Budget Guide To Backpacking Mozambique

Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

Backpacking MozambiqueMozambique travel is by no means easy, but it is extremely rewarding. In this budget guide to backpacking Mozambique, you’ll learn everything you need to know about travelling Mozambique on a budget, including things you won’t find in your guidebook.

The snow-white, powdery sands and dazzling turquoise waters that fringe this wild coastline boast some of the most stunning beaches in the world. And if you’re willing to travel independently and head north, you’ll experience some of the best travel moments you’ll ever have.

Mozambique is wildly underrated as a backpacker’s destination, so get here fast before everyone finds out just how amazing Mozambique travel can be!

How Much Will Mozambique Cost?

mozambique for budget backpackers
Budget For Mozambique

$85/day for 2 people. 

A little bit high for a budget backpacker, this budget will afford you public transport, local meals, nice double rooms/beach bungalows, and a few extras like sailing to islands and swimming with whale sharks. If you’ve already been travelling in Africa, then you’re used to the high prices for certain things, just be sure to bargain for transport, rooms and food in markets, as well as any tours or trips you do.

Budget Accommodation: ($13-$50/night)

In popular tourist spots like Maputo and Tofo you’ll pay closer to the higher end of this amount for a double room. But as you head  North, the prices start to go down until you reach Nampula and Mozambique Island where they spike back up again. North of Nampula, in the Quirimbas Archipelago, prices are reasonable but a little higher than in central Mozambique.

Rondavel In Vilanculos Mozambique Travel
Rondavel In Vilanculos

Click here to see prices and compare reviews on hotels / hostels / guesthouses in Mozambique on Booking.com

Eating: ($1-$3/meal)

Tasty food is one of the perks of Mozambique travel. So much of Africa is cursed with bland, tasteless dishes that simply don’t satisfy a food lover’s palate. Thanks to Portuguese and Indian influence, Mozambique has some nice spicy dishes including Peri Peri and some tasty seafood platters. A local chicken dish can be as cheap as $3, while most seafood platters or meals in touristy restaurants will be upwards of $10.

Mozambique Travel Food
Mozambique Food

Entrance Fees: (Average $5/person)

Entrence fees For Budget Backpackers in mozambique

There aren’t a lot of things that you would pay to “enter” in Mozambique. There are a few nice museums and old forts like Fort Sao Sabastian on Mozambique island which used to be free but now there is an entrance fee. Museums and old houses in Maputo will cost about $5 to enter.

Alcohol: ($2 Beer, $4 Cocktails)

2M Mozambique Beer

The local beer in Mozambique is 2M but there are plenty of good import beers on offer including San Miguel and Black Label from South Africa. 2M is actually a delicious lager and goes well with the spicy Mozambique food. You can also get cocktails at tourist bars and restaurants for around $4.


Tourist Pricing In mozambique towards budget backpackers

Tipping in Mozambique is not customary, but in touristy areas you will be expected to give 10% at restaurants and bars. A tour guide, boat man, captain or driver will also expect similar gratuities from tourists.

If service is bad, don’t feel forced to tip, the only reason they expect it now is because tourists have tipped them so often in the past. If you were Mozambican, they would be quite happy with a handshake and a thank-you.

Must-See Places

Mozambique has a lot to offer and there are plenty of places that you “Must See”. Keep in mind that travel days are long and hard, so don’t try to pack too much in to a short visit. We were in the mood for beaches during our stay here so we mostly stuck to the coast line, but there are some great hiking trails and mountain scenery inland.


The only reason this dusty African town is listed here as “must see” is because you will probably end up here at some point. There’s not much to see and you should get out ASAP, but if you must stay there are some interesting old homes and museums in the area.

travel Mozambique - There's Not Much To Do In Maputo
There’s Not Much To Do In Maputo


This long stretch of golden-white sand it absolutely stunning and the coral reefs and rock shelves off shore boast some of the most exciting snorkelling and scuba diving to be found anywhere on earth!

Take a snorkel trip to swim with dolphins and whale sharks or put on some scuba gear and dive with the goliaths of the sea. You can see manta rays, turtles, dolphins, eagle rays, small eye rays and humpback whales! End each day with a freshly caught, seafood platter and a delicious cocktail while the sun dips into the sparkling sea. Tofo is a traveller’s paradise but it’s still charmingly undeveloped, with only a few basic bungalows on the main beach.

Mozambique Travel - Beautiful Tofo Beach
Beautiful Tofo Beach
[widget id=”shortcodes-ultimate-5″]


Vilanculos is a cool little fishing village, dotted with baobab trees and fringed by a lovely beach, but the real reason to come here is to visit the Bazaruto Archipelago. This archipelago consists of five idyllic islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa  Carolina and Bangue. These stunning, sandy oases bob in the Indian ocean like emerald jewels, awaiting to be discovered.

The pure white sands and aquamarine waters that fringe these tiny dunes are amongst the most beautiful destinations in the country. Here you can sail from island to island, snorkel with dugongs, dive with dolphins and fish for black marlin. Staying on the islands is WAY out of a backpacker’s budget, but you may be able to find a captain who will take you to sleep on a nearby spot of sand for a night or two.

Mozambique Travel A Beach In The Stunning Bazaruto Archipelago
A Beach In The Stunning Bazaruto Archipelago

**Goat Note: Sailing day trips around the Bazaruto Archipelago are highly recommended. Your captain will take you to a few islands for relaxing and snorkelling and will cook you a delicious crab lunch!**

Mozambique Island:

A tiny island, just 3 km long and attached to the mainland by a causeway. Formally the capital of the country, Ilha De Mozambique is an island with a rich history and historical heritage that is unmatched in the rest of Mozambique. Stone Town is the main attraction here and its intriguing network of old Portuguese buildings are connected by a maze of dusty cobblestone streets and alleyways.

