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 those who choose to use public transport.
Trains travel to and from Maputo and South Africa, but the trains 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 chapas is usually used to take the overflow of passengers. Like the 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 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 that 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 use. 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, driver's licence, vehicle registration papers and insurance details. It is recommended that expats fill up their car wherever possible, as petrol stations can be few and far between.
►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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