mozambique_political_mapThe recent unrest in Mozambique directly affected the tourism numbers to the country.  In the last few weeks, the situation seems to have quietened down, confirmed by this update from Mozambican Hotels

Does the fighting between the government and Renamo affect tourists?
Risk Level: Low (if danger areas avoided)
Everywhere south of the Save River (Rio Save), and north of Caia is unaffected. There is a military column protecting vehicles travelling between Rio Save, and Muxungue, however this convoy is regularly being attacked. Only necessary travel should be done between these points. The highway passing by Gorongosa to Caia has also been attacked sporadically and should be avoided.
There have been a few incidents in Nampula and one in Zambézia but these incidents are very isolated.

Does the recent upsurge in kidnappings affect tourists?
Risk Level: Low
Over the last two years the number of kidnappings in Maputo has grown rapidly, there has also been a few cases in Beira. These kidnappings are targeting the most wealthy families in Mozambique. At present there is extremely low chance that a tourist would be targeted. Usually the kidnappers have considerable information about their victims including even the amount of money in their hidden bank accounts.

What are the most common dangers in Mozambique?

Petty Theft    
Risk Level: Medium
Compared with many other African countries petty crime in Mozambique is relatively low. Usually if you take simple precautions you won’t have a problem:

* Do not walk around major cities at night, especially in poorly lit areas

* Do not let your valuables be seen (wallets, phones, cameras etc.)

* Do not leave these same valuables in your hotel room, most hotels have a safe, or a manager who can secure your belongings

Extortion  
Risk Level: High
This is probably the most common complaint from travellers to Mozambique. Whether it is Public Police asking for your passport, or Traffic Police giving the once over on your car, it is unlikely you will have a Mozambique experience without at least once having an interaction with Mozambique’s finest:

* Make sure you have either your passport on you at all times, or a notorised copy of your passport and visa. Notaries can be found in almost all major towns in Mozambique. Getting the photocopy of your passport notarised is quick, and costs less than a dollar.

* When driving make sure you have two triangles, two glowing jackets, your battery secured down, and all of your documents in order, and as difficult as it is sometimes to drop from 120km/h to 60km/h in a small distance, do it to avoid the multiple speed cameras.

And remember, every time you pay a bribe you are becoming part of the problem, giving more incentive for Police to harass more people in the future.

In summary, Mozambique is a very safe country to visit, this despite the political problems currently causing problems in the centre of the country. Take the correct precautions and you will enjoy this wonderful country just as hundreds of thousands of travellers do every year.

25 March 2014