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Portuguese is the official language in Mozambique.

Local newspapers are published in Portuguese and a limited national radio network broadcasts in Portuguese and in local languages. DSTV satellite television with more than 50 regional and international channels is available privately and in many hotels.

The unit of currency in Mozambique is the Meticais. Bank notes are in very high denominations. At present new Metacais notes are being issued – these are 1 000 times the value of the old notes. In other words, 1 000 new Metacais are worth 1 000 000 old Metacais. The notes are very different but be careful.

Banking hours in most centres are 08h15 to l Mondays to Fridays. Banks are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

The United States Dollar and the South African Rand are the most acceptable foreign currency to carry and can be exchanged in commercial banks in large towns and cities.

Changing currency at a hotel will usually involve the charging of a higher commission than at a bank. When converting foreign currency you will be required to show your passport.

Do not exchange money with the locals at the border – you will be cheated. Exchange at the Bureau de Change at Komatipoort (opens at 07:00) or at a bank in Inhambane.

Most hotels, shops and restaurants in cities and towns and most resorts accept valid, international credit cards. MasterCard and Visa are accepted for payment. However, carry some cash with you in case.

The hot rainy season is from November through to end March. The winters are mild which many guests prefer (May through to July) because of the lower incidence of malaria. The average max temperature in centigrade in summer (Oct - Mar) is 30º and in winter (May — Aug) 20º.

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Holders of passports from outside SADC countries will require a visa. Two passport photographs are required when entering Mozambique for the first time. Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your departure from the country. A visa can be obtained from Mozambique consulates around the world and in South Africa. Allow 7 days for processing.

Visas can be obtained at certain border posts – this will be at a higher cost.

All air arrivals must be in possession of a valid return ticket; failing which the equivalent cost of the airfare must be deposited with customs.

Visitors must be able to prove that they have sufficient funds to cover their stay in the country.

If you enter Mozambique in your own vehicle you must have the vehicle registration papers and the papers of any trailer or caravan you are towing. If you are driving a vehicle or towing a trailer that is not yours you must obtain a letter of authorisation from the registered owner. This also applies to hire cars. If your vehicle is still under an instalment sale agreement (hire purchase or lease) it is a good idea to obtain a letter of acknowledgment of your trip from the finance company. You should also check that your vehicle insurance policy covers you for Mozambique.

Remember to carry the vehicle registration papers and your valid driving licence at all times, otherwise your vehicle could be impounded. It is advisable to carry insurance papers, letters of authorisation and your passport and ID Book, just in case.

It is recommended that you make copies of all documents and take these with you. Keep these in a separate place from the originals.
You will need to purchase 3rd party insurance (see ‘At the Border’ below) either before your journey or at the border. You should carry this in the vehicle at all times.

If you are towing you must attach a triangle at the front of the vehicle and on the back of the trailer or caravan. Buy special Mozambique triangles before your departure. Stickers may also be used.

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Diving is on the left and most cars are right hand drive. Most roads are in reasonable condition but outside of the main towns or away from the main roads conditions may deteriorate. To get to many of the resorts you will need a 4x4 vehicle or must arrange to be collected from a central point.

If you intend travelling on soft sand make sure you deflate tyre pressures to around 1 bar and have a tyre pump/compressor and pressure gauge with you.

The speed limit is 120km/h on national roads and 60km/h in built up areas. If you are in a built up area and you do not see speed restriction signs it is advisable to slow to 60km/h until you are out of town. Speed restriction signs, when erected, are prominent. Some end of restriction signs are three diagonal lines on a white background.
Note. Many South African and foreign travellers have been harassed and extorted by Mozambican traffic officials. If stopped do not be aggressive or hand over any official documentation i.e. passports, ID documents, drivers licence etc. Show them but at all times retain possession of them.

It is advisable to not drive at night or, if you do so, to be on the lookout for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles with no lights. Look out for cattle, horses and other animals. Many local drivers will signal right when approaching another car at night. This can be disconcerting but in fact means that they are showing you the part of their vehicle which is closest to you.

Where there are potholes in the roads try to avoid the worst ones but be careful of other traffic.

Road Travel and Public Transport
The road network is poorly developed. Access to Maputo from the South African border, north up the coast as far as Vilankulo and from Beira to the Zimbabwe border is possible with a normal two wheel drive vehicle as these roads have been rehabilitated, although some damage to these roads have been caused by the flooding of 2001. It is advisable to use a 4X4 vehicle in all other areas of the country. It is recommended that visitors make use of established tour operators operating in Mozambique due to the poorly developed national and tourist infrastructure.

Public transport is practically non-existent although various buses run up the coast. These services are improving all the time. Taxi services are available in the larger cities which can be booked by hotel staff or at airports. Trains and luxury inter-city coaches run between Maputo and Johannesburg in South Africa.

