How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Mozambique?


Dhows in Vilanculos
A dhow in Vilanculos

Mozambique marked my first foray in Sub-Saharan Africa and I couldn’t have chosen a better country to start with.

This is one of my favourite countries on the planet and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I had such a wonderful trip that I’m actually excited to have hit the pause buttons on my travels — just so I can start sharing the fantastic experiences I had.

After just two weeks in the country, I’m fully obsessed with Mozambique and can’t stop talking about how hard I’ve fallen for the beaches, the people, the snorkelling, the food, and the laid-back way of life. I spent my first trip exploring the more popular southern parts, and now I’m already putting together plans to explore the north.

But let’s talk about expenses.

Finances-wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Mozambique. I hadn’t travelled extensively in Africa when I visited, and I’d heard that much of the continent is pricey for budget travellers. I landed in Maputo, then, expecting prices to be similar to Western Europe, and ended up pleasantly surprised.

As someone who was travelling solo and on a mid-range budget, I didn’t find the prices to be too outrageous and even managed to squeeze some luxury into my trip.

Let’s start looking at my budget breakdown for Mozambique!

All prices are listed in this post are in U.S. dollars, as always, as that’s where most of you guys are from.

baobab backpackers
My private hut at Baobab Backpackers, in Vilanculos. I loved this guesthouse so much! 

The Cost of Accommodation in Mozambique

The value of accommodation in Mozambique varied quite a bit, depending on which part of the country you were in. Outside of dorm rooms, it was tough to find a well-reviewed guesthouse in Maputo for under $40 a night, but in Tofo and Vilanculos, budget options were everywhere (although didn’t always have amazing reviews).

For those of you who want to visit Mozambique on a shoestring, camping is common and can be done in most tourist spots, and especially in the south of the country. There isn’t a Couchsurfing scene at all in Mozambique, so don’t rely on that if you’re used to bouncing your way from sofa to sofa as you travel. There are hostels, and dorm rooms are cheap. The infamous Fatima’s (around $8.50 per night for a dorm) is your best option in Maputo and Tofo, although both places get pretty mixed reviews.

What I did: I opted for a real mix of accommodation options. I stayed in the best-sounding budget-hotel in Maputo, splashed out on a luxury eco resort in Tofo, and stayed in a popular hostel in Vilanculos. While quality did vary, the one constant was the bugs and the lack of air conditioning.

Taka-Taka Hotel, Maputo: $37.94/night

This is most likely the best value guesthouse you’ll find in Maputo, which was pretty expensive for accommodation. The guesthouse was basic but clean, the staff were friendly and helpful, the breakfasts were free and decent, and it was in a central location.

There was one major downside to this hotel, though. One of the guests who was staying there went to reception and asked what room I was in, and they told him! I had never even seen this guy before, let alone spoke to him. He turned up outside my room at 10 p.m., tried to get inside, and once I got rid of him, continued to knock on my door to invite me to drink with him or introduce his friend to me. I slept with the room furniture up against the door that night and was relieved to be checking out the following day. Ugh. 

Baia Sonambula, Tofo: $63.00/night

One of the best places I’ve ever stayed in and such great value for money! If you want a bit of luxury travel in Mozambique, stay at Baia Sonambula. The staff are incredible, it’s located just up from the beach, the rooms are gorgeous, the views are the best, the breakfasts are divine, and you even get free cake and coconut water every afternoon. I spent five nights and considered cancelling the rest of my trip in order to spend even longer there. I’m currently trying to convince Dave to take a trip to Mozambique with me and it’s mostly so that I have an excuse to return to Baia Sonambula. 

Baobab Backpackers, Vilanculos: $31.23/night

Baobab Backpackers is a standard backpackers hangout on the beach. It’s rustic, there are cockroaches, and the rooms are hot and humid. If, however, you’re looking for a chilled out spot on the beach to make friends and be well-looked after, this is the place for you! Despite the relative discomforts (especially after my stay at Baia Sonambula), I really liked it and would stay here again. Lots of activities and excursions for you to take, there’s a restaurant on-site, which is useful if you’re feeling lazy, and the staff are so, so lovely. 

Total cost for accommodation in Mozambique: $522.51 over 11 days = $47.50 per day.

