Memo to a Tourist in Mozambique

Memo to a Tourist in Mozambique

Mozambique, located on the east coast of Africa, is a true tropical paradise and the perfect holiday destination, with its impressive 2,500 kilometers of coastline, charming population and idyllic palm-fringed beaches with crystal clear waters full of marine life. Here you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as snorkeling, sunset cruises, horseback riding, dolphin watching tours and world-famous diving.

The two main centers of Mozambique – Maputo and Inhambane – offer an exotic kaleidoscope of art, music and delicious food, as well as a lively nightlife. Here you can spend time immersing yourself in the exciting local culture, admiring the impressive colonial architecture and interacting with the fabulously friendly locals.

Those looking for a more relaxing holiday can head to the isolated beaches of Benguerra Island; explore the historical Portuguese and Muslim architecture of the island of Mozambique; observe the outstanding wildlife of the Gorongosa National Park.

In any case, however you decide to spend your time in these exceptionally picturesque places, you will no doubt leave them with a heavy heart and a burning desire to return again.


Maputo is the capital and largest city of Mozambique, located in the south of the country. A major port on the Indian Ocean.


According to the latest statistics, the population of Mozambique is about 23.5 million people. The country’s largest ethnic group, the Makua people (about 4 million), predominates in the north of the country, the Sen and Shona peoples are prominent in the Zambezi Valley, and the Soshangane people in the south. Other ethnic groups include Makonde, Yao, Swahili, Tonga, Chopi and Nguni. In addition, the country calculates the number of fugitive residents, most of whom are of Portuguese origin. There is also a large minority with mixed African and Portuguese ancestry. The remaining non-black residents of Mozambique are predominantly Indian Asians who came from Pakistan, Portuguese India and various Arab countries. There are various estimates of the size of the Chinese community in Mozambique.


Russian citizens need a visa to enter Mozambique. You can get it both upon arrival in the country and in advance at the Moscow embassy. When applying for a visa at the border, you will need to fill out a questionnaire and pay 50 USD per person. To apply for a visa in Moscow, you will need to provide an application form, a passport with a validity of at least 6 months, confirmation of placement on official letterhead, confirmation of booking air tickets, 2 color photographs, a certificate of employment indicating wages and an extract from a bank account (for the last 3 months).

Customs regulations

The import of foreign currency is not limited (the declaration is required for amounts over 5 thousand US dollars). Import and export of national currency is prohibited. Duty-free importation of cigarettes is allowed – up to 400 pcs., or cigars – 50 pcs., or tobacco – 250 gr., wine – up to 5 liters, spirits – up to 1 liter, perfumes and medicines – within the limits of personal needs, new items worth less than $100.

It is forbidden to import drugs, weapons and ammunition for them, pyrotechnics, gold, platinum and silver in bars, plates or coins without the permission of the country’s bank, artisanal liquor, as well as photographs, graphics, printed materials and video materials “obscene content or directed against the Republic of Mozambique or the dignity of the Mozambican people”. The export of ivory and ivory products, food products is prohibited if the conditions for their storage along the way are not provided.


Portuguese is the official and most widely spoken language of Mozambique, but slightly less than half of the country’s population considers Portuguese their first or even second language. Arabs, Chinese and Indians speak their own languages. Most educated Mozambicans speak English, which is used in schools and business as a second or third language.

Banks and currency

The monetary unit of Mozambique is the metical (MZN), which consists of 100 centavos. The South African rand and US dollars are also widely accepted. Local banks have branches in cities, which are usually open on weekdays from 07:00 to 12:00. There are ATMs throughout the country, but travelers checks are difficult and expensive to exchange.

Travel and transport

Using public transport in Mozambique is not recommended, but there are reliable shuttles in the north and international/local airlines. There are regular flights to Maputo and Vilanculos. Flights usually fly through Johannesburg to South Africa. The country has many small airstrips for small charter flights (to the islands, etc.).

In Mozambique, driving is on the left. You must have an identity card, driver’s license, car documents and insurance with you. It is also mandatory to have a warning triangle, it is recommended to have a reflective vest. Wearing seat belts is also mandatory.

The condition of the roads leaves much to be desired. Many main roads have a large number of potholes, some of which are quite deep.


The local population in Mozambique is very friendly and welcoming, but always and everywhere you should remain vigilant. It is highly recommended to travel around the country with an escort who knows the roads and routes well.

Food and drink

Mozambique has some of the finest cuisine on the African continent, a combination of Portuguese, Indian and African flavors. The country is well known for its seafood, including excellent shrimp and crayfish, as well as a popular grilled catch of the day known as peixe grelhade. Local dishes, mostly along the coastal areas, have a certain flavor that distinguishes them from those of neighboring countries. Mozambicans often use coconut milk and their favorite local hot pepper, peri peri, which adds spice to food. In addition, the country has a wide variety of meat dishes: high-quality meat is usually brought from neighboring South Africa.

All cities in Mozambique treat their drinking water, however travelers are advised to boil tap water before drinking it, or buy mineral water from hotels and supermarkets. Tap water can be safely used for showering and brushing teeth.

Climate and weather

According to Bridgat, Mozambique’s coastline stretches for almost 2,000 km, spanning latitudes approximately from 11°S to 27°S. Throughout the year, a tropical ocean current moves along it from north to south.

Despite such a range of latitudes, the climate of the whole country generally corresponds to the weather conditions of southern Africa, with rains falling mainly from December to March. The amount of precipitation varies a little – in the north of the country it rains for several weeks longer than in the south – but in general the picture is the same. Humidity during this period may be too high. Most of the rain in Mozambique comes with the wet southeast trade winds, but if you look at the map, it becomes clear that the country lies in the rain shadow of Madagascar. This gives Mozambique relatively low annual rainfall and excellent protection from tropical storms and occasional cyclones that head towards it during this period.

Around April or May, the rains subside, the sun comes out, and the humidity drops – the ever-improving weather gradually spreads from south to north.

The period from June to October is the dry season with mostly perfect tropical weather: clear skies, plenty of sunshine and little to no rain. This is the best time to visit. June, July and August can also be called tropical, but these are the coldest months in Mozambique; at night you will need a light duvet, although during the day the temperature rises above 30°C. During September and October it is still dry as daytime temperatures rise, although it gets very cold at night.

November is the most unpredictable month of the year. Sometimes it starts to rain, but most days are sunny and hot. It usually rains earlier in the north of the country.

Clothing recommendations

Light clothing is fine for most of the year (don’t forget swimwear and sunscreen!). However, in winter (June-August) it can get chilly in the evenings, so bring something warm. When visiting nature reserves, comfortable shoes, a hat and clothes in neutral colors (khaki, brown, beige, etc.) will not hurt. In the evenings, it is better to wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Health and vaccinations

No vaccinations are required, but yellow fever vaccination is recommended, as well as malaria prophylaxis (drinking pills).


One hour less than Moscow. For example, 10 am Moscow time corresponds to 9 am in Maputo.


Mains voltage: 220 volts, frequency 50 hertz. European-style sockets (type C and F), along the border with South Africa (including the capital Maputo) there are sockets of type M.


Country code – 258. Beira code – 3, Maputo – 1.


In Mozambique, you can leave about 10% of the total order in a restaurant. Porters – about 0.5 USD per piece of luggage, driver or guide – 1-2 USD per day.

Useful addresses and numbers

Russian Embassy in Maputo: CP 4666, Av. V. Lenin 2445; tel.: 214-173-72, 214-198-72

119 – Police

117 – Ambulance

198 – Fire Department

Memo to a Tourist in Mozambique

About the author