Mozambique Travel - A Girl In Front Of An Old Portugese House
A Girl In Front Of An Old Portuguese House


Pemba is a port town, and the most significant center in Northern Mozambique. It has a few shops and restaurants (including some tasty Indian), and it’s a good place to stop over and stock up if you’re on the long journey north to Quirimbas.

Wembe beach on the outside of town is well worth a visit, or a stop over for a few days. If you’ve made it this far north then you might as well keep going. Buses to Quissanga (to catch the ferry to Ibo Island) leave at 4:00 am and take about 6 hours to the ferry. From Quissanga there are sporadic ferries and sail boats that can take you to the islands. Just wait at the “port” (beach) under the big baobab Tree.

Mozambique Travel Mozambican Boys On Pemba Beach
Mozambican Boys On Pemba Beach

Must-have Experiences

Sail To Amazing Islands:

There are plenty of places in Mozambique where you can hire a captain and sail out to stunning archipelagos. The most popular sailing spots are Bazarutu and Quirimbas. If you’re planning on spending the night on the islands and really living like a castaway, then your best bet is Quirimbas Archipelago in the north.

Bazarutu is too expensive and it’s technically illegal to camp out on these islands. Head up to Ibo Island and talk to Stephane at Panela Africana Guest house and Restaurant. He can set you up with everything you need for an amazing and affordable sailing trip!

backpacking Mozambique Our Sail Boat, Captain And Cook - Quirimbas, Mozambique
Our Sail Boat, Captain And Cook – Quirimbas, Mozambique

Find Untouched Villages:

Mozambique has some amazing villages where you can really get to know the local people. All you need is a sense of adventure. Wander around the quiet towns of Mozambique to find small villages where no other travellers go. You’ll discover inquisitive and friendly locals, as well as life long memories of a truly African experience.

Backpacking Mozambique Us With Our Friends In A Village On Quirimbas Island
Us With Our Friends In A Village On Quirimbas Island

Go To Church:

We aren’t not religious people, but we would highly recommend attending a Sunday church ceremony in Mozambique. The people will be more than happy to welcome you to their church and you can hear the incredibly melodic a capella hymns echo inside the old church walls.

The ceremonies in Mozambique are spiritually uplifting and positive and they are a great way to meet local people, although they may not understand why you don’t go to church every week in your home country!

Backpacking Mozambique - Us At A Church In Vilankulus, Mozambique
Us At A Church In Vilanculos, Mozambique

Go Snorkelling / Diving:

Mozambique is home to some of the best diving and snorkelling on the planet! If you’re into swimming with large sea creatures then you’ve come to the right place. Here you can dive or snorkel with Whale Sharks, Sea Turtles, Manta Rays, Dolphins, Small Eyed Stingrays, Sharks and even Humpback Whales (if you’re as lucky as I was!)

Animals Of The World Diving With Humpback Whales - Tofo, Mozambique
Diving With Humpback Whales – Tofo, Mozambique


Okay, so we can’t fully recommend hitchhiking alone, especially in Africa, but if you have a couple of friends then we would strongly recommend hitchhiking in Mozambique. It’s the best way to get from point A to B and you’ll probably make some great friends along the way.

Try to find other travellers to go with you and always ask truck drivers at popular truck stops if you can tag along. Just be prepared to give a little tip for the ride!

Backpacking Mozambique - Trying To Find A Ride In Vilankulos, Mozambique
Trying To Find A Ride In Vilanculos, Mozambique


There are plenty of ways you can volunteer in Mozambique. A good way is to look for local programs that help the communities, but if you just want to find something yourself, then you can probably help out at any local orphanage, teach English or just visit and play with children.

Backpacking Mozambique Our Friend Henrik, Playing The Ukilelee For Villagers On Quirimba Island
Our Friend Henrik, Playing The ukulele For Villagers On Quirimba Island

Go Deep Sea Fishing:

Mozambique is one of the best places in Africa to drop a line and try out some deep-sea fishing. Make sure you go with a reputable guide who will follow the local laws and practices. You may even be able to find a fisherman if you hit the shores or piers early in the morning. (It’d help to know a little Portuguese!)

Shop At A Fish Market:

Most guesthouses and restaurants will be willing to cook your fish (or allow you to) if you want to buy some from a local fisherman.  You should consider heading to a local fish market and bargaining for some freshly caught seafood. You can buy 10 crabs for $3 if you get the local price!

Another way to get great deals is to walk out and meet crab fishermen at low tide and just buy what’s in his bag! They usually spear crab just offshore during sunrise and sunset.

Buying Crabs From A Local Fisherman In The Bazarutu Archipelago
Buying Crabs From A Local Fisherman In The Bazarutu Archipelago

Off The Beaten Path In Mozambique

Off The Beaten Path Budget BackpackersMozambique is one of the best places in the world for adventurous backpackers. Get ready for long, hard travel days and time spent in dusty villages with no food.

If you want to make some amazing backpacking memories, then heading north is the best way to experience the true Mozambique.

Ibo Island:

If you’ve reached Ibo independently, you’ve definitely put in a lot of early morning buses, long dusty drives and some exhausting hitchhiking, but the minute you step off of the ferry or sailboat at the end of your journey, you’ll realize that it was all worth it.

The friendly people, funky village and old Portuguese style architecture is outstanding. The sunsets over the mangroves, the starry nights and the sound of African church choirs all combine to make Ibo Island one of the most idyllic islands in the world.

Making it here, and experiencing this level of true African culture, is like a trophy that you can place on your independent travelling mantle. Ibo Island is a spectacularly romantic paradise that satisfies all the dreams of a true backpacker. However, things are changing and more people are finding out about Ibo… so get here fast!

Backpacking Mozambique Adorable Kids On Ibo Island
Adorable Kids On Ibo Island

Quirimba Island:

Accessible via a mangrove path that’s only walkable during low tide, Quirimba Island is another dazzling jewel in the Indian ocean. The villagers here will be amazed to see a foreign face and if you walk around the authentically African style village, you’ll here a lot of excited cries of: “MAZUNGU!” (white person).

