Driving is on the left in Mozambique. You need to make sure that you are carrying ID, your drivers licence, the car registration papers and your insurance details. It is also obligatory to carry a warning triangle and I would also recommend a high viz vest. The wearing of seat belts is compulsory.
The roads are generally not in good repair. Many of the main roads have an awful lot of potholes and some are very deep. I would not recommend driving at night. I would recommend that, if hiring a car you hire a 4WD. In Ponta do Ouro the roads are all sand and many would be impassable without a 4WD. The same can be said in parts of Inhambane. If you are driving on sand toads there is one tip - let some air out of your tyres if you don't want to get stuck.
Driving northwards from Vilanculos to Beira currently requires you to join a military convoy at Save as there is a lot of unrest in the area. You need to check what time the convoy leaves otherwise you can be waiting around for a long period of time as I was. I found the experience of driving in a military convoy unnerving to begin with but as soon as I passed the burnt out truck on the side of the road I was really glad of their presence.
I thought long and hard about whether to book my flight from Johannesburg using LAM. Searching online I could find very few reviews and the majority seemed to be critical. In the end I decided to give LAM a try and I was not disappointed.
I flew a total of four flights with LAM, one international and three internal. In every instance check-in was quick and efficient, flights were on time and the service on board was excellent. My luggage failed to arrive off one flight but I was reunited with it the following day (which is more than I can say for SAA).
Would I fly with LAM in the future? Yes.
Would I recommend LAM? Yes.
Maybe the most comfortable you can go every wednesday from Bulawayo to Maputo by train. It leaves wednesday 12.15 midday, you change train the next day at the border and arrive sometime on friday. I had the train Victoria Falls to Bulawayo, about the same distance as each part of Bulawayo Maputo, quite old cars but better then some cars in the Balkan, 12 US $ for 1. class, 10 $ for 2.class, 3 hours late (allready mentioned in a travelguide as the likely).
You can go from Mutare, go there 3 times per week by train from Harare, or by bus (from the Mutare bus terminal starting next of TM supermarket a minibus to D Avenue, 1 $ (0,50 if you have change) from Harare or Musvengo, by taxi for 10 $ (the hole car! some drivers will tell you when paying per person) or by shared taxi leaving from D Avenue for 2 $ per person. Cross the border, visa on that border is 76 $, walk 100 m further and a Chapas (minibus, very crowded) to Chimoio for 80 Meticais (2,70 $). From there frequent to Beira for 200 Meticais, or probably the next early morning south to Vilanculos. The road from the border to Beira is quite good exept 20 to 30 km in about the middle.
Or you can go from Harare to Tete and on to Malawi.
Although it can be up to 50 miles between petrol garages in ‘Moz’, unleaded petrol is available at all of them. Fuel is roughly the same price as it is in South Africa. The major company is Galp, but you will also find BP stations along the way to.
Cities served by
Beira - Sofala, Mozambique
Belém - Brazil.
Chingodzi - Tete, Mozambique.
Guarulhos - São Paulo, Brazil.
Lichinga - Niassa, Mozambique.
Maputo - Maputo, Mozambique.
Miami - Florida, USA.
Nampula - Nampula, Mozambique.
New York - New York, USA.
Pemba - Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.
Quelimane - Zambézia, Mozambique.
São Luís - Maranhão, Brazil.
Bringing a car into Mozambique form South Africa can be a bit of a hassle. You need the following:
* A rental company that will allow you to drive into Mozambique/insure you
* The written authority from the company
* Authority from the Mozambique authorities
(The best place is in Nelspruit )
* A fee at the High Commission of Mozambique
* Another fee (small) at the border
* Slow down when you see speed limit signs
* Never give the Moz Police your licence or passport – they will keep it to get you to pay fines
I have listed the company below I used to rent my car. They are called Aroundaboutcars. Long name, great company.
You do not need a 4-wheel drive vehicle in ‘Moz’, but it could help. I rented a small car (see pictures) in South Africa and drove over. The roads/highways vary between brand new and in good shape to dirt only. Often the road end without warning. I have listed some issues you will encounter:
• Toll Roads
The attendants are thieves. Ask for a receipt and count your change
• Speed traps/corrupt Police
Remain calm and polite. Always have your Passport in the trunk/boot of the car and never hand it over. Have photocopies of all documents and show those. If you are stopped by Police without a speed camera, you will need to bribe them. Sometimes just a cold drink or some food will do.
