Maputo Travel Information
Local time is GMT +2.
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.
Portuguese is the official language, and there are 13 main national languages spoken. English is taught in secondary schools, but is only spoken in the southern tourist regions.
Health regulations in Mozambique require visitors to have a yellow fever certificate if travelling from infected areas. Malaria is a risk throughout the year across the country, and prophylactics are recommended, as well as precautions against mosquitoes. 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 unsafe to drink. Cholera and other water-borne diseases are prevalent during the rainy season. The government has declared tuberculosis (TB) a national emergency and it is expected 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 it is recommended that visitors 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 has become standard practice in Mozambique, particularly in tourist areas where a tip of about 10 percent is expected in restaurants.
Safety is not an issue for most visitors to Mozambique, but tourists should remain vigilant at all times. Violent crime is on the increase, particularly 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, and there have been several rapes and attacks on tourists.
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, and car-jackings are on the increase as well. 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.
Identity documents should be carried at all times. Taking photographs of public buildings is prohibited by law. Drug offences are taken very seriously, and can receive long jail terms and heavy fines.
Mozambique has largely been cut off from foreign investment, and has only in recent years started opening up to the worldwide business community. Conducting business in Mozambique can be difficult, as many people only speak Portuguese or their own ethnic language. Translators may be hard to come by, and most are found in Maputo.
Generally, business in Mozambique follows the Portuguese model in terms of business etiquette; punctuality is important, and dress is usually conservative (though lightweight materials are 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 will be interpreted as romantic interest.
Business hours are usually 7.30am or 8am to 12.30pm, and 2pm to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
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). City/area codes are also in use. Outgoing international calls, other than for South Africa, must go through the operator. Mobile phone GSM 900/1800 networks provide limited coverage in and around Maputo, Beira, some coastal locations and a few other isolated towns. Internet cafes are available in Maputo and other major tourist hubs.
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.
Become our Maputo Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Maputo travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Maputo or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.