Southern Moz safe for festive season travel

2013-11-28 13:36

Cape Town - Tourists heading to the southern, coastal parts of Mozambique this festive season need not cancel travel plans, despite reports of rebel violence erupting in certain parts of the country.

Concerns about travel to the country were raised recently when the French embassy in Maputo, among others, issued a travel advisory, warning tourists to avoid the troubled central Mozambican province of Sofala.

The province saw an outbreak of clashes between Renamo rebel groups and government forces in the run-up to last week's local elections. 

“We’ve been monitoring the situation as closely as possible. So far we’ve had no negative reports from any of our lodges or from the main tourist roads in the southern parts of the country,” said Tony Birkholtz marketing manager of Barra Resorts in Mozambique.

He explained that the outbreak of violence was concentrated mainly in the central and northern parts of the country, which are far removed from the coastal areas where the bulk of South African tourists head for their holidays.  

David Robbetze from the South Africa-Mozambique Chamber of Commerce confirmed that conflict between Renamo rebels and the government is restricted to three specific areas:

- The road between the Save river and the small town of Muxungue (about 100 kilometre stretch of road).

-  The Gorongosa/Maringue area.

- The Rapale district, about 35 kilometres from Nampula city.

“Military convoys operate on the main road through Muxungue and if there is an absolute need that a person needs to travel this route, they need to get further information on the use of the convoys,” Robbetze explained.

He added that people travelling through the north of the country are advised to use other routes via Zimbabwe.

Despite concerns over a spate of recent kidnappings in Maputo, both Robbetze and Birkholtz said that visitors need not avoid the city. Birkholtz said that local businessmen have been the main target of the kidnappings.

“As far as the conflict is concerned, Maputo is safe. Normal crime does of course exist, like in any world city, so tourists are advised to be vigilant,” said Robbetze.

While many resorts have received a number of cancellations for the festive season, Birkholtz said that they are already seeing a recovery, with new bookings having come through this week.

In Robbetze’s view, the biggest concern South African tourists to Mozambique should have this season is the usual border post congestion. He advised travellers to avoid trying to cross the border on public holidays and the day or two before and after Christmas.

Information and contact details for concerned travellers:

If you are heading to Mozambique in the coming weeks and would like to keep tabs on the situation in the country, you can contact Mozambique Tourism on (011) 431 4067 / 4061, the Mozambique Consulate General on (011) 327 5704/5/7/9 or the Mozambique High Commission on (012) 401 03 000. 

Also check out the Barra Resorts website for emergency numbers in the Inhambane area, as well as AA’s useful information round-up for the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia Border Post.

- News24 Travel     

 

Read more on:    mozambique  |  travel  |  travel international

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