As beautiful as Mozambique is, it can be scary to even think about visiting due to the lack of information and potential dangers. Therefore, we figured we should write a Mozambique travel review based on our experience, as it could help current and future travelers.
Situated on the Southeastern coast of Africa, Mozambique is a country rich in culture, resources and landscapes. It is known for some of the best beaches on the continent.
Unfortunately, the recent events (internal conflicts and terrorism) have made Mozambique seem quite unsafe for travelers. However, with thorough research and a good plan, you can still enjoy the gems Mozambique has to offer.
The most popular destination in Mozambique is the Bazaruto National Park, where you'll find fantastic beaches and great opportunities for exploring the marine life. Other popular destinations include Gorongosa National Park, the Island of Mozambique, Tofo and Maputo.
In terms of cuisine, the most popular dish is Peri-Peri chicken served with fries and salad. Peri-peri is a marinade or sauce made of hot chilli peppers and spices.
Population: approximately 30 Million
Friendliness level: 1/5
Our Route in Mozambique
Entry Point: Goba (Eswatini). We spent 3.5 hours at the border because the visa machine was broken, otherwise it was empty. Although the 72-hour PCR test is required, they saw it and told us they don't care about it. However, we wouldn't take this as a rule of thumb.
Exit Point: Zobue (Malawi). The exit was straightforward and lasted about 15 minutes, more issues were on the Malawian side, but that's for another story.
In order to enter Mozambique, you will need a valid passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the day of travel. You may also need a visa, which you can obtain at the border (50 USD). Next, you will need a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for the car that you can buy at the border (approximately 5 USD), and pay the road tax (for us at Gobo was 3USD).
Currently, there are also COVID-19 requirements in place, namely you will need a PCR test no older than 72 hours. There is also a curfew in place from 00:00 until 05:00.
Things to know if you have a car
There are some things you must have if you plan to cross the border by car:
Two warning triangles.
ZA (or country of registration) sticker.
Two towing stickers (yellow triangle on blue background).
Third-party insurance, which is better to buy online.
Fire extinguisher - this is not mandatory, but it is the latest police trick to make some money.
You will also need all the car papers, including Drivers' License in original. We have a Carnet de Passage en Douane for the car, which they stamped. However, they still asked us to buy the TIP.
Things to know about the Police
Somepolicemen are corrupt, so you must make sure that you know all road regulations. Most important are listed below.
1. Never go above the speed limits
There are plenty of policemen with speed traps on the road, and they will fine you even for going 5 km above the limit. Speed limit fines are as follows:
Speed limits (Art 33): Speed cameras must show speed travelled and date of the offense
Exceeding max limit up to 20 km/h - 1000MTN
Exceeding max limit up to 40 km/h - 2000MTN
Exceeding max limit up to 60 km/h - 4000MTN
Exceeding max limit more than 60 km/h - 8000MTN
Exceeding max limit more than double - Prison sentence of between 3 days and 3 months, plus a fine of 8000MTN
2. Make sure you know police uniforms
This will help you understand who can stop you and what they should require from you. Only policemen in dark blue trousers and white shirts can fine you for traffic violations. You should always make sure you ask for a receipt. Never try to initiate or encourage bribes.
Protection police wearing light blue shirt and blue trousers should not fine you for traffic issues. They are entitled to take you to the police station if you are carrying illegal goods.
Policemen wearing green trousers and white shirts with red armband are only entitled to stop taxis.
Finally, military police can only stop you at border posts and roadblocks to search your vehicle.
Things to learn from our on-the-road experiences in Mozambique
On the way to Xai Xai, we were stopped by the police, and they tried to scam us saying we had 78 km/h. However, we had a dash cam on our android phone, so we proved them wrong, and they let us go.
Make sure you read about the Bahane area (after Xai Xai), and pay extra attention as there are plenty speed traps. Don't go over 60 km/h in that area (we went with 40 km/h).
Only from Tofo to Vilankulos we counted 11 police speed traps. The 8th one fined us for having 65 km/h in town. The fine was 1000MTN, and we got a receipt.
Roads are fine until the Save River, but it is very important to keep to the speed limits.
120 km after the Save River the roads is BAD, very BAD. If you go to Chimoio, go through Dombe - even if it's a dirt road, it's supposedly much better than the one through Inchope.
From the Save River up, there will be plenty of Military officers on the road. We got a tip to only stop when there is an orange cone in the middle of the road. Otherwise, we just waved and passed without stopping (it saved us a lot of time as they were plenty).
