South Africa and Mozambique
Did you know?
The currency of Mozambique is the Metical.
Mozambique, which shares a number of trans-border holiday routes with South Africa, has, after many years of warfare, taken on its former mantle as an international playground.
You can still feel and see the Portuguese colonial culture in its architecture, second language and food. The old hotels of Maputo (formerly Lourenco Marques) prevailed through decades of civil war and some have been revamped. Everyone wants to go to Mozambique now.
Mozambique-South Africa trans-border access is through a number of entry ports. You can drive up from the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal and within the hour you are at the famous dive resorts of Ponta Do Ouro and Ponta Malongane, where sharks, dolphins and manta rays are your swimming companions in the clear Indian Ocean.
The Mozambique trans-border experience begins at the Nelspruit side in South Africa's Mpumalanga province. This is a fast track drive into Maputo, which has been nicknamed the ‘Havana' of Southern Africa. Do not rush out of this city – there is lots to do, including sampling its famous nightlife.
Along the coast are all manner of resorts and atmospheric little beach bars, but the true Riviera feeling comes over you up north on Vilanculos and its satellite islands. This is where you start feeling deliciously isolated and go into desert island mode. Just watching a fisher family go about their work with nets is an afternoon well spent.
Another trans-border experience with Mozambique that opened recently is Pemba Village, in the far north. Top-end hotels have been built here, but they retain the former East Coast of Africa feel.
The latest Mozambique-South Africa trans-border adventure is the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which includes the Kruger National Park, Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park and Mozambique's Limpopo National Park.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
You could fly to Maputo from Johannesburg, or you can cross the border by car, either via the Giriyondo border post in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, or at the border post just south of Nelspruit.
Best time to visit
Summer can be extremely hot and humid. Spring, autumn and winter are very pleasant.
Around the area
If you have the time don't miss the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. The Mozambican side offers some incredible bush and wildlife experiences.
Your own transport would be the best option, but if you're planning on going offroad to the beach, a 4x4 is a necessity.
Length of stay
Set aside at least a week to even begin to explore South Africa's fascinating neighbour.
What to pack
You'll need your passport, visa and all vehicle registration papers if you are crossing the border by car. And don't forget a hat and sunscreen, snorkel and fins and foreign currency.
Where to stay
There are a variety of options on both sides of the border, from budget B&Bs to luxury guesthouses and hotels.
What to eat
Peri-peri prawns and peri-peri chicken are delicious Mozambican specialities. And ask about fresh fish, the dorado is particularly good. They also make a popular local drink called "R&R" – rum and raspberry – using Tipo Tinto mozambiquan rum.
The beaches are extraordinary, fishing sublime and snorkelling spectacular, so make the most of your time there.
The Mozambiquans create stunning wooden craft items for sale along the roadside. These include imitation off-road vehicles, carved fish, carved dolphins and much more to tempt the traveller.