Dhows in Vilanculos
A dhow in Vilanculos

The Cost of Transportation in Mozambique

Transportation is unbelievably inexpensive if you’re willing to suck it up and ride the chapas. To quote from my post about what it’s like to travel in MozambiqueImagine a humid minivan with poor suspension, swerving its way over pot-holed roads on a thirty-degree day. Now imagine filling it with 10 times more people than the recommended capacity until you’re all packed in the back like sweaty sardines. Maybe throw a child on your lap, a broken seat below your legs, and some smelly food in there, too. Now, get the driver to rip you off on the price.

Before arriving in the country, I planned to travel overland from place to place to save money, but it only took two days for me hand in my backpacker card and swear off using them. Unfortunately, though, if you’re not willing to use the chapas, don’t want to hitchhike, and don’t want to rent a car, there aren’t many other inexpensive overland transport options you can take.

So, yeah. I definitely splurged on transportation on this trip. I flew from Maputo to Inhambane for $100, then took a free hotel shuttle to Tofo (the entire journey would have been around $12 total by chapa), then to get from Tofo to Vilanculos, I splurged on hiring a private car after finding out the overland journey would involve a ferry, multiple chapas, and many hours stood alone on the side of the road attempting to flag a ride down. I didn’t feel comfortable hitchhiking as a solo woman.

Cities and towns in Mozambique are small, so you can walk basically everywhere you need to. I explored Maputo and Tofo on foot, and took tuk-tuks in Vilanculos in the evenings for safety reasons (the guesthouse staff told us it was unsafe to walk around at night). It cost around $1-2 each way to most places in the town.

Flight from Maputo to Tofo: $100
Private car transfer from Tofo to Vilanculos: $100
Three tuk-tuk rides: $5

My total cost for transportation in Mozambique: $205

Beach bars in Tofo, Mozambique
The fantastic restaurants and bars in Tofo

The Cost of Food in Mozambique

Food is cheap, cheap, cheap and delicious in Mozambique, and you definitely won’t go hungry. Portions were huge!

It was super-common for breakfasts to be included in the price of your room, and they were all pretty standard breakfast fare of toast, butter, scrambled eggs, some fruit, and coffee. Baobab Backpackers didn’t include breakfast but had a restaurant on site where you could grab an enormous omelette before hitting the sandbanks.

In Mozambique, you’ll find peri-peri-smothered everything and the enormous seafood platters will fill your stomach. Yes, if you’re not a fan of heat or seafood, you may find yourself having to hang out in tourist restaurants every now and then. The seafood is delicious, though, with some of the best prawns and crayfish I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating and some seriously great deals. A seafood platter split with two friends came to $6 each in Vilanculos, and was washed down with a $2 beer.

Overall, expect to spend $2-7 per meal.

For something local that’s without Portuguese influence, there’s a dish called matapa, which is stewed cassava leaves, cooked with seafood and covered with peanuts, garlic, and coconut milk. I didn’t try it because I can’t eat peanuts, but friends who did liked it more than they expected.

Drinkingwise, I used my Grayl water purifier bottle that kills 99.999% of all viruses, bacteria, and cysts in water, making it completely safe to drink. I drank the tap water everywhere in Mozambique, didn’t get sick, saved money on water bottles, and didn’t pollute the country with my plastic waste. I highly recommend grabbing one of these for your trip. If you’re short on space, a Steripen is a great option for making tap water drinkable.

Fruit is insanely cheap in Mozambique, and especially if you eat multiple portions of it a day — you’ll find deals like 30 mangoes for $0.20 while you’re wandering around the markets, and the locals will be bemused if you want to buy just one.

I spent just $62 on food during my 11 days in the country. That’s $5.63 per day! 

vilanculos island
Beach wanderings on an island close to Vilanculos. Ah, I love this country so much! 

The Cost of Activities in Mozambique

To save money on activities in Mozambique, you should plan to wait until after you’ve arrived in the country to start booking experiences. Like many places around the world, the prices listed online for tours and activities are drastically higher than what you’ll pay by turning up and asking around.

It’s worth mentioning, too, that if you’re a solo traveller, you’ll find it beneficial to stay in hostels and take advantage of the group tours that are run for travellers. When looking at tours outside of my accommodation, group tours were rare and private ones charged at least twice as much if you were alone.

So what trips did I take?

In Tofo, I jumped on an ocean safari with Diversity SCUBA for a morning with the whale sharks. The ocean safari is aimed at the rare non-divers who opt to travel to Tofo, and involves spending two hours motoring across the ocean and jumping in whenever you spot whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, and whales. It’s $40 for the tour, and I received a 10% discount because I was staying at Baia Sonambula. If you are a diver, you’ll pay $40 for a single tank.

