Maputo, Mozambique Report of what it's like to live there - 12/23/08
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?
No, Pretoria S. Africa, Kenya, Mombassa, Congo.
2. How long have you lived here?
3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:
19 hours from DC, switch planes in Jo'burg.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Huge houses, usually two or three story, small yards, some pools, each has a guard 24 hours; conveniently located close to the Embassy, shopping and schools.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Double what you'd pay in S. Africa or the States.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Ketchup, maple syrup, salad dressing, Christmas decorations, clothes, shoes.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
KFC but it's not very fast. Zambies and the Meat Company.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
I have pouch.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Readily available at a reasonable cost.
3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Accepted at the stores.
4. What English-language religious services are available locally?
Next to none.
5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
As much as possible; best advice I can give is to learn Portuguese before arriving.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Not very many accomodations for wheelchairs or people walking with crutches.
1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?
Left, sometimes the middle, there aren't marked lanes in most areas, lots of merging.
2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
3. 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?
Four-wheel drive is best due to pot holes and parking on curbs, sidewalks, etc.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes, very expensive and not always reliable; must be able to speak Portuguese to order and understand the service.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Buy one locally and then purchase minutes from vendors on every street corner.
3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?
1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
Low quality for kennels, vets speak Portuguese but are caring.
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?
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Casual and less casual.
Health & Safety:
1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?
Lots of burning fills the air with smoke at various times.
2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Some while walking on parts of the Marginal and at night.
3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Water is unsafe to drink, fruits and vegetables must be washed before eating, poor medical care with Portuguese speaking doctors only.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Cool nights and winters, blistery hot summers in December, January and February with cooler temps in March.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
American International is the best; offers all three levels of the IB program, small class sizes but growing each year.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
ESL, literacy specialist and guidance counselor.
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
American International School and several other local preschools; no experience with them.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Clubs that serve all ages, no drinking restrictions; house music.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Eat at the Meat Company and go next door to the Casinotravel to nearby islands, beaches, Kruger Park, S. Africa.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Cashews locally grown, wooden trinkets and masks.
9. Can you save money?
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
For a short visit.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Pedicures, the dusty roads ruin them.
3. But don't forget your:
Sunscreen, mosquito repellant, and anti-malaria meds.
4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
7. Do you have any other comments?
It's best to keep an open mind about Maputo and look for the positives. It's a city that's been through a revolution and the people just want peace so they are very relaxed and slow-paced. The signs of war are very obvious in the road conditions, litter and general dirtiness. The weather is pleasant, it's close enough to S. Africa to find familiar comforts and the people are very accepting of foreigners.