Maputo, Mozambique Report of what it's like to live there - 02/28/19
Personal Experiences from Maputo, Mozambique
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
I have lived in Melbourne, Cairo, and Oslo.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
DC is home. There are no ideal itineraries between the US and Maputo. Travel time will range from 24 to 36 hours. The easiest cities to connect through are Joburg, Addis, and Lisbon.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is good, but this isn't a part of Africa where everyone gets a house. I live on a new compound where there are 35 apartments that house mission staff members. All off the apartments are three bedrooms, three and a half baths, but half of the units are almost double the square footage. They just made all the rooms bigger and gave those units actual storage.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Most groceries are cheap. You can also do some grocery shopping in ZA on one of your weekend getaways to Kruger. Electronics are crazy expensive, and not much cheaper in ZA.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Liquids like craft beers and laundry detergent. The things you can't order through pouch.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Lots of seafood, prego, piri-piri chicken, and picana. Can't go wrong ordering grilled prawns and some samosas. Not many restaurants offer delivery, but there is a new service with an app called Deliva that will pick up food for you. There is a decent Indian place that I order from occasionally.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Mosquitos, fruit flies, and ants.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
I pay about US$130 a month for 3 days a week.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Several options in nearby malls; I'm not a user.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Use credit cards everywhere with no issues.
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
You can get by without.
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Only supposed to use a few vetted taxis. Most people self drive everywhere.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
With new Chinese roads and bridges you can now get by with a 2wd car, however may still be places you want to go that require 4wd. Moz is right hand drive, but they don't care which type of car you import. If driving a left hand car, you will need a spotter in the passenger seat if you want to pass the overloaded dump truck doing 20kph on the highway to ZA. A small car might get flooded if you try to drive during a storm.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
You can get up to 8 Mbps fiber currently. I pay about $60 per month for a 7Mbps that has a 80GB limit during business hours and unlimited nights and weekends. It only takes a few days to set up.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Local SIMs are cheap. Some people have SIMs for Moz, ZA, and Swazi. I use my Google fi sim in ZA, but google doesnt have a roaming agreement with Swazi. I will probably end up getting a Swazi SIM when we go to Bushfire.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
I have had good experiences with vets. No quarantine in Moz, but ZA might quarantine transiting pets. Fly in on TAP or Ethiopian to avoid that issue. If you need a pet there are plenty available here.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
There is a good number of EFM jobs at post. There is no bilateral work agreement. EFMs wanting to work out of the mission like at the school, would need to leave the country and apply for a work visa in their tourist passport. The French school recently got in lots of trouble for employing diplomatic spouses and others without work visas.
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
Some people volunteer at orphanages.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Occasional muggings. They also seem to steal things like side mirrors off of cars.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Malaria is a concern. Health care is not good.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Some people have issues with new and different pollen here and the trash burning.
4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
Something here triggers people that haven't had issues before.
5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Hot all year. Dry in August, wet in February.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
There are several flavors. Most people go to the AISM. It is IB PYP, MYP, and DP. Like all schools it has some issues, but a lot of dissatisfaction with the school could just be that people are unfamiliar with all the different levels of the IB program.
2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
AISM has stuff.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Expat community is pretty big. People are mostly happy.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
If you want to hand out with other expats, just plan a trip to the beach and invite whom ever you run into.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
I think it is good for everyone.
4. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
All the different beaches. Driving to game parks in ZA or Swazi for the weekend.
5. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
With all the new Chinese roads and bridges I don't know that anything is hidden anymore. Kruger is two hours away. Great beaches are one hour away. Elephant reserve is one hour away. SCUBA is one and a half hours away.
In the last three months, I have only spent two weekends in town.
6. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Beaded animal sculptures, wood carvings, Capalana fabrics, baskets here, baskets there, candles, and glass in swazi.
7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
How easy it is to take awesome weekend trips, and it is cheap.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. But don't forget your: