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Mozambique

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Mozambique because of high levels of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. Avoid travelling at night.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to Cabo Delgado Province due to clashes between armed groups, security forces and local residents. On 8 June 2018 the US Government warned its citizens of possible imminent attacks on government and commercial centres in the district headquarters of Palma, Cabo Delgado Province. Take particular care around government offices and retail locations, including markets, in Palma.  
  • In May 2018, villagers were killed in the area of Olumbi in Palma, Cabo Delgado Province. Be aware of an increased security presence in the region, including road blocks. Check local and social media for updates before you travel to the area, remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities. See Safety and security.
  • Reconsider your need to travel by road along the EN1 road between Save River and Caia in Sofala Province, and the EN6 road between Beira in Sofala Province and Chimoio in Manica Province, due to armed attacks on vehicles.
  • In Sofala Province, banditry and politically-motivated violence are threats, particularly in remote areas around the Gorongosa hills, Muxungue, Chibabava, Maringue, Macossa and Canxixi. See Safety and security.

  • Kidnapping and other violent criminal activity is increasing in Maputo and Beira. Avoid walking at night, even in well-known tourist areas. Avoid isolated beaches. See Safety and security.

  • Demonstrations can occur with little warning. Avoid all demonstrations and protests as they can become violent. See Safety and security.

  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

You'll need a visa to enter Mozambique.

Visas-on-arrival are available if certain conditions are met but some travellers have faced difficulties getting a visa-on-arrival.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an High Commission of Mozambique to apply for a visa before you travel or for up-to-date information on entry and exit conditions.

Other formalities

If you're arriving from a country where yellow fever is present, you'll need a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate for entry to Mozambique. More information: Yellow fever risk and certification requirements (by country, WHO)

If you travel to or from Mozambique through South Africa (including transiting), you'll need to satisfy certain requirements. Specific documentation requirements apply to all children travelling to South Africa. Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate requirements apply to all travellers. South Africa does not accept provisional travel documents. Other conditions may apply. More information: South Africa.

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The local currency is Mozambique Metical (MZN). The export or import of MZN is prohibited.

You can exchange US Dollars and South African Rand for MZN in all urban centres across Mozambique. Travellers' cheques in US Dollars or Euros are accepted at major banks in Maputo but can only be changed for MZN. Travellers' cheques are very difficult to change in other areas of Mozambique and a high rate of commission is charged where the facility does exist.

There are several ATMs in Maputo that accept international credit cards. Credit cards are widely accepted. Keep your credit card in sight at all times, including during transactions. Contact your bank to make sure your cards will work in Mozambique.

Safety and security

On 8 June 2018 the US Government warned its citizens of possible imminent attacks on government and commercial centres in the district headquarters of Palma, Cabo Delgado Province. Take particular care around government offices and retail locations, including markets, in Palma. Check local and social media for updates before you travel to the area, remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.

Civil unrest and political tension

Political tensions exist. In the past, political tensions have led to armed clashes.

  • Prior to national elections in October 2014, there were armed clashes between government security forces and the Renamo opposition party.
  • During 2016, attacks on vehicles on the EN1 road between the Save River and Muxungue and Gorongosa to Caia led to fatalities. Mozambican police convoys were providing timed escorts for traffic in these areas.
  • In May 2018, villagers were killed in the area of Olumbi in Palma, Cabo Delgado Province. Be aware of an increased security presence in the region, including road blocks. Check local and social media for updates before you travel to the area, remain vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities.

A ceasefire has held since December 2016 but conflict could return at short notice.

Demonstrations can occur with little warning. Demonstrations and other public gatherings can turn violent.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Mozambique. 
  • Reconsider your need to travel along the EN1 road between Save River and Caia in Sofala Province, and the EN6 road between Beira in Sofala Province and Chimoio in Manica Province, due to armed attacks on vehicles.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to Cabo Delgado Province due to clashes between armed groups, security forces and local residents.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings.
  • Monitor the media for reports of planned or possible unrest, or other security risks. Avoid affected areas.
  • Follow instructions from local authorities.

Crime

There are high levels of serious crime in Mozambique. Violent attacks, including sexual assault, can occur at any time of day. Criminal activity increases at night and during holiday periods.

Petty crime is common throughout the country, especially muggings and bag snatching. Foreigners have been targeted. 

Particular threats are higher in Maputo and certain other areas.

  • Armed robbery and break-ins are common in Maputo and other towns. Several restaurants and cafes have been targeted after dark by gangs of armed robbers.
  • Carjacking is common, particularly in Maputo and on roads to Mutare, Zimbabwe and South Africa. 
  • Kidnapping is a threat in Maputo and has happened in Beira. Most victims are locals but foreigners have been threatened. Kidnappings occur in public areas, perpetrated by armed individuals.

The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers.

Serious assault and robberies have occurred at two coastal resorts in Inhambane province.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Mozambique. Be alert to your surroundings at all times.
  • Secure your accommodation against intruders, including when you're in it.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid displaying expensive watches, jewellery, phones and cameras.
  • Avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch.
  • Avoid walking at night, even in well-known tourist areas.
  • Avoid travelling at night.
  • Keep vehicles doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight at all times, including when moving.
  • Avoid isolated beaches and picnic spots.
  • Monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, if you're a victim of violent crime, including rape, seek immediate medical assistance.

