With holidays abroad sitting at the top of the list of things that have become the most expensive for South Africans, Mozambique offers just enough distance to get out of the country, but remains just close enough to home so that you don't completely break your budget.
Here are some tips for those who are heading to Mozambique this year:
Crossing the border
If you are wanting to travel to Mozambique by car, make sure you arrive at the border with enough time to get to your accommodation before sunset. Avoid driving at night as the roads can be rough especially near the villages and rural areas.
The main border entry is at Komatipoort through the Lebombo Post. This is the main entrance for those arriving from Johannesburg, which takes just under seven hours.
During peak holiday periods it is open for 24 hours, but you should still expect some congestion. Another option to beat the queues would be to go via Swaziland. It is often much quieter at the Namaacha and Goba Posts and the roads are all tarred.
The Namaacha post closes at 7pm while Goba is open 24hrs every day of the year.
Packing the essentials
To enter Mozambique South Africans don't need a visa but they do need your passport, valid for at least six months after the date of your return and with at least two blank pages.
As for families, all children will need an Unabridged Birth Certificate. Make copies of everything.
Pack the necessary tools to change a tire, as well as two reflective triangles and a reflective vest. Get your car checked before you travel and pack a first aid kit.
Make sure that you have third party vehicle insurance and proof of ownership. If the vehicle you are using is registered in another person’s name, get a letter stating that you are authorised to drive it.
If you are stopped by the police remain calm and polite and call the anti-corruption hotline (800 460 460) to report any instances of bribery.
Why not fly into Maputo?
For those who want to avoid the added planning of crossing the border by road. Why not fly? It’s only just an hour when traveling from Johannesburg to Maputo. If your dates are flexible, you can find some good deals through SAA.
“South Africans entering via Maputo should make the most of what the city has to offer. The capital is a great starting point for their trip to Mozambique,” says Maputo-based Dana Tours Director Natalie Tenzer-Silva.
Things to see and do in the capital
There are a range of beach trips that you can do from Maputo, especially for families, especially day trips to Santa Maria, Inhaca and the Portuguese Islands. The boat departs from the Marina (Escola Nautica) to Santa Maria in the morning, with a seafood lunch at Inhaca, and some excellent snorkeling opportunities in between.
To get your bearings, you could try a guided city tour which includes a visit to the Natural History, the fortress, the CFM railway station, Museum of Natural History, Cathedral, the central market and the Feima curio market.
While in Mozambique, don't miss...
Ilha de Moçambique: This World Heritage Site offers a rich history and beautifully restored colonial buildings. Great for a romantic getaway.
A Maputo by night experience: This will give you a taste of the local jazz scene and introduce you to the nightlife, at clubs such as Coconuts Live (open during certain events).
Diving in the Bazaruto Archipelago: A good option any time of the year, especially May to September, with up to 40m visibility and a vast array of marine life. Keep an eye out for the rare dugong.
Eating at Mercado do Peixe (Fish Market in Maputo): You can tuck into seafood throughout Mozambique, but this market is well-known and with incredibly fresh seafood, which is prepared right in front of you.
Celebrating Christmas and New Year: Mozambique will treat you to incredible beaches, with parties and fireworks at midnight, along with plenty of R and Rs to keep you happy.