Slow down and take your time. The big truck just went up the road, so can you. Even large ‘highways’ like the EN1 disappear for a while.
• Mud & rocks
In some villages the roads re slippery and there are big holes. I mean big. Take your time and do not go into large holes.
• Unpainted speed humps. The first time you hit one, you will hurt your teeth. Slow down, some towns have them. If you hit one, then the whole town has them.
• Stop and see the roadside sellers
You can get a bag of roasted cashews cheap
• Refuel often
Petrol garages are found about every 50 miles. Keep fuel in the car
• Take some supplies
Just snacks and drinks. Don’t go hungry!
• Road signs
Are sometimes only printed on one side of the road. Not much traffic. Stop and look back just to check where you are going.
Just snacks and drinks. Don’t go hungry!
Do not go wondering around in fields away from the road.
Has the craziest drivers in the region. Drive there as little as possible.
• Enjoy the ride. You see great scenery and you get used to the challenges after a while. Enjoy your journey!
WHY NOT LET THE TRAIN TAKE THE STRAIN?
There are 2 ways to get to/from Maputo by train from South Africa/Johannesburg. The Shongololo Express originates in South Africa and Mozambique has the rail company CFM
So if you do not want to drive you can avoid all the dangers of the roads in Moz. The Mozambique side is slower, but you can change trains just over the border in South Africa.
From Europe to Mozambique, the only direct flight to Maputo is from Portugal - Lisboa International Airport - with the national carrier - TAP Portugal. Otherwise you may go from Frankfurt to South Africa (Johannesburg) and from there to Maputo International Airport.
Many resorts in Southern Mozambique will fetch you from the SA/Mozambique border post, with prior arrangement. To travel on these roads, you need a 4x4. It is not difficult driving - deflate your tyres and go slowly. 25km/hour is the max we could go. If you get stuck, stop, take a photo, deflate your tyres a little more, and dig the sand away from around the wheel. The "roads" criss cross over dunes, intersect each other, fork ("which way now, left or right?") and come together again. We just kept the sea on our right hand side on the way north, and on the left hand side going south. It's an easy adventure.
The road from the South Africa border, all the way up to Barra beach was newly paved. There were a few bad areas (and we heard nightmares about the roads), but overall, the road was great. It took us 2 days of driving from Johannesburg with hardly any hold-ups. We rented a cheap little VW golf. If there were giant pot-holes, we would have fallen in. That little VW was amazing. It went everywhere.
A small plane fly from Maputu to Inhaca island, on the island is a very small airport......actully just a office.........and a basic landing strip, There is no public transport, the Inhaca island lodge has a tractor( see my next tip, ) thats collects their guests, so arrange with them for transport or ask where you have booked, thats if you arriving by plane.
if you are driving your own vehicle be SURE to follow all road signs and all road traffic laws! there are traffic police in areas you wouldn't expect that will pull you over for the smallest issue and you may end up driving for 100s of kilometers to the nearest police station to sort it out! Also ensure that you have all the required licenses and appropriate vehicle markings - it won't guaruntee no problems but it may minimize them!
SAA as well as LAM (mozambique's airline) fly from South Africa to Maputo. There are flights daily.
SAA was fully booked so we had to experience LAM. The flight to Maputo was in a little prop number. I don't think it took more than 20 passengers. It was a different experience for the kids. They are only used to the big aircrafts of SAA. It's less than an hour's flight from JHB. Drinks and snacks were served and the service was fine.
Coming back it was a 737 operated by LAM.
LAM also have internal flights to places like Beira, Inhaca etc.
The picture was taken from the aircraft coming in to land in Maputo.
Inside the airport doesn't really resembles a international airport. Officials are a bit slow and not the friendliest. This is Africa.
Bear with them they are in charge here. If you are difficult they will find something wrong and nobody wants to spend hours on the airport.
I found the taxi's to be a bit expensive.
The Holiday Inn is on the beach so we had no idea how far the shops and mall was. We took the taxi once and then decided to walk most of the time. It is necessary exercise after the Holiday Inn breakfast.
If I took the taxi back to the hotel I wouldn't have seen this opportunity for a photo of the Holiday Inn from a little hill.