Looking for important travel information while backpacking in Mozambique? Here you will find information on working in Mozambique, entry visas, Mozambique hostels, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Facts About Mozambique
- Things to do in Mozambique
- Entry Visa Requirements Mozambique
- Foreigner Work Permits and Backpacker Jobs in Mozambique
- Mozambique Hostels
Facts About Mozambique
Mozambique is one of the most popular choices on the east African traveller route. Its stunning beaches, outstanding scuba diving and temperate climate all offer a good explanation for why it is so popular. Yet it is still far enough off the beaten track to give more adventurous travellers a challenge.
There is a fusion of African, Arabic, Indian and Portuguese influences across the country, and you will be able to find evidence of this in its history and architecture, as well as from the inhabitants. After a dramatic Civil War during the 20th century and flooding at the beginning of the 21st, the country has stabilised and turned itself into an up-and-coming tourist destination, so you will find many of your needs catered for.
Currency – Metical Nova Familia (Mtc)
Time – GMT +2
Language – Portuguese, as well as various African languages
Area Code – 258
Climate in Mozambique
Mozambique has an outstanding climate for most of the year, boasting clear, blue skies that bask the coastline in sunshine, with temperatures ranging from around 24 to 27 degrees Celsius.
However, there is a wet season which lasts from around December/January to April when heavy downpours can often turn the roads into rivers. This is also a very humid time, with temperatures often not falling below 30 degrees Celsius, so it may be advisable not to travel during this period.
The best time to visit Mozambique would be during the cooler, dry season which lasts between May/June to November.
Things to do in Mozambique
When deciding the best things to do in Mozambique, there is an abundance of options. Here are the top bucket-list items when backpacking Mozambique.
Maputo is the country’s capital and is located along the coast, making it a beautiful as well as a bustling city. Its architecture has a great Mediterranean influence and the rest of the city is awash in colour, from the city dwellers to its stalls.
The Praca de Independencia has many sights to see, including the Cathedral, City Hall, the Botanical Gardens and the Iron House. All of these are well worth a visit and tell you something about the history of the city. The National Art Museum has a spectacular collection of sculptures and paintings from some of Mozambique’s current top artists.
If you are an art enthusiast you can visit the house and studio of Malangatana (Mozambique’s most renowned painter), which is filled with many of his paintings, although you have to call ahead to book an appointment (21-465286, 21-465681).
Inhaca Island is about 40km east of Maputo; this a marine research centre is a popular place to visit for locals and tourists alike. Its coral reefs are among the best in the world, making it an exceptional place to dive and snorkel, and the surrounding waters are protected and so are teaming with wildlife. The cheapest place to stay on the island is the Marine Biology Research Station (Tel: 21-492176) but you will have to book rooms long in advance.
Southern Mozambique is lined with exceptional beaches, with Ponta D’Ouro often being the first port of call for many travellers heading this way. This beautiful, large beach pulls many visitors during the summer months, who also come to see the wildlife residing in its waters.
For this reason, Ponta D’Ouro is one of the most popular places to dive in the country, and you will often have the chance to see dolphins and sharks. Camping is available at the Tandje Beach Resort which is near the southern end of town. If you want a slightly slower pace of life head 5km up the coast to Ponta Malongane, whose coastline is fringed by vegetated dunes.
Beira is Mozambique’s second largest city as well as being its busiest port, so is a must for all seafood lovers. There are no major sights in the city, instead just wander around to get a feel for Mozambique life and to take in the sights and sounds of a working port.
Ilha de Mocambique
Ilha de Mocambique (Mozambique Island) is located 3km off the northern coast and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Colonial buildings line the cobbled streets, and there are dozens of museums to keep you busy. The island has a diverse history, which is reflected in the history of its inhabitants and the different religious sites you will find around the island.
Tofo Beach is sometimes called the “next Goa” and is a popular choice with travellers. Located on the eastern coast, its laid back vibe, small yet busy nightlife, great beach and snorkelling and diving opportunities have made it the traveller’s Mecca of Mozambique. There are many dive shops here where you can hire equipment or take courses, or you can simply lie back and soak up the sun.
Unique Activities in Mozambique
Since popular places in Mozambique can get crowded during tourist season, it is wise to reserve tickets and activities ahead of time. GetYourGuide sells entrance tickets to museums and landmarks at face value so you can avoid the lines and save that precious time for more exploring.
Viator is another popular travel website that helps you book things to do in Mozambique. They work directly with local tour operators in Mozambique, so you won’t have to scour the internet or roam around town trying to find the best deal.
How to Find Cheap Flights to Mozambique
In order to find the best flights to Mozambique we recommend using a few well-known flight comparison search engines. These websites offer powerful search options, like entering flexible dates and airports in order to find the cheapest flight to Mozambique.
