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.