Some countries in Africa are in the Malarial Zone. If you visit such an area - PLEASE PREPARE! Malaria can sometimes be fatal and at best may make you regret that you survived. Medicines must be taken weeks BEFORE you come here. There are 4 different species of Malaria and humans can get them all from the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Illness and death from malaria are largely preventable - if you plan ahead.
While you are here you need to use a repellent spray early in the morning and any periods of darkness, especially at night. The Bartender at my beach hotel had Malaria 3 times before he was 25. Do not take chances!
I would suggest you buy repellent with 100% DEET.
I have red some tips about the corrupt police who steel from foreigners in the street, and also comments which disagree on this statement.
I can confirm that the police are targeting tourists. The police is maybe the most corrupt police in the Southern part of Africa. Anyway, don't let this prevent you from traveling to Mozambique or lock yourself inside the hotel room when you are in the country. But be wise and don't be drunk or walk alone in the street, as I did.
I was checked by the police in Baixa 2 times in one night. The first time I was stopped by 3 police officers who asked for identification. I shoved them a copy of my passport and visa, and also the receipt I had for the visa fee. They let me go. Three hours hours later, when I was going back to my hotel at night, I was stopped by some other police officers. This time it was almost no people in the street (Avenida 25 de Setembro), and I was drunk. Very foolish of me to walk there and be drunk... The police asked me for identification, the same procedure as last time. But this time it was a big problem, they said. The stamp on my visa was not official. We were standing there for 10 minutes and I tried to explain, but it was obvious that they wanted money. Both the Policemen had AK-47 rifles. I tried to bribe them with 100 Metacais, but they said it was too little. Then they searched my pocket and took out all my money, 950 Metacais (aprox 40 USD). But they let me keep 200 Metacais for taxi back to the hotel.
I went down to the police station in Baixa to report it the next day, but the police officer at the station was not so interested in reporting his colleague. He looked disturbed and told me to come the next day to talk with the police chief. I didn't do that...
You can avoid getting exposed to some troubles:
- Take a copy of your passport and the visa, because you are obliged to carry both copies at all times. (I have heard that the police can hold back your passport and use it as a subject to get money. So don't carry the original passport).
- Before you use your camera, make sure the police are absent.
- Don't take photos of police stations or military installations.
- Never drive on your own or don't hire a car to/in Mozambique. Take local buses, chapas or taxis.
- Avoid streets or places with few people. If so, walk fast and look determined. (The police doesn't like to be observed by other people when they are commiting an illegality).
- Be careful when you are close to a police station because there are a lot of police around this area.
Don't take photo of the police! I had the unpleasant experience to take a photo and the police were standing in the background. It happened in Catembe, on the other side of the Maputo bay.
You can see the photo of the dusty street with the police standing 25 meters away (marked with red arrow). I turned around and took a photo, but I didn't see the police. They came towards me and asked why I took photos of them. The police was holding me back for more than 10 minutes, and they looked at all the recent photos in the camera. But I think they realized that the distance was too far away to claim I took photos of them. Fortunately a lot of people were standing around. I was lucky and kept my camera, and the police left without giving me a fine.
It is wise to be careful with your camera in front of police stations, military installations and government offices. And also houses where you can assume rich people are living. Because you don't know what kind of people you meet.
Mozambique nationals at the border with South Africa were willing to open the doors to local knowledge pointing out vigorously that the crime rate in Mozambique is negligent compared to the brutal existence over the border in South Africa. Maybe this is just chip on somebody’s shoulder and not true but when arriving at the famous hostel Fatima in Maputo, their first job is to provide you with a map where areas of no-go at night, day or day and night are marked. At the same time it is true that similar establishments tend to exaggerate danger in order to be on the safe side. Anyway, the perception of threat is very personal and the more rugged the place and people are the more the feeling of insecurity grows. Nothing happened to me and people were rather pleasant for the sake of politeness but not without a reward in mind, no matter how little it may be.
At the same time, the improvised cultural interpreter was mentioning that despite the belief in God and His love for them, Mozambicans cannot stray from the evil way of witchcraft. An example was given where the shoes of the victim (subject of jealousy and envy) were stolen, dispatched to a witch craft master or whatever their title is and then incognito returned to the original owner. The result was a severe malfunctioning of the lower limbs and the only hope for now seems to be European style medical intervention in SA but without results for the time being.
Considering the seriousness of witchcraft effects, it might be wise to avoid situation where you can be a target of witchcraft since its consequences could be way more severe than these of a mugging somewhere on the streets.
I experienced some denunciatory behaviour from the police and also by a man dressed in suit on the beach. To bad it is like this because the rest of the people are so modest and friendly. Mozambique is a oligarchy, and the local people have excessive respect for the Police and the political elite. I heard that FRELIMO agents even today may have influence on courts and the police. (FRELIMO ruled the communist system from 1975 to 1992).
This photo was taken in Catembe (Maputo), and shows something everybody should know about. Mozambique is not an exception when it comes to Hiv and Aids in Africa.
By the way, sida means aids in Portuguese.
Although I had no trouble, it seems that you should be discreet while taking photos. Our guide often told us where we could and could not take photos.
Many houses, buildings have private security guards, do not point cameras here.
Remember to ask permission from people if you want to photograph them.
Apart from HIV/Sida, these are another two serious diseases happen here in Mozambique (and some other Southern African countries.) Don't forget to take a Yellow Fever shot and Malaria pills before leaving home. For Malaria pills, the most effective one is MEFLOQUINE, take it once every week for at least 2 weeks before coming in + while you stay + another 4 after getting back home. This is ain't no sh*t!! It's really serious!!
I'm not exaggerating by saying that nowadays the majority of Maputo's sidewalks are broken !!!
The roots of the trees have definitely done a great job to that cause that and, surprisingly, it seems that the local City Council has not been paying any attention to this phenomenon at all !!
Definitely, fixing things has not been a priority for many years. Hopefully this issue will change soon. Maputo is a lovely city and deserves to be in better shape.
Surprisingly, the majority of the sewer covers on the sidewalks are broken or have part of their tops removed !!. This represents a dangerous trap for any walking person. Once in Maputo, one better walk carefully and look at all the time to the ground to avoid those trapping holes where a whole foot can fit in.
This particular sign is located at the corner of Eduardo Mondlane Ave. & Julius Nyerere Ave. and it is the best airport direction traffic sign I've seen in the whole city of Maputo !!! (check photos).
Suggestion: better take a Taxi for a ride to the airport :-))
Even though the war is over police and soldiers still may react negatively if you take pictures of police stations, military installations and other government offices. Better don’t risk it and be safe.
I have had it twice and it is not fun...! If you are traveling in this region take precautions towards Malaria. If you do not take medication in prevention and you have the following symptoms after your return go straight to your doctor and tell him you were in a Malaria region: Flue like symptoms, combined with headache, backache and fever. Remember malaria kills almost a Million people each year and the longer you wait the more the parasite will multiply in your blood – the result is fatal!
The old city market in Maputo is quiet interesting to visit.
However there are a number of thieves in operation who target tourists.
Everytime I visit the market I park my car a little further away close to the Tivoli Hotel - the guard their looks after the car and leave all my belongings hidden in the car. Keep your camera tight on you - with that in mind you will enjoy an interesting and colorful market!
Always carry a torch with you, because the side streets are not very well lit and have huge potholes in them. Also be carefull when you drive in the evenings that you look out for the potholes or even drain covers that are built up in the roads. You could loose a sump or two here.