Expats will need to plan carefully before moving to the land of contrasts that is Mozambique. This coastal country's attractions are well known: peerless tropical beaches and warm ocean waters, friendly and welcoming people with amazing cultures, cuisine and hospitality, and rich natural resources and fertile lands that are only just beginning to be tapped. Conversely, Mozambique also contends with undeveloped infrastructure and services, a corrupt government and abject poverty throughout the country.
Below are some of the primary pros and cons of moving to Mozambique.
Lifestyle in Mozambique
+ PRO: Wonderful people and culture
Mozambicans are friendly, welcoming and generous, and once expats have come to terms with the language and customs, they'll find the locals quickly becoming their friends. Mozambican culture is hospitable and tolerant, and their lifestyle is generally easygoing. Mozambican food is a wonderful blend of African, Portuguese and Arabic influences.
+ PRO: Raw beauty and spectacular coastline
Mozambique is blessed with splendid colonial cities and a glorious coastline that is scattered with dreamy beaches that have barely a footprint on them. The scuba diving is some of the best in the world, the game fishing is renowned, and the Limpopo National Park, adjacent to the Kruger, is also a huge attraction.
- CON: Language barrier
English is not widely spoken in Mozambique, so learning a few key Portuguese phrases can help expats overcome culture shock and show the locals they're putting in the effort.
- CON: Stark poverty
Poverty is widespread, and it isn't unusual for Mozambicans to live with very few amenities and no electricity or running water. Expats may experience culture shock if they are unused to life in a developing country.
Cost of living in Mozambique
+ PRO: Low cost of living
Living cheaply in Mozambique is relatively easy, especially for those who eat local fruits, vegetables and products and are willing to haggle about prices to keep the cost of living down.
- CON: Expat accommodation and luxuries are costly
Many imported products are expensive. Eating out and entertainment in touristy areas is also quite costly, as is a high quality of life.
Accommodation in Mozambique
- PRO: Wide range of accommodation options
There is a wide range of accommodation options, and expats will find that homes in Mozambique is generally more spacious than they're used to at home.
- CON: Shortage of good accommodation options
Housing that is at a standard that expats are used to is in short supply and goes for a premium. Expats from developed countries may struggle to find housing that meets their standards in terms of luxury and utilities. Paying extra for comforts like air conditioning, water storage and filtration, electricity backup and security can quickly eat into expats' budgets.
Safety in Mozambique
- CON: Petty theft is common
In a country with widespread inequality, it's not surprising that some locals resort to crimes of opportunity, and foreigners may be targeted for their perceived wealth. To stay safe, expats should practice awareness and leave their valuables at home whenever possible.
- CON: Risk of terrorism and political unrest
In the northeastern province of Cabo Delgado and in the northeasternmost districts of the neighbouring province of Nampula, there has been a rise in extremist attacks, and all visitors to the region should exercise caution. There have historically been political demonstrations and unrest in Maputo, the capital city, though these have largely subsided since 2016.
- CON: Health risks abound
Malaria is prevalent in Mozambique, and expats should take anti-malarial medication during their stay. Tap water is generally not safe to drink without treatment, and expats should ensure that they're up to date with their vaccinations, including typhoid, hepatitis A and measles. Mozambican healthcare is lacking, and those in need of advanced medical care are often airlifted to South Africa.
Education in Mozambique
- CON: Public education standards are not high
Public education in Mozambique is free, though expats and locals prefer to send their children to private schools if they can afford it.
+ PRO: International school options
For expat parents, there are a number of international schools, mostly in Maputo and Beira, that can help smooth their children's transition. Curricula include American, British and French, along with the International Baccalaureate.
Getting around in Mozambique
+ PRO: Plenty to see and do
Mozambique is host to plenty of natural attractions, including warm coastlines, lush rainforests, rolling hills and endless plains. There are also plenty of other sights, like the old colonial buildings on the Island of Mozambique and the lively market squares in every city.
- CON: Driving conditions are dangerous
Expats will most likely require a car when getting around in Mozambique. Roads in Mozambique are badly maintained, and the roads that are paved are covered in potholes. Most roads outside of town are also unpaved, and many are difficult and dangerous to use during the rainy season. Traffic police, or transitos, are often corrupt and will pull over cars to attempt to elicit a bribe.