TRAVEL ALERT: Update on Covid-19 and travel plans to Mozambique

With increasing concerns surrounding the Coronavirus and its impact on South Africans, many people are reconsidering their upcoming trips to Mozambique.

As per the Presidential address on Sunday, 15 March 2020, South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the European Union, United States, United Kingdom and other identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran and South Korea. This is effective immediately.

Mozambique, on the other hand, is considered a low-risk travel destination, with its long, warm summers (it’s been suggested that the virus does not do well in a hot climate), its low population density, and remote beaches. The South African government has stated that domestic travel –  particularly by air, rail, and public transport, such as taxis and bus – is discouraged. Since travel to Mozambique from South Africa is done via road, with no air travel required, we feel that travelling to Mozambique remains a relatively safe and viable option at this time.

For many South Africans travelling from busy city centres, an escape to the safety of a low-risk, remote beach house in Mozambique might seem like the ideal option – particularly with the extension of school holidays and many companies offering their employees the option to work from home.

South Africa has 72 ports of entry in the country which are land, sea and air ports.  Of the 53 land ports, 35 will be shut down with effect from Monday 16 March and will be closed until further notice. Land-based border posts that will be closed and effect those travelling from South Africa to Mozambique are Pafuri, Giriyondo, and the Kosibay border posts. (For a full list of land-based border posts that will be closed from 16 March 2020, click here).

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING CANCELLATIONS:

  1. For those clients who decide, on their own initiative, that they don’t feel comfortable with travelling and incurring any risk of contracting or spreading the virus, normal cancellation fees* would apply.
  2. If all borders have been closed and clients are not able to reach Mozambique, GoBundu will hold deposits for a future booking. Please note that seasonal rates apply and that future bookings are dependent on availability. Clients will have to travel within 15 months of cancellation, and must book to stay at the same accommodation.
  3. GoBundu always encourages clients to take out travel insurance when booking. Travel insurance needs to be paid for within 48 hours of paying for your accommodation. For any information regarding travel insurance, click here.

*GoBundu’s cancellation policy states that no refunds will be made towards any cancellations made within 30 days of your arrival date.  Any cancellations made with at least 30 days’ notice will result in a 25% loss of your total invoice. However, due to the current circumstances, GoBundu will be relaxing their cancellation policy for people travelling between 16 March and 14 April 2020. GoBundu is allowing clients travelling to Mozambique between 16 March 2020 and 14 April 2020 to postpone their travel dates – please note that these Clients will have to travel within 15 months of cancellation, and must book to stay at the same accommodation. Seasonal rates apply and future bookings are dependent on availability.

TRAVEL ALERT: How the current land border post closures will affect those travelling from South Africa to Mozambique

South Africa has 72 ports of entry in the country which are land, sea and air ports.  Of the 53 land ports, 35 will be shut down with effect from Monday 16 March and will be closed until 1 April 2020 at the earliest. Land-based border posts that will be closed and effect those travelling from South Africa to Mozambique are Pafuri, Giriyondo, and the Kosibay border posts. (For a full list of land-based border posts that will be closed from 16 March 2020, click here).

If you are travelling to Mozambique from Johannesburg, your best option would be to enter Mozambique through the Komatipoort border.

For those travelling from Durban, it’s advised that you stay on the N2 North to Mkuze. Don’t take the Hluhluwe turn off. There’s a wonderful Engen One Stop at Mkuze, approximately 345km from Durban, where you can stop to fill up on fuel and fill those bellies!

Continue on the N2 North – about 40km past Mkuze, you’ll see a well signposted turn-off to your right, which will take you to the Golela Border post.  It’s about 10km from the N2 turn off to the Golela Border Post.  Here, you’ll need to clear immigration and customs on both the SA and Swazi side at Golela, pay your road tax, and continue North on route MR8.  Approximately 65 km from the Golela Border Post on route MR8, you will come to Big Bend, a huge sugar mill on the right hand side. Watch out for unmarked speed humps in this area, particularly if you are towing a boat.  Approximately 5 km after you see the sugar mill on your right, you’ll need to turn right to Siteki. Route MR16. You should see the first Mabuda Farm sign at this turn off too. The road surface is poor and potholed on MR16, so take it easy – especially if you’re towing a boat or trailer.  After approximately 40km, you will come to a T junction. Turn Right to Siteki route MR7. You will start the climb over the Lebombo mountains, pass through a “foot and mouth” control point, and you’ll find Siteki at the top of the mountain. Watch out for unmarked speed humps in this area.

