Mozambique is a southern African nation whose long Indian Ocean coastline is dotted with popular 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. It’s also a diving and snorkeling destination, as is Bazaruto Archipelago farther south, with reefs protecting rare marine life including dugongs.
British nationals need a visa to enter Mozambique. All tourists and those travelling for work purposes from countries where there is a Mozambican diplomatic mission must get a tourist or business visa before travelling. If you’re travelling from a country where there is no Mozambican diplomatic mission you can get a visa on arrival although visitors have sometimes reported problems doing so.
You must present on entry a return air ticket (for air travelers) and either an invitation from family / friends or a confirmed hotel reservation.
You can apply for a visa at the High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique, 21 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 6EL, and telephone: + 44 (0)20 7383 3800.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date your visa for Mozambique was issued, and have at least two blank pages.
The authorities of Mozambique have confirmed they will accept British passports extended by 12 months by British Embassies and Consulates under additional measures put in place in mid-2014.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Mozambique unless the holder is a returning resident. However, ETDs are accepted for exit from Mozambique.
Yellow fever Certificate
Yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. If you can’t present a valid certificate on entry you may need to be vaccinated locally at your expense.
It can take a long time to clear border formalities at the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia land crossing with South Africa, especially during holiday periods and if you are travelling on public transport. Allow adequate time to arrive at your destination before nightfall.
Travelling with children via a South African airport
If you’re transiting through a South African airport with children, see our South Africa travel advice page for information and advice about the documents you’ll need to carry.
Contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.
Hospital facilities are generally poor in Mozambique, especially in the north of the country. In cases of serious illness or injury, medical evacuation to South Africa or the UK may be necessary.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 1,200,000 adults aged 15 or over in Mozambique were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 11.5% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. Exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 08911 or 21313103 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Make sure you can access money in a variety of ways. Travellers’ Cheques are not commonly accepted. US Dollars and South African Rand are the main exchange currencies. Credit cards are increasingly accepted in the larger cities. You should tell your bank before using your card in Mozambique. Don’t enter or exit the country with more than 500 Meticais.
Local laws and customs
You must by law carry original identity documents at all times and present them on request to the authorities. Police patrols and checkpoints are common. Don’t hand over your passport to anyone other than an official. Ask to see their ID if in doubt.
Photographing government offices, airports, military establishments, residences and the police or officials is illegal without special permission from the Ministry of Information. If in doubt, don’t take pictures. Drug use, possession and trafficking are serious offences. Punishments can include long jail terms and heavy fines.
Most visits to Mozambique are trouble-free, but street crime, sometimes involving knives and firearms, is common in Maputo and increasing in other cities and tourist destinations.
Be vigilant at all times. Beaches or offshore islands are not policed. Avoid walking alone at night and don’t display valuables or money. Use a hotel safe if possible. Avoid withdrawing cash from ATMs at night.
There has been an increase in reports of carjacking, particularly in Maputo. Keep your car doors locked while driving. Be particularly vigilant when arriving at or leaving residential properties after dark. Avoid driving alone at night.
There have been sometimes been incidents of car-jacking between Boane and the Swaziland border crossing points of Namaacha and Goba. Be vigilant if you’re travelling by road to Swaziland.
Be extra vigilant and avoid travelling around after dark.
Don’t pick up strangers or stop to help distressed motorists or pedestrians. Hijackers sometimes use these techniques to trick motorists into stopping their vehicle. If in doubt, drive directly to a police station.
Some visitors to Mozambique report being victims of police harassment, including robbery, or requests for bribes. If a police officer threatens you or asks for a bribe, report the incident to the British High Commission so that we can lodge a complaint with the authorities
If you are a victim of any form of crime, contact the local police immediately and get a police report. If your passport is stolen you should also contact the British High Commission and inform the local immigration authorities.
There have been kidnappings reported in Mozambique, mainly in Maputo. While most victims have been Mozambican nationals, foreigners have also been targeted.
The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.
All known minefields have been cleared in Mozambique’s Northern provinces (Nampula, Cabo Delgado, Zambezia, Niassa). In the central and southern provinces (Sofala, Tete, Manica, Gaza, Inhambane, Maputo) mines still exist in remote areas, away from main routes. Seek advice from district authorities if you’re travelling in these areas.
Traffic accidents are common due to the condition of the roads and poor driving and vehicle standards. Always drive carefully and be aware of pedestrians using the roads.
Overland travel on public transport can be hazardous due to poor vehicle and road conditions. If you doubt a vehicle’s condition, make alternative arrangements.
Low lying areas around major rivers flood regularly during the rainy season (November – April) making many roads impassable. Check local conditions before travelling. Make sure you have emergency supplies, including a first aid kit.
Only travel by road outside Maputo and other major cities during daylight. Where possible, keep to major roads and travel in convoy in rural areas. Fuel is often only available in larger towns.
UK driving licenses are valid for up to 90 days. If you intend to stay longer you should get an International Driving Permit or apply for a Mozambican license. It is an offence not to carry your driving license with you when driving. Be ready to present original car documentation when requested by the police.
Third party insurance cover is compulsory. You can buy this at most land borders. You should carry two reflective triangles and a reflective vest in your vehicle at all times. You must wear the reflective vest when repairing, loading or unloading a vehicle. Police officers sometimes attempt to extract bribes from tourists. Don’t pay a bribe to anyone. If you are stopped by the police, ask for a clear explanation of the offence and a written fine that can be paid at a police station.
All Mozambican airlines have been refused permission to operate services to the EU. The EU ban was imposed because the Mozambican regulatory authority was unable to verify that these airlines comply with international safety standards.
You should avoid flying with Mozambican certified carriers subject to the EU operating ban. British government employees are advised to use carriers that are not subject to the operating ban.
River and Sea travel
Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and has occurred as far as 1000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia.
Monitor local media for latest information and avoid all demonstrations and protests.