Africa

Is Mozambique safe?

There are many questions being asked right now about the safety of Mozambique.

Should the South Africans cancel their Christmas beach holidays? Should the expats be stocking up with tinned food for the municipal elections coming up, or should they simply evacuate? Should the businessman be investing and should the local Mozambicans be worried about a civil war erupting again?

*** February 2016: For up to date information on the political situation in Mozambique and the safety for tourists, please see the suggested sites listed at the bottom of this blog post. This blog post aims to provide the tourist an insight into the Mozambican situation and while initially written in 2013, the information below is still relevant. Most of the unrest has been experienced in the central and northern region of Mozambique. Just recently there  has been a new flare up between Renamo and government forces in the central region.***

Mozambique_edited-2

The first thing worth noting is that Mozambique is a massive country. In fact she boasts over 2000 km of mostly pristine coastline. She can be broken up into 3 regions. 1. The South (Ponta do Ouro – Inhassoro) 2. The central region (The Save river – The Zambezi river,Caia) and 3. The North.(Quilimane – Pemba)

storm          the plains

Holiday Makers
It’s good news for the South African holiday makers – all those popular resort towns right up until Inhassoro have experienced zero political unrest. The reason for this is because the governing party, Frelimo, have huge support in the South. The unrest is mostly happening around the central region which is traditionally Renamo territory. There has been a huge outcry from the lodge owners in the Southern parts of Mozambique who are experiencing a wave of cancellations due to all the media hype in South Africa concerning the safety of Mozambique. Places like Inhambane, Inhassoro, Vilanculos, Xai, Xai, Pomene are far from any political trouble and the lodges are operating as per usual.

Pomene 2013 625    Mozambique Holiday
Kidnapping
There has been a dramatic rise in kidnapping cases in Mozambique, mostly in Maputo. However this is an internal situation. The kidnapping gangs have mainly been targeting wealthy Muslim families who live in Mozambique. Around 7 policemen in Maputo have been arrested for participating in the kidnapping. There have been numerous kidnappings in Mozambique since 2011, however this year there seems to have been a massive escalation in kidnappings. Just recently there was a horrific case in Beira where a 14 year old was kidnapped for a ransom of 1 million US dollars. His parents alerted the authorities. Soon after they were told that they would never see their child again. He was tortured, decapitated and dumped on the road. This prompted the Mozambicans to take to the streets in Beira and Maputo and to participate in a peaceful demonstration, urging the government to step up their game with security.

Guida

Elections
The municipal elections are on the 20 November 2013. The campaigners are in full swing with vehicles, tuc tucs and bicycles sporting flags, posters and stickers. While the campaign has remained fairly peaceful, Renamo have made a statement that the Rome Peace treaty has expired and that they will not be participating in the elections. They are unhappy with the election process and feel that the ruling Frelimo party have disregarded the agreements made between the 2 groups at the end of the civil war. The Mozambicans in the central region are very anxious about the rising tension. Civilians are strongly opposed to the unrest, with the war still fresh in their memory. Many people believe that both parties have been aggressive in their approach and neither of them seem to be prepared to back down or compromise in an attempt to find solutions. Peace in this region largely relies on whether a solution can be found between Renamo and Frelimo.

Campaigner      Campaigners on the go

Campaign Vehicle     Campaigners
Unrest
The unrest has mostly been experienced in the central region of Mozambique, from the Save river to Caia on the Zambezi river. There have also been some reports of unrest around the Nampula area.
There are regular attacks on the compulsory army convoy between Muxungue and the Save river on the EN1 road which links the South and the North. Bad news for Zimbos wanting to travel to Inhassoro, it’s not advisable right now. I’d suggest keeping up to date with the situation via http://www.mozambicanhotels.com/tourist-information/travel-safe-in-mozambique and with the lodges you hope to visit. The road was temporarily closed just recently but seems to have been re-opened. Last week there was also an attack reported on the EN1 close to Inchope. The other area experiencing conflict is the Gorongosa District. There is regular fighting between the military and Renamo soldiers. I have recently interviewed a woman and her family who escaped the fighting by fleeing into the bush and hiding there for 2 days. She says that the entire village has vacated and left all their belongings, livestock and pets unattended. Their children are meant to be writing exams right now but due to the unrest, the schools have been closed. This goes for the Muxungue/Save area too. Children have stopped attending school.

Soldiers       Army presence

Last week there were a number of soldiers killed as well as civilians from attacks on the road and attacks during a campaign in the Vunduzi area. There is a heavy army/police presence in the Central region.

