Travel tips

ABOUT MAPUTO

Maputo is generally quite safe, but being a big city, take precautions such as not displaying expensive jewelery and other valuable items, and pay someone to watch your car if you park it (50 Meticais is acceptable).

BORDER POST FORMALITIES

You must report to the immigration office with your passports and vehicle registration papers in hand.

On the South African side (Gauteng:-Komatiepoort / KZN:-Golela): A Custom's Official will give you a gate pass and this is to be taken to the immigration office. Fill in your vehicle / goods export form and then get your passport stamped. Hand in gate pass when driving out of South Africa.

Mozambique side (Gauteng:- Ressano Garcia / KZN:- Lavumisa or Goba): As you go through the gate you will be handed another gate pass which is needed for Immigration, Customs - road permit and Customs Inspector. Get your passport stamped - Take out the compulsory 3rd party insurance (R 150.00 per vehicle and R100 a trailer); buy the compulsory temporary import permit for all vehicles - including boat trailers. Proceed out of the office to a customs inspector who will then inspect your vehicle and contents. After signing the gate pass and if you have nothing to declare, on exiting the gate you hand the gate pass in.

There is a bank at the border should you not have meticais (visa card accepted) or else there are always people selling meticais at the Border on the SA side - we 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.

THE TYPE OF CLIMATE

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. The winter months are ideal, with mild temperatures and it is generally dry.

CLOTHING

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.

DOCUMENTS & FORMALITIES

Valid driver's license & Identity Books.
Passports & Visas.
Original Vehicle Registration documents as well as South African vehicle clearance form from SA Border.
2 Red Road Emergency Triangles per vehicle.
1 Blue & yellow Triangle fitted to front of vehicle.
Registration papers for trailers.
Vehicle third party purchased at the border post.
Remember to make copies of all vital documents and put in separate place so if documentation is lost, you have a second set

SOME TIPS TO GUIDE YOU ON MOZAMBIQUE IN GENERAL

Once in Mozambique normal border restrictions do apply. The border officials were fairly relaxed in the past, but are they now clamping down more and more on people who take everything with them from South Africa. You do not need to do this, as you can get most of the supplies you need there. All towns have basic supplies and the bigger towns such as Maputo and Inhambane have just about everything you need. Red meat and dairy related products are obtainable, but they are more expensive than in South Africa. You can take some of these items with you, but try not to take too much.

Alcohol is subject to normal border restrictions and they allow 1 bottle of hard tack or 2 bottles of wine per person. Cigarettes are also limited so perhaps try the local brands, which are not bad at all.  You can get most of the South African brands at the market in Inhambane.

Mozambique is one of the world's best, tropical beach and holiday destinations, with miles of unspoiled coastline and untouched natural areas to see. The people are open and friendly, but as Mozambique is a third world African country, time is generally on a different wavelength to what most people are accustomed to. 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 not appreciate it. There have been complaints about the corruption and bribery in Mozambique, we can not say that it does not occur, but if you treat all people with respect and politeness, you should not have a problem.

LAW IN MOZAMBIQUE

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 at all times!
*  Keep to the speed limit as they are very particular about this- usually 40 / 50 kph in towns and 120 kph on the open road. A standard speeding fine is approx. R 500.00.  This you can pay in SA rands or in meticias.
*  Display your emergency triangles in a visible place.
*  Red or blue and yellow 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). Try to avoid giving the original documents to the officials. Instead, offer them a copy of the required document and smile.
*  Some useful words to remember are Bon Dia (Good morning); Boa Tarde (Good afternoon); Boa Noite (Good evening / night); Faz Favor (Please); Obrigado (Thank you). Don't be nervous - there is nothing to be afraid of, unless you have broken the law.
* No firearms are permitted to be brought into Mozambique

MALARIA PRECAUTIONS

Malaria is a real threat in Mozambique. The are a number of different types of anti-malaria tablets available. Choosing one depends both upon the particular area being visited, and your own medical history. Within South Africa's borders, I would recommend either Mefloquine (Mefliam) or Doxycycline (Doxitab) as being the most effective anti-malaria tablets. Both these require a prescription.

The adult dosage of Mefliam is one tablet per week. This should be commenced at least one week before entering the malaria area and continued for four weeks after leaving the malaria area. Mefliam is best taken at night after a meal, and with liquids. Children, from 5kg, can also take Mefliam (consult your doctor for dosage).


