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Maputo Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +2.

Electricity

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

Language

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.

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 in the whole country, and prophylactics are recommended, as well as precautions against mosquitoes. Cholera and other water-borne diseases are prevalent during the rainy season. Diseases caused by unsanitary conditions are common throughout the country, and untreated water should be considered unsafe to drink. The government has declared tuberculosis (TB) a national emergency and it is expected to be a problem for the next 15 years. 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.

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

Tipping in Mozambique is not customary, although in tourist areas a tip of about 10 percent is expected.

Safety Information

Safety in Mozambique is not usually an issue for visitors. However, a few unexploded landmines still lie scattered about the southern parts of the country and visitors are advised that it is extremely risky to wander off well-travelled paths and roads: local information should be sought before going off-road outside provincial capitals. Violent crime is on the increase, including car hijackings. In the cities, particularly Maputo, muggings, bag snatching and pick-pocketing is common, and visitors are advised to be alert in public places, to keep valuables out of sight and to avoid walking anywhere at night. Identity documents should be carried at all times. All visitors, especially women, should avoid walking alone on any beach in Mozambique as there have been several severe attacks (and rapes) on tourists. 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 and foreigners are at risk of frequent harassment. There have been many reports of police attempting to solicit bribes, and travellers should insist on a written citation that can be paid at a police station. Many roads can become impassable in the rainy season (November to April), when there is also a risk of cyclones.

Local Customs

Taking photographs of public buildings is prohibited by law. Identity documents should be carried at all times.

Business

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 are 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, dress is usually conservative (though lightweight materials are recommended). Women, in particular, should dress conservatively and modest behaviour is encouraged. Meetings usually start and end with a handshake, and business cards are exchanged. Business hours are usually 7.30am or 8am to 12.30pm, and 2pm to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

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). City/area codes are also in use, e.g. (0)1 for Maputo, (0)22 Xai Xai. Outgoing international calls, other than for South Africa, must go through the operator. Two 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.

Duty Free

Travellers to Mozambique may enter the country with the following items and not incur customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 250g tobacco, perfume for personal use, and 750ml of spirits. Drugs are strictly prohibited and a permit is required for firearms and ammunition.

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