Mozambique

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Thursday, 09 October 2014.   It contains new information in the Summary and under Safety and security (general elections will take place in Mozambique on Wednesday 15 October 2014. Australians should exercise caution in the period surrounding the elections). We advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Nampula, Manica and Sofala provinces, with the exception of travel by air to the provincial capitals of Nampula, Chimoio and Beira. We continue to advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Mozambique overall because of high levels of serious crime.

Mozambique overall

Sofala province, with the exception of Beira

Manica and Nampula provinces, with the exception of the cities of Chimoio and Nampula

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Mozambique because of high levels of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. Avoid travelling at night.
  • General elections will take place in Mozambique on Wednesday 15 October 2014. Australians should exercise caution in the period surrounding the elections. See the Safety and security section.
  • Demonstrations can occur with little warning. You should avoid all demonstrations and protests as they may become violent.
  • There has been an increase in reports of violent criminal activity, including criminal kidnapping in Maputo and Beira.
  • We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Sofala province, with the exception of air travel to Beira, the provincial capital.
  • There have been violent clashes in the Gorongosa area of central Sofala province between the army and opposition group Renamo including armed attacks against civilian vehicles. If you choose to travel to this area, be vigilant and avoid unnecessary road travel between Sofala province and surrounding areas.
  • We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Nampula and Manica provinces, with the exception of air travel to the provincial capitals of Nampula and Chimoio. There have been reports of violent clashes between government forces and Renamo in Manica and Nampula provinces, and an armed attack on a civilian vehicle travelling between Nampula and Malema. Take extra care when travelling by road outside urban areas in Nampula and Manica provinces.
  • In early January 2014 there were reports of clashes between Renamo and government forces in Homoine district of Inhambane Province. Check local media and exercise caution if travelling in this region.
  • Australia has a consulate in Mozambique headed by an Honorary Consul, which can provide limited consular and passport assistance. The Australian High Commission in South Africa provides full consular and passport assistance to Australians in Mozambique.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Mozambique for the most up to date information.

If you are arriving from a country where yellow fever is present, a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required.

Australians travelling to or from Mozambique through South Africa (including transiting) should read the Entry and exit section of our travel advice for South Africa. In particular, you should note South Africa’s Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate requirements and its policy on provisional travel documents (i.e. one page travel documents).

Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Civil unrest/Political tension

General elections in Mozambique will take place on Wednesday 15 October 2014. Australians should exercise caution and carefully consider whether travel is necessary in the period immediately surrounding the elections.

Although widespread unrest is not anticipated, election periods can lead to localised demonstrations that can turn violent; the possible use of force by security services to handle demonstrations or incidents of public disorder; or the disruption of transportation services. Depending on election results, unrest and the potential for violence may increase immediately following the elections.

The Australian Government is closely monitoring election activity throughout Mozambique and will provide updates should the level of risk to Australians change.

You should avoid all protests and demonstrations, particularly in the election period, as they may turn violent. Demonstrations can occur with little warning.

Sofala province

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Sofala province, with the exception of air travel to Beira, the provincial capital.

In late 2013, there were violent clashes between the army and forces from the opposition party (Renamo) in the Gorongosa area of Sofala province, including reports of armed attacks against civilian vehicles in the area. Be vigilant and avoid unnecessary road travel between Sofala province and surrounding areas.

Nampula and Manica provinces

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Nampula and Manica provinces, with the exception of air travel to the provincial capitals of Nampula and Chimoio. There were reports in late 2013 of violent clashes between government forces and Renamo in Nampula and Manica provinces, and an armed attack on a civilian vehicle travelling between Nampula and Malema. Take extra care when travelling by road outside urban areas in Nampula and Manica provinces.

Inhambane province

In January 2014 there was a reported clash between Renamo and government forces in Homoine district in Inhambane Province. The situation remains tense. Check local media and exercise caution if travelling in this region.

Tete province

In March 2014, there were several reported clashes between Renamo and government forces in Tete province. Monitor local media and exercise caution if travelling in this region.

Crime

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution because of high levels of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.

Petty crime is common throughout the country, especially muggings and bag snatching. Foreigners have been targeted.

Armed robbery and break-ins are common in Maputo and in other towns. There have been a number of restaurants and cafes targeted after dark by gangs of armed robbers.

