Time zone: GMT+2
Plugs: Two-pin round
Dialling code: +254
Currency: Metical – $1=51MZN
Language: Portuguese, English
Mozambique was one of world’s poorest countries in 1975, but has emerged as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, largely as a result of its status as potentially one of the world’s largest exporters of coking and thermal coal, as well as liquefied natural gas. As a result, economic growth has been bolstered by important foreign direct investment into the burgeoning energy and natural resources sectors. Mozambique’s long coastline also positions it as a natural gateway to global markets for neighbouring land-locked countries.
All of that being said, political instability is never too far away, despite the ruling Frelimo party managing a working relationship with the opposition Renamo movement over the past 23 years.
Crime has also become an issue, although the prevailing feeling is that Mozambique is too resource-rich to chase investors away. Those with a vested interest, however, would do well to keep one eye on the political situation.
Maputo, the capital, is located to the south of the country. All embassies, ministries and major companies’ head offices are based in Maputo and 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, whilst Nampula is the third largest city in Mozambique.
Pemba is a cosmopolitan centre that lies in the third largest bay in the world, whilst 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 a few kilometres north-west of the centre of Maputo and transfer time to the CBD can be as little as 15 minutes. Direct international routes exist between Mozambique and South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Qatar, Turkey and Portugal.
LAM, the national airline, also offers direct services to Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Luanda, Harare, Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam.
Airlink is a major supplier of flights between South Africa and Mozambique, flying direct to Maputo, Vilanculos, Beira, Pemba, Nampula and Tete, from Johannesburg, Nelspruit and Durban.
Maputo International has a rehabilitation programme in place and this would follow the completion of new international and domestic terminals in the last three years. 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 inside the lounge, although at a cost.
All the major hotels offer transit shuttles, but it is advisable to book these in advance with your reservation.
Beira Airport is serviced by airlines such as Airlink, LAM, and Malawian Airlines. Nampula Airport is a hub for Kaya Airlines, and is also served by Airlink, Kenya Airways, LAM, and Malawian Airlines. 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 facility are in the pipeline.
Maputo, like any capital, offers good quality accommodation, with hotel group representation from Carlson Rezidor, Tsogo Sun, Pestana, Serena and Girassol.
Located on the Maputo beachfront, the refurbished Southern Sun Maputo is a popular haven for business and leisure guests, and is a mere seven kilometres from the airport. In the last two years it has added new conference facilities and is now able to accommodate both large and small conferences and events. Following the completion of a $30m refurbishment in 2014, the hotel also now offers 269 guest rooms and an expanded restaurant and lobby.
The 5-star Polana Serena has long enjoyed a good reputation, 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.
The Radisson Blu Hotel, Maputo is located near businesses, embassies and consulates. The hotel overlooks the Indian Ocean and places visitors within easy reach of the airport and city centre. The hotel has 154 rooms and complimentary wi-fi, while the Filini Bar & Restaurant serves Italian food and there are three bars on site. The hotel also has a fitness centre, swimming pool, three meeting rooms, a versatile conference room, and a pre-function area.
The Hotel Cardoso is one of Maputo’s established hotels and sits on the city’s cliff top with 130 rooms, spacious gardens, a large swimming pool and inviting terraces.
In the heart of Maputo, in front of the Old Cathedral, you’ll find the 4-star Pestana Rovuma Hotel & Conference Centre, which is popular with business travellers. It has 117 air-conditioned rooms with satellite TV and great views of the city from the rooms’ balconies. There’s also a pool, health club and sauna, whilst the Monomotapa Restaurant serves both buffet and a la carte meals across breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a convenient extra, there’s a mini shopping centre on the ground level, with a variety of shops and services, including a coffee shop and bakery. With regards conferencing, the hotel can accommodate 400 delegates.
Further options in Maputo include the Afrin Prestige Hotel and the Hotel Avenida, whilst Girassol offers two 4-star properties, in the form of the Indy Congress Hotel & Spa and the Bahia Hotel.
Girassol also has a presence in the coal-rich city of Tete, in the north-west of the country, with the Songa Hotel, whilst Carlson Rezidor is the big international brand there, with the Park Inn by Radisson Tete, which has 117 rooms and is only three kilometres from the airport.
There are no big international brands in Beira, with TripAdvisor citing the Sena Hotel, the Golden Peacock Resort Hotel, the Hotel Tivoli Beira, the VIP Inn Beira Hotel, and the Rainbow Hotel Mocambique as the top five options to consider.
