Mozambique, Africa - Wontra

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Welcome to Mozambique

Mozambique

Mozambique

Continent: Africa

Capital: Maputo

Population: 24,692,144 (2014 estimate)                                                                         

Dialing Code: +258

Currency: Mozambican metical (MZN)

Time zone: CAT (UTC+2)

Official language: Portuguese

 

Moving past a messy colonial history put in place by the Portuguese, Mozambique is a southern African nation whose ideal location along the Indian ocean is dotted with popular beaches and marine parks.

 It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest & separated from Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east. The capital and largest city is Maputo.

After its independence a protracted civil war lasting from 1977 to 1992 crippled economic and social growth only for peace to reign for another twenty years. However in 2013, fresh conflict renewed tensions within the country which helped cement its place as one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world.

Nevertheless, Mozambique is endowed with rich and extensive natural resources. The country's economy is based largely on agriculture, but industry is growing, mainly food and beverages, chemical manufacturing, and aluminium and petroleum production. The country's tourism sector is also growing.

Travelling this enigmatic and underexplored country is well worth ride with its largely unaltered beaches like Tofo, as well as offshore marine parks. In the Quirimbas Archipelago, a 250km stretch of coral islands, mangrove-covered Ibo Island has colonial-era ruins surviving from a period of Portuguese rule. The Bazaruto Archipelago farther south has reefs which protect rare marine life including dugongs

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

First and foremost amongst the country’s many attractions is its pristine Indian Ocean coastline – all 2, 414km (1, 500 miles) of it – which offers palm-fringed beaches, warm tropical waters, abundant marine life, great fishing, excellent diving, fantastic snorkeling and a number of idyllic islands from which you can enjoy all of the above in sweet isolation.

Conservation efforts by the country have yielded an increase in the number of parks whose remoteness and relative inaccesiblility breeds natural habitats in its prime. Its proud Portuguese heritage adds the much needed cultural spice and beauty to the people, art deco and colonial buildings. The music, the nightlife and the sea food are interesting and eclectic, although caution should be executed when exploring some areas.

Mozambique has limitless opportunities for adventure; you simply have to be up for the challenge.

Other areas of interest include: Mt. Namuli, Cascat, Gorongosa National Park and many more

Business

Knowledge of Portuguese is required for smooth business transactions within the country. After its civil war the Mozambican economy shows signs of being on the rise. In mid 2006, the World Bank relieved Mozambique from much of its long-term foreign debt burden, and remaining debts were rescheduled.

Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy but recently discovered gas deposits might change this. Forestry is increasing in importance. Fishing is both an important source of food and a vital export earner. Manufacturing industry produces one quarter of GDP: products include processed foods, textiles, drinks, cement and fertiliser. Mining operations produce coal, salt, bauxite, gemstones and marble. In addition, natural gas is extracted from onshore fields and piped to South Africa.

Climate

Due to its coastal location and savannah woodlands , Inland is cooler than the coast and rainfall higher as the land rises, with most rain between January and March. Hottest and wettest season is October to March. From April to September the coast has warm, mainly dry weather tempered by sea breezes. Tropical lightweight clothing is advised for guests , with warmer clothing for evenings. Be sure to also pack  rainwear. 

Communications

Television is the most recognized and widely media platform in the country. State owned and private TV Stations are available. There are no English-language newspapers published in Mozambique

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Coverage is expanding to all main cities in most provinces. There are Internet cafes in Maputo and other cities. Postal services are available in main centres. Airmail to Europe usually takes five to seven days, but sometimes longer.

Customs

Mozambicans draw from their Portuguese heritage but since most of the people are Bantus most of the culture is native. The Makonde are renowned for their wood carving and elaborate masks. Many are Christian (Roman Catholic) with others practicing Muslim, Hindu and traditional beliefs.

Visitors should take note not to take photographs of soldiers, airports, bridges or government buildings since  it is illegal. Portuguese is the official language. Many local African languages, such as Tsonga, Sena Nyanja, Makonde and Macua, are also spoken.

Duty Free

The following goods may be imported into Mozambique without incurring customs duty:

• 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco.

• 750ml of spirits.

• A reasonable quantity of perfume (opened).

Banned imports:

Narcotics and unauthorised firearms.

Electricity

The electricity voltage rating for Mozambique is 220 volts

Type E or F adapter is used & unless your computer or appliance is dual voltage or designed for 220 volts, you will need a converter or transformer.

Getting Around

Incoming and outbound flights linking Maputo with Beira, Chimoio, Inhambane, Lichinga, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane and Tete are available. Flights might be  frequently delayed or cancelled and baggage is often lost or tampered with. Air-taxi services are also available, and are the safest means of transport outside the cities.

Driving after dark can be hazardous owing to vehicles travelling without headlights. Car-jacking is a risk, so keep your doors locked. Although now cleared from main routes, mines may still be present in remote areas; check with the local authorities for up-to-date advice

Tarred roads connect Maputo with Beira and Beira with Tete. It's possible to travel by road in southern Mozambique though flood damage can cause serious delays.

Health

Full health insurance is essential. Medical facilities are scarce. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies including medications and sterile syringes. Water for drinking or brushing teeth should be boiled. Eat only well cooked meals. Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended

Language

Portuguese is the official language. Many local African languages, such as Tsonga, Sena Nyanja, Makonde and Macua, are also spoken.

Money

The official currency of Mozmbique is the Mozambique Metical (MZN; symbol MT) = 100 centavos.  Credit cards are increasingly accepted especially in Maputo. 1 USD is roughly equivalent to 40 New Meticals

Passport Visa

Visas are required by all visitors except citizens of South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

Single-entry visas (only) are available at most land and air entry points (but not anywhere along the Tanzania border.

To avoid long visa lines at busy borders, or for a multiple-entry visa, arrange your visa in advance. If you’re arriving in Maputo via bus from Johannesburg (South Africa) it’s recommended (though not essential) to get your visa in advance.

Fees vary according to where you buy your visa and how quickly you need it. The maximum initial length of stay available is three months. Same-day visa service is available at several places including Johannesburg and Nelspruit (South Africa), but at a price.

No matter where you get your visa, your passport must be valid for at least six months from the dates of intended travel, and have at least three blank pages.

For citizens of countries not requiring visas, visits are limited to 30 days from the date of entry, after which you’ll need to exit Mozambique and re-enter.

The length of each stay for multiple-entry visas is determined when the visa is issued, and varies from embassy to embassy; only single-entry and transit visas are available at Mozambique’s borders.

Safety

Mozambique is a relatively safe place and most travellers shouldn’t have any difficulties. That said, there are a few areas where caution is warranted. Petty theft and robbery are the main risks: watch your pockets or bag in markets; don’t leave personal belongings unguarded on the beach or elsewhere; Don’t carry valuables around. If you leave your vehicle unguarded, don’t be surprised if windscreen wipers and other accessories are gone when you return. Don’t leave anything inside a parked vehicle.

When at stoplights or slowed in traffic, keep your windows up and doors locked, and don’t leave anything on the seat next to you where it could be snatched.When riding on chapas or buses, keep your valuables well inside your clothes to avoid falling victim to unscrupulous entrepreneurs who take advantage of overcrowded conditions to pick their fellow passengers’ pockets.

All this said, don’t let these warnings deter you, simply be a savvy traveller. The vast majority of visitors travel through this beautiful country without incident.

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