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At the South African side:
  - Complete a temporary export document, have it stamped and then      proceed to immigration with your papers.
At the Mozambican side:
  - Purchase 3rd Party Insurance at the insurance table or at one of the      booths outside
  - Proceed to the customs desk, present your temporary expory permit and      pay
  - You may import the following goods: per person – groceries to the value      of $ 200.00, 5 litres of wine, 1 litre of spirits
  - Do not exchange money with the locals at the border – you will be      cheated. Exchange at the Bureau de Change at Komatipoort (opens at      07:00) or at a bank in Inhambane.

Boat launch license and fishing permits are available in Inhambane. Spear fishing of bottom fish is punishable with fines of up to 10 000 000 Meticais (R3 000).

Meat (vacuum packed) and dairy products; Insect repellent. PLEASE SUPPORT THE ECONOMY BY PURCHASING BASIC FOODSTUFFS LOCALLY.

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Banking hours in most centres are O8hl5 to 12h00 and are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Shops and businesses close for siesta between 12h00 and 14h00 and are closed on Sundays.

Most businesses and shops are open between 14h00 and 18h00 on Mondays and 08h30 and 13h00 and 15h00 and 18h30 on other weekdays and Saturday. Shops and businesses are closed on Sundays. Curios can be purchased from street traders and at flea-markets in a more informal shopping environment.

Visitors are responsible for their own medical needs and it is advisable to carry comprehensive medical insurance including emergency medical evacuation cover.

Hospital services are generally poor and often non-existent in rural or more remote regions of the country. Chemists/pharmacies, private doctors and other medical practitioners are available in large towns and cities. Hospitals are listed under “H” and private doctors and medical practitioners under “medical practitioners” in telephone directories.

Malaria is endemic to the entire country. Suitable precautions and the use of Prophylactics are recommended for visitors to these areas. There are a number of excellent mosquito repellents available, which are applied directly to the skin or clothes in the evening. Most luxury hotels and lodges have mosquito nets over the beds in their rooms.

HIV/Aids is widespread in Mozambique and it is recommended that visitors do not engage in any high-risk sexual or drug-related activities; which may cause exposure to the disease. Condoms are available in the larger towns and cities however a thorough inspection before use may be prudent and it is possibly advisable to bring your own.

Tap water should be considered unsafe to drink. Bottled mineral water is widely available.

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A modern and efficient telephone service is available in towns and cities across the country.

Direct national and international dialling is possible.

Mozambican food reflects the agricultural products of the country. Superb seafood products feature prominently. Maputo boasts a wide variety of restaurants featuring most of the prominent cuisine varieties of the world.
Cashew nuts are plentiful in season and are superb but beware of weights when buying at the roadside. Naartjies (tangerines) are also very tasty and cheap. You can also buy prawns, crayfish, crabs, calamari and linefish from the fishermen, traders or at the market. The sellers will often clean and prepare the fish.

Coconuts and coconut water are also available. Local vegetables and fruits are available at the markets.

Beers and spirits are readily available with most international brands represented. There are several really good local beers. Wines are generally imported from South Africa and elsewhere.

Tap water should be considered unsafe to drink. Bottled mineral water is widely available. Locally brewed beer is of good quality. South African wines of superb quality are available in most restaurants in Maputo and at reasonable prices.

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Tipping for service is standard practice in Mozambique and is usually 10% in restaurants and about US$1 per item for hotel porters; cleaners and maids in hotels and Lodges usually get between US$1 and US$2 per day.

During your trip it is likely that you will come into contact with tour guides. Tipping in this instance ranges between US$4 and US$5 per person per day. Tipping is only recommended if you are satisfied with the service you have received and is entirely at your own discretion.

The Mozambique power grid uses 220/240 volts AC 50 Hertz, Wall sockets (round and square 3 pin) are rated to carry a maximum of 15 amps. It is important to carry a 3 pin round and square adapter, as this is unobtainable in Moçambique.

Direct flights from Johannesburg and Harare and a service from Lisbon, Portugal are the only effective links to the outside world. The internal airline links Maputo with Beira, Nampula, Pemba and Lichinga.

Direct flights from Europe, North and South America, Australia, the Far East and the Middle East provide easy access to Mozambique via Johannesburg in South Africa. Visitors can also make use of private air charter networks, which connect all areas in Mozambique and the southern African region.

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Although Mozambique has a relatively low level of crime with most offences involving petty thieving, the poor economy in the country is resulting in an escalation of more serious crime and it is important that the visitor is aware of the following:
  - Certain inner city areas are unsafe and should be avoided, especially      after dark. This applies in particular to Maputo and Beira.
  - Avoid lonely and deserted areas in the city, especially after dark.
  - Passports and money should be safely locked away in your hotel.
  - Carry your wallet and other documents you may require in a body belt,      preferably under loose clothing.
  - Be aware of what others around you are doing, both when walking and      driving.
  - If you are unsure about anything ask your tour guide, hotel staff or a      local person with whom you are acquainted.
  - Do not leave valuables in your motor vehicle, which are visible from the      outside.
  - Avoid picking up hitchhikers and ensure your car doors are locked.
  - Do not hand your car keys over to anyone.
  - The Mozambican Police are available at any time to assist in the event of      any difficulties, however you may experience communication difficulties      if you are not conversant in Portuguese.

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