Mozambique

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Mozambique was one of world’s poorest countries in 1975, but has emerged as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. It is expected to become one of the world’s largest exporters of coking and thermal coal, as well as liquefied natural gas.

FACT FILE
Population:
24 million
Time zone: GMT+2
Plugs: Two-pin round
Dialling code: +254
Currency: Metical – $1=29.7MZN
Language: Portuguese, English

BACKGROUND

Since independence from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique has been battered by civil war, economic mismanagement and famine.

But its transition from a post-conflict country to one of Africa’s “frontier economies” has been nothing short of impressive. Economic growth has been bolstered by important foreign direct investment into the burgeoning energy and natural resources sectors, among others. The country has positioned itself as a natural gateway to global markets for neighbouring land-locked countries.

Mozambique continues to enjoy strong economic growth, projected at over 8% of gross domestic product in 2014.

BUSINESS TRAVEL NEWS

2014 saw some change on the Maputo hotel front.

Most significantly, Carlson Rezidor opened the new Radisson Blu Hotel, Maputo. Located on a prominent beach avenue, in close proximity to the airport and seven kilometres from the city centre, it has 154 rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, and enjoys ocean views. Filini Bar & Restaurant serves Italian food, and there are three bars on site. The hotel also has a fitness centre, sw swimming pool, three meeting rooms, a versatile conference room, and a pre-function area, all with air-conditioning and advanced audio-visual equipment.

The other significant hotel development saw Tsogo Sun’s Southern Sun Maputo close for renovations between April and August. The renovations included the addition of 111 rooms and conference facilities, the refurbishment of the existing 158 rooms and public areas, and an expansion of the restaurant, lobby, and back-of-house facilities. Mediterranean influences from Mozambique’s rich history have been incorporated into every aspect of the hotel’s new design, including carpets, fabrics and furnishing detail. The hotel expansion also included the addition of a new 120-seat conference centre, two new meeting rooms and a brand new business centre.

Elsewhere, the Minor Hotel Group opened the first Avani-branded hotel in Africa – the Avani Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa. The former Rani Resorts Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa is situated in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, in the port town of Pemba.

On the airline scene, South African Airways added additional frequencies to its network in late 2014, including an increased ser v ice to Maputo. Flights from Johannesburg to Maputo increased from 17 to 21 weekly services.

Auric Air, a private Tanzanian airline, announced changes to its schedule, with the airline now flying three times a day to Pemba.

South Africa’s Airlink commenced scheduled services between Nelspruit Kruger and Vilanculos. Flights operate on Thursdays and Sundays, departing Nelspruit at 11h35 and arriving in Vilanculos at 12h50. The return flight, connecting the coastal Mozambique town with Johannesburg, departs Vilanculos at 13h45 and arrives in Johannesburg at 15h30.

CITIES

Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, is located to the south of the country. All embassies, ministries and major companies’ head offices are based in Maputo. It’s the heart of the business sector.

The second major port of Mozambique, Beira, is located at the mouth of the Pungwe River in Sofala province.

Nampula is the third largest city in Mozambique. A new railway is being built to transport coal from Tete to Nampula using one of the biggest harbours in Mozambique. Construction of a new airport is also under way.

Pemba is a cosmopolitan centre that lies in the third largest bay in the world, where the bush meets the beach, and forests of baobab trees stretch down to the water where many dhows can be seen making their way across the bay.

Tete is located on a plateau on the Zambezi River, about 500 metres above sea level. It is one of the hottest places in the country, the largest city on the river, and has huge coal reserves.

AIRLINES & AIRPORTS

Maputo International Airport is located three kilometres north-west of the centre of Maputo. Most international flights arrive from South Africa, although direct international routes also exist between Mozambique and Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Portugal. A new terminal building has recently been completed and is now operational.

Maputo International has ATMs, foreign exchange, a duty-free section, and a café, as well as two business lounges – the CIP Premium Lounge and the Flamingo Lounge. The CIP Premium Lounge is situated airside, opposite gate 1 in the main departure hall, after the security checks and passport control. Its operating hours are 05h00-23h00 daily, although those hours sometimes vary according to the flight schedule. Check-in facilities are available in the lounge, although at a cost. Children under 12 are not permitted entry. No smoking is allowed in the lounge, but a separate smoking area is available. Lounge facilities include: air-conditioning; disabled access; newspapers/magazines; television; alcohol; flight info monitor; refreshments; fax; phone and Wi-Fi.