Doxycycline is taken in an adult dosage of 100mg per day, starting a day or two before entering a malaria area. Like Mefliam it should be taken for four weeks after return. The drug should be taken after a meal, and washed down with plenty of liquid. It should be avoided in pregnancy and children under the age of 12 years.


No method of malaria prevention is one hundred percent effective, and there is still a small chance of contracting malaria despite the taking of anti-malaria medication and the adoption of personal protection methods. This does not mean that anti-malaria medication and personal protection measures should be neglected, but simply that any traveller developing possible symptoms of malaria should seek medical advice despite having taken the prescribed precautions.

One last thing, most medical aids will only cover one prescription of malaria prevention medication per family per year.

Repellents - citronella, Tabard, Mosquito coils etc - This is a far better way to prevent malaria. Safer, no side effects, cheaper, not harmful to your body. etc

MONEY

The currency is the Metical (pl. Meticais, pronounced meticash). Exchange rate is about R 1.00 = Mt 33 to 38

Take Rands or US Dollars CASH - Credit cards are accepted at some places in Mozambique. 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 not get the best exchange rate.

Exchange money at banks (closed for siesta between 12H00 - 14H00), local shops, even the markets - ask around. We usually change money with the locals just before entering the border. This is sometimes the easiest way. They usually stand around at the last filling station before entering the border - Komatiepoort Oasis.

OTHER ITEMS TO REMEMBER

  • Mosquito repellent (Tabard, Peaceful Sleep, citronella etc.)

  • Mosquito coils to burn in your chalet

  • 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

  • Tyre pump and pressure gauge, tool kit and basic spares (fan belt, etc.) tow rope / strap. If you are bringing a boat it is best to bring spares, oil, etc. as well. (if self-drive)

  • Camera

  • 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 like lavender oil and pure alcohol to disinfect wounds or scratches

THE SMALL COMFORTS - BRING ALONG PLEASE!

Guests are advised to bring the following items:

  • Drinking water - Water can be purchased in Mozambique and we advise you not to drink the tap water. Consult the management of the lodge for further information.
  • Toilet Paper
  • Garbage Bags
  • Cleaning Equipment and materials
  • Torch/Lantern

PAST THE BORDER

The Maputo corridor is now complete, making it a good highway all the way from Gauteng and KZN.  There is a total of toll fees of R 83.50 (Gauteng) in South Africa and Mt 78.50 (about R 24.50 for Gauteng visitor) and MT 17.50 (about R6.00 for KZN visitors) 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 been re-tarred and drive like a dream.

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 more or less the same as in South Africa. It gets more expensive the further north you go. It's advisable to fill up at the garage just before the border. There are filling stations in Maputo, Macia, Xai-Xai, Quissico,and Inhambane. 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!!

REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER MOZAMBIQUE

  • A passport only for SA passport holders.  a Visa is required for foreign passport holders.

  • Original vehicle registration papers if driving yourself. (make a copy to take with just in case or letter from the bank)

  • Driver's license, Southern African citizens do not need an International driver's license (make a copy to take with just in case)

  • Emergency triangles x 2

BORDER POST TIMES:

  • Komatipoort (Ressano Garcia) - open every day of the year between 06h00 - 24h00. 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 22h00.

  • Oshoek/Ngwenya (South Africa / Swaziland) - opens at 07h00, closes at 20h00.

  • Kosi Bay/Ponta d' Ouro (Faranzela ) - opens at 08h00, closes at 17h00.

VEHICLE AND BOAT AND JET-SKI REGULATIONS AND TIPS

  • Boats/Jet-Ski are permitted to launch from designated areas, however a launch permit is require and obtainable from the maritime office in town, or most popular lodges.

  • Fishing permits are also required

  • No vehicles are permitted on the beach unless you are launching your boat

  • Don't drive in areas where there are no demarcated roads - there are still land mines in Mozambique.

WHAT CAN I BUY IN MOZAMBIQUE?

Almost anything you might need . There is a lovely fresh market in Inhambane, which sells a selection of fresh fruits & salads, veggies and fish. Traditional Fresh Portuguese bread - baked daily Pasta, Rice, spices, butter, sunflower oil etc. can be obtained from the Chinese Shop in town.  Spirits of all sorts & sodas and ice.  All sorts of beer (South African & Mozambican) at Inhambane Bottlestore or Handling.  Craft Market: Great grass mats to use on the beach, hats, salad bowls etc. etc. can be bought at local market in Inhambane.

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