Stay safe & healthy
Risks are much the same as many other countries in Africa (and significantly less than some, including parts of South Africa). Nevertheless muggings, robberies, rape and murder do occur, so the normal precautions should be taken. Women absolutely should never walk alone on beaches, in recent years, attacks on women have grown in tourist areas. In particular it's worth checking with local hostels and other travelers as to where dangerous areas are.
But in general the Mozambican people are extremely warm and friendly and you will encounter far less hassle than in almost all of the countries surrounding it.
In Mozambique the police do not exist to help you, only to try and extort money of you. Do not trust them under any circumstances.
Insisting to be taken to a police station is unlikely to improve your situation, with the exception of in Maputo, the police have been known to rob tourists blind and throw them in a cell. Instead mention contacting your embassy or the anti-corruption hot line to verify a fine and always ask for a receipt.
If you have cause to go to a police station (e.g., filing a police report for insurance purposes after a theft), do not take any valuables or excessive currency with you and try to always go with someone else.
In Mozambique the speed limit in town is 60km/h (unless contrary road signs) and 100km/h elsewhere. There are mobile speed traps on the EN1 which specifically target foreign visitors.
When dealing with the Mozambican police never suggest a bribe, simply listen to whatever lecture they care to give and ask "What can we do about this?". Often they will simply let you go, if they do ask for a bribe the amount is entirely negotiable and can range from a bottle of coke (carrying no identification) through to several hundred USD (minor drug infractions).
By law you must carry a form of identification with you at all times and present it to the police on request. As a result you should always carry a notarized copy of your passport photo page, visa and entry stamp with you at all times. Ask your hotel where to locate a notary or contact your local embassy as soon as you enter the country. In Maputo, there is one on Av. Lenine, close to Mimmo's, and another on Av. Armando Tivane (one block west of Av. Nyerere) between Av. Mao Tse-Tung and Av. 24 de Julho. They are not particularly easy to find, ask around.
If you are asked for identification by the police and you do not have a notarized copy under no circumstances give them your passport, if you do then it will likely cost you a great deal of money to get it back, often simply talking to them a while will get them to go away.
While most of the country has been cleared there is still an on-going risk in rural areas away from the EN1 in Sofala, Tete, Manica, Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo provinces. It should be noted that only 2 or 3 incidents a year occur with landmines and they are all well outside the tourist trail.
- Malarial prophylaxis is essential in all parts of Mozambique. Chloroquine/Paludrine are now as ineffective as in other parts of east Africa, and it's worth going to see your doctor to get decent protection. If you are in country and suspect you have Malaria there are clinics in every town that will administer a test for approximately 50Mts, the treatment also costs 50Mts if you have malaria.
- Get all your vaccine shots before arriving Medical facilities in Mozambique are now generally reasonably stocked, but it is always worth getting a range of vaccinations before you leave. Prevention is better than cure. It is worth considering carrying some clean needles / sterile set if you are visiting out of the way areas, purely as remote medical facilities may have problems getting hold of them.
- Mind what you eat. As common in most countries in the world, if you are concerned about the standards of hygiene in a place, don't eat there.
- Do not have unprotected sex. As in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a very high HIV incidence, currently at 12%(preliminary data from National HIV Survey, 2010)
- Do not drink tap water or use any ice. South of the Zambezi river that divides the country, Mozambique is much more developed, especially around Maputo, tourist areas such as Inhambane and the industrial city of Beira. Here, especially in built-up areas, it is safe to drink the tap water, hence water in this area is marketed as "mineral water" and not "drinking water" and is sold at an inflated price as a semi-luxury item (sometimes for as much as 50 or 60 Meticais in backpackers lodges and restaurants). The infrastructure in the north of the country is much less developed and, as such, caution must be exercised, especially in rural areas and the area near Palma and bordering Tanzania. The tap water is usually safe to drink in the main cities such as Nampula and Pemba, and on Mozambique Island. If you are ever unsure about the quality of the tap water, water-purifying liquids (normally chlorine-based) are widely available and very cheap, costing around 40 cents for a large bottle - the most popular brand is "Certeza" and it is easy to find. You could also consider bringing puri-tabs if you are planning on going well off the "beaten track".
- Private clinics. There are a few private health clinics in Maputo that will also arrange repatriation in emergencies. Clinica da Sommerschield (tel: 21 493924) Clinica Suedoise (tel: 21 492922).
- Electric showers. In any accommodation, check the shower fitting. A rather dangerous type manufactured in Brazil is popular, which contains an unearthed 4kW electric heater. DO NOT touch the fitting when in use, they have been known to give severe electric shocks. Better still, switch the power off (there should be a nearby circuit breaker) and have a cold shower. Be similarly cautious with any other type of electrical shower heater.