“When your turn comes round” – Neil Finn.
I finally made Mozambique my 34th African country in April 2023 (and it was also my 216th recognised country). It helped me complete a jigsaw of the South of Africa. I had already been in 4 countries that border the Bique. They were South Africa (2011, 2020), Swaziland/ Eswatini (2011), Zambia (2020) and Malawi (2023). This was part of my M Hattrick trip (MMM) which saw me smuggle Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique intill my slowest journey around this sphere.
Africa has a few more M countries up its sleeve…Mali, Mayotte, Mauritius, Morocco and Mauritania where I backpacked on the famous Iron Ore train from Choum to Nouadihbou. Oh pun intended as I had a broken shoulder bone and a brace of broken ribs when I backpacked the Iron Ore train.
Mozambique is the birthplace of Eusebio (“The Black Panther”) who famously top scored at World Cup 1966 where Portugal reached the semi finals. Of course that was just an extra spur to visit and not the main reason. Remember, Northern Ireland smashed Portugal and Italy out of World Cup 1958. We qualified and made the quarter finals! Neither of them were even there. In 1982, we knocked out the Portuguese again, they weren’t even there whilst we beat the hosts, fielded a 17 year old in 5 matches and were a fake offside goal off a semi-final. Oh and also – “Eusebio – you couldn’t beat Glentoran in their Belfast home!!”
I decided I would backpack overland into Mozambique from Malawi. Mozambique (allegedly) has an online evisa available in advance so I logged on to organise it. Here’s a guide on how I got my Mozambique evisa online ahead of my trip.
The Website For Getting An Online Evisa For Mozambique
Log on to the official Mozambique Evisa website by setting up an account here – https://evisa.gov.mz/ .
Then you check if you need a visa or not, if you are one of these lucky “Visa Waiver” countries then you don’t need a visa – https://evisa.gov.mz/waiver .
You’ll need an email address and a password to register on the portal. They will send you an email confirmation link which you click on, then you log in. Now it’s time to fill in the form and upload your relevant documents.
Filling In The Online Evisa For Mozambique
Once you are logged in, you must fill in the digital online form. It’s not that difficult but quite annoying. As I was arriving at a land border I only needed to upload 4 online documents. If you are arriving by air you will also need an online document proving you have a flight ticket so 5 documents. I only needed 4. I booked a hostel in Maputo for one night and that was enough to process the application, I did worry they would ask for 7 nights proof but they only need one night’s proof. However they DID ask what border entry post I would intend to use and I typed Mandimba, which leaves Malawi at Chiponde and arrives into Mozambique at Mandimba. Later, this would have repercussions…
“When your turn comes round” – Neil Finn.
I had to submit the following 4 documents:
1.Digital Passport Size Photo.
2.Scan of Passport Photo Page.
3.Copy of Proof of funds to spend in Mozambique.
4.Copy of Proof of a hotel reservation.
Surprisingly, my document uploads were all satisfactory after about 2 attempts and they passed the check. Then I finalised all details and sent my visa application. Also incredibly, you do NOT pay in advance for this evisa – it is simply a preliminary visa you are applying for so that’s great – no risk of paying and then being told you didn’t get the visa (this happened to me online with Cuba and The Seychelles before). You do know that eventually that visa will cost $50 US Dollars (cash only of course) when the border trip, comes round. Now it was a waiting game.
Waiting For Confirmation for the Mozambique Visa
Almost as soon as I had applied for the visa, the website confirmed that my visa was created successfully and was pending. It looked like this on my screen. I was told I would receive feedback in 5 working days.
I also received confirmation that my application had been successfully submitted and the visa was pending. That email looked like this below and came from this email address – [email protected].
Preliminary Visa Approval for Mozambique
Within five hours I got a second email which confirmed that my preliminary visa had been approved and I was ready to visit Mozambique. That email looked like this below and came from this email address – [email protected].
I downloaded the PDF and printed it ready to show it on arrival with my passport. It looked like this below, and I had it in my backpack ready for the border crossing.
Here I was ready to explore Mozambique! Or was I?
If only it was that easy. I left Malawi from the edge of the city of Dedza, and headed overland to Mozambique…where I’d enter at the Calomue border entry post. I backpacked it overland on foot myself, though my driver (on the Malawi side) did drop me almost exactly at the Malawi exit and customs point.
I headed straight to the Malawi immigration office to leave the country and there were only three of us there waiting on the exit stamp for Malawi. I was the only non-Malaiwan or Mozambiquer. I was the only white person. It was around 8:03 a.m.
After officially leaving Malawi and being stamped out passportically (below), I made the short walk (dander) across the border to Mozambique where kids played football, ladies sold bananas and men kept begging me for money or to pay them for a taxi. No thankyou to the third, but bananas and football watching, count me in…
I had now left Malawi and then I walked into the immigration office on entry to Mozambique (which was on the left) and despite having this preliminary visa, it was queried and questioned by staff at the border…they just didn’t seem to understand the concept of an evisa, stared at the paper as if I was an alien!
“I’m a legal alien. I’m an Ulsterman in Mozambique!” – Ulsteric Sting.
Perhaps it was the border route I chose which wasn’t a common one for non Malawians or Mozambiquers. I crossed overland by foot from Dedza in Malawi to Calomue in Mozambique when I had originally written that I would cross at Mandimba. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, this could have been the problem. No computer systems that connect, eh?
I was able to leave Malawi at Dedza no problem with an exit stamp but 5 minutes later at the entry point to Mozambique I was made to wait for almost two hours. They made over 10 phone calls to try and understand my evisa before rejecting it. What was even more bizarre for me was that they had a pile of papers ADVERTISING that evisa sitting on the desk and I picked one up and showed it to them, I took one to keep – what’s even stupider is that paper was IN ENGLISH and asked if we have heard of an evisa before!! Well yes I’ve heard of it and GOT ONE, but you lot at the Mozambique border had not heard of it – here is that piece of paper…
However, I guess this was my fault because they strictly ask WHICH border crossing you will enter Mozambique by. As I had filled in my evisa long before my trip I had no idea which exact border I would use. With backpacking overland plans change. After backpacking Cape Maclear and Monkey Bay in or on Lake Malawi, I ended up doing the Dedza to Calomue border crossing. After 2 hours of waiting as the only non-Malawian and non-Mozambiquer and the only white person in the immigration office…
…they finally granted me a visa on arrival on the spot at Calomue and this was a brand new visa application which was totally separate and had nothing to do with my original evisa. The visa cost me $50 US Dollars in cash and voila…I was country 216 away loyal and backpacking in Mozambique (The Bique, The Beak, The Bake).
“Glory days loyal” – Jonny Scott Blair (Northern Ireland).
As well as the visa above, they issue you with a receipt as proof of payment of the $50 USD.
I was the only white person I saw for about a period of 48 hours at this point and of the people I met in that period, I was the only non-Malawi or Mozambique person. So I guess they are really not used to foreigners here or evisas. Be aware of all that. At the end of the day I got my visa and I got in!
As it had been a two hour wait (2.5 counting the Malawi exit part), I celebrated with a cold beer in the local store which also had tables.
Here are a few more photos from backpacking in Mozambique.
And in case you might have noticed but my troubles with technology continue to haunt. Having lost/had broken or stolen 7 digital cameras down the years, I’ve now equalled that on smartphones. Which means my only Smartphone that I took to Africa is also now broken in that it cannot record sounds!! All my videos from that trip are silent. Still I’ve put some below anyway…eventually…