Practical Life in Maputo


Transport in Maputo


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Public Transportation in Maputo

There is an extensive network of public transit options in Mozambique, offering up all levels of comfort.

Chapas (pronounced 'shap-as') are by far the most common mode of transport and they connect to the widest range of destinations for the lowest prices. They are, however, very slow moving and can be dangerous.

Busses act as a second tier of public transit. They connect major cities and provide more comfort for a slightly higher price. However, as Mozambique is quite a large country, domestic flights are often the quickest and most comfortable way to get around - albeit for a price.

Chapas

The most popular way of getting around Maputo is by chapa. These minibuses do technically follow routes throughout the capital - though formal maps do not exist. Often, the driver has a buddy who will communicate the direction of the chapa by yelling out the window. He will also collect your money.

Chapas are also the popular mode of transport when traveling in and out of Maputo. Most busses leave early - some around 4am - and many depart from Avenida Albert Lithuli, next to the stadium. Double check where your bus departs from and the time of the earliest departure the day before. Some hostels, like Fatima's, organize chapa pick-ups for their guests.

Chapas will almost always operate at an explosively full capacity. They are not known for their comfort or safety - but they are extremely cheap. The government is also making efforts to regulate their use more intensively, making them moderately more reliable.

As of late, there are also a number of city busses that follow routes similar to chapas. They are part of the city's attempt to regulate chapas and provide low-cost public transport.

Bus

A more comfortable alternative to the chapa is a bus. Busses are slightly more expensive, and do not service the same range of remote areas. However, they are far safer and much more organized. Most - but not all - long distance bus companies depart from the junta, about 7km outside of the city. Make sure you double check ahead of time. Major bus companies include:

  • Cheetah Express: Connecting Maputo (at Av Eduardo Mondlane next to Mundos) with Nelspruit in South Africa (at the Mediclinic Crossings and Riverside Mall).
  • TCO Turismo: Connecting Maputo with Durban, Johannesburg and a number of major Mozambican towns.
  • Intercape: Connects Maputo and Johannesburg
  • Greyhound: Connects Maputo with a number of South African destinations

Train

CFM (Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique) is the authority in charge of running the rail system connecting the ports of Maputo, Beira and Nacala. The Maputo line links to Swazi Rail and the National Railways of Zimbabwe. The Maputo line also connects with Johannesburg or Pretoria in South Africa.

Plane

Maputo International Airport (MPM) is Mozambique's main airport. It is located just outside of Maputo and connects with a series of domestic, regional and international locations.

  • LAM is the national airline, and flies daily to Mozambican airports in Beira, Chimoio, Inhambane, Lichinga, Nampula, Pemba, Quelimane, Chingozi and Vilankulo.
  • South African Airways also services Maputo along with a number of other Mozambican destinations.  

Transport to/from Airport

Shuttle: Shuttle busses are provided between the airport and nearby hotels.
Bus: Chapas are available a short walk from the arrivals hall.
Drive: Chauffeured and non-chauffeured rental cars are available at the airport. 
Taxi: Available in front of the terminal. Average fare to the center of the city is around MZM 350.

Taxis in Maputo

In Maputo, you will have a choice between a private and shared taxi - both of which are found fairly easily on busy streets. You can either find one parked on the side, or flag one down from the road.

It is rare to find a taxi with a meter, making it essential that you negotiate a rate before departing. Expatriates are normally charged rates that are much higher than normal. Tips are not expected. In shared taxis, it is expected that you will stop to pick up other passengers.

Car Hire in Maputo

Car rentals are available in Maputo, and you have the choice of renting one with or without a chauffeur. Rental prices are often on par with Western countries.

To drive in Mozambique, it is advisable that you obtain an international drivers license. You should also be prepared for more challenging driving conditions, as the roads are less orderly and potholes are prevalent.

You should also be prepared for frequent stops with the police. Requesting bribes from expatriate drivers is extremely common and difficult to avoid. It is often wise to carry a second wallet with small bills in it, so as to avoid showing large amounts of cash to officers. You should also make sure your license and insurance is always on hand and entirely up to date.

Rental companies include:

Update 15/06/2015





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