Beira Airport is serviced by airlines such as Airlink, LAM, and Malawi Airlines. Nampula Air port is a hub for Kaya Airlines, and is also served by Airlink, Kenya Airways, LAM, Malawi Airlines, and Precision Air. Pemba Airport is quite small, and caters for limited international and domestic flights. Chingozi Airport (or Matundo Airport) is an airport in Tete, and plans for a new airport are in the pipeline.

HOTELS

Hotels throughout Mozambique are currently revelling in very high occupancy rates, and reservations are not always honoured by the frontdesk. It is therefore advisable to reconfirm all bookings before arrival, especially if your booking is done via the GDS or through an online hotel booking site.

Maputo, like any capital, offers good quality accommodation. Located on the Maputo beachfront, the recently refurbished Southern Sun Maputo is a popular haven for business and leisure guests, and is a mere seven kilometres from the airport.

The magnificent 5-star Polana Serena has long been considered one of Africa’s finest hotels, and belongs to the Serena group. It has always lent a touch of class to the Maputo hotel scene, but definitely benefitted from an extensive renovation programme. A showcase of modern design, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Maputo is obviously the ‘new kid on the block’. It is located near businesses, embassies and consulates. The hotel overlooks the Indian Ocean and places visitors within easy reach of the airport and the cit y centre. Carlson Rezidor also has a presence in Tete, with a Park Inn by Radisson, which has made a big impact on Tete’s accommodation offering.

Lonrho Hotels has a presence in Maputo in the form of the Hotel Cardoso, which has earned itself an excellent reputation, whilst Pestana has the 4-star Pestana Rovuma Hotel & Business Centre in the centre of Maputo, which is popular with business travellers. Further options in Maputo include the Afrin Prestige Hotel and the Hotel Avenida.

CARD ACCEPTANCE

The metical (meticais plural) is a relatively stable currency linked to the US dollar. Despite that, Mozambicans prefer payments in meticais, and Mozambican law requires that all transactions have a meticais payment option. However, in areas that are heavily influenced by South African tourists and tour operators, cash payments in rands may also be accepted.

The importation and exportation of meticais into and out of Mozambique is limited to 500MZN. It is wise to ensure that you do not arrive or leave with more than that amount. It is also against the law to destroy Mozambican currency.

Travellers cheques are not recommended and are expensive to exchange in the banks. Exchanging dollars, euros, and rands is easily done at airports and banks. Familiar pan-African banks present in Mozambique include Stanbie, UBA and Ecobank. Exchanging money on the streets or with individuals at the border posts is illegal and often expensive.

There are many banks in Mozambique that take international credit and bank cards, and ATMs are found throughout the country’s larger cities, but not necessarily on the islands or near many remote beach lodges. ATMs in Mozambique dispense meticais only. We suggest you contact your bank before leaving home to ensure smooth access to your funds while travelling in Mozambique. You should also be aware that credit card and ATM fraud are common in Southern Africa. For your own safety, avoid using ATMs located outside enclosed areas, and avoid using ATMs at night. Only MasterCards and Visa credit cards are increasingly accepted by major restaurants and hotels in the larger cities, where telecommunications allow for the transaction to take place. Outside the major cities, no credit cards are accepted, and that includes at major hotels. American Express, Diners Club and all other credit cards are not accepted in Mozambique.

VISAS

Travellers from the following countries do not require a visa to enter Mozambique: South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Mauritius, Malawi and Swaziland.

All other passport holders require a tourist visa to enter Mozambique. An invitation or confirmed hotel reservation, as well as a return air ticket for those arriving by plane, may also be required.

In the past, Mozambique has issued 30-day single entry tourist visas at most major border points, but this is no longer the case. Citizens of countries with a Mozambican consulate or embassy representation must purchase a tourist visa prior to entry.

If you are travelling on business, ensure that you have the correct visa for the purpose and length of your stay.

Important note: when you receive your visa, verify the duration of its validity. Look for “autorizado a permaneçer pelo período de … dias” with a number. That number represents the number of days you are allowed to stay in Mozambique.

CONNECTIVITY

Mozambique has several cellular service providers who also offer 3G internet. Otherwise, there are internet cafes in most cities, and many hotels offer Wi-Fi.

Mcel has the largest reach in the country, whilst Vodacom Mozambique is a no her notable player.

Both offer reasonable rates, but pay special attention to data roaming costs.

It is always worthwhile to use a local sim card to manage costs and stay connected.