In Vilanculos, I opted for an island excursion that was arranged through Baobab Backpackers. It cost $50 to spend a full day on Ilha de Magaruque and included snorkelling equipment and a fish barbecue lunch. This was my favourite experience in Mozambique and well worth the money I spent! I wish I’d had longer in Vilanculos so I could have jumped on another one of their tours.

In Mozambique, it is possible to rock up and negotiate with the local fishermen to hire a dhow for the day at a cheaper price, but you’re taking a risk by doing so. Hotel staff warned me of the dangers of doing this (potentially to convince me to take their tours) and said that the fishermen could take you out to an island, then ask for more money to bring you back.

Mozambican metacais currency
Mozambican meticais: I loved how colourful the banknotes were!

The Cost of Miscellaneous Stuff in Mozambique

Visas: The Mozambique visa is reasonably pricey at $77 for a single entry tourist visa. Citizens of all countries can get a visa on arrival as  long as you can prove you’re a tourist (print out of a copy of your flight out of the country and accommodation confirmations). Members of SADC countries don’t require a tourist visa when visiting Mozambique.

Anti-malarial tablets: Mozambique was the first country where I took anti-malarials! The country has one of the highest risks of malaria in the world, and cerebral malaria is common, so you’ll really want to make sure you take anti-malarials and take them properly. I opted for generic Malarone tablets, which were $2.42 per tablet. Doxycycline is a much cheaper alternative at $0.19 per tablet, but requires you to also take the tablets daily for a month after you leave the country and is an antibiotic, which I definitely didn’t want in my system.

Travel insurance: I was paranoid about crime and safety in Mozambique after reading so many horror stories online, so I made sure to get the absolute best coverage I could from World Nomads. I opted for an explorer plan, which covered me against the highest amount of eventualities and had me paying the lowest amount of excess. I also added personal items cover for my laptop or camera after reading that theft was the most likely thing travellers were to come up against. I travelled through the country incident-free and felt far safer than I expected, so would probably opt for the standard lowest-cost policy when returning to Mozambique in the future.


Things to Know About Money in Mozambique

  • You’ll pay for most things in Mozambican Meticals (pronounced meti-caish), but the South African rand and U.S. dollars are widely accepted, too.
  • ATMs often run out of cash, and some of them just wouldn’t work with my Visa debit card, so if you can’t get money out of the first one you try, don’t panic! Try a few others before concluding that your card has been blocked.
  • Expect to pay with cash in restaurants, but all accommodation I stayed at had card readers, and so did the tour companies.
  • Tipping isn’t expected. I like to tip a small amount anyway.
  • You can’t change meticals outside of the country! I forgot about this and took a whopping $150 worth of meticals out of Mozambique with me, turned up in South Africa, and discovered nobody would change them. Fortunately-ish, Portuguese currency exchange places do change meticals, but at an appallingly bad rate. I got just $70 for mine once I landed back in Lisbon. If you don’t live in Portugal, though, don’t expect you’ll be able to change your money once you’ve left.

And that’s how much it costs to travel in Mozambique! I spent around $950 for my 11 days in the country, which works out at $86 per day.

It’s not the cheapest country in the world, but it’s far from the most expensive, either.

I wasn’t making much of an effort to keep my expenses down, so if you’re happy to stay in hostels, eat cheaply, travel overland, and minimise the number of activities you do, you could most likely travel around for as little as $20 or 30 a day.

Have you been to Mozambique? How did my travel expenses stack up against yours?

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After just two weeks in Mozambique, I'm fully obsessed with Mozambique and can't stop talking about how hard I've fallen for the beaches, the people, the snorkelling, the food, and the laid-back way of life. I spent my first trip to the country exploring the more popular south, and now I'm already putting together plans to explore the north. But let's talk about expenses.

25 Comments

  1. February 20, 2017
    Reply

    Great article! I do find 950 for 11 kinda pricy, but when you look how beautiful the scenery is, it feels like it is worth it.
    x

    • February 27, 2017
      Reply

      Yep. I included more budget options for any readers who are stricter budget travellers than I am! I definitely splurged and treated myself on this trip :-)

  2. February 20, 2017
    Reply

    Sounds like you had a fantastic time on a reasonable budget! The seafood platters sound incredible – can’t go wrong with prawns!
    How was your trip to see the Whale Sharks?
    Thanks for sharing this, looking forward to reading more about your trip :)

    • February 27, 2017
      Reply

      I’ll be writing an entire post about it, but man. I’ve never felt so sick before in my life. So it was sort of worth making the trip for me, but I also spent most of my time on the boat feeling like I was going to die, haha.