Here you can eat with local families, buy some coconuts at the market and swim in the beautiful beaches that fringe the tiny island. The real draw to the island are the local children who will probably have never seen a foreign face in their lives.

Walking around this place feels like exploring a new part of the continent that no white person has ever seen. You get the off-the-beaten-path sensation here the minute you see the smiling faces of the inquisitive villagers.

Backpacking Mozambique
Village Kids On Quirimba Island

Sailing The Quirimbas Archipelago (Matemo & Rolas):

If you’ve made it this far north, then you definitely need to go on a relaxing sailing trip around the Quirimbas Archipelago. Talk to Stephane at Panela Africana Guesthouse and Restaurant. He’ll be able to take you out on his beautiful sailboat, or if that’s too expensive for you, ask him to arrange a trip with a local captain and guide.

Sailing the calm, clear waters under nothing but the power of the wind is an experience you’ll never forget. If you opt for the cheaper option, you’ll have to bring all your own food and sleeping gear (a mosquito net is fine to camp under and you can get one from a hotel on Ibo).

You can buy fish and crab from the fishermen along the way and your captain can cook them for you. Matemo and Rolas are the closest islands to sail to. Both islands have the nicest beaches you’ll ever see. Rolas also has giant coconut crabs that you may be able to spot at night.

Set up your mosquito net right on the sand under a palm tree, make a campfire on the beach and stare at the dazzling stars until it’s light again. You can fish you can snorkel, you can dance you can scream. You can do whatever you want… because you’re the only one around.

The Only People For Miles - Matemo Island, Quirimbas
The Only People For Miles – Matemo Island, Quirimbas

Pros Of Backpacking Mozambique

Pros of budget backpacking mozambique
The Pros

Mozambique is one of the friendliest, funkiest and most beautiful countries to visit in all of Africa. Mozambique travel is not easy, but it is incredibly fulfilling.

There are beaches here that will blow your mind, there are villages that are still very authentically African and there is diving and snorkelling that is truly world-class. The list of pros for Mozambique travel could go on and on, but we’ll just list the ones that stood out for us.

Being Off The Beaten Path:

Heading north in Mozambique is an epic journey to undertake, but one that you will not soon forget. Even if you decide not to head up to Pemba and the Quirimbas archipelago, fear not, most of the country still feels quite rural.

Even tourist hotspots like Tofo and Vilanculos are still just a few grass hut bungalows and cement rondavels set inside a true African village. If you’re an adventurous backpacker then you’ll be surprised at how delightfully undeveloped Mozambique is.

The People:

During our travels in Africa, we had pretty poor people experiences. Of course these types of experiences are very personal and change from trip to trip, but in our time on the continent, we had a hard time connecting with the local, African population.

Luckily, when we crossed the border and entered Mozambique, this all changed. The people here were friendly, genuine and rarely treated us like rich “Mazungus”. We were able to talk with the locals and they always smiled and said hello.

Backpacking Mozambique Friendly Local People Of Mozambique
Friendly Local People Of Mozambique

The Food:

Again, in many parts of Africa, we weren’t very satisfied with the food, but the minute we came to Mozambique there was a noticeable change in the flavor of the cuisine. Finally we could look forward to our meals again and really indulge in the local cuisine.

The Music:

Hearing African choirs sing hymns with such passion and harmony is a real African experience. We’re not religious people, but we still suggest a visit to at least one Mozambique church, where you can hear this amazing and melodic music ring from the tiny rock chapels. Even if you don’t go to a church, the Mozambicans love to sing everywhere they go!

Backpacking Mozambique Women Singing And Dancing In Mozambique
Women Singing And Dancing In Mozambique 

The Islands & Beaches:

If you think you’ve seen white sand, clear water and exquisite islands in Southeast Asia or the Caribbean, prepare to have the bar raised. The snowy powder and crystal clear seas that fringe Mozambique are basically tourist free.

Backpacking Mozambique The Stunning Waters Of Rolash Island, Mozambique
The Stunning Waters Of Rolas Island, Mozambique

The Adventure:

Sure you can do Mozambique on a tour from South Africa, or on a fly-in / fly-out holiday, but the true allure lies in the adventure of travelling this country independently. If you’re willing to hop on some rickety buses, hitchhike between dusty villages and ask around for rides at hotels and restaurants, then you’re going to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Getting from point A to point B in Mozambique on your own steam is one of the real highlights of Mozambique travel.

Backpacking Mozambique A Ride In The Back Of A Pickup.. All A Part Of The Adventure!
A Ride In The Back Of A Pickup.. All A Part Of The Adventure!

Cons Of Backpacking Mozambique

cons to budget backpacking mozambique
The Cons

Like anywhere in the world, backpacking Mozambique is not all beaches, boats, bungalows and beers. There are some cons to travelling here, but if you think of them as part of the adventure, then most of them really aren’t cons.

It’s not easy travelling anywhere in Africa and Mozambique is no different. Here are the cons of Mozambique travel that stood out for us.

Difficult Transport:

Like we said before, hitchhiking and independent Mozambique travel is fun, but it’s exhausting. There are times when you’re 9 hours into a chapa (minibus) journey and you wish you could at least have a seat without a bar sticking into your back. Or when you’re on a bus and you wish there wasn’t a chicken on your lap, but this is Africa (T.I.A) and you just have to deal.

If you’re not willing to hitchhike, then there are some ridiculously long bus rides that leave disgustingly early. You’ll never understand why a bus leaves at 3:00 am, only to circle the town for 4 hours picking up people. It’s frustrating, it’s tiring, it’s uncomfortable, it’s Africa.

Backpacking Mozambique and Crammed Into A Matola
Crammed Into A Chapa


This is a difficult thing to get used to for western visitors. Being pulled over by police and hassled for money just isn’t something we’re accustomed to. It’s best to avoid confrontation and never hand over your passport. Have a copy of it notarized in Maputo and only hand the police officer the copy.