Violent attacks, including sexual assault, can occur at any time of day. Serious assault and robberies have occurred at two coastal resorts in the Inhambane province. Isolated beaches and picnic spots should be avoided. Criminal activity increases at night and during holiday periods. You should avoid walking at night, even in well-known tourist areas.

Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.

Carjacking is common, particularly in Maputo and on routes to Mutare, Zimbabwe and South Africa. You should avoid travelling at night.

Criminal kidnappings occur regularly in Maputo and have also been known to occur in Beira. While the majority of victims have been Mozambican nationals, foreigners have been threatened. The kidnappings have occurred in public areas and have been perpetrated by armed individuals. You should be cautious about your surroundings and avoid displays of obvious wealth.

Money and valuables

There are several ATMs in Maputo from which local currency can be obtained using a credit card. In addition, US dollars and South African Rands can be changed in all urban centres across Mozambique. Travellers' cheques in US dollars or Euros are accepted at major banks in Maputo but can only be changed for local currency. Travellers' cheques are very difficult to change in other areas of Mozambique and a high rate of commission is charged where the facility does exist. Only a few hotels and restaurants in major urban centres accept credit cards. Keep your credit card in sight at all times when using it. The export or import of local currency is prohibited.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

Driving in Mozambique can be hazardous due to poor road conditions, local driving practices and inadequate lighting. It is especially dangerous to drive after dark in rural areas. Drivers should look out for pedestrians and livestock, especially in rural areas. During the rainy season (November to April) travel by four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for most road travel outside Maputo. Many roads in the Gaza and Inhambane provinces and parts of Sofala, Zambezia and Tete provinces, including the North-South road, are subject to flooding and damage in the rainy season. For further advice, see our road travel page.

There are reports of pedestrians deliberately causing accidents in order to extort money from foreign drivers.

Checkpoints are common throughout Mozambique and drivers should obey police signals to stop. There have been reports of police soliciting bribes from tourists.

Unmarked minefields are found away from the main road networks in remote, rural areas, especially in the central and southern provinces. Travellers should remain on well-travelled roads

Piracy occurs in the Indian Ocean. To the north of Mozambique’s waters, attacks by pirates against all forms of shipping around Somalia's waters and the Gulf of Aden are increasing in frequency. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website. See also our piracy bulletin for more information.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Mozambique.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Mozambique, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

It is required by law that you carry identification at all times (passport, identity documents or notarised copies).

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include prison sentences.

Homosexual activity is illegal and penalties may include being placed on a good behaviour bond, probation or internment in a workhouse or agricultural colony for up to three years. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Government buildings, other infrastructure and officials should not be photographed without permission from the Ministry of Information.

It is illegal to export or import the local currency (meticais).

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Information for dual nationals

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Medical facilities in Mozambique are limited. While costs are generally lower than in Australia, up-front payment will be required before receiving treatment regardless of whether the patient has travel insurance. In the event of serious illness or injury, medical evacuation to a country with state-of-the-art medical facilities may be required which can be very expensive. Medical evacuation to South Africa from Mozambique can cost up to $A25,000.

Malaria is prevalent throughout the year in Mozambique. Other insect-borne diseases (including filariasis, plague and African sleeping sickness) are also common. We encourage you to take prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid insect bites including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Mozambique is high. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including cholera, hepatitis, tuberculosis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. It is recommended that all drinking water be boiled or that you drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw or undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas. Australia has a Consulate in Mozambique, headed by an Honorary Consul, who can provide limited consular and passport assistance. You can obtain full consular and passport assistance from the Australian High Commission, in Pretoria, South Africa:

Australian High Commission, Pretoria

292 Orient Street
Arcadia
Pretoria, South Africa
Telephone (27 12) 423 6000
Facsimile (27 12) 342 8442
Email pretoria.info@dfat.gov.au
Website www.southafrica.embassy.gov.au

Australian Honorary Consulate, Maputo

Honorary Consul
Michelle Smith
Australian Consulate
1571 Av Zimbabwe
Somerschield
Maputo
Mozambique
Telephone (258) 21 303 371
Facsimile (258) 21 303 373
Mobile (258) 84 3009999
Email mozhonoraryconsul@gmail.com

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Mozambique we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the above Embassy, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

The rainy season is November to April when flash floods and mudslides can occur, making some roads impassable. Flooding occurs on low ground around rivers and coastal areas during the rainy season. Cyclones may occur along the coastal areas of Mozambique. Mozambique is also subject to earthquakes.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following link:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.