We were asked for water by the military twice, and we had prepared 3 bottles for each one, both times.
Right before Tete, we were stopped by the police. There were initially only the dark blue uniform ones, but there was eventually a white shirt one too. They asked for our papers and TIP, told us we only paid 3USD for the road, and that we had to pay another 10USD. It was strange, but there was nothing we could do. We figured we were scammed because they asked to see the fire extinguisher which we know it's not mandatory for Mozambique. Luckily, we had it, and that's when they brought up about the 10USD fee. Chris asked for a receipt, and the officer told him never to do that again as it is not respectful. However, they gave him a receipt similar to the one we paid when we entered (3USD). We still don't know if it was a scam, but we found other travelers who had to pay this fee in the same place.
Accommodation in Mozambique
Our accommodation criteria: ~50USD/night, Wi-Fi (as we work full time), pool, parking.
Where we found accommodation:DriveMoz Facebook Group, DriveMoz Stay Facebook Group, Booking.com and directly at the place. For booking directly, there are plenty of options, but unfortunately those who are not on booking or Airbnb don't respond all the time. From our experience and dozens of emails sent, probably 20% responded.
Maputo - Liv Inn Guesthouse(1 night). It is a lovely place with claustrophobic rooms, but for one night it was all we needed. They do have bigger rooms available.
Xai Xai - Blue Dolphin Resort (3 nights). Here we had a fantastic host, the food was great. The 3-bedroom house, which we had only for ourselves, was huge and neat.
Tofo - Mozambeat Motel (7 nights). At Mozambeat we foundthe best atmosphere and the friendliest Mozambican staff. We loved the vibes, the huge pool and the fact that we had breakfast included. The downside was that the Wi-Fi was not so great for working, so we had to buy a second SIM card.
Vilankulos - Casa Jules (2 nights). Here, the staff wasn't so friendly and Wi-Fi didn't work at all, which is why we had to switch places. The food was ok but pricey, and the rooms were nice and modern (no A/C though).
Vilankulos - Solemar Complexo Mamma Mia (5 nights). This was the most horrendous stay, non-English speaking staff, the worst breakfast in the 72 countries visited so far. We DO NOT RECOMMEND this place.
On the way to Chimoio - The Buffalo Camp (1 night). The camp was beautiful, spacious and clean place. The manager, Tiaan was the best, and the food was delicious. They plan to transform everything into a game reserve full of buffaloes and other animals. We would love to return and check it out!
Chimoio - Linda's Lodge (1 night). The place in Chimoio was neat and comfortable, great for one night. They had no breakfast included or a restaurant on-site.
Tete - Zambezi Riverside Accommodation (1 night). This place is superb, the staff is very nice and accommodating. The host was extremely helpful, especially with our PCR test. Loved the swimming pool and the food too.
Highlights in Mozambique
Our favorite destination was by far Vilankulos. This little town offers superb landscapes over the ocean. The best trip we took was to Bazaruto Archipelago. Here we snorkeled, stalked the huge pink crabs and discovered the amazing Panzi seashells.
The second best was Tofo, where the highlight was the squeaky sand. We had so much fun exploring the beach and the surroundings.
The final highlight for us was the Buffalo Camp, where we loved to connect with the nature in such a lovely lodge.
Other things we learned during our Mozambique travels
For SIM Cards, Vodacom is much better than Movitel, in terms of data.
Always carry mosquito repellent in all forms you can find, as there is a high risk of Malaria.
A Dash Cam is definitely helpful for the road, especially when stopped by the police. There are mobile apps that do this, you don't need a standalone one.
It's helpful to stay behind the white minivans/taxis, but only outside the cities. Why? Because in the cities they bribe the police, so that they can speed up.
People around here don't know how to drive so take extra precautions, especially for minivans/taxis, trucks and busses.
You will usually not find the end of the speed limit signs in small towns because they're supposedly stolen by the people. Therefore, you have to check in the rearview mirror in order to figure out when you can start going with 80 km/h.
The fire extinguisher does come in handy when stopped by the police, although it is not required by law.
Adding an extra hour to Google Maps route times is more accurate.
Patience. If you don't know it yet, this is the place you learn it:)
Conclusion about Mozambique Travel
As we made quite a long trip through Mozambique, we didn't encounter any major troubles. We took the advice we found, and did our best to adhere to the rules and laws. Our recommendation is that you can visit this beautiful country as long as you take the necessary precautions.
We truly hope those who took the time to read this, found the information helpful. Happy travels!