As an expat here in the central region, we are on high security alert. The atmosphere is tense however we are still using the EN6 (Zimbabwe – Beira) without any problems. If we want to travel to South Africa, we go via Mutare/Beitbridge and avoid the army convoy.

 

Gorongosa Woman ii

This woman escaped the conflict in Gorongosa by fleeing into the bush and staying there for 2 nights before finding the road and catching a lift to Beira.

Army Convoy

Army Convoy between Muxungue and Rio Save.

For regular updates please see the following sites:

Mozambican Hotels Website (A calendar and map of events/political unrest)

 DriveMoz facebook page (Driving in Mozambique advice)

Club of Mozambique website (Current affairs news website)

I advise that anyone travelling to Mozambique, becomes familiar with the geography of the country; understanding where the South, Central and Northern regions of Mozambique are. Up until now, the South has been unaffected by the unrest. The above websites are updated regularly and should hopefully give you peace of mind when planning your trip to Mozambique.

 

 

89 replies »

  1. Really !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I Booked two weeks in Moz in May 2015 and the last comment was in Nov 2014 . What !!!! Not such an updated Website if you ask me .

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    • Please take the time to read my ‘about’ page and know that I am an expat who BLOGS about my personal experience of living in Africa. We have been living in Malawi for a year now. My blog is not a travel info website about Mozambique. However, if you read this blog post, I have listed at least 2 Mozambican WEBSITES that do offer up to date information. I do hope you find them helpful. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the current situation in Mozambique as I am not there!

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  2. Thank you for a truth that you have laid out… Was last I’m !Mozambique when they voted council an will be going bckmsoon.. Moza is one of the most beautiful places and warm hearted people

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  3. Mike Slater from http://www.mozguide.com here. Just been reading your blog and was just about permanently (as oppose to the more conventional “momentarily” transported. So really, how safe is Mozambique (March 2014)?

    Mozguide.com went down in October 2013 which was at the height of the renewed tensions between Renamo (rebels turned politicians turned rebels again) and Frelimo (the ruling party since the first democratic elections in 1994). Six months later Renamo has returned to the negotiating table and in response Frelimo have made significant changes to the electoral laws – one of the key demands the rebels had made before they declared that the 1992 Peace Accord was no longer valid.

    Renamo attacks on the vital 100km Vila Franca do Save to Muxungue stretch of the main north-south road (there is no other viable route), have had a profound effect on the economy and people of Mozambique. Almost all of the human and goods transport between the economic heartland of Maputo and the central and northern provinces must use this route, and cargo and passenger transporters have severely curtailed the movement of their vehicles. The army and police-escorted convoys did not deter attacks, but the good news is…. PLEASE READ THE REST AT http://www.mozguide.com

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  4. hi any update on safty news we travelling to inhassorro and ging through the SA border Nelspruit sleeping over in Inhambane, have small kids with us, thanks for your blog, be well.

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  5. Hi there – thanks for all the info. In the travel industry for Mozambique and get a lot of clients asking me about this.
    I can now forward them your blog and they can read here.

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  6. I am so glad I came across this site as we are also traveling to Linga Linga in December with the kids and I was very worried about the current Mozambieq issue. I have yet to decide if we are still going so it is still a 50 / 50. If we travel from Komatiepoort will we make it there in daylight as I hear it is not safe to travel at night

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    • Hi there, if I’m correct – Linga Linga is just north of Inhambane. If so, it will take you around 7 hours from the border depending on the roads. If you start good and early at the border and get through fairly quickly, it should be fine. Driving in Moz at night is definitely not recommended. The unrest – which has been minimal in the least 10 days – is much further north than your destination. Inhambane is peaceful and going on as usual. The entire tourist region from Inhassoro southwards has not experienced any unrest. Check out this site – they provide us with prompt reports about any unrest and also include a map that shows you were the unrest is in relation to your holiday destination. http://www.mozambicanhotels.com/tourist-information/travel-safe-in-mozambique Hope you have a wonderful holiday in Mozambique.

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  7. Thank you for the very useful information. My husband and I made the decision today for him to take a really exciting job in Matola. We did have some concerns regarding the Kidnappings as we have a small son but feel a little better now reading that mostly wealthy Mozambicans are being targeted which we definitely are not 😉 I will continue to follow your blog.