  3. February 20, 2017
    Reply

    Did you snorkel or swim with the whale sharks? I thought you gave up snorkeling! And either way, it sounds amazing!

    • February 20, 2017
      Reply

      Snorkelled. And man, I’ve never felt so overwhelmingly sick before in my life, haha — I didn’t realise it would be in the full-on open ocean with some pretty wild waves. I swore off snorkelling, but the opportunity to swim with whale sharks was too tempting to turn down. And now that I’ve done that, I’m back to swearing off snorkelling again.

  4. Tessa
    February 21, 2017
    Reply

    So glad you loved it! And very glad you have no incidents while there. Just do be aware that one must always be vigilant – which is probably why you got through with no crime incidents
    Look forward to hearing about my home town of cape town

    • February 21, 2017
      Reply

      I was definitely more vigilant in Mozambique than anywhere else I’ve been in the world. It makes a big difference when you’re not flashing around an expensive camera or phone as you explore.

      I loved Cape Town! I’m already plotting my return trip.

  5. Advika @honeymoon in manali
    February 21, 2017
    Reply

    To visit Mozambique is out of my budget. But I really enjoyed your blog and found interesting and informative.

  6. Isabel Alves
    February 21, 2017
    Reply

    Are you not going to Tanzania? I’m going there in September and can’t find much useful info online! Do you have any tips? Great post! Love everything you write xx

  7. February 21, 2017
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Your trip looks amazing! I really want to get to Mozambique someday! Looking forward to reading some more!

    Give me a shout if you go to Tanzania later in the year! I’m going to be there in October I think!

    xxx

    • February 27, 2017
      Reply

      No problem! :-) I’ll definitely let you know if I happen to make it over there at the same time.

  8. www.TourGuideInSriLanka.com
    March 3, 2017
    Reply

    Amazing post Lauren..! Really enjoyed it. Pictures are stunning.. Food habits and the prices sounds great… Seems like nothing to worry about food while your stay in there. Thanks for sharing.

    • March 6, 2017
      Reply

      Definitely not! The food is amazing and I don’t think I’ve ever got sick from eating there.

  9. April 12, 2017
    Reply

    Such a lovely post. I am planning on doing a similar trip so i found the budget elements very helpful. I laughed at your description of the public transport-it is like an adventure in itself.

    • April 17, 2017
      Reply

      Oh, I’m glad you found it useful, Tsitsi! Hope you have a wonderful time in Mozambique, even while on the public transport :-)

  10. Rachitha
    July 7, 2017
    Reply

    Great post…! Funnily enough, this place looks a little similar to Sri Lanka. Have you been?

    • July 18, 2017
      Reply

      I have! I didn’t find them too similar in terms of scenery, but the lack of backpackers on the beach is definitely something they have in common!

  11. October 2, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks so much for this post, I’ll be in Mozambique in 2 weeks! I’d already booked Baia Sonambula so I’m thrilled to hear it’s as wonderful as it looks on the site! I’m only just starting to research bits and pieces now (I tend to just decide what to do when I get somewhere) but all of your tips are well noted! :-)

    • October 9, 2017
      Reply

      Ah, amazing! I promise you’ve LOVE Baia Sonambula. It’s fantastic!

  12. Karim
    June 10, 2018
    Reply

    Dear Lauren,

    Thank you for this interesting post.
    We get a lot of informations from this.
    We plan to visit Mozambique on August.
    We have some transport concern…indeed we couldnt find a private transport from Vilanculos to Gorogonsa National Park. We find someone who could do this trip for 350$…which is very expensive. Do you have a company to recommand ?

    Thank you for your help

    Karim

    • June 16, 2018
      Reply

      I don’t know of any. But it might be worth contacting the accommodation you’re planning to stay with in Vilanculos, and they may be able to hook you up with a driver.

  13. Yoemna
    September 25, 2018
    Reply

    Ahh thanks for this breakdown it is so helpful as I am planning a trip in Nov 2018 for my birthday and want to spend it in Vilanculous…….

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