Maputo is generally quite safe, but being a big city, take precautions such as not displaying expensive jewellery and other valuable items, and pay someone to watch your car if you park it (5000 Meticais is acceptable).
BORDER POST FORMALITIES
You must report to the immigration office with your passports and vehicle registration pepers in hand.
On the South African side (Komatiepoort): 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 (Ressano Garcia): 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 - You have to pay R12.00 per person; take out the compulsory 3rd party insurance (R 120.00 per vehicle); buy the compulsory temporary import permit for all vehicles - including boat trailers (payable in meticais Mt 30 000 (approx. R15.00). 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 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 - at the moment it is about 2800 to 3300 Meticais to R1.00. To make your life easier, take off the thousands and you can work on a 2.8 / 3.3 to 1 ratio (this will quite probably have changed by the time you get to the border. For example at an exchange rate of 3000, R 500.00 should get you MT 1 500 000.
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. Due to the climate and culture, dress codes are very relaxed, with sarongs, shorts and T-shirts being quite acceptable at most places.
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).
Hat and sunglasses.
Swimming costume and towel.
Light jacket / Sweatshirt - the evenings can occasionally be slightly chilly.
DOCUMENTS & FORMALITIES
Valid driver's licence & 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.
Vehcile third party purchased at the border post
Remember to make copies of all vital documents
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.
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
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 is a real threat in Mozambique.
Prophylaxis - Larium (Mefloquin) or a Paludrine / Daramal combination is often used.
Repellants - 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
The currency is the Metical (pl. Meticais, pronounced meticash). Exchange rate is about R 1.00 = Mt 2.800 to 3.200
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 or tent
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 and film
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
Drinking water - Water can be purchased in Mozambique and we advise you not to drink the tap water outside of the lodges. Consult the management of the lodge for further information.
Bring extra fruit juice (sodas are available at all shops & markets but fruit juice is scarce)
PAST THE BORDER
The Maputo corridor is now complete, making it a good highway all the way from Gauteng. There is a total of toll fees of R 83.50 in South Africa and Mt 78 500.00 (about R 24.50) 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 slightly potholed (nothing serious, but be careful).
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 around R 6.50 / litre. 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, Inhambane, Maxixe, Massinga, Vilanculos and Inhassoro. For those going to the resorts south of Maputo - Fill up at Kosi Bay, as there is not always petrol at Ponta Do Ouro. 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!!
You can only get unleaded petrol in Maputo, Xai-Xai and Maxixe. Normal fuel is available all the way up to the north of Mozambique at all the bigger towns.
REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER MOZAMBIQUE
A passport and a visa. (make a copy to tae with just incase) You can purchase a visa at the border, but it's more expensive and time consuming than if you get it before your journey. Alternatively at a Mozambique High Commission. If you are flying in to Inhambane, visas are available on arrival at the airport.
Original vehicle registration papers if driving yourself. (make a copy to take with just incase)
Driver's license (Southern African citizens do not need an International driver's license) (make a copy to take with just incase)
BORDER POST TIMES:
Komatipoort (Ressano Garcia) - open every day of the year between 07h00 - 19h00. 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 18h00.
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 REGULATIONS AND TIPS
Boats 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.
Fuel Stops: (Note unleaded fuel does not become as readily available after Maputo)
Kamatipoot - Maputo (110km) - fuel available
Maputo - Macia (160km) - fuel available
Macia - Xai Xai (61km) - fuel available
Xai Xai - Quisico (90km) - fuel available
Quisico - Inhambane (120km) - fuel available
Inhambane - Anda Ca Lodge approx. (30km)
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 and fish (veggies are hard to find).
Traditional Fresh Portuguese bread - baked daily
Pasta, Rice, spices, butter, sunflower oil etc.
Spirits of all sorts & sodas
All sorts of beer (South African & Mozambican)
Craft Market: Great grass mats to use on the beach, hats, salad bowls etc. etc.