Usually if you deny their requests long enough they will just give up and let you go, but if they have your passport then you have no power.

Curruption while backpacking Mozambique Can Be Costly And Frustrating
Corruption And Tourist Pricing  in Mozambique Can Be Costly And Frustrating

Tourist Pricing:

Chapa drivers, taxi drivers, bus drivers and police officers will all try to get a little extra money out of you. Don’t let these people give you a false idea of what true Mozambican people are like. It’s best to ask your hotel or guesthouse how much a ride should be, and bargain and argue with the drivers until you get close to that amount.

The Language Barrier:

There isn’t a whole lot of English spoken in Mozambique, so you should probably try to pick up a little Portuguese. If you see other travellers, ask them if they can speak the language and maybe they can help you communicate. It can be hard to find a local who can speak English.

Crime & Theft:

This is a problem throughout Africa and one that is virtually unavoidable. It’s not pleasant to always have to worry about your belongings and sometimes your safety, but it’s a part of African travel.

You’ll read in your guidebook and online sites that it’s unsafe to carry your money and valuables on you, but never leave them in the room. This contradiction is confusing, so really it’s up to you. Just avoid walking around at night and you will probably never have any issues.

The People In Mozambique

The people you encounter while backpacking through a country can have a profound impact on the way you view a destination. Not only the local people, but the types of other travellers as well.

Types Of Other Travellers:

Budget Backpacker
Types Of Travellers

There are generally three types of people who come to Mozambique: 1. South Africans who only make it up to Ponta D’Ouro or Tofo in the south. 2. International visitors on fly-in / fly-out, all-inclusive holidays and 3. Intrepid backpackers who travel the country independently.

All three types of travellers have an adventurous spirit if they’re making their way to Mozambique, so you can be sure to have interesting chats with a mix of people at the hostel and restaurant dinner tables.

The Locals:

Backpacking Mozambique The African Beach Life - Mozambique
The Local People

The Mozambican people are friendly and kind and will usually treat visitors with warm welcomes and beaming white smiles. In the north, the people will be very surprised and happy to see you. Unfortunately there is some resentment towards South Africans, so it’s best to make it clear that you’re not a South African right from the start.

Mozambicans have been through as much hardship as any African country, but they have somehow overcome the odds and although there is still a lot of crime and poverty, they manage to keep smiles on their faces.

Communication In Mozambique

Communication in mozambique

If you don’t speak Portuguese travel will be difficult! It’s very seldom that you will find someone who speaks English outside of touristy places like Maputo, Vilanculos and Tofo. Luckily there’s usually English-speaking staff at hotels and guesthouses so get them to write down your questions and costs before travelling. Once you’re on the road you’re on your own.

Getting Around In Mozambique

Transport here is a definite challenge, but hopefully we can help. If you’re not going to fly, then the only way to get around is by bus, chapas and hitchhiking. Be prepared for long, tiring days. Buses and chapas often leave at 3 or 4 in the morning so set your alarms! Here’s a quick run down of our journey from south Mozambique to the north, including costs and times:

Maputo —> Tofo (by chapa) 8.5 hours – 600MTC

Tofo —> Vilanculos (by chapa & ferry) 6 hours – 250MTC

Vilanculos —> Nampula (hitchhike) 22 hours – 500MTC (Donation)

Nampula —> Mozambique Island (by chapa) 3 hours – 190MTC

Nampula —> Pemba (by bus) 8 hours – 345 MTC

Pemba —> Tanganyaka (Hitchhike) 3 hours – free

Tanganyaka —> Ibo Island (by boat) 1.5 hours – 150MTC

Ibo Island —> Rolas & Matemo (2 night sailing trip) – 1250MTC

Backpacking on A Bus In Mozambique
A Bus In Mozambique

There are buses that can take you between Vilanculos and Pemba but you have to change numerous times and most of the buses don’t line up so it will take you days. The best way to get north is to hitchhike on the highway outside of Vilanculos and hop in with a trucker or a driver.

They will usually expect some payment so work that out before hand. If you don’t want to hitchhike, consider flying to Nampula.

Visa Regulations For Mozambique

Visa Budget Backpackers mozambique
Visa Regulations

All visitors (except citizens of Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe) need a visa, which can be obtained on arrival at some airports (Maputo, Vilanculos and Pemba), at some land borders and at Mozambican (and some British) embassies/high commissions/consulates.

Visas on entry can be purchased in Meticais and US dollars. In the south, South African Rand is also accepted. If you are heading into Mozambique from South Africa, then you can get your visa in major cities. In Pretoria, these visas are expensive ($108  for 60 day multiple entry).

Land borders may also charge a stamping fee on entry, which is generally USD $2, but is often waived if you buy your visa at the border. Keep in mind that many land borders won’t issue visas and that direct buses from South Africa to Maputo won’t wait for you at the border if you need to buy a visa. It’s best to just get your visa before arrival to avoid some headaches.

Entry Requirements To Mozambique

Budget backpacker entry requirement for mozambique
Entry Requirements

You will need to have at least one blank page in your passport which must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.

Visas to Mozambique are expensive, but they’re pretty easy to obtain at embassies in your home country, or neighbouring countries on your trip around the continent.

If you are coming from a Yellow Fever infected area, then you will need proof of your Yellow Fever vaccination. Other vaccinations are recommended but not required.

Health In Mozambique

Budget backpacking health in mozambique
Health In Mozambique

Being an African nation, there are some definite health issues in Mozambique. There is a high risk of Malaria throughout the country and anti-malarial prophylaxis are highly recommended. We recommend Malarone for the least amount of side-effects, but at $5 / pill, they may be out of the budget for those without proper health coverage.

Always sleep under a mosquito net and wear mosquito repellent. You can pick up these pills for less money in Africa or online before your departure. Sun burns and heat exhaustion are another common ailment for travellers so wear sunblock and stay in the shade whenever possible.