With regards Nampula, it’s another city with a Girassol hotel, in the form of the Nampula Hotel, but again there is little in the way of brands, with TripAdvisor recommending the Luna Hotel Executivo, the Hotel Milenio, and the Hotel Residencial Quality.
The same can be said for Pemba, although 2014 did see Minor International open 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. It has 185 rooms, villas and self-catering apartments, as well as a food and beverage offering that includes Quirimbas, Clube Naval (‘south-east African and Mediterranean tastes by the marina’), and the Niassa Bar, which serves light Asian bites.
Minor also has three Anantara properties – Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa, Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa, and Matemo Island Resort & Spa – in Mozambique, although these properties are obviously more leisure travel-focused, whilst the group also has a stake in the Radisson Blu in Maputo.
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.
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. Only countries that do not have an embassy may obtain visas on arrival.
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.
General Manager: Southern Sun Maputo
Maputo stumbled into the new millennium with an economy dominated by just a single aluminium smelter and donor aid. Since then, good fortune has seen this sleepy little capital transformed by almost weekly resource-boom press headlines – natural gas, coal, heavy mineral sands and gemstones all being discovered in important quantities. Agriculture and fisheries have also benefitted from innovative investment and outputs are now exceeding pre-war volumes.
With annual GDP increases at around 8%, no surprise that some 40 new investment banks have opened offices in Maputo and the new Bank of Mozambique sky-scraper dominates the revised CBD skyline. Last year’s landfall of the SEACOM high-speed fibre optic cable in Maputo has made internet connectivity and speed the envy of the continent. The spate of infrastructure projects has seen new airports, motorways, ports, dams and bridges mushroom across the country.
Maputo has also become an increasingly popular MICE destination. The refurbished Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre can accommodate up to 2,000 delegates and the new $240m Torres Rani twin tower development promises to catapault the facility’s accommodation and service for MICE into the elite zone. It is scheduled to open early in 2016.
Leisure travellers wishing to explore Maputo’s famous cuisine, night life, arts and culture should plan to stay over weekends when most hotels offer drastically reduced leisure rates and weekend package deals. During the week hotel occupancies and rates are both high.
Maputo is a relatively compact city, but traffic can become very congested during peak hours. Meter taxis are very visible and liveried in yellow and green. Crossing town you should expect to pay no more than Mt300 ($6). Negotiate your fare at the outset of the journey. A popular alternative is the plentiful ‘Chopelas’ (rickshaws) that weave efficiently in between the traffic.
Perhaps the most popular restaurant for business visitors, Zambi is located on Avenida 10 de Novembro looking across the bay to Catembe and offers elegant continental cuisine as well as a popular sushi bar. ‘Ladies-who-lunch’ and the cool ‘sundowner brigade’ tend towards Dhow Cafe high on the hill in the exclusive Zona Verde, where chic cocktails and mezze nibbles are the order of the day.
The business culture of the city is generally friendly and courteous, and you will find it relatively straightforward to arrange meetings in advance. Many businesses quote in US dollars or SA rands, but by law you must pay in the Mozambican Metical. This can render your deal vulnerable to the extremely volatile exchange rates. Just a tip – you will generally get a better exchange rate using ATMs to draw Meticais than exchanging cash.
Airlink – flyairlink.com
BA – britishairways.com
Ethiopian – ethiopianairlines.com
Kenya – kenya–airways.com
LAM – lam.co.mz
Malawian – malawian-airlines.com
Qatar – qatarairways.com
SAA – flysaa.com
TAAG – taag.com
TAP – flytap.com
Turkish – turkishairlines.com
Tanganyika – flytfconline.com
Avis – avis.co.za
Europcar – europcar.com
Sixt – sixt.com
Afrin Prestige – afrin-hotels.com
Girassol Bahia – girassolhotels.co.mz
Girassol Indy – girassolhotels.co.mz
Hotel 2001 – hotel2001.com
Hotel Africa – hotelafrica.co.mz
Hotel Avenida – tdhotels.com
Hotel Cardoso – cardoso-hotel.com
Hotel Tivoli – tdhotels.com
Hotel Villa das Arabias – villadasarabias.com
Hotel Villa das Mangas – villadasmangas.com
Pestana Rovuma – pestana.com
Polana Serena – serenahotels.co
Southern Sun – tsogosunhotels.com
VIP Executive Suites – viphotels.com
VIP Grand Maputo – viphotels.com
Amex – amextravel.co.za
CWT – carlsonwagonlit.com
FCm Travel – fcm.travel
HRG – hrgworldwide.com