Mozambique Travel Information
In the capital city of Maputo, formerly Lourenco Marques, you are never far from the coast. Visitors to the city can enjoy the refreshing sea breeze at the many restaurants serving locally caught seafood. Mozambique offers secluded beaches, some of which are only accessible by four wheel drive vehicles. It has a wealth of marine life and its peaceful way of life creates an atmosphere of calm relaxation for the weary traveler.
Mozambique, a developing country in southern Africa, has steadily rebuilt its economy and civic institutions since ending a 16-year civil war in 1992. The country stabilized following Mozambique's first multi-party elections in October 1994. Despite high economic growth rates in recent years, Mozambique remains among the world's poorest countries. Facilities for tourism in Maputo, the capital city, are steadily improving. However, it remains limited in other areas, as most of the goods and services taken for granted in other countries are not yet available.
Safety & Security
Overland travel after dark is extremely dangerous due to poor road conditions, lack of emergency services, and the increased potential for vehicle hijacking. Visitors should be particularly vigilant when driving near the Mozambique-South Africa border. Police checkpoints are common and police officers frequently harass foreigners. Due to residual landmines, overland travelers are advised to remain on well-traveled roads or seek local information before going off-road outside of Maputo and other provincial capitals.
The biggest threat facing citizens visiting Mozambique is violent crime. Street crimes, including muggings, purse snatching, and pick-pocketing, are common, both in Maputo and secondary cities. While violent crimes against foreigners remain relatively infrequent, visitors must be vigilant when out in public areas and should not display jewellery or other expensive items. Isolated areas should be avoided, even during daylight hours. Visitors are advised not to walk at night, even in well-known tourist areas. Mozambican law requires that all persons carry an identity document, such as a passport, when out in public and produce it if requested by police.
Medical facilities are rudimentary, and medicines are not always consistently available. Maputo's Sommerschield Clinic can provide general and basic emergency services and accepts major credit cards. Doctors and hospitals outside Maputo generally expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Traffic Safety And Road Conditions
Banditry along major highways continues to threaten the safety of road travelers. It is not advised to drive after dark, because of poor road conditions in some areas, the poor maintenance of many vehicles in the country (e.g. no headlights or rear lights), as well as the threat imposed by livestock that graze on roadsides. Public transportation is extremely limited.
Currency can be converted only at locations authorized by the Mozambican government. Outside of the major hotels, credit cards are not widely accepted in Mozambique. Many merchants prefer to be paid in U.S. dollars or South African rand.
People Of Mozambique
Mozambique's major ethnic groups encompass numerous sub-groups with diverse languages, dialects, cultures, and histories. Many are linked to similar ethnic groups living in inland countries.
Despite the influence of Islamic coastal traders and European colonizers, the people of Mozambique have largely retained an indigenous culture based on small-scale agriculture. Mozambique's most highly developed art forms have been wood sculpture, for which the Makonde in northern Mozambique are particularly renowned, and dance. The middle and upper classes continue to be heavily influenced by the Portuguese colonial and linguistic heritage.
Geography Of Mozambique
- Location: Southern Africa, bordering the Mozambique Channel, between South Africa and Tanzania
- Climate: tropical to subtropical
Many of the cultural traditions of the Mozambican people survived centuries of colonialism. The Makonde in the north are renowned for their ebony sculptures and masks. The Chopi of the south central coast are famous for their complex musical arrangements and dance. Mozambique's tradition of visual art has produced several modern artists who have achieved international renown. One of the most famous Mozambican artists is Malangatana, whose paintings portray the sufferings of the colonial period and the civil war.
Mozambique enjoys a great range of cultural and linguistic diversity. Amid the variety of languages, social relationships, artistic traditions, clothing, and ornamentation patterns is a common theme of dynamic and creative cultural expression in song, oral poetry, dance, and performance.
At the end of the civil war in 1992, Mozambique ranked among the poorest countries in the world. It still ranks among the least developed nations with very low socio economic indicators. In the last decade, however, it has experienced a notable economic recovery. Mozambique was the first African country to receive debt relief under the initial HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Country) Initiative. More than 75% of the population engages in small scale agriculture, which still suffers from inadequate infrastructure, commercial networks, and investment. 88% of Mozambique's arable land is still uncultivated.
Travel Tips For Mozambique
Mozambique's local currency is the Metical. US dollars and SA Rand are widely accepted. It is advisable to carry cash or travelers cheques as credit cards are not widely accepted.
Mozambique's commercial banks offer exchange services in their main Maputo branches. Banks are open to the public Monday - Friday mornings from 8:00 - 11:00.
Health And Vaccination Information
Yellow Fever Vaccination
International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever is required if arriving from an infected area within 6 days.
Malaria exists throughout the year in all areas including urban areas. Resistance to Chloroquine is confirmed.
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