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Wed, 01/23/2013 - 14:31 -- abc_admin

Birding tours

Birding Ecotours, Letaka Safaris, Safari Consultants and Safariwise organise tours to Mozambique.

Trip reports

The birds of Namuli, northern Mozambique: retracing Vincent's footsteps by Peter Ryan, Claire Spottiswoode, Vincent Parker, John Graham, Callan Cohen and Carlos Bento, from Bulletin of the African Bird Club, volume 6.2, September 1999.

See the Namuli feature article.

A trip report for Southern and Central Mozambique can be found at http://www.birding.co.za/news35.htm

Logistics

Mozambique is an extremely poor country with limited infrastructure away from the major towns and cities, hence a keen sense of adventure and sound preparation is essential for any birders planning a visit to the region. Foreign nationals will need a visa to enter Mozambique, which can be obtained from any Mozambican embassy.

Flights: LAM has flights inside Mozambique, connecting Maputo, Beira, Tete and other cities. In the past, flights have been frequently delayed or cancelled; baggage is frequently lost or tampered with, though this has improved in recent times. There are also twice-weekly flights between the capital and the Bazaruto Archipelago. There are several private charter airlines that go just about anywhere you like. There are regular flights from Beira to Johannesburg.

Travel: Birders travelling away from the coast in Mozambique need to be largely self-sufficient in terms of camping equipment, water and extra fuel, and preferably travel in convoys of more than one vehicle, ideally including at least one four-wheel-drive. Also ensure that you are properly equipped with long tow-ropes, spades, an axe for clearing fallen trees (more common than one might imagine), and preferably mud channels and high-lift jack during the wet season.

Car Hire: The bus is about the best means of getting around Mozambique. There are buses running between major towns usually once a day at least. There are three main private companies and each has express lines (which means less slow, not particularly quick). Where the roads are well maintained, this is a good way to go. Where the roads are in rough shape (and that includes nearly all rural areas), you'll probably have to use converted passenger trucks called chapa-cems (short for 'tin one-hundreds' and usually just called chapas) to get around.

Currency: It is possible to change currency at the borders however you should beware of tricksters who will quote a value but give you less currency than promised. We found that at the Forbes Border Post at Mutare, it was necessary to count the currency carefully and reject it if it was an incorrect amount. 

Safety

WARNING Mozambique is now much safer than in the past as long as simple precautions such as not driving at night nor camping near cities are adhered to. Please do not drive on old tracks or go walking near possibly mined railway lines or abandoned buildings, as landmines remain a concern, although it is possible to enquire locally (Portuguese is essential and a phrase book is recommended) as to which areas are well-established to be safe.

Guidebooks, travel companies and websites provide much of the advice one needs, but key points warrant repetition here: (1) be aware of the risk of malaria and seek current advice, sleep in a sealed tent or under a net and take prophylaxis as recommended; (2) always ensure you have sufficient water and some method of purification (even if this comprises a pot and a campfire for boiling); (3) do not underestimate the danger of being in the sun for too long, ensure you use sun-block, drink plenty of water and wear a hat; (4) be aware of the risk of AIDS; (5) ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including supplies of hypodermic and suturing needles. See the following 2 websites for the latest safety and travel information: US Travel and UK FCO.

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