Approximately 12% of the local population is infected with HIV so (as with anywhere) avoid unprotected sex. There have been outbreaks of Cholera around Nampula and Manapo that affected 500 people and killed 52. Check with the red cross or your government health website before entering these areas.

The list of other diseases in Mozambique is long and disturbing, but keep in mind that aside from Malaria, these diseases seldom affect travellers. Take your anti-malarial pills, cover up from the sun and you’ll be fine.

Phone & Internet In Mozambique

phone and internet budget backpackers in mozambique
Phone & Internet

There is sufficiently fast internet in Maputo, Tofo, Vilanculos and Nampula but outside of city centers, you may find it hard to connect and if there is internet (just like the rest of Africa) it will probably be painfully slow. Check your emails when you can but mostly just enjoy being unplugged.

SIM cards can be picked up for just a few dollars in Mozambique and airtime is cheap. There are men and women on the streets wearing colorful vests that advertise different phone companies. They seem to be everywhere and they can top up your phone on the spot. A handy way to keep your mobile working! Click here to learn more.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Mozambique?

When To Go budget backpacker mozambique
Weather In Mozambique

The best time to visit Mozambique is from May – November, during the cool, dry season. Temperatures hover around a balmy 25-30˚C and the ocean is blissfully warm. Around Christmas, New Year’s and Easter, the southern towns and resorts fill up with vacationing South Africans but outside of these places, you won’t notice much of a peak season crunch.

Prices will go up around Tofo and Vilanculos during these times but nothing too crazy. The rainy season sees A LOT of rain but it is still possible to travel at this time. With “new” roads linking the south to the north, it’s less likely that rain will halt your travel across the country.

Overall Rating:


Mozambique is well deserving of this 9 star rating. It would easily be a 10 if it wasn’t for poor transport and the risk of malaria and crime. It’s truly a traveller’s paradise and it’s bound to satisfy even the most adventurous backpacker’s appetite for the untravelled.

Things are changing fast in Mozambique though, as the whispers of the dream-like north make their way into the travel community. Get here fast and witness an amazing paradise!

Want To See More Free Backpacking Guides?


Like it? Pin it! 🙂

The Ultimate GuideTo BackpackingMozambique

Nick Wharton Author Bio Picture

Written by

Nick Wharton

Nick is the co-founder, editor and author of Goats On The Road. He contributes to numerous other media sites regularly and shares his expert knowledge of travel, online entrepreneurship and blogging with the world whenever he can. He has been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and has more than 10 years of experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship.

Related Posts

staniel cay travel guide

Travel Guide to Staniel Cay: Exumas, Bahamas (Things to Do, Where to Stay +More)

At only a couple of miles long and with a population of around 100 residents, Staniel Cay may be small, but it packs a punch! If you’re looking for a peaceful, yet fun vacation, read on to learn everything you need to know about Staniel Cay in the Exumas. Initially, we were planning on spending ...
The Cocoa Beach Pier, the clear blue sea, and the clear sky.

25 Best Places To Visit in Florida

Florida is a state known for its incredible attractions and diverse landscapes. From world-renowned theme parks to stunning beaches and unique natural wonders like the Everglades, Florida offers a variety of options for visitors to explore and enjoy. With so much on offer, it can be hard to decide on the best places to visit ...
vinyard wine tasting

Why This Up-And-Coming Turkish Town is a Top Destination for 2024

Most people think they know Turkey. After all, it’s just Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, and a few beach resorts, right? WRONG! Turkey is a huge country, and there are so many small towns and resorts to visit, many of which fly right under the radar. I’ve spent years living and traveling around Turkey. If you’re looking ...

54 thoughts on “Budget Guide To Backpacking Mozambique”

  1. Hi there, great post. Me and my girlfriend are planning a few days stay in northern Mozambique and we came across this post. We are particularly thrilled by the camp-on-the-deserted-island experience. Can you tell us a bit more about that? How easy is to get on one of those gorgeous islands? Reading a travel guide of ours, it seems that they are only for 1K$ a night lodges. But this does not seem to be the case, correct? And what is the deal with the “captain” that takes you to the island while you are camping there? Do they come and pick you up later on? Or do the stay on the island?

  2. Hey Stefano, Thanks for the comment!
    Once you get up to Ibo Island in the north (a few hours from Pemba) then it’s really not that difficult to get to the islands. I would recommend you go and see Stephan at the African Pot restaurant and guest house. He’s a French Chef who will help you with everything. He has his own boat now and can charter a trip out to the islands, but if that’s to expensive, he can arrange a local captain to take you for around $40US 2 nights. There are lots of islands to choose from and if you camp (or sleep under a mosquito net) the stays will be free. The captain can stay on the island with you and cook your food as there are no facilities on many of the islands.
    Check out our post: Paradise Under A Mosquito Net for more info about our experience on these INCREDIBLE islands.
    You won’t find nicer beaches anywhere else!
    Feel free to ask more questions if you have them. Good luck and enjoy Mozambique!

  3. Thanks so much!
    This is really useful. Do you know whether it is possible to reach ibo from Pemba the same day if arrive in Pemba at around 13:00?
    I am so looking forward to visiting this place, thanks again for your help!


  4. Hey Stefano,
    When we were there the bus left Pemba at around 4am (go figure). This means that you should be able to make it to Ibo island the same day no problem using public transport if you’re leaving in the morning. If you’re trying to leave at 1pm, you’ll have to try to hitchhike. We got lucky and hitched a ride with a German guy, Yurik, who owned a hotel on the island. It is possible to get there in one day if you get lucky and catch a ride.
    If you decide to spend the night, then hangout in the bars in Pemba for a bit, you may just meet someone who’s driving to the island. Otherwise get the bus to Tanganyaka and wait for a boat to take you.

    Good luck and feel free to ask more q’s.

    PS. Say hi to Stephen for us when you get there!

