It is no secret at all that South Africa has a quite bad reputation from a touristic point of view and that’s due to manifold reasons. One of the main ones is the healthcare system and the frequent endemics that are difficult to contain due to the lack of hospitals.
Moreover, the countries in South Africa are third-world ones, which means that they struggle with extreme poverty which, in turn, makes people to resort to stealing. Now, Mozambique is an exotic destination to go to. It has many national parks, endangered species that one might not be able to glance upon elsewhere and a generally amazing geography.
From a political standpoint, Mozambique has had its fair share of armed conflict, including a bloody civil war that took place there for over a decade. Nowadays, things got a lot better, so dying in a random rebellion should be the least of your worries.
In this Mozambique safety guide, we’ll provide you with valuable Mozambique safety travel tips, as well as give you an answer – or help you answer the question yourself – to this most frequently-asked question: how safe is Mozambique to tourists?
Highest Risks In Mozambique
Overall Risk In Mozambique: MEDIUM
The simple fact that Mozambique is in South Africa is sure to make many tourists think twice – and thoroughly – whether they really want to go there or not. However, this fear of South African countries is partially exaggerated.
If you take all the precautions in the book, you will be as safe as an expat can be in such an alien country. As you might expect, theft is an issue here, as it is fundamentally anywhere on this planet. People are poor and tourists are a source of money that they can’t simply skip over.
Theft occurs commonly in the larger cities and the crowds are thieves’ favorite places, because they can get away without too much effort. The roads in Mozambique are not very friendly, so if you rent a car, you should be two times more attentive when driving than usual.
Riots in Mozambique are frequent, so you should stay away from militating groups if crowds are starting to form, regardless of whether you think you’re safe. Is Mozambique safe to visit? – we tend to think that it is safe and worth the visit, as long as you’re not sporting a sign with “I’m a tourist and I have no idea where I’m going” written over it in bold.
Theft Risk: MEDIUM
Maputo is an extremely known hub for petty criminals. Carjacking and armed assaults for the purpose of stealing the belongings of the tourists have occurred in the country in recent years and unfortunately, there has also been a spike in kidnappings for ransom, even though nationals seem to be more targeted than the expats.
Refrain from wearing flashy jewelry such as rings, necklaces and bracelets. If you’re a photo fiend, don’t keep your camera around your neck lest you might get out of the crowd only to realize that you’ve been relieved of it without even feeling it.
If you travel with the car by night, don’t give in to the temptation to stop and take some random hitchhiker. This sounds like common sense, we know, but you’d be amazed of how many people in the world are just a tad too trustworthy. If you feel followed or targeted, call the police and get to a safe place.
Extortion is also common in Mozambique, with traffic officials stopping tourists even if their cars are in tip-top shape and asking them for money.
A Mozambique safety guide is basically useless if you visit this country and behave like a tourist. More often than not, the ones who get in trouble are precisely the ones that feel the need to make it critically obvious that they’re foreigners.
Scam Risk: MEDIUM
How safe is Mozambique for tourists from this point of view? As safe as any other country, we’re inclined to say. If you think that cab drivers will try to rip you off, then you’re right.
All tourists, or almost all of them, tend to make the mistake of not checking the taxi prices before taking their fares. It goes without saying that nothing stops the drivers from taking advantage of them and charging them twice or thrice the normal price.
If you get a cab by calling a dispatch, make sure that you ask about the rates. This way, if the cab driver attempts to scam you, you can confront him and even report him to the dispatch of the company he works for.
Another thing we ought to mention in our list of Mozambique safety travel tips is that you should always carry change with you. With large bills on yourself, you’re basically begging cab drivers to scam you.
Buying food from street vendors is risky business, as well, as you can easily be overcharged. You should consider eating at restaurants along the way.
Kidnapping Risk: MEDIUM to HIGH
In recent years, the kidnapping rate has been on the rise. It’s a by no means reassuring thought, but it’s the truth. Poor people take desperate measures for financial gain and they stop at nothing.
You can easily avoid being kidnapped and held for ransom by staying put during the night, even if you’re in a city with amazing nightlife. You can walk on the beach as much as you want during the day, but it’s pretty risky during the night.
If you think that you know the city by now, you’re right: you think, but you don’t. Also, don’t travel by car during the night. Armed groups have been reported on isolated roads at the outskirts of the cities and especially in rural areas where police can’t really do anything.
Look for travel warnings and read the news before you visit Mozambique and think very well before you decide to do anything stupid if you’re already there.
