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Mozambique

Mozambique Safari informationMozambique is situated on the east coast of southern Africa and covers an area of some 800,000 square kms and some 2000 kms north to south. Its long coastline of 2,500 kms is washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, forming lagoons, coral reefs and islands. The country is bordered by (clockwise from the south), South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. A low plateau rises from the coastal plains, which in the north and west forms mountains with heights above 1000 meters. Most of the countrys 25 major rivers flow eastwards to the Indian Ocean. The population of around 18 million is comprised of 16 main ethnic groups and growing at an annual rate of 3%. The largest group is the Makua-Lomwe, while others include the Shona and the Tsonga. Some 22 percent live in the urban areas. Mozambiques 10 provinces reflect its colorful and dramatic past, each province with its own inheritance of events. The provinces are Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia and those most popular with tourists are along the coast. The four main islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago are Margaruque, Benguerra, St. Carolina and the largest, Bazaruto. These islands have been declared a national park and their coral reefs offer some of the best snorkeling, scuba diving and game fishing in the country.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

All visitors require valid passports and return air tickets. All nationalities require a visa for Mozambique. Visas for US citizens can be acquired at the International Airport on arrival at a cost of US $30. Visas can also be obtained in advance from the diplomatic representatives of Mozambique in the following cities: Addis Ababa, Bonn, Brussels, Cape Town, Dar-es-Salaam, Durban, Geneva, Harare, Johannesburg, Lisbon, London, Mbabane, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, New York, Washington DC. Note: Please check with your nearest Mozambique Consulate for up to date information for other than US citizens. Visitors require a yellow fever certificate if traveling from infected areas.

DEPARTURE TAX

For those passengers flying out of Mozambique, there is a US$20 international departure tax that must be paid direct. There is also a $8 domestic departure tax that must be paid direct on departure and a $2.50 border tax. Please ensure you have the exact amount of US Dollars in cash before you leave your home country. Large denomination bills such as US$50 or US$100 bills are not accepted.

CURRENCY

The local currency unit is the Meticais (pronounced meticash and abbreviated MT), which is divided into 100 centavos. Most commonly used notes include 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000. Because of the exchange rate, you’ll always be carrying large bundles around. Notes for 50,000 and 10,000 are available but difficult to use for less expensive items as nobody ever has change. Inflation is high and the exchange rate is not stable. The most readily accepted currencies are US dollars and South African rands. As most tourist establishments will accept payment in US dollars, we suggest you limit the foreign currency you acquire. Bank charges and commissions are high (especially for travelers’ checks, for which they also need to see your receipt - yes, the slip you’re supposed to keep separate), so in reality the rate works out about 10% less than shown. Banks are also very slow. There are some private change bureaux in Maputo and other larger towns where you can get about 5% higher than the bank rate - without commission for cash and with quicker service. Many supermarkets and shops selling imported goods will also change cash dollars or rands into Meticais. The rate is about 5% to 10% higher than the bank and very quick. However, changing money on the street is not safe anywhere. Credit cards are not advisable, as they are not readily acceptable, except at the tourist resorts. Banks are open Monday to Friday 8:00am-11:00am. Visitors can import and export their foreign currency without restriction provided it is declared upon arrival.

CLIMATE

Mozambique has a tropical climate, with hot humid weather during the rainy season from October to March, when temperatures average 77°F – 84°F but can reach as high as 100°F on the coast but cooler inland. During the dry season, which runs from April to September, the climate is pleasant, although the nights can get quite cold.

WATER

Tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water should be purchased if possible. Failing this, water should be boiled or purified prior to drinking.

ELECTRICITY

The electric supply is 220V AC, 50Hz. Adapters will be necessary where electricity is available.

COMMUNICATIONS

You can make direct dial domestic and international telephone calls from Maputo and some of the major islands. The international dialing code is 258. Be aware that hotels are likely to impose a substantial surcharge to make calls from your room. Cell phone service may be available from some tourist locations but you will likely need a South Africa service provider. Generally services in Maputo, Vilancoulos and at the island tourist resorts are reliable, but this may not be the case in rural areas.

TIME ZONE

Greenwich Mean Time +2 hours throughout the year.

LANGUAGE

The common tongue and official language is Portuguese. However, each of the major ethnic groups has their own vernacular language. As teenagers and young adults had their education interrupted by the war, Portuguese tends to be spoken by older people and the very young. English is not widely spoken outside the tourist areas of the south, so some basic Portuguese is helpful.

EMBASSIES

USA UK
193 Avenida Kenneth Kaunda
Maputo
Telephone: 258 1 49 2797
310 Avenida Vladmir Lenin
Maputo
Telephone: 258 1 49 2151

WHAT TO BUY

Traditional basketwork, printed cloth (particularly sarongs), leatherwear, pottery and excellent woodcarvings are available in urban markets and at roadside stalls.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

1 January
New Year’s Day
3 February Heroes’ Day
7 April Women’s Day
1 May Worker’s Day
25 June Independence Day
7 September Victory Day
25 September Armed Forces’ Day
25 December National Family Day (Christmas)