Situated in south-eastern Africa, Mozambique boasts a long coastline dotted with sun-drenched tropical beaches, warm Indian Ocean waters and even warmer hospitality.
Having attained independence from Portugal as recently as 1975, the country still has strong cultural ties to Portugal. Yet Mozambique retains its own distinct character as a melting pot of different European, African and Asian influences.
Many Europeans (especially Portuguese) have sought out Mozambique not only for its tropical weather and stunning beaches, but also for its low cost of living. Here, their skills are needed in a variety of areas in a country still rebuilding itself after decades of war. Thousands of native Portuguese expats now call the country home. They work in a diverse range of industries that require technical skills which may be lacking among the local population. Popular fields are construction and engineering. In addition, the country has excellent tourism attractions and had the fastest-growing tourism industry in the world in the mid-2000s. The discovery of one of the largest gas fields in the world off the coast of Mozambique in 2012 has also thrown this East African country into the limelight.
Expats relocating to Mozambique should be aware that this is very much a developing country. It suffers from poor infrastructure and roads, inadequate public healthcare, corruption and sporadic water supply. Many expats arrive with unrealistic expectations, thinking that life will be as it was back home. This causes many expats to leave after a short stay. Yet, despite its shortcomings, the country is a paradise for expats who choose to stay and embrace Mozambique.
Many expats relocate to Maputo, the capital and largest city in Mozambique. The city is lush and exudes old-world charm. The cost of living is low, depending on one's tastes. Local fruits are available in abundance, but imported goods from South Africa and Europe command higher prices. Expat-standard housing can also be expensive in the city. On the other hand, many expats can afford to hire full-time domestic help, a luxury not often seen in the West.
Expats will need to brush up on their Portuguese to get by, as few locals speak English. However, because of proximity to English-speaking South Africa, English media is widely available.
There are a few good private hospitals and clinics in Maputo, and plenty more a few hours’ drive away in South Africa.
Population: Around 30.5 million
Capital city: Maputo
Other major cities: Matola, Beira
Neighbouring countries: Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Geography: The Zambezi River divides the country into two topographical regions. In the north, the land is shaped by inland hills and low plateaus. Rugged highlands are further west. To the south of the Zambezi River, the lowlands are broader.
Political system: Unitary presidential republic
Major religions: Christianity, Islam
Main languages: Portuguese, Chewa
Money: The Mozambican metical (MZN) is divided into 100 centavos. The plural of metical is meticais, with the abbreviated mets or MT often used. The South African rand and US dollar are also frequently used and accepted, especially in the south of Mozambique.
Tipping: Tipping is standard practice in Mozambique, with 10 percent of the bill being the norm in restaurants. Tipping tour guides, cleaners and porters is also common in Mozambique.
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz. Two-pin round plugs are common, while three-pin plugs can also be found.
Internet domain: .mz
International dialling code: +258
Emergency contacts: 119 (police), 117 (medical), 198 (fire)
Transport and driving: Drive on the left-hand side.