  5. Hi there! I’m planning on going to Mozambique this summer but unfortunately I only have 30 days to travel. Do you think it’s enough or should I postpone my trip for when I have more time? By the way, you guys write that sleeping is 85$/person. Are there any places, like hostel or something that are cheaper? All I really want is a bed or a matress to lay down! 🙂 Many thanks!

  6. Hey Miguel!

    30 days in Mozambique is a good amount of time. That’s how long we spent there and we felt like it was enough time to see and do everything we wanted to.

    The $85 amount is the budget for 2 people/day. Rooms in Mozambique are between $13 and $50. Dorm beds are less 🙂

    Hope this helps. Enjoy your time in Mozambique, it’s one of our favourites!


  7. Thanks for the info! Just a couple of things. I’m probably going by myself, is it safe? Do you meet other backpackers? About the “chapas”, can you see the country just by using “chapas” or do you recommend another form of travelling? I ask because I have a cousin that’s just been there and he used a lot of internal flights, which I don’t want to do… I want to see and know the country, its people and basically have an adventure! 🙂 Thank you!

  8. We felt very safe in Mozambique. The standard cautions apply though…be aware of where you’re going at night, don’t carry valuables on you, etc.

    We met lots of backpackers in Tofo, which was cool and we even planned to travel through the rest of Moz with 2 people we met there. In Vilankulos there were a few and same with Mozambique Island. Outside of there it was just us an the couple of friends we made while in Tofo. You’ll see a few travellers here and there and some expats, but there aren’t many other tourists…which can be great!

    We took chapas, local buses and boats throughout the whole country..no flights. Chapas are very inconsistent though and leave at the most random times! Get ready to be up early 🙂 Taking local transport is the best way to meet people. We hitch-hiked a few times as well.

    We highly recommend making your way up to the Quirimbas Archipelago in the north..especially if you want to have an adventure. The islands up there are so nice. We suggest sailing and spending the night on a deserted island under a mosquito net. Check out The African Pot (Panela Africana) owned by a French expat named Stephane. He’s really cool, has a nice guesthouse, is a chef and can arrange a cheap sailing trip for you.


    Let us know if you need any more info…we have lots!


  9. Hello beautiful people:-)hope that u r well.

    My friends and I are from South Africa and looking into traveling to lovely Mozambigue in the next months. Kindly advice on value for money accommodation and activities? Hoping to hear from you.

    Thank you,take care and God bless u!

    Kind Regards

  10. Hello Kamo,

    Mozambique is a great country to travel through. However, it can be a bit expensive. Our daily budget there was about $85/day…and we traveled by local transportation and hitch-hiked a few times as well. The accommodation can be a bit pricey and isn’t all that great of value. We had a decent bungalow in Tofo and a nice roundevel hut in Vilankulos, but outside of there, they were very basic rooms. The activities were great value for money (snorkelling, boat trips, diving, etc.)

    We loved it there and had a great time. There is so much to see and do in Mozambique. We recommend going to the very north to the Quirimbas Archipelago, it’s stunning.

    Cheers 🙂
    ps, we love S.A. too!!

  11. Dear Goats on the road,I liked your blog,now Mozambique has changed a lot for better and also for worse.Long back there was virtually nothing in Maputo.Restaurants were empty only you could get was ‘diet’ tea as there was no sugar.There used to be a huge line out side the bakeries in the evening and it used to open the door next morning at 4 AM.Yes in USA and Europe they do same kind of waiting for some new game console.There was no taxi and NO crime,you could walk anywhere alone even at 2AM but nobody will touch you.Now the shops are full,there are taxis so are muggers and goons.

  12. Hi. I`m going to the inhambe area this january. I`m flying from joburg to Inhambe. Can we get our visas on the airport in Inhambe?
    And where should I go/stay in the area. I`m going with 2 friends and staying for 11 days.

  13. Hey Markus,

    We had our visas arranged before going to Mozambique, but we arrived by land. Check out this recent link on the Lonely Planet Thorntree. It seems that maybe they’ve stopped allowing visas on arrival at the airport:


    We spent a week at Tofo Beach. Great diving, snorkelling with whale sharks, friendly people and nice sunsets. The bungalows at Fatima Backpackers were great.
    If you have 11 days, you could probably make it up to Vilankulos as well – great island hopping there and beautiful beaches on the islands!

    Enjoy 🙂

  14. Hey Guy. This was a great read, thanks a lot. It looks like the north has a bit more to offer, would you agree? I’ve been reading a lot and read mixed things, I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. I’m planning a trip coming down from Dar to Mozambique and am looking to circle through Malawi and end in Dar. I have a total of 6 or 7 weeks, hoping that’s enough.

  15. Hey Jared,

    Ya, in our opinion, the northern 1/2 of Moz has the most to offer…but having said that, we loved Tofo! For us, Moz was about the villages, islands and beaches and the Northern part definitely gave us what we were looking for.

    6-7 weeks should be enough time. Do keep in mind though that travel is VERY slow in these countries that you listed. A journey that should only take 2 hours, takes 6. Having said that, I’m sure you could see lots of Malawi and Moz, with a few days in Dar in that time. Dar is a really cool city by the way, have a great time!

    Happy travels.

  16. Hi

    Just wondering what your views are on a woman travelling alone for 3-4 weeks in Mozambique? Do you think that would be relatively safe? Or lots of hassle?



  17. Hi,
    it was great to read this article and it makes me really enthousiastic. My plan is to travel from Tanzania to Mozambique (maybe Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe). I have been to South Africa and it makes me eager to see more of Africa, especially Mozambique.
    Before I make any plans, I am wondering what your opinion is about travelling alone in these countries. I am a 28 year old Dutch girl who loves to go backpacking. If not, I was wondering if it is easy to find/meet other backpackers to travel with when I am there? I don’t want to be attached to anything before I leave.
    Hope to hear from you. Many thanks!
    Krgs, Margret

  18. Hey,

    Of all of the countries in Africa, we felt the safest in Mozambique. To be honest, when we were there, we didn’t meet many other travellers. In Tofo (popular beach city near South Africa) there were lots of backpackers and that’s where we met up with a solo guy from Germany and a solo girl from Luxembourg. We were with them for the next 3 weeks.

