and dairy related products are obtainable, but they are more expensive than in SA. Our advice is to take some of these items with you, but don’t overdo it. When going to resorts, which are quite far from towns, make sure that you stock up with provisions before arrival.
Alcohol is also subject to normal border restrictions – these being 1 bottle of hard tack or 2 bottles of wine per person. The limit for cigarettes is 200 per person.
What you need to enter the country
A passport which must be vaild for 06 months after your return.
SA Passport holders do Not require a visa to enter Mozambique.
- Original vehicle registration papers if driving yourself
- Driver’s license (Southern African citizens do not need an International)
- Emergency triangles
At the border post
- Komatipoort (Ressano Garcia) - open every day of the year between 07h00 – 22h00. During the busy December period (generally from 20 December to 03rd January) this border stays open 24-hours.
- Namaacha/Lomaacha (Swaziland/Mozambique) – opens at 07h00, closes at 18h00.
- Oshoek/Ngwenya (South Africa / Swaziland) – opens at 07h00, closes at 20h00.
- Kosi Bay/Ponta d’ Ouro (Faranzela ) – opens at 08h00, closes at 17h00.
South African side (Komatiepoort) - First fill in your vehicle / goods export form, get a gate pass and then get your passport stamped
Mozambique side (Ressano Garcia) - Get your passport stamped - You have to pay R15.00 / person; take out the compulsory 3rd party insurance (R 150.00 / vehicle); buy the compulsory temporary import permit for all vehicles - including boat trailers (payable in meticais Mt 30 000 (approx. R15.00) – There is a bank at the border should you not have meticais or else there are always people selling meticais at the Border on the SA side – I have found it to be safe to buy from them. Just make sure that you get the right amount of money for what you are exchanging – ask them what exchange they are offering – at the moment it is about 3.2 Meticais to R1.00. You can work on a 3.2 to 1 ratio (this will quite probably have changed by the time you get to the border.
OK – You’re in!
The Maputo corridor is now complete, making it a good highway all the way from Gauteng. There is a total of toll fees of R 83.50 in South Africa and Mt 78 500.00 (about R 30.00) in Mozambique - (each way). You can pay the toll fees in Mozambique with Rands, US dollars or Meticais.
The road going north from Maputo (EN 1 – National Road #1) is generally a good tar road – The road from Maputo to Inhambane is slightly potholed (nothing serious, but be careful).
Traveling after dark is NOT advisable, as there are no streetlights and sometimes the other vehicles on the road have inadequate lighting. If you do travel after dark, take it easy, especially when there are oncoming cars. Some resorts require 4 x 4, or at least a vehicle with good clearance such as a Venture or bakkie. These roads are thick sandy tracks, so a normal car could get bogged down.
Petrol costs around R 13.00 / litre, buts this changes from time to time. It’s advisable to fill up at the garage just before the border. There are filling stations in Maputo, Macia, Xai-Xai, Quissico, Inhambane, Maxixe, Massinga, Vilanculos and Inhassoro. For those going to the resorts south of Maputo – Fill up at Kosi Bay, as there is not always petrol at Ponta Do Ouro. Diesel is about the same price in Mozambique as it is in SA (sometimes even cheaper). We suggest you fill up at the BP in Xai-Xai as the filling station at Quissico is not always reliable. Do not get stuck without petrol!!
You can only get unleaded petrol in Maputo, Xai-Xai and Maxixe. Normal fuel is available all the way up to the north of Mozambique at all the bigger towns.
It is not uncommon to be stopped at one of the police checkpoints. If you follow these basic guidelines, you should not have any problems
- Wear seat belts all the time
- Stick to the speed limit – This is usually 40 / 50 kph in towns and 120 kph on the open road
- Display your emergency triangles in a visible place.
- Red triangles are required if you are towing and need to be displayed on the front of the vehicle and back of trailer
- If you do get stopped, be patient and polite. They will normally want to see your driver’s license, 3rd party insurance and road tax (purchased at the border). If you can, avoid giving these documents to the officials. Instead, start a conversation and be friendly and humorous. Some useful words are Bon Dia (Good morning); Boa Tarde (Good afternoon); Boa Noite (Good evening / night); Faz Favor (Please); Obrigado (Thank you). Don’t be nervous and flustered – there is nothing to be afraid of! (Unless you’ve broken the law!)
- No firearms are to be brought into Mozambique – Besides the fact that you will not need a gun, if the authorities find you with one, expect to be in deep trouble.
Malaria is a very real threat in Mozambique. Please follow these basic guidelines and you should be okay.
- Prophylaxis – Larium (Mefloquin) or a Paludrine / Daramal combination is often used. Because they are so harmful, we also recommend the homeopathic equivalents.
- Please contact your doctor for further info on the above
- Repellants – citronella, Tabard, Mosquito coils etc is good to take with
- Herbal – aqueous cream with a few drops of citronella, eucalyptus, and lemon grass essential oils make for a wonderful moisturizer and it wards off the insects too.
- Homeopaths also recommend taking a Vitamin B complex, which makes the blood sour, as well as garlic tablets.