More information: Kidnapping

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat in Mozambique. An attack could happen anywhere and at any time. Foreigners could be targeted.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public areas.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor the media for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Landmines

All known minefields in Mozambique have been cleared but risks could remain. Take care when travelling away from the main road networks in remote and rural areas, especially in the central and southern provinces. Stick to well-travelled roads.

Road travel

You are six times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Mozambique than in Australia. Driving hazards include poor road conditions, local driving practices and inadequate lighting. It is especially dangerous to drive after dark in rural areas. Roads are often shared with pedestrians and livestock, especially in rural areas.

During the rainy season (November to April) travel by four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for most road travel outside Maputo. Many roads in the Gaza and Inhambane provinces and parts of Sofala, Zambezia and Tete provinces, including the North-South road, are subject to flooding and damage in the rainy season.

There have been reports of pedestrians deliberately causing accidents in order to extort money from foreign drivers.

Checkpoints are common throughout Mozambique. There have been reports of police soliciting bribes from tourists.

  • Check you have adequate insurance cover before driving.
  • Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
  • Get up-to-date local advice on road conditions before travel outside major centres.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Avoid travel at night – see Safety and security.
  • Be alert to possible hazards, especially if you need to travel at night.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Obey police signals to stop, including at checkpoints.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

You can drive in Mozambique with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must get your IDP before departing Australia.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Use only registered taxis and limousines from reputable providers, preferably those arranged through your hotel.

Public transport

Public transport can be hazardous due to reliability and security issues. Use instead a car and driver from a reputable provider.

Boat travel

Piracy is a threat in the Indian Ocean. Somali pirates have been using mother ships to attack shipping vessels up to 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia. All forms of shipping are attractive targets for Somali pirates, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft and luxury cruise liners.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) issues piracy reports.

If you decide to travel by boat in the Indian Ocean:

  • first check the IMB's piracy reports
  • take appropriate security precautions
  • be alert to threats.

More information: Piracy

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Mozambique.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

If you are arrested or detained, authorities in Mozambique may not automatically notify the Australian Government. As soon as possible, request police or prison officials to notify the Australian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include prison sentences. More information: Drugs

Other laws

By law, you must you carry identification at all times (passport, identity documents or notarised copies).

Activities that are illegal in Mozambique include:

  • photographing government buildings, other infrastructure or officials without permission from the Ministry of Information
  • purchasing or trading in endangered wildlife products, such as ivory and rhino horn, without a licence – more information: Wildlife trade
  • exporting or importing the local currency (Meticais).

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Read Dual nationals.

Local customs

Homosexual acts are not illegal in Mozambique but there are local sensitivities.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases

Malaria is prevalent throughout the year in Mozambique, particularly outside Maputo. Other insect-borne diseases (including filariasis, plague and African sleeping sickness) are also common.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

HIV/AIDS

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Mozambique is high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to the risk of infection.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including cholera, hepatitis, tuberculosis and rabies) are prevalent. More serious outbreaks occur from time-to-time.

  • Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water in rural areas.
  • Avoid ice cubes in rural areas.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Mozambique are limited.

Costs are generally lower than in Australia but you'll need to pay up-front, before receiving treatment, even if you have travel insurance.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to South Africa or another destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.  

Natural disasters

Mozambique can experience cyclones, flooding, mudslides and earthquakes.

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

Cyclones and severe weather

The rainy season is November to April. Flooding occurs on low ground around rivers and coastal areas. Flash floods and mudslides can make some roads impassable.

Cyclones may occur along the coastal areas of Mozambique. The direction and strength of cyclones can change with little warning.

If there is a cyclone or severe storm, you may not be able to leave the area: flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended, and available flights may fill quickly. Access to sea ports could also be affected. Roads and bridges may collapse or be blocked. Power, communication systems and other essential services could be affected. In some areas, adequate shelter from a cyclone may not be available for all those who stay.

If a cyclone is approaching, follow the advice for all natural disasters above and:

More information: Severe weather

Earthquakes

Mozambique experiences earthquakes. Familiarise yourself with earthquake safety measures for each place you stay and visit, including hotels, public and private buildings. More information: Earthquakes

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

There is no national emergency number in Mozambique.

  • Fire: phone 198
  • Medical emergency: phone 117 or go to the nearest hospital
  • Police: phone 119 or visit the nearest police station.

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism products and services

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia has a Consulate in Mozambique, headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate can provide limited consular and passport assistance. You can get full consular and passport assistance from the Australian High Commission, in Pretoria, South Africa.

Australian Consulate

Mr Blake Gray
Honorary Consul
Australian Consulate
Ave Kamba Simango, 71
MAPUTO

Phone: +258 2149 8778 

Email: australian.consulate.moz@gmail.com

Australian High Commission, Pretoria

292 Orient Street
Arcadia
Pretoria, South Africa
Telephone (27 12) 423 6000
Facsimile (27 12) 342 8442
Email pretoria.info@dfat.gov.au
Website www.southafrica.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australian High Commission in South Africa
Twitter: @AuHCSouthAfrica

Check the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are unable to contact the above Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources