Travel and visas in Mozambique

Visas

A valid passport is required to enter Mozambique. The date of expiry should be at least six months after you intend to end your travels; if it is likely to expire before that, get a new passport.

South Africans

If you are travelling on a South African passport (or one from another neighbouring country), you no longer need a visa to enter Mozambique: when you arrive at the border, you will be given a free entry permit valid for up to 30 days. However, these permits cannot be extended in Mozambique itself. If you intend on staying longer, then either you will need to get a single-entry visa valid for the required period in advance, or you must leave and re-enter Mozambique before that month expires.

All other nationalities

Visas are required by everyone else and individual visitors are allotted a maximum of 90 days per year on a tourist visa. It is possible to purchase a 30-day, single-entry tourist visa upon arrival at 44 border crossings (the remaining 14 borders are the least crossed and are expected to have the capability to issue visas upon arrival in the near future), including international airports. The cost per visa is Mt2,000 (approx US$40), but, if you lack local currency, you could be charged as much as US$80.

The visa can be extended in-country up to two times for an additional 30 days (making 90 days in total) at any of the immigration offices that are located in all provincial capitals. By contrast, purchasing a 90-day multi-entry visa in advance may require you to cross a border in and out of the country every 30 days.

Although each office tends to have its own flow rate, extensions typically require at least a week for processing, so be sure to submit your passport for extensions two to three business days prior to the visa’s expiration and plan on picking it up a week from submission.

Getting there and away

By air

The only airlines with direct flights to/from Europe are TAP Air Portugal and, in a new service since 2020, the Mozambican national carrier, LAM, both of which route through Lisbon. Another reasonably direct option from certain European cities, including London, is Ethiopian Airlines, routing through Addis Ababa, or Kenya Airways, routing through Nairobi.

It is more common for European and other intercontinental visitors to fly to Johannesburg (South Africa) and transfer to Mozambique from there, and Qatar Airways now flies from Doha to Maputo. South African Airways operate plenty of flights daily between Johannesburg and Maputo, and the former also flies from Maputo to all provincial capitals in Mozambique.

SAA also flies direct to Maputo from Durban, as well as directly from Johannesburg to Vilankulo, Beira, Tete, Nampula and Pemba in partnership with Airlink. A new international airport, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi Airport, has been built in Chongoene, near Xai-Xai. Opened at the end of 2021, the airport is currently served by LAM, operating flights from Maputo and Johannesburg.

By land

Provided you arrive at the border with a visa, you should have no problem entering Mozambique overland, nor is there a serious likelihood of being asked about onward tickets, funds or vaccination certificates. About the worst you can expect at customs is a cursory search of your luggage.

Tours2moz runs a shuttle service from South Africa, starting from Johannesburg or Pretoria and going to various destinations (including hotels and hostels) in Mozambique, from Ponta do Ouro to Maputo and up the coast to Xai-Xai, Tofo, Barra, Inhambane and Vilankulo.

Getting around

By air

Given Mozambique’s size, and the variable conditions of some of the roads, internal flights can be an attractive option. The provincial capitals all have their own airports and most have regular scheduled flights. Prices tend to be high, however, a situation that dates back to when the national airline, LAM, had a monopoly on internal flights. This is beginning to change, and you can often pick up (relatively) competitive flight prices on their website.

By boat

There are regular ferries between Maputo, Katembe and Inhaca, as well as between Maxixe and Inhambane. Boats must also be used to get between Vilankulo or Inhassoro and the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago, to Ibo Island in northern Mozambique, and to cross some of the country’s main rivers and inland waterways (the Zambezi River, Ruvuma River and Lago Niassa, for instance).

If travelling by sea is your thing, you may be able to find the odd trawler plying the coast between Beira and Quelimane, or the occasional supply boat to coastal villages south of Beira; in the far north near the Tanzanian border, private fishing dhows are a legitimate alternative to travelling by road.

By rail

There are only four passenger routes that would interest travellers: between Maputo and the South African border at Ressano Garcia; between Nampula and Cuamba; between Cuamba and Lichinga; and to/from Maputo and the Zimbabwean border at Chicualacuala (Vila Eduardo Mondlane). The rest of the network, though marked on the maps, is either out of action or only used for freight trains and, while you may be able to hitch a lift on one, travelling by road will be quicker and easier.

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