Air France, Air Portugal and Mozambique Airlines LAM have the best air connections in and out of Maputo. Cheaper way enter Mozambique is to fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, and travel by land to Mozambique. From within Africa, travellers can fly between Maputo and Lilongwe, Malawi, or Johannesburg. The airport departure tax for international flights is US$10.
The best land crossings are over the South African border. There are three trains a week between Johannesburg and Maputo, taking about 15 hours each way. There are also minibuses running between Maputo and various South African towns, and a daily direct luxury bus connecting Maputo and Johannesburg. Minibuses also run between Maputo and towns in Swaziland, crossing the border at Namaacha, Mozambique.
Other border crossings are less convenient and less reliable. You can cross between Palma (at the very north-eastern corner of Mozambique) and Mwambo, Tanzania, but there's very little transport south of Palma and the roads are in bad condition. There are two main crossings between Mozambique and Zimbabwe: Nyamapanda on the Tete Corridor, and Machipanda on the Beira-Harare Road.
The starting point for Ilha de Mozambique is Nampula. You can reach Nampula by air. LAM has daily flights from Maputo and several flights from Beira, Lichinga, Tete, Quelimane and Pemba.
If you're planning to head to Nampula overland, be prepared for rough, dirty roads, car breakdowns, unexpected stops, hours of waiting etc. If you're coming from Maputo, you must count at least 5 days for the trip (2 days to Beira, 1 to Quelimane and 2 to Nampula). Coming from the north, you should make it in 2 days from Palm to Nampula (1 day to Pemba and 1 to Nampula).
To Ilha de Mozambique
The Island is linked to the mainland by a 3 km long bridge. The bridge was build by the Portuguese in 1969 and due to the lack of maintenance, the traffic over the bridge was restricted only to vehicles with maximum weight of 1,5 tonnes and which are not wider than 193 cm.
The nearest airport for commercial flights is in Nampula. There's is an airstrip at Lumbo on the mainland, but there are no commercial flights for the moment.
By BusSeveral buses leaves in daily from/to Nampula. The first bus leaves at around 7 am in the morning. In fact, there's no fixed timetable and most of the buses leaves, when they're full. Don't be surprized, if your bus makes several loops through the town to pick up the passangers. The journey takes 3 hours (excluding the loops) and costs 40 000 mts (2,50U$). Buses leaves Nampula at the bus station in front of the train station at the jonction of the Avenida de Trabalho and Avenida Francisco Manyanga. Since the buses are not allowed to cross the bridge, you'll have to change the bus for a pick-up, which will take you to the island. To leave the Island, you'll need to take pick-up again to cross the bridge. The first bus to Nampula leaves at 4.30 am from the mainland.
If you're leaving to Pemba, you have either choice to take the bus to Namialo and then wait for the Nampula/Pemba bus, which passes in the early morning or you continue the way to Nampula and take the bus on the next morning.
By Chapa (Pick-up)
Chapas navigate frequently between Nampula and Ilha de Mozambique. They leave Nampula from the train station (like buses) and leave Ilha from the beginning of the bridge. The prices are 5000 mts (0,30 U$) to cross the bridge to Lumbo, 20 000 mts (1,30U$) to Namialo, 40 000 (2,50 U$) to Nampula and 100 000 mts (7 U$) to Pemba. If you're heading to Pemba, you should arrive to Namialo early in the morning, ince the chapas heading north to Pemba are scarce after 8 am.
You can rent a car at Nampula Airport at Imperial Car Rental (phone 216 312). Car transfer can be also organized in the Hotel Tropical in Nampula. To get ut of the Island, ask around for transport. Restaurant Reliquias is a good place to meet other travellers and you might get a lift.
There's now regular boat (dhow) service to the mainland. The dhows leave Ilha at the fish market in front of the mosque. The best way to get the information is to ask around or to contact the tourist information office, which can also arrange the transport to Goa Island and Sena Island.
The walking is about the best way of getting around the Ilha de Mozambique. You can cross the Island in 30 min. from north to South. Tourist information office also offers bicycles for rent.
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