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  8. Hi We are travelling around the 19th Dec from jhb going to Inhassorro, we have kids with us I hear its safe just want to make sure…also when we cross the border wil all be ok.. we spending a night in Inhambane….willall be ok, thansk for the blog…

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    • Hi there, everything still remains safe south of the Save. The Save is an hour North of Inhassoro. Lodges in Inhassoro are still operating as usual and have not reported any unrest in the area. The Inhambane area is also good as well as the borders. Voting today has been peaceful. I have recently come across a great website that posts up to date info on the unrest. It includes a map which will help tourists become more familiar with the geography of the Mozambique unrest/hot spots. http://www.mozambicanhotels.com/tourist-information/travel-safe-in-mozambique Have a great holiday. Be sure to visit the beautiful paradise island just off Inhassoro 🙂

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  9. Great update thank you. I live in Maputo and we as a radio station try to keep our finger on the pulse. With regard to safety, I can confirm that the south of the country is completely safe and there have no reports of any unrest. If you are planning to spend your holidays in Southern Mozambique, i.e south of Vilanculos, then you have nothing at all to be worried about. With regard to kidnappings, they have focused almost entirely on wealthy Mozambicans. As said earlier in this blog, the kidnappers research their targets carefully and know everything about their target’s financial affairs. For up to date information while you are on holiday, tune to Mozambique’s only English Language music radio station, LM Radio. We broadcast on 87.8 FM in Ponta do Ouro, Maputo and surrounding areas and also into Komatipoort/ Ressano Garcia. During the holiday season we will provide updates and any safety news relevant to tourists. visit http://www.lmradio.co.mz for further details and emergency contact information.

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  10. Hi there lianne I have been in mozambique for 13 years but I moved back to sa recently but my friend moved to palma just a question is there anything I have to be worried about or is it a safe place to stay,thanks carlos

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  11. Thanks for a factual, objective and balanced perspective on the situation there. I hope the situation improves quickly and without too many lost lives.

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  12. Hi there lianne.I lived in moz for 13 years and I just moved back to sa my only concern is that my friend moved up south to palma must I be worried for him or is it a safe zone there,and to be honest I don’t know much about palma.Thanks carlos

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    • Hi there Carlos,
      wow, that’s way up north! To be honest, I don’t know much about Palma either but am confident in saying that I haven’t heard any news about that area. No news is good news I think! There have been a couple attacks around the Nampula area in the last few days but nothing north of that. The attacks are sporadic and seemed to be confined to the Save – Muxungue area and the Gorongosa area for now. We live near Beira and feel very safe where we are, but keeping vigilant though.

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  13. Very informative… friends have been telling me things were just as uncertain in Kenya before the elections earlier this year, but thankfully it turned out OK.

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  14. Wow. Scary stuff. The story about the kidnapped 14-year-old is terrible!!! How can people be so cruel? It’s good that you know the situation well and know ways to stay safe. If I ever go to Mozambique, I’m looking you up! My parents would be terrified. Haha.

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  15. This is very helpful. We had been planning on driving via Zim (Mutare crossing) to Vilanculos, but now are likely to change our plans. The idea of traveling in a military convoy does not appeal!

    Kindly advise if you have any thoughts to the contrary, i.e. if you think the convoy is ok….

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    • Hi Michael, right now the convoy is not a safe option. It has been attacked fairly regularly in the last few weeks. The elections are on the 20th of November, I’m not sure if things will calm down after that or heat up…only time will tell. Keep up to date with the situation via an English website, http://www.clubofmozambique.com/solutions1/news.php I’d definitely suggest going via Komatipoort or via Swaziland (Goba) border. Alternatively you can go though the Kruger park border but you will be required to stay overnight in the park for you to be allowed to use their border post.

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  16. Thanks for a great report. The media has not been clear and is misleading on where the problems have been. We travel back and forth from SA to Inhassoro and there have been no incidents in our area. Good to hear someone else repeating what we tell all our guests. If there are any problems and it becomes unsafe, we will be the first to let our customers know. Once again, thanks for the report.

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  17. Wonderful advice for Saffas concerned about political instability impacting their holiday plans over the festive season. I hope your updates enable many holidaymakers to still enjoy their well deserved holidays in Moz!

    Many thanks for making the effort to share your regular updates and advice. Kudos to you!