HE ALTH

Mozambique is a malaria risk country, and it’s recommended that you visit a travel clinic four to six weeks before departing. Have the recommended vaccinations and keep the record booklet. If you are visiting a malaria risk area, be sure to continue taking your anti-malarial drugs for seven days or four weeks, depending on which drug you’ve been prescribed, after you’ve left the area. Remember to pack all regular prescription medications, plus any recommended medications, insect repellents and other supplies.

It’s also recommended that you are vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid. You can contract both of these diseases through contaminated food or water in Mozambique, regardless of where you are eating or staying.

There is no risk of yellow fever in Mozambique, and the government only requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country with a risk of yellow fever. This does not include the United States.

TR AVEL TIPS

In the past, Mozambican border officials were fairly relaxed, but they are now clamping down more and more on people who want to bring plenty of supplies in from South Africa. All towns have basic supplies, and t he bigger cities/towns such as Maputo, Xa -Xai, Inhambane and Vilanculos have just about everything you need. Ensure you t ravel with a big enough supply of prescribed medicines, medicine for mild pain (paracetamol), and insect (mosquito) repellent (citronella, Tabard etc).

Alcohol is also subject to normal border restrictions – these being one bottle of spirits or two bottles of wine per person. The limit for cigarettes is 200 per person – if you’re a smoker, try the local brands, as it’s cheaper.

CONTACTS

qe-mz.com/corporate-travel
danatours.net  

This profile was supplied by BCD Travel
Contact: +27 11 274 4000
Email: jennifer.turner@bcdtravel.co.za
Web: bcdtravel.co.za

OPINION PIECE
PAUL TRACY
VICE-PRESIDENT EMEA PARTNER NETWORK, BCD TRAVEL

Mozambique is probably one of the most enjoyable countries to visit. From when you get off the flight, you are welcomed by friendly faces. The airport is a mere seven kilometres to the city centre, and it is safe to take a taxi from outside. If travelling for the first time I would recommend you arrange a pick-up with your local host. Although Portuguese is widely spoken, most locals can get by with a bit of English.

Travel with a little foreign currency. US dollars are accepted at the airport, as are meticais. I recommend that you buy a local sim card, snacks, and most importantly water, as the temperatures are usually very high.

When you leave the airport, there are local taxis outside that can take you to your destination, and you can obviously pay them in meticais or US dollars.

Maputo is a buzzing city from day to night – it seems like people never sleep. The roads are in good condition, and there’s a noticeably high amount of infrastructure development. That includes the roads linking Maputo and Pemba, which are being built.

Good hotels are in abundance and run very high occupancies. The average rate is normally above $250 a night in the city hotels. I stayed at the Southern Sun Maputo, which has recently been refurbished. All the rooms are sea-facing, there is complimentary Wi-Fi, and a great breakfast – all the ingredients for a productive business day.

While you may well be tempted to indulge in the many excellent services and facilities offered by the hotel, and want to make it your office – I noticed that many business travellers use it for meetings – you will find wandering away from the hotel to discover the Mozambican culinary offering very rewarding.

HOTELS
MAPUTO
Catembe Gallery – galleryhotel.co.mz
Girassol Indy Congress – girassolhoteis.co.mz
Hotel 2001 – hotel2001.com
Hotel Africa – hotelafrica.co.mz
Hotel Cardoso – lonrhohotels.com
Hotel Turismo – hturismo.com
Hoyo-Hoyo – hoyohoyo.odline.com
Moçambicano – hotelmocambicano.com
Pestana Rovuma – pestana.com
Polana Serena – serenahotels.com
Radisson Blu – radissonblu.com
Rani – raniresorts.com
Southern Sun Maputo –tsogosunhotels.com
TD Avenida – tdhotels.com
TD Tivoli – tdhotels.com
Villa das Arábias – villadasarabias.com
VIP Grand Maputo – viphotels.com

TETE
Park Inn by Radisson – parkinn.com
Villa Habsburg – villahabsburg.com

CAR HIRE
Avis – avis.com
Europcar – europcar.com
Sixt – sixt.com

TMC
Access-to-Africa – access-to-africa.com
American Express – americanexpresstravel.co.za
BCD – bcdtravel.com
CWT – carlsonwagonlit.com
FCm – fcm.travel
HRG – hrgworldwide.com
SATC – satravelcentre.com
TWF – travelwithflair.co.za
Wings – wings.travel