Facts to assist you when travelling to Mozambique.

 

Mozambiquan population

  • The Mozambiquan population currently stands at 33 million.

 

Capital and Largest City

  • Maputo is the largest and capital city of Mozambique.

 

Currency

  • Mozambiquan metical.

 

Office Hours

  • 08:00 – 17:00.

 

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

 

Time Zone

  • UTC +2.

 

Calling Code

  • +258.

 

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

 

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

 

Government

  • Filipe Nyusi is the current and 4th president of Mozambique. He is the leader of the FRELIMO party, which has been governing the country since 1975.

 

Climate

  • Mozambique has a tropical climate with two seasons. The wet season lasts from October to March, while the dry season lasts from April to September. However, climatic conditions vary depending on altitude. Rainfall is heavy along the coast and decreases in the north and south.

 

Transport

  • Mozambique’s main airport is Maputo International Airport, located in the capital city. The country’s modes of transport include rail, road, water, and air. While the infrastructure is on par with that of a developing country, many of the roads are unfortunately unpaved. Mozambique is also home to several large seaports, including Nacala, Beira, and Maputo. The central Beira Railroad Corporation route links the port of Beira to the country’s neighbours such as Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

Economy

  • The main industries in Mozambique that contribute to its economy include aluminum, coal, petroleum products, chemicals (fertilizer, soap, paints), cement, asbestos, glass, textiles, tobacco, food processing, and beverages.

 

Hospitality

  • Locals in Mozambique are known for their friendliness and hospitality. There is mutual trust and respect amongst the country’s people. A handshake and a warm smile are often exchanged during greetings. However, unlike other African countries where its considered polite to ask questions about the individual’s personal health, in Mozambique it is considered rude to ask personal questions or pry into someone’s private life.

 

Greetings

  • Greeting is an integral part of the Mozambiquan culture as it is in many other ethnic cultures. Upon entering a room or seeing someone for the first time it is important to greet everyone. It is also integral to shake hands, exchange names, and wish the people you are greeting a good day. Politeness lies in body language such as maintaining a smile and eye contact. Other forms of greeting include clasping the forearms, tapping shoulders, and the Quembo, which is native to the country.

 

Money

  • The official currency of Mozambique is the metical. The name metical comes from the Arabic word mithqal. The symbol for the metical MZN or MT. It is divided into 100 centavos.

 

Transportation

  • Most major roads in Mozambique are paved and offer a smooth ride between major destinations. However, potholes remain the country’s biggest road hazard. Additionally, many local drivers are also in the habit of driving recklessly. The number of recorded traffic accidents in the country is therefore at a current high. Expats may take precautions when driving and are advised to avoid travelling at night. Fatal crashes and pedestrian accidents are also common after daylight.

 

Safety

  • Mozambique is generally a trouble-free country. The most common crimes in the country happen to be street crime, sometimes involving knives and firearms. There are some areas in cities which are more dangerous than others, and these should be avoided. Expats are advised to be vigilant at all times. Avoid walking alone at night and don’t display valuables or money. Beaches or offshore islands are not policed.

 

Culture

  • Language is important to any culture, and Mozambique is no different. Mozambique has a diverse population that speaks many languages. Although Portuguese is the official language of Mozambique, there are also many other languages spoken in the country, such as Swahili, Macua, Changana, and Makhuwa. The country’s people also boast exquisite traditional clothing that is heavily influenced by the country’s many ethnic and cultural traditions. The colours and cuts of a dress of their traditional garments vary greatly from region to region. Women’s clothing typically consists of bright cotton and muslin skirts. Older women and Muslim women may wear two dresses for extra modesty, and even a headscarf.

 

Shops

  • Mozambique has a number of modern shopping centres and malls that resembles those found in western countries. Shopping in this country should be hassle free, especially in the capital city and other urban areas. There are also a multitude of online stores for the convenience of all shoppers.

 

 

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Written by Saudika Hendricks

Edited by Eloise Williams

Facts to assist you when travelling to Ivory Coast

 

Population

  • Ivory Coast’s current population stands at 24 million.

