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IS IT SAFE TO VISIT MOZAMBIQUE?

Mozambique is a popular tourist destination in Africa due to its stretch of magnificent tropical beaches.  Most travellers do not experience any problems while visiting the resorts in the country on their holiday in Mozambique.

There are incidents of petty crime like purse snatching, pickpocketing and muggings in the cities. Pedestrians are common targets, even during daylight hours. Thieves also target vehicles parked outside shopping centres, resorts and transportation hubs.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, armed carjacking and home burglaries do occur.  Kidnappings have happened in the past and most happened in the larger cities. Kidnappings have happened in Maputo and Matola. The majority of these cases have happened to local wealthy residents of the country.

There is a threat of terrorism, especially in the Cabo Delgado province which is further north of the country and far away from tourist resorts and areas. Demonstrations can sometimes occur. Although there have been no protests in the country for the past few years.

WEATHER

In March and April 2019, Tropical Cyclones Idai and Kenneth made landfall in parts of Mozambique causing severe damage, mainly in the provinces of Sofala, Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa.

Excessive rainfall and violent winds caused, massive flooding, landslides, infrastructural damage, and disruptions to essential services and sadly loss of lives.

Some of the infrastructures in those areas affected by the cyclone have not been fully restored. Roads can be impassable. Recent heavy rains resulted again in the flooding around the city of Beira.

The rainy and cyclone season extends from November until March. Seasonal flooding can hinder overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads and bridges can be damaged during these times.  Watch the local news and weather reports before planning a trip and follow the instructions of local authorities.

NO-GO AREAS FOR MOZAMBIQUE

Avoid all travel to the districts of Ancuabe, Ibo, Macomia, Meluco, Mocímboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Nagande, Palma and Quissanga (Cabo Delgado province).

Also avoid all travel to the districts of Ancuabe, Ibo, Macomia, Meluco, Mocímboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Nagande, Palma and Quissanga due to clashes between terrorist groups and security forces.

SAFETY TIPS TO REMEMBER IN MOZAMBIQUE

SAFE TRANSPORT OPTIONS IN MOZAMBIQUE

Public transportation is very limited. Domestic rail service is overcrowded and slow and not advised.

Make sure you arrange with a reputable tour operator for your transportation before your journey.

If you plan to rent a car, it is preferable to rent a four-wheel drive.

You must carry your international driving permit with you at all times.

You must have third-party insurance, which you can obtain at any port of entry.

Driving under the influence can land you immediately in jail.

Traffic drives on the left.

In the major cities, the road conditions are generally good. You do need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to travel outside cities and off major highways due to poor road conditions, especially during the rainy season.

Traffic accidents are frequent as most drivers do not obey the rules of the road. Poor road conditions, potholes, pedestrians and animals on the roads also pose a risk.

Make sure you travel in convoys. Carjacking can happen so it is best to avoid criminal situations.

Checkpoints are common and you should obey police when asked to stop. Only officers from Mozambique’s national police (Policia da República de Moçambique) and, particularly near border crossings, its customs authority (Autoridade Tributária de Moçambique) have the authority to establish checkpoints.

If you spot a checkpoint, make sure there are four officers and a clearly visible vehicle. Police can sometimes solicit bribes at checkpoints.

Travel on official roads and only during daylight hours.

TAKING PHOTOS IN MOZAMBIQUE

Do not take pictures of government facilities without permission. Ask permission before taking photos of people.

LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

The official language is Portuguese, but many speak English.

Greetings are drawn-out and involve questioning about the health of each other’s family. People generally stand close together and are physically affectionate.

To avoid offending local sensitivities: Behave discreetly. Respect local religious and social traditions.

Police normally ask visitors to produce identification and travel documents.

There are some areas in Maputo where you are not allowed to walk, such as roads surrounding presidential palaces and military installations.

LGBT RIGHTS IN MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique is a very tolerant society. Consensual same-sex relations are not criminalised and there is increasing space in public conversation regarding issues. There is however some societal stigmatisation.

DRUGS

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Do not offer to carry a package from an unknown of suspicious source in your luggage as you risk being used as a drug mule.

CUSTOMS

The following goods may be imported into Mozambique without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, 750ml of spirits and a reasonable quantity of perfume (opened).