IMPORTANT NOTE: petrol is cheaper in Swaziland than in SA or Moz. The Galp Petrol Station in Siteki is the last fuel stop before the Mozambican Border. Directions from Siteki: Take route MR 7 approximately 30 km to the Goba border post.  Clear immigration and customs. Be sure to declare everything of value so you have the paperwork for the return trip.  Once you have left the military security boom on the Mozambican side, you will start the descent down the Lebombo mountains.  Before you get to Maputo, take the new road to Ponta do Ouro.

TRAVEL ALERT: Closed ports of entry to and from South Africa

South Africa has 72 ports of entry in the country which are land, sea and air ports.  Of the 53 land ports, 35 will be shut down with effect from Monday 16 March and will be closed until 1 April 2020 at the earliest. Land-based border posts that will be closed and effect those travelling from South Africa to Mozambique are Pafuri, Giriyondo, and the Kosibay border posts.

All Land-based border posts to be closed:

Namibia border:

Alexanderbay

Onseepkans

Rietfontein

Sendelingsdrfit

Botswana border:

Bray

Derdepoort

Gemsbok

McCarthys Rest

Middelputs

Mokopong

Mokgobistad

Platjan

Pondrift

Stockpoort

Swartkopfontein

Tweerivieren

Zanzibar

Mozambique border:

Pafuri

Giriyondo

Kosibay

eSwatini (Swaziland) border:

Bothashoop

Emahlatini

Josefsdal

Nerston

Onverwacht

Waverley

Lesotho border:

Boesmansnek

Makhaleng Bridge

Mononstha Pass

Ongeluksnek

Pekabridge

Ramatsiliso

Sanipass

Sephaphus Gate

Tellebridge

For those travelling to Mozambique, find directions for alternative entry points into Mozambique, here.

How does the Coronavirus affect those travelling to Mozambique?

The rapidly spreading Coronavirus has already caused havoc in many developed countries, with two cases being confirmed on the African continent (in Senegal) in the past 24 hours.

The majority of African governments have put strict screening measures in place at points of entry – especially airports. Ivory Coast, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Botswana have recorded suspected cases. All except Botswana have reported that the tests were negative. The majority of African airlines (except for Ethiopian Airlines) have cancelled scheduled flights to China.

Several African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, have been identified as being at risk and the World Health Organization (WHO) has named these as priority zones for containing the spread of the virus. A number of African governments have put certain measures aimed at detecting Coronavirus cases in place, preventing the spreading of the virus, and treating those who are infected. Some are better equipped than others, having had recent experience in tackling other epidemics like Ebola and cholera.

Mozambique has stopped issuing visas to Chinese travelers. The government has also designated isolation centers in case the virus is detected.

South Africa has set up national and provincial response teams, designated 300 health officials to ports of entry and begun screening all travelers from China.

In the meantime, a few safety measures can go a long way towards protecting travelers against infection. Here are a few that you can adopt if you’re concerned or traveling in the next few months:

  • Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap,and dry them properly with a towel. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used.
  • Avoid close contact with others who have coughs, chest infections, and/or fevers.
  • Avoid direct, unprotected contact with farm or wild animals, particularly when visiting live markets in affected areas. Preferably avoid such markets.
  • Avoid eating raw or under-cooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk, or animal organs to prevent potential cross-contamination with uncooked foods.
  • Although face masks do not provide complete protection from the infection from an airborne disease such as this, they may provide at least some additional defence against infection.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or a flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.

These safety measures are useful when it comes to preventing any kind of infectious illness, and it’s particularly vital that international travelers take care to follows these steps.

Seek medical attention if you develop a severe fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing and/or chest pain, and to be sure to share your complete travel history with your healthcare practitioner.

Our pick of the best Summer holiday beach reads

Are you in the process of planning and packing for your next beach holiday? May we remind you to pack your swimming costume, sunscreen… and that all important beach read, of course!

We’ve rounded up a selection of our favourite beach reads – read our reviews and take your pick! (And don’t forget to leave a comment sharing your favourite book!)

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes (R220)

The latest book from international best-selling author, Marian Keyes, revolves around the Caseys, a large, Irish family who love a good excuse to get together, be it for an anniversary, birthdays, or the holidays. The Casey brothers, Johnny, Ed, and Liam seem close enough, and their wives all appear to get along – like one big, happy family. Or is it? Resentments fester under the surface in this hilarious book that willl have you reading well into the wee hours. Available at your nearest Exclusive Books.

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (R282)

This Sunday Times bestseller has been described as “one of the strongest and most affecting works in Allende’s long career” by The New York Times Book Review, which says it all! Victor Dalmau is a young doctor during the Spanish Civil War – a tragedy that leaves his life (and the fate of his country) forever changed. Together with his sister-in-law, Roser, he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over the course of four generations, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world.