 

Capital and Largest City

  • Yamoussoukro is the political and administrative capital of the Ivory Coast, while Abidjan is the country’s largest city and is considered its economic capital.

 

Official Language(s)

  • The official language of the Ivory Coast is French. African and Native languages spoken in this country include Yacouba, Senoufo, Baoule, Betie, Attie, Agni and Dioula.

 

Currency

  • The currency of Ivory Coast is the West African CFA Franc.

 

Office Hours

  • Office hours in Ivory Coast are Monday to Friday from 8am until 6pm.

 

Weekend

  • Weekends in Ivory Coast is held on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Time Zone

  • Greenwich Mean Time. UTC.

 

Calling Code

  • +225.

 

Tipping

  • The usual 10% is always a good tip. Ivoirians themselves are generally poor tippers, possibly because of the constant and chronic shortage of small change. But experience shows that leaving a modest tip is money well invested, as next time you visit the same establishment, you will get better service.

 

Embassies

  • Ivory Coast hosts a total of 51 embassies, none of which are in the political capital of Yamoussoukro.

 

Government

  • The ruling party in Ivory Coast is the Presidential Representative Democratic Republic.

 

Climate

  • The climate of Ivory Coast is generally warm and humid. Its climate ranges from equatorial in the southern coasts to tropical in the middle and semiarid in the far north. There are three seasons. The warm and dry season lasts from November to March, the hot and dry season lasts from March to May, while the hot and wet season lasts from June to October.

 

Transport

  • Ivory Coast’s main airport is the Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport, located in Abidjan. Ivory Coast has two ports: the autonomous port of Abidjan, and the San-Pedro port.

 

Economy

  • The main industries for this country’s economy include foodstuffs, beverages; wood products, oil refining, gold mining, truck and bus assembly, textiles, fertilizer, building materials, and electricity.

 

Hospitality

  • People in Ivory Coast enjoy finding common and light-hearted topics of conversation before moving on to other issues they discuss while getting to know each other better. Acquaintances can show their interests by inquiring about the other person’s extended family, village, and job situation throughout their friendship development process.

 

Greetings

  • Greetings are an essential part of the Ivory Coast culture and are usually quite long and elaborate. Generally, the elderly are greeted first. When you meet someone for the first time, it is polite to shake hands and exchange pleasantries. Men tend to clasp hands while greeting, whereas women lightly touch one arm with the other.

 

Money

  • The West African CFA franc is the currency used by eight independent states in West Africa which make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union. These countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The initialism CFA stands for Communauté Financière Africaine “African Financial Community.’’

 

Transportation

  • Transport Infrastructures are much more developed than they are in other West African countries. The nation’s railway system is 1 260 km long and links the country to Burkina Faso and Niger. The Trans–West African Coastal Highway provides a paved link to Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, with paved highways to landlocked Mali and Burkina Faso feeding into the coastal highway.

 

Safety

  • Ivory Coast is a fairly safe country to travel to, but expats are advised to be alert for unpredicted petty crimes. The greatest risks one who is travelling here will have to take precaution of is terrorism, scams, natural disasters. Ivory Coast isn’t the safest of countries for females to explore by themselves. Women are advised against going to beaches alone or entering buses without someone to accompany them.

 

Culture

  • The culture of Ivory Coast is diverse, as many other countries in Africa. This country is bordered by Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, and is exemplified by a multitude of ethnic groups, events, festivals, music, and art. Ivory Coast is home to more than sixty indigenous ethnic groups, which may be further reduced to four major cultural regions.

 

Shops

  • There are a multitude of shopping malls and centres in Ivory Coast that resemble that of Western countries such as PlaYce-Marcory and Abidjan Mall. There are also a number of online stores in Ivory Coast, which are very convenient for expats who have not yet settled in.

