Saturday, September 18, 2021

How To Travel Around Mozambique

AfricaMozambiqueHow To Travel Around Mozambique

Road

From Maputo up, the EN1 traverses the length of the nation, usually keeping near to the coast. Roads are generally in poor condition throughout the country, especially when compared to South Africa, though the stretch of the EN1 between Maputo and Inchope is in good shape, with the exception of the 120 km directly north of Vilankulo, which is still in bad shape and poses a serious challenge to any driver in a low clearance vehicle. The EN6 is in excellent shape between the Machipanda border crossing with Zimbabwe and Inchope, but it deteriorates significantly between Inchope and Beira, becoming almost impassable at times. Also, north of Vilankulo, gas stations are rare; vehicles may have to go 150 kilometers between service stations, therefore fill up whenever possible.

Chapas and buses

In Mozambique, buses and chapas depart early – 4 a.m. is not uncommon, especially as you go north. Chapas are small and midi buses, although pick-up trucks and freight trucks often provide rides for the same price as a chapa. Government and privately owned buses run the same routes as Chapas, although they stop a lot more often, making them unsuitable for anything except short trips.

The chapas themselves are usually in startlingly bad condition, especially on shorter trips. Seats, doors, and interiors are likely to come apart. However, the Mozambican government has been controlling rates on major routes since 2007/2008, making chapa travel in Mozambique very affordable. At bigger cities, this translates to destination and price signs in chapa stations (for example, Junta in Maputo). These prices will not come down no matter how hard you bargain, although many an ambitious chapa conductor/navigator/bouncer will try to extort you if you inquire what the price is. If you’re unsure, inquire at your hotel, a local, or just hand them a big bill; they’ll typically assume you know the right price and give you the necessary change.

There have been government-registered chapas and unregistered chapas since the beginning of 2011. Always take the government chapas, even though both are dangerous and cause many accidents each year. The big buses may be identified as these. Because these buses are newer, they are somewhat safer. They are somewhat more expensive (at the time this was written they were 10 mets a journey, and unregistered were 5). Unregistered chapas, on the other hand, are very hazardous and congested, and should be avoided at all costs.

Taxis

Taxis, which were formerly exclusively available in Maputo, are now prevalent in numerous places throughout the nation. They don’t have meters, so you’ll have to haggle over the price before you leave. Taxis are often in dangerous condition (from balding tires to someone sitting in the passenger seat with a plastic gas can with the car’s fuel line running into it), and breakdowns should be expected. You should never pay for your trip until you get at your destination. Never take a cab alone, particularly one discovered on the side of the road, if you are a woman. If you have to, ask around for the number of a reliable taxi driver who can come pick you up in under half an hour, depending on how far away they are. However, always add ten minutes or more to the time they estimate it would take to collect you.

For every trip in Maputo’s city center, there is a fixed charge of 200Mts. Longer trips (for example, to Junta) may cost up to 400Mts. They will often try to overcharge you in the early morning, increasing the price to 400Mts, since there are typically few taxis available at this time.

Chapas may also be hired as taxis, but they are usually more costly and less comfortable.

Air

If you can afford it, domestic flights are the quickest and most logical method to travel across the nation. Linhas Aereas de Moçambique flies between the main cities. A full domestic flight schedule may be downloaded as a pdf file at [www]. The flights themselves are aboard very contemporary, clean, and well-maintained aircraft, which stand in striking contrast to the country’s other modes of transportation. However, as of June 2015, all airlines from the nation, including LAM, have been placed on the EU air safety list and are therefore prohibited from flying in European airspace.

LAM has an outdated booking system in which you may book a flight over the phone and pay for it when you arrive. If you utilize this service, be sure to confirm your flight 72 hours ahead of time, otherwise your reservation will be canceled.

Alternatively, all LAM offices in cities and airports throughout the nation may book and pay for flights. Due to the high degree of corruption in all state companies, including LAM, it is not recommended to pay using a credit card.

Rail

Trains aren’t very helpful, given that there is just one and it runs from Nampula to Cuamba near the Malawian border in the extreme north of the nation. For additional information, see the get in section above.

Many sections of the ancient coastal railway that runs the length of the nation have been cleared of mines, but given the expenses and degree of corruption in the country, any rail service with adequate coverage would take decades to come.