    Cheers – Roy

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    • Thanks Roy 🙂 Hoping it will put minds at rest about visiting southern Mozambique, though not to hide that there is unrest occurring in the central parts of Moz. I think it’s important for South African’s who are planning to visit moz to become familiar with the geography of Mozambique and to keep up to date with the current situation through links provided. Thank you for you comment 🙂

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  18. This will be a useful post for anyone travelling to Mozambique in the next weeks. I’m so sad to hear about these troubles. My boyfriend and I travelled around the south and middle of Mozambique earlier this year, using the Beira corridor to get into Zim. Moz is rough around the edges but a beautiful country, particularly the coast where I did some amazing scuba diving in Tofo. Glad that the tourist areas are mostly all safe but my heart goes out to those innocent people caught up in the unrest.

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    • Thanks for your comments Lisa 🙂 It is a sad situation especially since Mozambicans have been working hard to put the war behind them and to improve their quality of life. Hopefully this will all pass quickly and for the sake of the people, the 2 parties involved find a solution soon.

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  19. Hi, my family and I are travelling from Cape Town to Ponta da Oara? Is it safer for us to enter Mozambique via Kosi Bay or to go through Mpumalanga and then enter Mozambique. We do have friends we want to visit in Maputo. Is it safe and worth this epic trip?
    Thanks Hayley

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    • Hi Hayley,
      Ponta do Ouro is about a 12hrs drive from central Mozambique (unrest) and so in this respect, it is very safe!

      The Kosi bay border will most likely be quite busy during the festive season and you will need some serious 4×4 skills as you will be driving through sand dunes.

      Many of the Natal expats I know use the Goba border which goes through Swaziland and into Mozam. It’s usually a lot quieter than Komatipoort. All 3 borders are safe. Both Goba and Komatipoort will take you to Maputo. Safety wise, Ponta do Ouro is a very long way from any of the trouble we are experiencing here in central Mozam and if it were me, I’d definitely not let the political situation be a reason to change your plans. Have a safe trip and a great xmas 🙂

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  20. An excellent and informative article. One error though – the unrest was not in Vanduzi – it was in Vunduzi (similar names but Vunduzi is in the east (Gorongoza area) and Vanduzi is west towards Zimabawe in Manica Province. There has been no unrest in the Manica area, also Central Mozambique, up to this point.

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  21. Great post; very informative. We don’t hear much about Mozambique in France so I wasn’t aware that the situation had become so tense. Keep safe and thanks for your various posts which offer a great view of this fairly unknown country. (Suzanne)

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    • There has been no political unrest in this area. Inhassoro is an hour away from the Save river which is where the army convoy starts. There is only one road from Maputo to all the holiday resorts on the south coast of Mozambique, the EN1. This is the same road that links the south to the north. Unrest has been experienced on the stretch of road between the Save river and Muxungue. For regular updates on the situation and for general news/info on Mozambique, check out the English website http://www.clubofmozambique.com/solutions1/news.php Also keep in touch with your lodge as they will have on the ground info about the safety. Have a great Christmas, BD is famous for it’s fishing 🙂

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  22. Hi we have booked into bonito bay morrongulu and having a small child are worried about travelling to the resort in December is the road from Swaziland to there safe please

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    • In the way of political unrest, yes it is safe. There have been no reported incidences on this stretch of road. The Save river is 5 hours from your destination. For regular updates on the Mozambique situation, check out http://www.clubofmozambique.com/solutions1/news.php The stretch that is currently experiencing problems is from the Save river which is an hour north of Inhassoro, a good distance from Morrongulu. The Swazi border is safe and will probably be quieter than Komatipoort. Have a good xmas 🙂

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  23. Hi All. So sad that such a beutifull place should be jeoperdised by politics, or the lack of proper political acumen. Unfortunately we have grown to accept this as normal in Africa. Good luck to all involved and heres hoping that sanity prevailes.

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  24. Hi There, thanks so much for this. Nn the local news in SA last week, they said that South Africans should ‘register’ so that should war break out, they would be evacuated. However, they didn’t say where we should register. So you perhaps know?

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  25. Thank you for this. I’m a bit concerned about the kidnappings. Should I be? I’ll be travelling with my friend in the North of the country next October/November. She’s going to be running so trying to assess the risk. Obviously, I know you can’t be expected to predict, but have there been any cases in the north (Zimbabwe/Malawi/Pemba) or any cases of tourists?

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    • Thank you Alessandro, I thought I’d write up about it since there is huge hype in South Africa right now about whether Mozambique is safe. The Mozambique tourism industry is heavily dependent on South African tourists and are experiencing a wave of cancellations. But while the South of Mozam is unaffected by the political unrest, central Mozambique is singing a very different tune. Thanks for the comments 🙂

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