 

 

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Written by Eloise Williams

Edited by Saudika Hendricks

 

Not that many years ago – in fact, the day before the RWC 2019 final – Andrea Zanin, sat in her daughter’s school assembly wearing her Springbok rugby jersey…

 

Andrea writes her story below:

 

At the assembly, there were two of us in green and gold, although Leah, my Zambian friend, declared that she was wearing her colours for the last time, having sold her soul to the Roses. Unacceptable. We were debating the intricacies of this very obvious and unequivocal betrayal until the buzz in the hall quietened and Amelia’s class stood for their opening song.

 

Thirty seconds into A World in Union I was chewing my lip raw in an effort to hold back tears. The heart of the song beat in the air as unfeigned voices imagined the far-off Utopia of a united world—I felt it in my bones. South Africa’s song — not really but it could so easily have been written for ’95, when the country stood on the precipice of a new age. So much hope.

 

Yet here I sat, in England in a Springbok jersey, listening to my pseudo-South African child, in an English school, singing a song that, to me, is not home.

 

The weight of the moment made visceral something that I have always known but not ever articulated in thought or emotion; that there’s a brutal sense of loss associated with the de-homing of the soul (and the person) — whether that de-homing is by choice or by force.

 

There was no weeping and gnashing of teeth or pulling at shrouds of black draping my grief-withered body when Warren and I (married two years and ready to see the world) boarded a plane “outa” town. We left peacefully and almost facetiously, like petulant children, stamping our feet and demanding more, better — testing the stretch of the umbilical cord. Ready to see the world and live dreams.

 

Of course, we didn’t know it was for good. Mitigating perhaps. Yet I was sure to visit all the old places I loved, just in case — my old house, my schools, the park where my brothers and I played hide-and-seek and argued over the unequal distribution of gumballs in bright blue bubble-gum ice creams that were bigger than our faces.

 

I drove down the streets where my childhood friends lived and remembered sleepovers, made-up languages, whispered conversations about tween crushes and who had asked whom to dance at Remy Cano’s disco the weekend before. These atmospheres now live in my dreams. I knew their time was up — as tangible realities, which is why I went to say goodbye. I had decided before I was ready to admit that I had.

 

The heartache might have taken me by surprise, but, really, I’d been getting used to it for some time without being fully cognisant, and so the emotional aftermath has been almost anticlimactic.

 

Loss is not justified by excess. This kind was a slow burn. I finally noticed the wound; bloody and festering but not entirely unfamiliar. How does it feel to be broken hearted when it wasn’t a person that did the pulverising but a place?

 

Agonising — yes. Tragic — of course.

 

The catalyst was the Rugby World Cup (2019), which incited a tidal wave of nostalgia to crash violently down on my unsuspecting psyche (poor thing), as I watched South Africa rise to glory with my friends and family in North London.

 

Rugby — really? I know it sounds kooky. Let me explain. Rugby is home. Home is gone. I’ve lived with that for longer than I’ve been an expat (albeit unsuspectingly) because the existential catastrophe is that home is not the South Africa that exists today; the South Africa of my childhood — a reality made all the more poignant with the perspective of immigration. This might sound obvious: no country is the same now as it was then. This is true. But South Africa had everything to gain because change was coming. The South Africa of my childhood was a pretty messed up place… but she faltered at the brink of epic and then floundered, and is still floundering like a fish out of water, struggling to breathe.

 

I’ve not merely lost time and even place, that’s quite natural; I’ve lost (as have all South Africans) what could have and should have been — a future in the land of my birth.

 

It’s life but it hurts.

 

So I sit, carefully crafting back together, with cello tape, glue and some sketchy needle-and-thread skills, the pieces of a shattered heart. As it turns out, that red, bulging, thumping beast of an organ that keeps me alive is quite broken. Exposing it feels weird and kind of uncomfortable.

 

Oh wait — this is vulnerability, right?

 

Not a fan. But I am going to embrace it because what else does one do with a broken heart? Cuddle it. Wallow in it. Sing to it. Give it chocolate. Take it to counselling. Put it on Facebook. Maybe? Probably. I don’t know. What I do know is that a writer must splurge — in the name of catharsis. Aristotle (and Plato — can’t leave the guy out), argued that the effect of tragic and comic theatre on an audience was the purification of the soul. That’s what this is. Purgation. My splurge. My story. My broken heart. Shared with you.

