What type of clothing do I need for the Mozambican climate?
As little as possible! We recommend that you bring light clothing for during the day, as well as light foot wear, like flip-flops, especially during the summer, if you are thinking of going to the beach or walking through the city. For after the sunset and at nights long sleeve shirts and trousers as well as closed shoes should be worn to prevent mosquito bites. The clothing here is casual but you might require slightly more formal wear in public offices or restaurants at night. Rainwear is advisable all year round, although if the rain falls hard, it’s better if you stay indoors or put on your bathing suit!
Are mosquitoes a big problem in Mozambique?
Yes! These irritating little critters are very much a part of everyday life here, and there are ways to make them less irritating. Repellant should always be worn after sunset, as well as clothing that covers tasty arms and legs. Malaria circulates through mosquito bites, BUT just because you’ve been bitten, doesn’t mean you will get malaria, as only some mosquitoes carry the parasite.
Will factor 15 sun cream be ok?
Probably not! If you have naturally dark skin, then yes. But if you hail from a part of the globe which doesn’t get much sun and your skin tone is very light, then you will definitely need a high sun protection factor, as well as protection for your head (hat or cap)
Do I need vaccinations to visit Mozambique?
Yes and no. You should double check with your local health centre before departure as inoculation requirements could change depending on the season and region you are planning to visit. In general Diphtheria, Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus and Typhoid are the vaccinations you should take into consideration. Also courses of malaria tablets are very important to be taken when you are on holiday in Mozambique; there are several options so ask your medical assistant for advice.
Do I need health insurance in Mozambique?
Most definitely! Full health insurance, preferably including Medevac is highly recommended; while there are hospitals in cities, medical facilities are scarce in rural areas and although they can treat infections such as malaria, it’s better to be on the safe side. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies including medications and sterile syringes.
Do I need to bring a plug adaptor?
Yes and no. You will be able to buy plug adaptors if you are visiting a town or a city, but if not it’s probably best that you bring them from home or enquire in advance with your accommodation if they can provide them. Electricity in Mozambique is supplied at 220/240 volts AC 50HZ.
Will I need a torch?
Yes. A torch or headlamp will always come in handy as power cuts do occur quite often, depending on the seasons (due to adverse weather conditions). Also, some of the lodges operate on generators for several hours a day only.
Will my mobile phone work in Mozambique?
More than likely! There are agreements with most of the international mobile phone operators and therefore coverage is available in most provinces and cities; but if you have a free phone and you don’t want to use your mobile phone on roaming, you can buy a pay as you go sim card from either Vodacom or Mcel, the two operating companies. You can find top ups with no trouble in markets and in cities and it’s very easy to follow the instructions in order to put credit on your phone.
Food and Drink
Can I drink the tap water?
Mostly, yes. Normally water is perfectly drinkable from the tap; however you should double check in advance before drinking it, or otherwise boil to sterilise all water for drinking, brushing teeth and making ice, just to be safe.
Are day-to-day food items readily available?
Yes! General groceries and condiments such as salt, sugar, vinegar, rice, oil, milk and other beverages etc. can be found in local markets and shops. A lot of fruit and vegetables can be found on sale in local markets, as well as delicious freshly baked local bread known as pao.
Are there local dishes or specialties that I should try?
Most definitely! You should taste some of the local dishes such as Piri Piri (spicy chilli pepper sauce), Matapa (ground peanuts and cassava leaves served with rice), and Caril (kind of gravy) and Chamusas (samosas), Wusa (stiff maize porridge) plus good seafood along the coast including camaroes (prawns) lagosta (crayfish) and peixe grelhada catch of the day.
What is the water temperature like?
Mostly warm! Water temperatures vary depending on time of year and location, but a general range would be between 20°C and 28°C. In the winter months it is advisable that you bring a chicken vest to add a bit of warmth.
Are there any major differences between western and Mozambican culture?
Yes and no. You will find that Mozambican people are very polite and charming and shaking hands when meeting new people is the general custom; in addition the courtesies and formalities you would find in Portugal and other Latin countries are still observed. Having said that, there are many differences in culture too, for example: when taking photographs of people, it is always best to ask first before snapping away! And also make sure you don’t take any of governmental or public buildings, airports, bridges or soldiers as this is not allowed!
Is tipping acceptable?
Yes! Tipping in cafes or restaurants is not generally expected outside Maputo but if you feel the service was good around 5-10% of the bill is normal and it will be very welcomed by the member of staff.
Visas and passports
Do I need a visa to visit Mozambique?
Yes and no. Citizens of Britain, Australia, Canada, USA and other EU countries all require a tourist visa. Visas can be obtained prior to your departure at the nearest High Commission or Embassy, or they can be obtained on arrival in Mozambique. The approximate cost for a visa at the airport is 85 USD. Also make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of six months from the date you are planning to depart!
Is crime a big problem in Mozambique?
Mostly not! Although the level of criminality is much lower than its neighbouring countries you should take the same precautions you would do in big cities to avoid thievery, also never leave your belongings unattended on the beach or in public areas, plus stay clear of isolated areas at night and avoid walking alone at night.
Is the public transport good in Mozambique?
Yes and no. You have to take it easy when it comes to travelling in Mozambique; make sure you allow plenty of time as getting around could be quite tricky and slow. Bus services are available in some provincial capitals as well as taxis in large towns, but you can also use the local chapas (converted passenger trucks), though expect them to be overcrowded and very slow on occasions. Also remember that Mozambique is a very big country, going from A to B might look easy, but expect it to be like going from A to E!
Are car hire services readily available?
Mostly yes. Car hire is available in Maputo, Beira and several other touristic destinations but we suggest you find out prior your arrival whether this service will be available.
Is driving in Mozambique safe?
Mostly. There’s one large tarred motorway that connects Maputo with Beira and Beira with Tete. Driving after dark could be dangerous as illumination is nonexistent in some parts of the road and off road driving is not recommended as there could be some landmines left from war time. Traffic drives on the left!
If I want to drive my own car, what documents do I need?
Several! You will require documents that you would need to show to the police should you get pulled over, such as:
- Vehicle ownership documents if you are travelling with your own car.
- Letter from the Bank giving permission to cross the border if you travel with an on hire purchase or bank loan vehicle.
- Letter of authorization from the owner to enter Mozambique if the car is borrowed.
- A valid driver’s License; please note that people who are under eighteen years of age or own provisional licenses are not allowed to drive in Mozambique.
- Third party Insurance. If the Insurance for your car covers Mozambique you must get an official document from your insurance company, which clearly states that your car is insured third party in Mozambique (not just covers all SADC) and has the registration number of your car.
Is flying a better option?
Sometimes yes. Flying is another possibility, LAM (Linhas Aereas de Mozambique) offer domestic flights linking Maputo, with Beira, Chimoio, Inhambane, Lichinga, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane and Tete, as well as OR Tambo International.