Our go-to flight search engine is Skyscanner, which we love for its extremely flexible search options. Our favourite way to get travel inspiration is their “Everywhere” feature. Simply enter “Everywhere” as a destination, and it will then list all available flights from your departure city in order of price. This also works when entering the entire country of Mozambique as your destination. Skyscanner will search all possible airports in the country in order to find the cheapest option.
Kiwi is another new favourite flight search engine among savvy travelers. Kiwi works by combining flights from different carriers in order to get the best deal. Also, if there is a better ground or ferry option for the route you’re searching, Kiwi will include that in the search results. On average, we have found the cheapest flights to Mozambique with them compared to the other websites out there.
Most international flights have to stopover in South Africa first, although there are a few flights that enter the country from Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania and Portugal. A tax is charged for all who enter the country; for international flights the tax is 500Mts and for internal flights it is 200MTs, both to be paid in cash. This needs to be paid after you check in from your departure destination, and make sure you get a tax stamp put on your boarding card otherwise you will not be able to board the flight.
The only way to enter Mozambique by train is through Malawi. However, for the reasons stated below you may not wish to choose this method of travel.
The roads that enter from Swaziland and South Africa are decent, but make sure you have all car registration documents and if you are not the owner of the car you will need to have a letter of permission to drive it from the owner. Border checks are vigilant; you will need to have passports and necessary visas.
Bus routes come into the country from Malawi, Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. The roads are generally good and this is a very cheap method of travel. Some require you to swap buses at the border, so make sure you know how long you will have to wait between connections. It is also not advisable to travel by bus during the rainy season as the roads are prone to flooding.
Currently, there is no way to travel into Mozambique via charter boat, although you may be able to hire one from Tanzania and travel across the coast but this may prove quite costly.
How to Travel Around Mozambique on a Budget
Mozambique is vast, thus travelling between destinations can often take days rather than just hours. This means that you want to choose a method of transport that is efficient and comfortable, as well as being affordable.
Bus Travel in Mozambique
Buses and minibuses (chapas) leave early (4am is pretty normal) to get to their destination. They are cheap but are prone to breakdowns and roads are often not in the best conditions.
Train Travel in Mozambique
There is only one train line that travels in the north of the country, connecting Nampula and Cuamba. The trains are often packed and the tracks are in need of servicing, although they are reasonably efficient.
Air travel in Mozambique
Air travel is the best way to get around the country, if you can afford it. Domestic flights are not incredibly pricey but are a more expensive way to travel. Linhas Aereas de Mozambique flies between all major cities. Don’t forget to check Kiwi and Skyscanner to find the best deal and book ahead.
Backpacking Tours in Mozambique
Though part of the fun of backpacking Mozambique is exploring on your own, there are situations, especially when venturing off the tourist trail, when it does make sense to go with a guide or a small group.
G Adventures is another great option for organized travel, but with a smaller group. It’s a great choice for anyone backpacking Mozambique alone who would like to meet up with like-minded travellers. It’s also a practical option for exploring places where you need an experienced guide, like a long hiking adventure or visiting a place well off the beaten path. You can choose from different styles of small group tours like active, wellness, hiking trips, 18-30somethings, and more.
Their most popular trips that include Mozambique is their 13-day Mozambique, Kruger & Swazi Discoverer tour.
Health and Safety in Mozambique
As with travel to all other countries abroad, it is vital that you get travel insurance before you leave for Mozambique. Even for short trips, our go-to travel insurance provider is World Nomads, which is also recommended by Lonely Planet, HostelWorld, and other major travel companies.
Malaria is rife in Mozambique and, as in other East African countries, many malaria tablets have become ineffective. Make sure you see your doctor before you travel to find out which protection will work.
Medicines are not impossible to get hold of, but it is worth carrying a well-stocked first aid kit and you may wish to bring clean needles if you are going to be travelling off the beaten track, as the HIV risk is high. For this reason, also, do not have unprotected sex. Only drink bottled water, or you may wish to bring water purifying tablets if you are going to remote places as you may not be able to buy bottled water here.
In Maputo the two best health clinics are Clinica 222 (Cnr Avenida 24 de Julho and Rua Augusto Cardoso, Tel: 82-000 2220, 21-312222, 21-313000) and Clinica de Commerschield (52 Rua Pereira do Lago, Tel: 82-305 6240, 21-493924/6) which has a lab and a doctor on call. Advance payment will be required.
Entry visa requirements for Mozambique
Virtually all nationalities need a visa in order to enter the country. Sometimes you will be able to get this at the border, but this is not always guaranteed, so make sure you obtain a visa before you leave for Mozambique. They will cost between Mtc40 and Mtc60 and are valid for 30 days.
