Mozambique is one of the most beautiful nations in the world for individuals who enjoy beautiful beaches and coastlines. Mozambique is one of those affordable beach spots that few people visit if you enjoy diving, quad-riding, delicious seafood, and hammocks.
If you’ve heard that Mozambique is difficult to cross, I’m afraid to tell you that it’s true. I can assure you that it’s worth the trip since your end destination will undoubtedly be lovely, and the journey is half the experience.
Getting the visa
Obtaining a visa on arrival in Mozambique at an airport or land crossing point was once relatively straightforward. Lately, allegations have appeared of Americans being denied admission at the border for failing to obtain a visa in advance, which implies that if you are traveling from the United States, you must obtain a visa before departing.
The regulations for other nations are as follows (for the time being): unless your country has a consulate or embassy in Mozambique, you must get a visa in advance, or you are from one of the ten bordering or adjacent countries, whose people are exempt from obtaining a visa.
I obtained my visa quickly and on the same day at the Johannesburg embassy. There is one in Pretoria as well, but it seemed pointless to drive an hour there when there was one lot closer to my house in the city. Because there was little information available online, I took a chance and introduced myself, which succeeded.
You will need the following to perform the same:
- If you don’t have a biometric ID, the guard can take one for you (I didn’t).
- A visual representation of a confirmed overnight stay. Here is when things become tricky. You must have it in order to be granted a visa. My Expedia confirmation email was almost rejected by the individual I dealt with. I recommend emailing Fatima many days in advance (rather than waiting until the last minute as I did) and requesting a reservation + confirmation.
- The confirmation may be printed at Rosebank Mall, which is a short walk from the consulate. I climbed it twice by myself and it was great, but if you’re afraid of walking about Johannesburg, use an Uber vehicle for roughly 60 rands.
- Fill out the form, which they will sell you for a rand or you may print it off ahead of time.
- They only accept credit cards and do not accept cash.
- A 30-day single entry visa for American costs roughly R2585 ($160) at the time of writing, whereas almost everyone may enter for R800 via visa on arrival.
- Go between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m., but the earlier you go, the better. Pick it up at 3 p.m. that day!
How to Get There
To go to Mozambique from another country, you’ll most likely have to fly into Johannesburg or another neighboring airport. The trip to Tofo or Maputo might be excessively expensive in certain situations, but the buses from Johannesburg to Maputo aren’t too awful.
I rode a 10-hour Intercap bus that was air-conditioned and comfy. Levrette also provides a comparable alternative. I rode a 10-hour chapa from Maputo to Tofo, which was a lengthy and uncomfortable experience, but that’s the reality of travel in Mozambique.
Going to Mozambique
I’m sorry to tell you there are no easy or direct routes across Mozambique. There are several choices available, but none are ideal:
Chapa: Van taxis frequently stop to pick up passengers and will try extremely hard to overcharge you if you don’t already know the price, and you’ll still overpay even if you do. They are normally scheduled to leave at 4 a.m. and will travel for many hours before leaving to find somebody to pick them up. It’s infuriating, but that’s the way it is.
These vans are in poor condition, and they are frequently overcrowded, traveling on slippery tires on rough roads. As the driver swerved and I observed him sipping a beer while driving, I decided never to eat a chapa again.
Vehicle Rental: If you are bringing a car, you will most likely hire it in South Africa first. The majority of firms will not allow you to bring a car hire to Mozambique, however, a handful will. In these circumstances, be sure you have the necessary papers to enter the border.
Another unavoidable result of the behavior will be the cops soliciting bribes. They will find a way to stop you no matter what. Two females I met in Moz, for example, were stopped and punished for carrying bags in the rear seat because “seats are for people, not bags.” In this circumstance, your only option is to haggle with them. Unless they are extremely furious at you, you probably won’t have to pay much more than $10 or $20.
Hitchhiking: Hitchhiking and chapas were my primary routes of transportation in Mozambique, and although hitchhiking is always risky, so are chapas. Speaking Portuguese will be really beneficial, but as long as you inquire about and locate a reasonable spot to hang out, you shouldn’t have to wait long. The driver may request a gratuity in some circumstances, but I have never been asked for one.
While I hitchhiked alone in China, I spoke the language, and if you don’t speak Portuguese, I recommend going in pairs.
When flying: I hate to give more horror stories, but two of my friends attempted to fly out of Mozambique and, three times, had mechanical issues mid-flight and were forced to return because Maputo is the only city with a mechanic. Some friends were delayed for many days.
I went back to South Africa from Vilanculos with no complications, other than having to drive to the airport to buy the ticket because the online booking system was, of course, down. By then, I’d accepted that this is how Moz is.
Fly South African Airlines instead of LAM if possible.
Before my journey, I hadn’t heard much good about going to Mozambique. I was warned that I would be robbed in Maputo, that crossing the border would need bribes, and that I may be a victim of pickpocketing. None of this came to pass, and I like Maputo and found Mozambicans to be generous and courteous.
I basically did what I normally do: kept alert of my surroundings, packed a bag lock, which is a smart idea in Mozambique because I’ve never seen lockers, and did things like hitching and wandering at night with others. I treated the natives with dignity, and I bargained with a grin.
Mozambique is difficult, but it is worthwhile. I had a fantastic time there and can’t wait to return.