The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker by Joanne Nel (R333)

As the wife of retired ship’s doctor Dr Henry Parker, Evelyn is living out her twilight years aboard the Golden Sunset. Every night she dresses for dinner tells her fellow passengers stories of a glamorous life spent travelling the world in luxury. When retired ship doctor Henry goes missing, his glamorous wife Evelyn sets off and searches every nook and cranny of the grand ocean liner the Golden Sunset to find him. Misadventures are had, new friends are made, and scandalous behaviour noted – all news to Evelyn. If only she could remember the events of the night before as clearly as she can recall the first time she met Henry back in 1953, abandoning her dreams of becoming a midwife to be a wife instead . Why is it so hard to forget some things and so hard to remember others? And where is Henry?

The Pact by Amy Heydenrych (R185)

A gripping and chilling suspense novel by esteemed South African author, Amy Heydenrych. When Freya arrives at her dream job at the city’s hottest start-up, she can’t wait to begin her new and exciting life – including dating her new colleague, Jay. However, fellow employee and Jay’s ex, Nicole, seems intent on making Freya’s life a misery. After a big deadline, where Nicole continually picks on her, Freya snaps and tells Jay about the bullying and together they concoct a revenge prank. The next morning, Nicole is found dead in her apartment . . . Is this just a prank gone wrong? Or does Freya know someone who is capable of murder – and could she be next?

Mozambique: Frequently asked questions

If you’re planning a trip to Mozambique, you might have a few questions before paying your deposit and securing your accommodation. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions that we get about Mozambique – we hope this helps!

What is the currency in Mozambique, and what is the exchange rate?

Mozambique’s official currency is the Metical (or Meticais in its plural form), but if you’re travelling in southern Mozambique both the South African Rand and US Dollar are accepted. If you’re travelling in the north, it’s best to carry US Dollars.

The exchange rate fluctuates daily, but as of publishing (25 February 2020), 1 Mozambican Metical equals approximately 0,29 South African Rand.

Can I use my credit card in Mozambique?

Most large resorts and lodges accept Mastercard and Visa, but many smaller lodges do’t have credit card facilities and prefer cash transactions, so it’s best to keep cash on you at all times.

What is the time difference between South Africa and Mozambique?

There is no time difference between South African and Mozambique. Mozambique is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and Daylight Saving Time is not applied.

Do I need a Visa to enter Mozambique?

South African passport holders don’t need a Visa to enter Mozambique, provided that their overall stay is less than 30 days. Other passport holders will require a Visa – it’s best to contact your nearest consulate for more information.

How much should I tip waiters and other staff?

In restaurants, it’s customary to tip the usual 10 – 14% of your bill, as in South Africa. Check with the owner of your accommodation to find out what their recommendation is when tipping staff.

What plug points to they use in Mozambique? Do I need to bring a special adaptor?

South African-style plugs with 2 circular metal pins above the large circular grounding pin is used in Mozambique.

Are you planning a trip to Moz? Send us a quick email (lize@gobundu.com) or call 028 254 9193 and we’ll help you book your dream getaway. Our destination specialists are also more than happy to answer any other questions you might have!

PS: You might also want to browse our selection of incredible accommodation options to suit all needs and budgets, here.

When is the best time to visit Mozambique?

It’s generally accepted that the best time to visit Mozambique is during the Autumn or Winter months (from March to October), when humidity and rainfall is at its lowest and temperatures are much cooler.

The weather is still surprisingly warm during these months, and the conditions for diving and snorkelling are excellent. Better still is the fact that there’s less chance of tropical cyclones or flooded roads – and there are also fewer mosquitoes during this time!

And apart from the few weeks of South African school holidays (over the Easter period and in July), you’ll also find that prices are lower than during the peak holiday period over Christmas and New Year, and it’s also less crowded.

So if you’re thinking of booking that beach break to Moz, now’s the time! GoBundu still has a few accommodation options available over the March school holidays and Easter break, so send us a quick email (lize@gobundu.com) or call 028 254 9193 to book your dream getaway.

PS: Don’t miss our list of things you simply must pack for your trip to Moz!

Our pick of the best insect repellents

One of the most important items to pack when travelling to Mozambique (or to parts of southern Africa in general) is a good quality insect repellent to help keep mosquitoes, midges, and other insects at bay.

But with a plethora of products to choose from, how do you know which one is best? We’ve rounded up a selection of our favourites… tried, tested, and love by the GoBundu team!

