Mozambique Basics

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The Basics


Time: Local time is GMT +2.

Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. The rounded three-pin plug is common, particularly near the border with South Africa and in Maputo. Two pronged, round- and flat-pin plugs are also found.

Money: The official currency is the Mozambican Metical (MZN), which is divided into 100 centavos. In the southern parts of the country, South African Rands, US Dollars, and Pounds Sterling are often also accepted to pay for accommodation. It's prudent to carry some cash is these currencies for times when an ATM is out of order or nonexistent. Credit cards are accepted in most upmarket hotels in Maputo, but card facilities throughout the rest of the country are limited so, again, it's advisable to carry cash.

Currency Exchange Rates

MZN1.00 = USD 0.02GBP 0.01CAD 0.02AUD 0.02ZAR 0.23EUR 0.01NZD 0.02
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: Portuguese is the official language, though over 40 languages are spoken in the country. English is taught in secondary schools, but is only spoken in the southern tourist regions.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 30 days after their arrival in Mozambique. No visa is required.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival in Mozambique. A visa is required.

Passport/Visa Note: All foreign passengers to Mozambique must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country. Until recently visitors of most nationalities could obtain a 30-day tourist visa on arrival in Mozambique, but visas can now no longer be purchased at points of entry and must be organised beforehand. Those visiting Mozambique from a country where there is no Mozambican diplomatic mission should be able to get a visa on arrival but this should be confirmed in advance. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Mozambique, if arriving within six days of leaving or transiting through an infected area. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: Health regulations in Mozambique require visitors to have a yellow fever certificate if travelling from infected areas. Malaria is a risk throughout the year and prophylactics are recommended, as well as precautions against mosquitos. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid. Visitors who will be spending a lot of time outdoors and may be at risk of animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination. Diseases caused by unsanitary conditions are common throughout the country, and untreated water should be considered as unsafe to drink. Cholera and other waterborne diseases are prevalent during the rainy season. The government has declared tuberculosis (TB) a national emergency and expects it to be a problem for the next 15 years. Hospital facilities are generally poor in Mozambique, and outside the major cities of Maputo and Beira medical facilities are limited. Comprehensive medical insurance is essential and visitors should carry personal medical supplies with them. Make sure that all medication is in its original packaging and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor, detailing what the medication is and why it is needed.

Tipping: Tipping has become standard practice in Mozambique, particularly in tourist areas where a tip of about 10 percent is expected in restaurants.

Safety Information: Safety is not an issue for the vast majority of visitors to Mozambique, but tourists should remain vigilant at all times. Violent crime is on the increase in the major cities and tourist areas. Mugging, bag snatching, and pick-pocketing is fairly common, and visitors are advised to be alert in public places, to keep valuables out of sight, and to avoid walking anywhere at night. All visitors, especially women, should avoid walking alone on the beach, as beaches and offshore islands are not policed. Visitors are advised that it is extremely risky to wander off well-travelled paths and roads, as a few unexploded landmines still lie scattered about the southern parts of the country. Local information should be sought before going off-road outside provincial capitals. Remain vigilant when driving, as traffic accidents are common due to the poor condition of the roads. Many roads can become impassable in the rainy season (November to April), when there is also a risk of cyclones. Overland travel after dark is not recommended, and travellers should be especially alert when driving near the Mozambique-South African border. Police checkpoints are common, where foreigners may be at risk of harassment. There have been many reports of police attempting to solicit bribes, but travellers should insist on a written citation that can be paid at a police station.

Local Customs: Identity documents should be carried at all times; drug offences are taken very seriously, and can receive long jail terms and heavy fines. Ask permission before photographing anyone, particularly in remote parts of the country.

Business: Conducting business in Mozambique can be difficult, as many people only speak Portuguese or their own ethnic language. Translators are usually found in Maputo, but remain hard to come by. Punctuality is important and dress is usually conservative, with lightweight materials recommended. Business associates should be addressed by their professional titles unless otherwise stated, and meetings generally start and end with a handshake. Men and women may shake hands, but any additional physical contact can be interpreted as romantic interest.

Communications: The international dialling code for Mozambique is +258. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Internet access is easy and fast in Maputo and other major centres; upmarket hotels offer wifi. Mobile coverage is expanding to all main cities in most provinces.

Duty Free: Travellers to Mozambique may enter the country with the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, perfume for personal use, and 750ml of spirits or three standard bottles of wine. Drugs are strictly prohibited and a permit is required for firearms and ammunition.