Vehicles and Boats
- It is illegal to drive on the beaches – You may only do so to launch a boat. Many resort owners allow driving on the beaches, but besides being illegal (your vehicle may be impounded if you’re caught), it is not very friendly to the environment – A lot of your reason for visiting Mozambique is probably because of its pristine nature, do you really want to spoil this?
- Don’t drive in areas where there are no demarcated roads – there are still land mines in Mozambique.
Maputo is generally quite safe, but being a big city, take precautions such as not displaying expensive jewellery and other valuable items, and pay someone to watch your car if you park it (50 Meticais is acceptable).
- The currency is the Metical (pl. Meticais, pronounced meticash). Exchange rate is about R 1.00 = Mt 3.2 but changed from time to time.
- Take Rands or US Dollars CASH – Credit cards are accepted almost nowhere in Mozambique, except at most expensive resorts. Although a lot of the resorts accept Rands, it is good to exchange for use in the markets, shops and petrol stations (You can pay in Rands at the petrol stations, but you may get a bad exchange rate)
- Exchange money at banks (closed for siesta between 12H00 – 14H00).
Most of Mozambique falls within the tropics, so it rarely gets cold. The rainy season is from October to April and the temperatures can get very hot and humid, particularly December, January and February, and of course the further north you go. The winter months are ideal, with mild temperatures and it is generally dry. Due to the climate and culture, dress codes are very relaxed, with sarongs, shorts and T-shirts being quite acceptable at most places.
Many resorts run off generators, so ladies, please don’t use your hairdryers. The power surge causes the system to trip out. Also included is any appliance with an element, such as a kettle. Please ask at reception if in doubt. Many of the resorts turn off the generators late at night, so take a torch and candles for some light in the middle of the night!
If you are detained by the authorities or become destitute due to circumstances beyond your control, contact the consular section of the SA High commission at 41 Eduardo Mondlane Ave, Maputo. Tel (01) 490059 / 491614 / 493030 / 490587 (office hours) or 450031 / 33 (after hours)
Medical problems – Most major towns have a hospital or clinic. These places are fine to use for minor problems, for example if you need stitches. They are excellent for things like Malaria tests – the equipment is sterile and you get the result in 15 minutes – Unlike in South Africa, where it can take up to 12 hours!
Medical Evacuation Insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. If you do not already have a policy covering the area of Mozambique, please contact Travelinsure Travel Insurance / 0861 467873 - www.travelinsure.co.za
This policy does NOT cover your actual medical bills, however it does cover the evacuation by plane or helicopter with a doctor and paramedic on board from the closest airstrip to your destination to a hospital of your choice in South Africa. A small price to pay in the event that anything should happen to you while visiting Mozambique! TAKE CARE, ENJOY YOUR TRIP – LIFE’S A JOURNEY, ENJOY THE RIDE.
WHAT TO BRING
DOCUMENTS & FORMALITIES
- Driver’s licence & ID Books – VERY IMPORTANT
- Passport must be vaild for 06 months after return
- No Visa is required for SA passport holders
- Vehicle Registration papers
- 2 x Red Triangles
- Registration papers for trailers.
- Shorts, T-shirts, Sarongs, Summer dresses etc - the dress code in Mozambique is very relaxed. Sandals and shoes. Long sleeved shirts and long pants (light) for the evenings (it is important to cover most of your body for protection against mosquitoes - including wearing socks and shoes).
- Hat and sunglasses.
- Swimming costume and towel.
- Light jacket / Sweatshirt - the evenings can occasionally be slightly chilly.
- Mosquito repellent (Tabard, Peaceful Sleep, citronella etc.)
- Mosquito coils to burn in your chalet or tent
- Malaria precautions
- Torch & candles (citronella candles are good for the mozzies too!)
- Snorkel, mask and fins if you have – most places that have a scuba operation offer these for hire
- Camera and film
- Small medical kit with basic items - Hydrogen peroxide is very effective for insect bites and scratches. Also an ointment for insect bites and other basic supplies
- Lavender Oil and pure alcohol to disinfect wounds or scratches
- For campers - a gazebo makes a great shaded area for you to cook and eat under - it also helps to have a piece of shade cloth for the ground, as many of the campsites can be sandy
- Drinking water – Water is expensive to buy in Mozambique and we advise you not to drink the tap water.
- Bring extra fruit juice (sodas are available at all shops & markets but fruit juice is scarce)
- Your favourite South African wines
- Salty cracks & dips / chips and other snack food
WHAT CAN I BUY IN MOZAMBIQUE?
- Just about anything…
- There is a lovely fresh market in Inhambane, which sells a selection of fresh fruits & salads and fish (veggies are hard to find).
- Fresh Portuguese bread – baked daily…Yummy!
- Pasta, Rice, spices, butter, sunflower oil etc.
- Spirits of all sorts & sodas
- All sorts of beer (South African & Mozambican)
- Craft Market: Great grass mats to use on the beach, hats, salad bowls etc. etc.
ENJOY YOUR STAY IN MOZAMBIQUE!