Minibus to Swaziland
In case you go by minibus from Maputo to Swaziland the drivers want Rand or Emalangeni (Swazi curency, same value as Rand) not Meticals, if you don't have Rands you will get a very bad exchange rate. There are also no moneychangers at the border.
Unique Suggestions: Change all your remaining Meticals to Rand, the fare is 80 Rand (March 2013) and it takes about 3 hours, leaving when full.
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Had a similar incident with Customers. After arriving at Mozambique and being in Maputo for a few days a guy came up to me and said remember me I am the Customer Officer that let you through - can you give me money for petrol. I said I did not remember him and walked off.
Watch Out for Ivory
So far, the market in Maputo is the only place I have seen during my various travels where ivory carvings are brazenly openly for sale to the general public.
Legally importing ivory to the USA is virtually impossible: I understand it *might* be possible with a lot of paperwork and some particular very detailed reasons as to why it is being imported. HOWEVER:
For decades, elephants across the border in South Africa's Kruger National Park have been poached by people in Mozambique. While it is possible to find legal ivory, the stuff you find for sale in the market in Kampala is most likely from poached animals.
Unique Suggestions: It's easy: unless you go through official channels and make absolutely certain that you will not be arrested upon your return to your country of origin, DON'T BUY IVORY CARVINGS.
Fun Alternatives: There are many, many other things to get at the market in downtown Kampala. While the ivory carvings are beautiful to look at, don't buy them unless you find some guarantee they are legal (ie, from an elephant that died of natural causes or was a menace and had to be killed), and you have the proper official permission from your country's government to import that ivory to the location you live.
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The "good friend" of the Customs Control Office.
Once in Maputo, you might be approached by a supposed "friend" of the Customs Control Office saying that he had assisted you at the customs office by clearing your way and also that he did not come up with any tentative difficulty that would might have caused you any problem !!!
That supposed "good friend" approaches you saying things like "How come you do not remember me !?" and "I assisted you at the airport".
Well, this is an "old story" used by a few of the locals to get some money from foreigner visitors.
While in Maputo I personally experienced this type of approach once but since I had been previously informed on this story, my only words to this "supposed customs' friend" were: "Yes. That's right. You did great by assisting me at Airport. Too bad I crossed the Mozambique border by car, not by plane. Bye now". And walked way from that "good friend".
End of the story.
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