Mozambique

1950

Although it remains one of the poorest countries in Africa, Mozambique’s economy is slowly walking the road to recovery.

Background

After decades in the economic doldrums, Mozambique’s GDP has been growing at an average of 9%, thanks largely to strong demand for aluminium exports from the Mozal smelter, although volatile commodity prices remain a concern. Agriculture has long been a mainstay of the economy – cotton, cashew nuts and sugar cane are important sectors – and with political and social stability over the past decade, the tourism industry has boomed.

Business Travel Activity

Carlson Rezidor was the biggest mover on the hotel front, signalling its faith in the future of Mozambique as a business travel destination. The international hotel group launched two new properties in June – the Radisson Blu Hotel Maputo and the Park Inn by Radisson Tete Hotel. The launch of the Tete property was another reminder of the importance of this part of the country as a prominent mining destination. Towards the end of the year, there was more activity on the airline front, with November seeing Qatar Airways launching flights between its hub in Doha and Maputo. Qatar is flying the route three times a week with its flagship Boeing 777, offering 335 seats in a two-class configuration of 42 in Business and 293 in Economy. Key connecting points for passengers to and from Mozambique on Qatar Airways include London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Bangkok and Dubai. That news was followed in December by the British Airways announcement that Comair Limited, operator of BA in southern Africa, will commence service between Maputo International Airport and Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport in May of 2013. The flight schedule will comprise daily return flights, with a double daily service on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Airport

Maputo is the country’s political and commercial hub, and although the capital’s infrastructure appears to be in a constant state of falling apart, a flush of building projects are breathing new life into this once-fashionable city. Beira, some 700 kilometres north of Maputo, is home to the country’s second-largest port and has long been a major trade route. Nampula is the country’s third-largest city and the business heart of northern Mozambique, as well as being a major trade and transport hub. “Maputo has a new international airport, which is very clean and efficient,” says Chris Schuitmaker, Manager: Regional Business & Partner Management Africa for HRG Rennies.

“Check-in is seamless and it’s a rather quiet airport, or at least it was when I travelled there. There are lots of food stalls and little shops in which to grab a magazine. It’s a small airport, with about a 10-15 minute drive to the city centre.”

Visas

Citizens of most southern African countries do not require a visa to visit Mozambique, and are granted a 30-day entry stamp on arrival. Most other passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival. Visit embamoc.co.za, if travelling from South Africa.

Connectivity

You’ll find plenty of Internet cafés in Maputo, and most large hotels in the capital will offer broadband access (often Wi-Fi). However, as you travel further north, you’ll find it harder to stay online, with Internet cafés restricted to provincial towns and resort hotels. Mobile phone coverage is excellent in Maputo and larger towns, but in rural areas you may struggle to find a signal. Local operators mcel and Vodacom offer roaming coverage, as well as affordable pay-as-you-go sim cards.

Hotels

Carlson Rezidor’s Radisson Blu property has shaken up the Maputo hotel scene, which until this year was arguably dominated by Lonrho’s Hotel Cardoso and the Polana Serena, although Pestana may have something to say about that, with its Pestana Rovuma property. “The business class hotels in Maputo are of an international standard,” says Pierre Grobler, Business Traveller Africa Media Solutions Consultant. “Once you are ensconced in your hotel it feels as if you are in a European city. I think the Polana Serena is the flagship hotel in Maputo, whilst I know that there’s a new Radisson Blu.”

The South African brand with the biggest presence is Tsogo Sun Hotels, with its Southern Sun Maputo. “It’s a very popular hotel in Maputo,” says Schuitmaker. “It also has good security and the service is excellent. The rooms are also comfortable.” 

Travel Tips

Apart from a few well-known ‘no-go’ areas, bustling Maputo is safe to explore on foot and is one of southern Africa’s most colourful capitals. Taxis are plentiful, but generally don’t cruise for business. So, ask your hotel to call one or keep an eye out for informal taxi ranks. While some Maputo taxis are metered, it’s best to negotiate a fare upfront.

Health

Unless you’re travelling deep into rural areas, your only major health concern in Mozambique is malaria, which is prevalent throughout the country. Ask your health professional for advice at least three weeks before you travel. 

The Experience

“It’s a very short flight from South Africa,” says Schuitmaker. “But, not many airlines occupy this route, so it tends to be rather expensive. LAM does not have the greatest reputation, so, with regards South African business, it tends to go the way of SAA. Be prepared to experience language problems if you do not speak Portuguese. The road network is rather good and driving times around the city are not excessive.”

Contacts

Mozambique High Commission: embamoc.co.za
Investment Promotion Centre: cpi.co.mz

Fact File

Capital: Maputo
Population:
23 million
Time zone: GMT +2
Plugs: Two-prong round pins
Dialling code: +258
Currency: Mozambican Metical. Exchange rate: US$1=MNM29
Language: Portuguese and English

Air Travel

Airlink – flyairlink.com
BA – ba.com
Emirates – emirates.com
Ethiopian Airlines – flyethiopian.com
Federal Air – fedair.com
Kenya Airways – kenya-airways.com
LAM – lam.co.mz
Qatar – qatarairways.com
SAA – flysaa.com
SA Express – flyexpress.aero
TAP Portugal – flytap.com

Hotels

Afrin Prestige – afrinprestige-hotel.com
Arabias Boutique – hipchichotels.net
Avenida Hotel – tdhotels.com
Hotel Africa – hotelafrica.co.mz
Hotel Cardoso – lonrhohotels.com
Mangas Villa – hipchichotels.net
Pestana Rovuma – pestana.com
Polana Serena – serenahotels.com
Radisson Blu – radissonblu.com
Southern Sun – tsogosunhotels.com
Tivoli Hotel – tdhotels.com
VIP Grand Maputo – viphotels.com

Car Rental

Alamo – alamo.com
Avis – avis.co.za
Europcar – europcar.com
National – nationalcar.com
Sixt – sixt.com

TMC

Access to Africa – access-to-africa.com
BCD Travel – bcdtravel.com
Carlson Wagonlit – carlsonwagonlit.com
Club Travel – clubcorporatetravel.co.za
HRG – hrgworldwide.com
SA Travel Centre – satravelcentre.com
Tourvest – tourvest.co.za

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