    I’m not sure what to say about being a solo female traveller in this part of the world. We met one woman who was in her 40’s and had been travelling in Africa for 8 months and we met others who were travelling in small groups, couples or solo male travellers. The girl we hooked up with wasn’t planning on going any further than South Africa when we met her, but she felt more confident when she was with the other 3 of us.

    We didn’t have any issues in Mozambique at all. Everyone was really friendly and our experiences there are positive ones. I think if you use the typical precautions (no night buses, stay in safe looking hotels, sit with women on the bus, don’t walk around alone at night, etc.) then you would be fine.

    Happy Travels, I hope this helped!

  19. Holy cow thorough! Thanks for really taking the time to cover all the aspects. I don;t think I’ll make it there on my current trip to Africa, but you have me convinced I need to return! 🙂

  20. Dear Goats on the Road,

    This post is extremely useful! Not often does one come across such a comprehensive and useful account of someone else’s experience!

    I have a question. I’m planning to do the south->north trip along the shore up to Pemba and perhaps Ibo island. From Pemba I want to head inland towards Lake Malawi to then take the ferry to Malawi. I already know that I have to go to Lichinga to get to the lake. My question is whether there is any way possible to go from Pemba to Lichinga (on public transport), without having to head south to Nmpula again? I’ve searched the web, but I can only find either flights, or accounts of people driving the route.

  21. Hi Farda,

    That sounds like a great trip! Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to your question. I’ve looked online as well and all I can find are flights and like you said, accounts of people driving the route.

    We came back down to Moz Island, onto Nampula and then took the train to Cuemba, before crossing the border to Malawi the next day.

    Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Good luck!

  22. Hi,

    I just read all your blog about Mozambique and seems that you had a great time there.

    Right now, i’m planning with my girlfriend to go for a week or more on Pemba (i am actually leaving on Mayotte island). We want to go to Ibo island and do a boat trip like you had, but maybe for only one night, we’ll see. I was wondering about the price. You said you paid 1250 MTZ for 3 days/2 nights sailing with your captain, and then here on this comment you said it’s about 40$/night with your captain? Is that the same thing because 1250 MTZ is around 40$ i think?

    So 40$ is one day of sailing and one night, and come back the next day?

    Does these prices include meals, mosquito net etc? If not, what does include really?

    Have best time there and i’ll continue to read your blog.

    Hope can you answer me.


  23. Hello Sylvain,

    Yes, at the time (in 2011) that was the price per person for the boat and crew to take us out for two nights. I apologize for the error in the above comment, we will change that. Thanks for pointing it out. The price may be higher though because we had 4 people on the boat. Also, that was 3 years ago. I would suggest checking out the African Pot on Ibo Island and speak with Stephan.

    The price included nothing but the boat and the boatmen. We bought our own food, snorkel gear and mosquito nets.

    Have a great time!

  24. Hi,

    Thanks for your quick answer about the prices.

    So, ok the price was for 2 nights including 2 nights and only the crew. I’ve taken contact a fews days ago with Stephan, but he seems working a lot on Pemba so he isn’t actually always there, but he answered me very quickly and he can help me to figure out something for our trip.

    I’m sure we can foud something, even buy some fishes on the sea somewhere.

    Continue with your blog, it’s inspiring and a lot of good information. We just came back from a first 9 months experience in South East Asia, and it was i think the best time in my life. I bloged two, sadly in French, as it was for Family and friend.

    Be safe, where ever you are and always, ENJOY 😉


  25. Hi Sylvain,

    I’m so glad you were able to get a hold of Stephan! He’s French too 🙂
    We were able to buy fresh fish from some fishermen we found along the way and we also brought food from Ibo town to eat, and water.
    The journey will be one to remember!
    It sounds like you really enjoyed SE Asia, we did as well. Thank you for the kind words. Happy Travels to you too 🙂


  26. Hey guys! wow! great blog! my name is francois and im a french canadian from montreal. im currently voluntering in cape town south africa as a medic. ill be done by next week with my hospital here. I am looking to fly to Pemba and do the road from north to south because im flying out of johannesburg at the end of november to mumbai india for another medic contract. im by myself and would love to travel with somebody, do you know anyways i could meet other travellers to share the adventure with? also…im very low budget and the flight cape town pemba is 500$ (cuting a lot of my budget). so im was woundering if camping on the beach with a mosquito net would be an option for me for most of the stops? how safe is it? otherwise ive checked hostelbooker and hostelworld but they dont seem to have anything anywhere for cheap…can u tell me a bit about that?
    thanks so much guys!

  27. Hi Francois 🙂

    You can sleep on the beaches, but not sure how comfortable I’d feel doing that alone..? You will meet up with other travellers when staying at the “backpackers”. I’m sure you know what those are as you’re living in South Africa. Backpackers are like guesthouses/hostels in S.A. and Moz. If you pick up a “Coast to Coast” book from Pick n’ Pay or another grocery store, they list places to stay. You can also check out their website: https://coasttocoast.co.za/ It has lots of info and places to stay in Moz – this is where you’ll find other backpackers to meet up with, plus these will be the funkiest and cheapest rooms.


  28. Hi!

    I am planning to go to Mozambique in November with my sister. My plan is to fly to Pemba on the 8th and come back on the 16th from Nampula. I would love to see Ilha de Mocambique and Quirimbas, but we don’t want to rent a car or anything, so I am not sure if we have enough time. What do you think?

  29. Hi there, love the website,

    I’m traveling on Friday to Mozambique with a friend, unfortunately we only have a week to spend, do you have any suggestion for the best way to plan our trip in such a short period of time. We are interested on going to explore the Quirimba archipelago, can you give us some pointers?