Peaceful Sleep Mosquito Repellent Aerosol Spray

A trusted product used (and loved) by many South Africans, Peaceful Sleep is also GoBundu’s director, Chantelle’s top pick whenever she heads to Moz with her family. It boasts a non-greasy, perspirant-proof formulation that’s great at protecting you and your family against the bites of mosquitoes, fleas, and flies. They also have a ‘Family Care’ variant that’s ideal for young children and babies over the age of 6 months.

Pure Beginnings 100% Natural Insect Repellent

Available in both a spray and stick form, this 100% natural insect repellent is Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) free, so safe to use on your little ones. The combination of citronella, lemon eucalyptus, neem and lemon bush help repel insects and mosquitoes naturally.

Oh-Lief Natural Products Insect Balm

Another natural option, this Insect Balm from Oh-Lief (a beloved South African brand) is great for use on more sensitive skin types. We love that it comes in a compact, travel-friendly tub – no risk of spills or leakages!

On Guard Insect Repellent Gel

We love the gel formulation of this safe, powerful, and long-lasting insect repellent that helps prevent insect bites whilst protecting and moisturising your skin at the same time.

Do you have any tried-and-test insect repellents that you swear by? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear your suggestions!

IMAGE CREDIT: Oh-Lief Natural Products (source)

6 of the best things to eat and drink in Mozambique

When you think of Mozambique, you immediately conjure up thoughts of pristine white beaches, turquoise waters, and food – glorious food!

With an abundance of fresh fruit, plentiful fish and seafood, and over 500 years of Portuguese influence, there’s no doubting the fact that Mozambique is every foodie’s dream. Here are a handful of dishes and drinks that you simply must try on your next trip to Moz.

Prawns

There’s plenty of seafood dishes to choose from in Mozambique, but prawns are by far one of the highlights: whether you like yours grilled or fried, they’re always juicy and succulent! Try prawns smothered in a fiery, Portuguese-inspire peri-peri sauce or opt for a simple garlic sauce – the choice is yours!

Paõ

Paõ (pronounced pow) is an absolute must when visiting Mozambique. These freshly-baked Portuguese bread roll are baked in wood-fired ovens and can be found at every market. Make your own Prego roll by adding a minute steak and lashings of peri peri sauce – divine!

Cashews

Mozambique was once the world’s largest producer of cashew nuts, and there are still nut trees growing all over the country. You can buy bags of cashes from vendors on the side of the roads, and even on the beach. You simply can’t leave Moz without trying the roasted peri peri cashews at least once!

2M

Pronounced doysh-em, there’s nothing better than washing down some peri peri chicken with this local beer after a long day spent on the beach.

Peri Peri Chicken

Speaking of which, you’ll find peri peri chicken on offer all over Mozambique. Think succulent chicken marinated in lemon juice, lashings of garlic, and plenty of peri peri sauce and you’re on the right track. Simply delicious!

Tipo Tinto

No trip to Moz is complete without at least a couple of headaches as a result of this national rum! Try mixing a tot or two with raspberry flavoured cola to make a ‘Rum and Raspberry’ – every holiday-maker’s favourite Mozambican cocktail!

Are there any Mozambican drinks or dishes that we’ve left off this list? We’d love your recommendations – drop them in the comments, below!

TRAVEL CHECKLIST: everything you need when crossing the border into Mozambique

Traveling to Mozambique by car can seem quite daunting at first – what documentation do you need, do you need any additional safety equipment, how long will it take – but with a little planning and preparation, crossing the border into Mozambique can be a cinch!

Here’s GoBundu’s list of everything South African citizens will need when crossing the border into Moz:

  • Your South African passport – valid for at least 6 months after entry, and with at least 2 blank pages.
  • Your car registration papers and ownership documents. (If you are traveling in a car that is owned by someone else, they will need to provide you with a letter stating that you have permission to drive it across the border. This letter must be notarized and accompanied by a certified copy of the owner’s ID.
  • South African driver’s license.
  • A letter from your car insurance stating cross-border insurance.
  • Third-party insurance.
  • 2 x roadside emergency triangles.
  • 2 x reflective vests – either yellow or green. These must be visible at all times, so hang them onto the back of your driver’s and passenger’s seats.
  • Black and white ZA sticker visible on the back of your car.
  • If you’re towing a trailer, boat, etc, you’ll need a blue and yellow triangle on both your car and trailer. This must be on the front-right bumper of your car, and on the back of your trailer).

If you need any additional assistance or need help finding the perfect accommodation, be sure to contact GoBundu! You can email Lize on lize@gobundu.com or call (028) 254 9193.