Single entry visas can last for up to 60 days, although you may be able to get this extended to 90 days. Multiple visit visas are also available, which are valid for up to six months and cost between Mtc70 and Mtc110. Visas can be obtained from The Mozambique High Commission.
You will also need to have a passport that is valid for over six months after you leave the country. It is also obligatory to carry identification at all times in Mozambique; you may be stopped and asked to present your passport whilst in the country.
Visa requirements for Mozambique can vary widely depending on your country of origin and can change over time. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, be sure to check the latest visa requirements while you’re still planning your trip.
Foreigner work permits and backpacker jobs in Mozambique
You will need a work permit if you wish to work in Mozambique, and these need to be applied for when you are in the country itself. Listed below are top sites for employment opportunities in Mozambique:
Mozambique Hostels and Budget Accommodation
We have had good experiences finding hostels in Mozambique on HostelWorld. They have the largest inventory of hostels worldwide, and with over 10 million reviews and ratings from other travellers, you know exactly what to expect.
Another good way to find accommodation in Mozambique is by checking booking.com. You’ll find hotels, homestays, hostels, and other unique accommodations. They have the most reviews and advanced filtering of any accommodation-booking site, so you’ll be sure to find a great place in your budget. Many of the places on booking.com also offer free cancellation, which takes the pressure off the planning phase of your trip to Mozambique.
If you are backpacking with another travel companion, we highly recommend booking a rental via VRBO. With a vacation rental in Mozambique, you’ll have more space, your own kitchen, and you’ll get a better feel for how the locals live. Plus, the cost of a vacation rental can be split among your group, oftentimes making it cheaper than doing individual hotel rooms.
If you’re looking to save even more money while backpacking in Mozambique, there are plenty of creative ways to get free accommodation in exchange for work. For example, one of our favorite ways to stay in amazing locations for free is by signing up as a petsitter with Trusted Housesitters. The site connects responsible animal lovers with petsitting opportunities in Mozambique and all over the world. It’s a win-win for both sides – travellers can stay in amazing locations for free, and homeowners can rest easy knowing that someone is watching over their place.
And lastly, CouchSurfing is a great community that connects travellers with local hosts in Mozambique. You can stay for free with verified hosts, who will usually take some time to show you around the local spots.
Maputo Backpackers (Quarta Avenida, Bairro Triunfo, Tel: 21-451213) has cheap dorms and slightly more expensive private rooms. The place is clean yet cosy and chapas to and from town stop nearby.
There are a few camping grounds located just outside the city, including Rio Savane (Tel: 23-323555, 82-385 7660) which is around 35km away, near the estuary. Biques (Makuti beach, Tel: 23-313051) is not the most up-to-date camping ground, but its sunset views still make it very popular.
If you do not want to camp the Hotel Miramar (Rua Vilas Boas Truao, Tel: 23-322283) offers cheap rooms, either with or without a private bathroom, but it is slightly out of town. A more expensive choice is Pensao Moderna (Rua Alferes da Silva, Tel: 23-329901) but this is located much more centrally.
Ilha de Mocambique
Casuarina Camping ([email protected]) is a two-minute walk from the bridge and has camping on the beach, bungalow-style rooms, bucket-style showers and meals on offer. Casa de Dona Kero (Contracosta, Tel: 26-610034) has small rooms with no fans but offers a continental breakfast. Residencial Amy (Avenida dos Herois) is located near the park and has small rooms, most without exterior windows.
Fatima’s Nest Backpackers ([email protected]) offers bungalows, camping sites and permanent tents. This is the party spot of the beach, with local music being performed and the bar staying open until late many nights of the week.
Bamboozi Backpackers (Tel: 29-329040, [email protected]) is a much quieter spot, located further up the beach away from the main action. Dorms, huts and chalets are available but bring your sleeping bag as some of them are exposed to the wind and can be cold at night.
Useful Links for Backpacking in Mozambique
- GAdventures – guided small group tours in Mozambique, great for solo travellers or for those interested in a more adventurous trip which would require a guide
- Kiwi and Skyscanner – Flight comparison search engines to find the cheapest flights to Mozambique and within the country
- GetYourGuide and Viator – a collection of local tours and activities in Mozambique. Also offers Skip the Line tickets for crowded attractions
- HostelWorld – #1 hostel search website to find accommodation while backpacking Mozambique. Thousands of hostels and millions of reviews from fellow travellers
- Booking.com – commonly used booking site for accommodation in Mozambique. Find hostels, hotels, and other unique accommodations in Mozambique with advanced filtering and millions of reviews
- World Nomads Travel Insurance – Comprehensive travel insurance for long and short trips when backpacking Mozambique
There you have it, the ultimate Mozambique backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Mozambique.
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