Rape Risk: MEDIUM
The rate of rape in Mozambique is extremely worrying. Even though female expats are not as targeted as local women, this doesn’t make them any safer. In fact, South Africa is one of the most violent places for a solo woman traveler to be in.
HIV is widespread in the country and the tendency toward rape has been the same for years due to the fact that rapists can have their charges suspended if they marry their victims. This encourages them to marry and keep on raping.
We know that traveling alone can be an enlightening and healing experience, but it might be anything but in Mozambique. Do not travel alone at night and stay away from men that look too friendly and eager to help you out.
We shouldn’t even mention that you shouldn’t be hitchhiking. Kudos for the courage to do it but there’s a line between courage and stupidity. As of now, the rape rate in Mozambique is steady (which doesn’t mean that it’s low, evidently), but caution is highly advised.
Terrorism Risk: MEDIUM TO HIGH
How safe is Mozambique for tourists when it comes to terrorism? Well, we’re in 2018 and clashes between various groups are still happening, it gives you a clue of the situation there.
Terrorism in Mozambique is both domestic and foreign. The Islamist threat has become undoubted and it’s created a lot of turmoil in a country that could’ve done without it. Armed confrontations are likely to occur in Mozambique so you should stay away from the areas that have been signaled by your government or have made it into headlines all across the world.
For many of us, the threat of terrorism in our own countries is inexistent, therefore we can’t really imagine how running for your life is like. Stay safe by avoiding public manifestations and if there’s any sign that anything is about to go down, leave the area immediately and go back to your hotel.
Risk for Women Travelling Alone: MEDIUM
Is Mozambique safe for solo women travelers? We’ve already tackled this subject but let’s do it once more. The answer is “No”, Mozambique isn’t a safe place for solo women travelers.
Thieves have a sixth sense that lets them know that the women they’re looking at are tourists, especially when they’re isolated. We don’t mean to say that all people are not to be trusted. We’re just letting you know that you should exert a maximum of precaution when in Mozambique or anywhere else in South Africa, for that matter.
The most valuable advice we can give you in this respect is to travel in a group, regardless of how experienced you think you are as a traveler. Stay at a reputable hotel and keep in mind that BNB-ing in South Africa is the least thing that anyone would recommend you.
Sure, it saves you money and gives you a rich taste of how the locals live and how they differ from you, but it also leaves a lot of room for all sorts of deranged individuals that might want more from you than your life story, if you know what we mean.
We might come off as sexists for saying that women are more vulnerable as lone travelers than men are. We assure you that we have no intentions whatsoever of implying that men are superior to women; we just want you to be safe.
If you don’t trust us, you can do your own research on Google and you’ll reach the very same verdict about Mozambique and travelling there alone.
Risk for People Travelling With Children: LOW
The highest risks when it comes to this are mainly medical and related to road conditions. The healthcare system in South Africa is deplorable, for lack of a better word. Pretty much all the countries in it struggle with a scarce number of hospitals, trained physicians, etc., therefore you should take all the necessary precautions in order to be sure that you won’t be in need of a hospital in the middle of nowhere.
There are some vaccines that are compulsory for travelers to have prior to visiting Mozambique, but we’ll get to those in a bit. When it comes to road conditions, potholes are a real issue in Mozambique, so you should drive as carefully as you can.
Risk of Natural Disaster: LOW
Drought and massive rains are common in Mozambique, as are flash floods. The highest number of casualties is always claimed by floods. From 1990 to 2014, 45.6% of the entire number of casualties has been taken by floods.
Storms are pretty frequent, as well. Watch the news and keep an eye on the weather predictions.
Vaccines for Mozambique
These are the following vaccines that you and the members of your family should get prior to leaving for Mozambique:
- Typhoid fever
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis A and B
Malaria is extremely frequent in Mozambique. If you have any signs of this disease, go straight to a medical facility. It’s pretty easy to treat in its early stages, but it can give rise to a lot of complications, many of them fatal. Bring plenty of mosquito repellent with you.
The Bottom Line
This is where our Mozambique safety guide comes to an end. Unfortunately, many things leave a great deal to be desired in this county. This doesn’t mean that you’re bound to have a bad experience and that the country is just not worth visiting.
Mozambique is a beautiful place to go if you know what you’re doing, where you’re supposed to go and where you’re not. We don’t advise people not to go there, we’re saying only that they should be very careful if they decided to make this trip there.
Hopefully, you’ve found this guide and the tips in it helpful. Many travelers just throw a dart at the map and go wherever the dart fell without doing any research. Needless to say, they get in trouble. Don’t be one of them: inform yourself and you’ll be safe.