Mozambique is known for dangerous driving, especially in the capital. Expats on the road, whether as pedestrians, passengers or drivers, should be cautious of other drivers at all times. In the capital, Maputo, the public transport system is slightly better than elsewhere in the country.
Mozambique's biggest airport is Maputo International Airport. The country also has a number of paved and unpaved airports throughout the country, and if landing in a remote area, it is best to prearrange transport, as there is unlikely to be anything available on arrival.
Public transport in Mozambique
Public transport in Mozambique is known to be unreliable and is usually not recommended. Expats who can afford to buy a car may find it a more convenient and safer way to get around than using public transport.
Trains travel to and from Maputo and South Africa, but they are known to be overcrowded. Many lack sleeping facilities, which makes overnight journeys difficult.
There are coaches that travel around Mozambique for long-distance destinations. It is not uncommon for coaches to be full, and a chapa is usually used to take the overflow of passengers. Like trains, buses can be used to travel to other neighbouring countries, such as Zimbabwe and South Africa. Intercity buses also exist, and these generally leave at 4am.
Chapas are local minibuses that are used for short and long distance journeys. For the latter, luggage is usually piled on the roof, and the chapas driver ignores all capacity limits. As they are often overloaded, they can be dangerous to travel in, but they are usually cheaper than other forms of transport.
There are daily ferries between Inhaca Island and Maputo, as well as Catembe and Maputo. The ferry travels more frequently on weekends, but expats should make sure they arrive early to secure a spot.
Driving in Mozambique
Cars drive on the left in Mozambique. Expats may find that the road conditions are bad, with potholes being a common feature. Many of the roads are also unpaved, which may affect the decision of what car to purchase. There are also reports of corrupt officials who pull over cars for bribes. It is best to remain calm and to keep photocopies of all documents to hand over.
It is common for people to rent cars from South Africa and drive over the border. For long-term arrangements, buying a car can be wise. When driving, expats should always carry their ID, driving licence, vehicle registration papers and insurance details. It is recommended that expats fill up their cars wherever possible, as petrol stations can be few and far between.
Air travel in Mozambique
LAM Mozambique Airlines, the national airline, is largely responsible for operating air travel in Mozambique. Maputo International Airport, which serves the capital city of Maputo, and Nampula International Airport, which serves the city of Nampula, are the two main airports in Mozambique, but the airline operates flights to several destinations within the country, including Beira, Tete and Pemba. These flights offer a quick and convenient option for citizens of Mozambique to get between the nation's major cities and communities.
Other carriers who provide domestic flights include Airlink, Solenta Aviation, and Fastje, although their itineraries and frequency are subject to change.
It is important to keep in mind that Mozambique's domestic aviation infrastructure is less developed than that of other nations, and there may be delays or cancellations as a result of a variety of circumstances, including bad weather, maintenance needs or operational issues.
►See Banking, Money and Taxes in Mozambique for information about the monetary system
"In Inhambane you don’t necessarily need to own your own car. Although you are limited with travel options, there is generally always a way of getting from A to B."
Read more about South African expat Eddie's experiences in Inhambane, Mozambique.
Are you an expat living in Mozambique?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Mozambique. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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