LOST PASSPORT

Always keep a copy of your passport with you at all times.  If you do lose your passport, report it to your nearest police station and get a copy of the police report. Also report it to your nearest embassy to obtain another passport.

MEDICAL FACILITIES IN MOZAMBIQUE

There are few private medical facilities in the main cities but supplies of medicine are limited. Only basic medical care is locally available. Physicians and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for medical care.

Any serious illness or injury requires medical evacuation to South Africa. Make sure you get travel insurance that covers medical evacuation and hospital stays.

IMMUNISATIONS

The World Health Organisation recommends the following vaccinations for Mozambique: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

MALARIA

Malaria is the leading cause of death in Mozambique. It is a life-threatening disease. It is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite. When this mosquito bites you, the parasite is released into your bloodstream.

Symptoms can be flu-like or cause shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe. Also, a high fever, profuse sweating, headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, muscle pain and bloody stools.

Ensure that you take anti-malaria medication before and for the duration of your trip. Make sure you have enough medication for your whole journey. Take lots of insect repellent with you. Most resorts supply mosquito nets over your beds. Spray the netting with the repellent.

YELLOW FEVER

Travellers need to have a yellow fever vaccination before arriving in Mozambique. Yellow fever is spread by infected mosquitoes. Symptoms are similar to malaria, ranging from flu-like chills and fever to server hepatitis and jaundice. If left untreated or not diagnosed early, the disease is life-threatening.

FOOD AND WATER IN MOZAMBIQUE

Do not drink the tap water and ice. Drink bottled water and beverages. Thoroughly cooked hot foods can be eaten as it will mean most infections can be avoided. Raw fruits can be eaten only if they have an unbroken skin and are peeled. Raw vegetables and salads should be avoided due to contamination.

If food has been left out of a refrigerator for longer than an hour especially eggs, chicken and dairy do not consume them.

CHOLERA

Cholera which is a severe form of diarrhoea, and it can be fatal. Get to your nearest hospital or clinic if you have symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, chills and fever.  It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholera.

HEAT EXHAUSTION OR HEATSTROKE

Heat exhaustion is a common problem, especially among tourists that have come from cooler climates. Symptoms include a bad headache, dizziness, vomiting and extreme tiredness. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of bottled water or beverages. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply sunscreen lotion to prevent yourself from getting sunburn.

Chronic dehydration makes you feel weak, tired, and lightheaded and increases your risk of developing kidney stones. Move into a cool area or room and elevate your feet and legs. Drink lots of fluids until your body temperature drops. Seek medical treatment if the symptoms persist

HIV/AIDS

HIV and Aids is still a prevalent problem in the country and throughout the African continent. The disease is spread through sexual contact or shared blood or contaminated medical equipment. Avoid the risk by avoiding new sexual encounters while on holiday.  If you cannot abstain, condoms can provide some protection.

IS MOZAMBIQUE SAFE FOR WOMEN?

Mozambique is relatively safe for female tourists if they follow necessary precautions. Female tourists should not walk alone at night or in secluded places during the day. Do not frequent bars and clubs alone and do not accept drinks from strangers.

NOTE ON CORONAVIRUS

Since the beginning of 2020 visitors to any country should be aware of and help to avoid the spreading of the coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

WHAT CAN A VISITOR DO TO PROTECT HIM OR HERSELF FROM THE VIRUS?

Wash your hands with soap and water or sanitiser as often as possible, since it can eliminate the virus if it is on your hands.

Cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or a tissue when coughing and sneezing, and discard tissues into a closed bin immediately, then clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Sneezing or coughing into your hands may contaminate objects or people that you touch.

Maintain a fair distance between yourself and other people, since coughs or sneezes from infected people may project droplets containing the virus.

If you experience some fever, cough and difficulty of breathing, immediately seek medical care.

Always practice general hygiene measures, but especially when visiting live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets. Wash your hands with soap and potable water after touching animals and animal products, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands and avoid contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products.

Strictly avoid any contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities and avoid consumption of any raw or undercooked animal products. You should even handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

ENJOY A SAFE HOLIDAY IN MOZAMBIQUE WITH A REPUTABLE TOUR OPERATOR

MoAfrika Tours is a leading tour operator in South Africa that offers an outstanding selection of tours to Mozambique We have a close association with the most reputable tour operators in Mozambique who make safety a priority.