    May thanks

    Rui Cortez

  30. Hi Jara,
    I’m so sorry for not answering this comment on time. I don’t know how it was missed! I hope you enjoyed your trip to Mozambique and that you were able to see the places you wanted.

    Again, sorry for the late reply and I hope you had a great time in Moz.

  31. Hi Folks,
    Im wondering if anyone has suggestions for how best to affordably safari at the Maputo Special Reserve? The prices we’ve been quoted for two are really high, four hundered fifty dollars per person for two days! We feel we should go with a guide however as we wont have a clue how to track or sucessfully observe the wildlife.
    Any suggestions would be much appreciated! We are going in mid March.

  32. Hi Emma,

    I’m sorry, I’m not sure! We didn’t do any safaris while in Mozambiqe, just in South Africa and in Kenya. However, that does seem like a lot of money considering we did 5 days for $750 each in the Masai Mara.

    Good luck!

  33. Hi, great post!
    Me and a friend of mine have 3 weeks on Sep-Oct and we were wonderring if that’s enough time to visit Mozambique. What do you say? Maybe we can focus on just part of it?

  34. Yes, I would think that 3 weeks is enough time. We had one month and saw a lot, mind you, we moved quite fast. Keep in mind that transport in Mozambique isn’t the most reliable or the fastest!

  35. Good day

    Me and my partner are busy planning a trip from S.A to Mozambique with a bike. Do you think that is a good idea? We only have 2 weeks for traveling. Which places would you recommend for us to see. My partner is very into diving and sharks and just the entire sea world and both of us has a love for new culture. So were we can learn about the food, people, etc would be great!

    Is March a good time to go? We are also not to sure about which route of accommodation to use, what would you prefer? I would like to work out more or less a budget on what to expect for our travelings….

    Kind Regards

  36. Hy goaties 🙂
    Just telling you that im heading to Africa for this year backpacking tour 😉

    First im flying to Jo-burg cuz the flights are more cheaper from Munich then flighing directly to Maputo or else where in Mozambique. So gonna explore the Southafrican city first and heading to the Mozamiquen border afterwards- I think its a 8 hours busride or so (If im to exhausted im gonna stay overnight in Nelspruit)
    Maybe to mention that im from Austria and i did my homework about the visa already in my hometown- This is very important since 2011 i think so cuz if you got the possibility to make an visa upfront in your hometown in a Consulate then you have to get it there. I thought to make my visa in Jo-burg..but probably i get real problems there and if you get to the border to make a visa on arrivale they probably deny our entry! I think this is realy worth to write here cuz that can f… up your jorney to Mozambique!!! So for everybody thinking of going there be smart and read about the work you need to do before you go to Mozqmbique 😉 Just telling you..

    Im realy exieted cuz its my first jorney to Africa- I´v been doing alot of Backpacking in South-East Asiken countries- but i think this gonna be diffrent….

    Im a big lover of snorkling and diving i have to say and since my last trip in the Philippines i cannot wait to see the cristal clear water with the countless biodiversity in the sea:-)))

    I read your experience and the prefered cities you´ve seen.. My first destinantion gonna be Maputo in the south and then i´ll heading up the coastline as well.

    I have 4 weeks all in all so i think its pretty much time to spend the country …and ofcourse i wanna relax a bit as well..

    So if somebody have good recommendations about Guesthouses or Hostels in Mozambique on the cheaper but clean side that would be great..

    Im gonna start on May 10th till June 8th..so still have time for getting some informations ;-)))

    Cheers goaties and if im back im gonna report my experiences :-))

    Hubert from Austria

  37. Hey guys,
    great post! Your blog helped us a lot in Central Asia – and I reckon it will in Mozambique! We are planning to go for 3 weeks in May. As time is tight we thought of renting a 4×4, to be more independent. Do you have any experience getting around with your own car there?

  38. hallo fritz
    und wart ihr nun in mosambik?
    wir planen 12 tage dort, mit dem 4×4, grenzübertritt im krüger.
    dürfte ich dir ein paar fragen stellen zum trip, falls du das überhaupt liest und dort warst?
    liebe grüsse

  39. Dear Goats on the Road,

    Just wanted to say thank you very much for posting this article. It is comprehensive and has some very useful, practical tips and advice for those of us who haven’t been to Mozambique yet!

    Keep up the good work 🙂


  40. Hi, I am going to travel next week to Mozambique for 1 month but I have a portuguese passport with 5 months validity. Nevertheless I managed to get a turist visa in the Embassy. But I am afraid that I will have problems in the border. Do you think it will be ok to travel with a valid visa with a passport with 5 months validity?

  41. Hi goaties,

    Love your blog! Bery informative. In june I’m going to Moz by myself. Unfortunately I only have 3 weeks, so I can’t see everything. Tofo and Ilha are on the list. Would you recommend Vilanculos or the Quirimbas?


  42. Hi Goats on the Road!

    Any travellers who are planning to go to Mozambique in July?
    I am planning to travel from Johannesburg to Maputo and from there following the spots from above. I will have the month July for this.
    Would be awesome to catch up and make some travel buddies 🙂

    Let me knowww!


  43. Hi Ingrid,

    I’m also going to Mozambique in June with a friend. Let’s try to meet somewhere 🙂

    All the best,


  44. Thanks a lot for the post. I am travelling around Mozambique and it was very useful to read you.

    Just an advice for those who want to visit the Quirimbas Archipelago. In Ibo island you can arrange with a local boat captain to make an island hopping, but please dont contact a guy named Azilar because he made me wasting one day of travelling, he is not a honest person. It just that i want to share this with you to avoid that he could ruin your visit to ibo.

    Enjoy Mozambique!!

  45. Wow, this was probably the most detailled article I read about Mozambique! It really helped me to decide to do my divemaster Training in Tofo and afterwards I stayed there. As you write, Tofo is touristy, but the underwaterworld just took my breath away. I love diving with humpback whales, whale sharks and Mantas. In all the other places I dived before, diving was either a bit dull or overpriced 🙂

Comments are closed.