Pemba, Mozambique
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Pemba, Mozambique

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Mozambique Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

799,380 sq km (308,642 sq miles).

Population

24.1 million (2013).

Population density

30.1 per sq km.

Capital

Maputo.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

Head of state

President Armando Guebuza since 2005.

Head of government

Prime Minister Alberto Clementino Vaquina since 2012.

Electricity

220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. South African-style three-pin (round) plugs are used in the capital and most tourist areas.

Mozambique has had a rough ride over the past few decades: colonial rule was followed by many years of civil war, devastating famine and natural disasters. However, since peace was agreed in 1992, the country has been piecing itself together once again and opening its doors to tourism.

It certainly has much to offer the visitor. There are vast expanses of palm-fringed beach and lagoons with safe bathing, warm waters and good fishing. The country is rich in wildlife with several excellent parks and reserves to glimpse rare birds, big game and abundant marine life. It also claims islands that are dotted with historical monuments. There is also good hiking with little-visited mountains but advice and extreme caution should be taken due to the large amount of leftover landmines in the country.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 16 April 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Most visits to Mozambique are trouble-free, but street crime, sometimes involving knives and firearms, is common in Maputo and increasing in other cities and tourist destinations. Bag-snatching and pick-pocketing also occur.

Be vigilant at all times. Beaches or offshore islands are not policed. Avoid walking alone at night and don’t display valuables or money. Use a hotel safe if possible. Avoid withdrawing cash from ATMs at night.

There has been an increase in reports of carjacking, particularly in Maputo. Keep your car doors locked while driving. Be particularly vigilant when arriving at or leaving residential properties after dark. Avoid driving alone at night.

There have been several reported incidents of car-jackings between Boane and the Swaziland border crossing points of Namaacha and Goba. Be extra vigilant if you’re travelling by road to Swaziland.

Be extra vigilant and avoid travelling around after dark.

Don’t pick up strangers or stop to help distressed motorists or pedestrians. Hijackers sometimes use these techniques to trick motorists into stopping their vehicle. If in doubt, drive directly to a police station.

Some visitors to Mozambique report being victims of police harassment, including robbery, or requests for bribes. If a police officer threatens you or asks for a bribe, report the incident to the British High Commission so that we can lodge a complaint with the authorities

If you are a victim of any form of crime, contact the local police immediately and get a police report. If your passport is stolen you should also contact the British High Commission and inform the local immigration authorities.

Criminal kidnaps

There have been kidnappings reported in Mozambique, mainly in Maputo. While most victims have been Mozambican nationals, and no British national has been kidnapped, there has been a significant recent increase in threats, including to foreigners.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.

Local travel

All known minefields have been cleared in Mozambique’s northern provinces (Nampula, Cabo Delgado, Zambezia, Niassa). In the central and southern provinces (Sofala, Tete, Manica, Gaza, Inhambane, Maputo) mines still exist in remote areas, away from main routes. Seek advice from district authorities if you’re travelling in these areas.

Road travel

Traffic accidents are common due to the condition of the roads and poor driving and vehicle standards. Always drive carefully and be aware of pedestrians using the roads.

Overland travel on public transport can be hazardous due to poor vehicle and road conditions. If you doubt a vehicle’s condition, make alternative arrangements.

Low lying areas around major rivers flood regularly during the rainy season (November - April) making many roads impassable. Check local conditions before travelling. Make sure you have emergency supplies, including a first aid kit.

Only travel by road outside Maputo and other major cities during daylight. Where possible, keep to major roads and travel in convoy in rural areas. Fuel is often only available in larger towns.

UK driving licences are valid for up to 90 days. If you intend to stay longer you should get an International Driving Permit or apply for a Mozambican licence. It is an offence not to carry your driving licence with you when driving. Be ready to present original car documentation when requested by the police.

Third party insurance cover is compulsory. You can buy this at most land borders.
You should carry two reflective triangles and a reflective vest in your vehicle at all times. You must wear the reflective vest when repairing, loading or unloading a vehicle. Police officers sometimes attempt to extract bribes from tourists. Don’t pay a bribe to anyone. If you are stopped by the police, ask for a clear explanation of the offence and a written fine that can be paid at a police station.

Air travel

All Mozambican airlines have been refused permission to operate services to the EU. The EU ban was imposed because the Mozambican regulatory authority was unable to verify that these airlines comply with international safety standards.

You should avoid flying with Mozambican certified carriers subject to the EU operating ban. British government employees are advised to use carriers that are not subject to the operating ban.

River and Sea travel

Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and has occurred as far as 1000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia.

See our Piracy in the Indian Ocean page.

Political situation

Monitor local media for latest information and avoid all demonstrations and protests.

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