 

I don’t pine for South Africa but I miss her – the GRIT of the people, their resilience and humour – and when I see an orange sunset or hear thunder rumble across the sky, I ache for her beauty. She makes me angry, still – her disregard and indifference – and I mourn what almost was.

 

Often, I have to fight the feeling that I am passing on to my children a vague silhouette, an inkling, a ghost, of something that shaped me, that is important to me, that lives in me but is not really real, anymore. And yet I need it to be real. I need to remember — to slosh around in bottomless nostalgia. I need to reclaim my home. Go back in time. But also forge boldly ahead because home is here. Home is now. Home is my faith, my family—Warren, my children. England. Home is England — London, North London. The place of my ancestors. Simple? I guess. But why, then, is saying it so damn hard.

 

Author & Storyteller: Andrea Zanin.

 

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Facts to assist you while travelling to Botswana

Current Botswana population

  • 6 million.

 

Official Language(s)

  • English, Setswana.

 

Office Hours

  • 08:00 – 17:00.

 

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

 

Time Zone

  • UTC +2.

 

Calling Code

  • +267.

 

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

 

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

 

Government

  • Mokgweetsi Masisi is the fifth and current president of Botswana. He is associated with the Botswana Democratic Party.

 

Climate

  • Botswana is semi-arid due to its short rainy season. However, the relatively high altitude of the country and its continental situation gives it a subtropical climate. The country is remote from moisture-laden air flows for most of the year. The dry season lasts from April to October in the south, and to November in the north, where the average rainfall is higher. The south of the country is most exposed to cold winds during the winter period which lasts from early May to late August. During this time the average temperatures are around 14 °C (57.2 °F). The whole country has hot summers with average temperatures around 26 °C (78.8 °F). Sunshine totals are high all year round although winter is the sunniest period. The whole country is windy and dusty during the dry season.

 

Transport

  • Botswana’s main airport is the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, which is located in Gaborone. A sparsely populated, arid country, Botswana has nonetheless managed to incorporate much of its interior into the national economy. An “inner circle” highway connecting all major towns and district capitals is completely paved, and the all-weather TransKalahari Corridor Highway connects the country to Walvis Bay in Namibia.

 

Economy

  • The economy of Botswana is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Botswana’s main industries include diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, livestock processing, and textiles. Manufacturing and tourism are another two sectors that also contribute greatly to its economy.

 

Hospitality

  • The Tswana, one of the local ethnicities in Botswana, are known to be friendly people. When receiving visitors from abroad, Tswana people enjoy engaging with foreigners through their traditions. Such interactions usually occur on various occasions, festivals, and celebrations. The Tswana people communicate and share their cultures with foreigners without compromising any of their institutional and cultural integrity.

 

Greetings

  • Greetings are essential in Botswana culture. They typically will greet someone with a handshake, although this depends on the age and gender of the person and the formality of the situation. Handshakes are customary and often accompanied by a smile. Depending on the situation, the handshake can also be accompanied by a traditional greeting such as “Dumela,” which means “hello” in Botswana. You can also say “Lumela,” which is more formal and means “greet you.’’ In informal settings, you may also ask “Gosobotša?” This means ‘’How are you?’’ It is polite to respond when asked this question, even if the response isn’t always the truth.

 

Money

  • The Pula is the currency of Botswana. It is subdivided into 100 thebe and has the code BWP. The word ‘’Pula’’ literally means “rain” in Setswana and was chosen due to the fact that rain is very scarce in Botswana—home to a large portion of the Kalahari Desert—and therefore it is valuable and a blessing.

 

Transportation

  • The majority of roads in Botswana are well paved, especially intercity roads or major access routes in and out of the country. Most, if not all, major roads in the town centres are also paved, however, the condition of the roads may change somewhat depending on where you are driving. Some roads may have potholes and others might be gravel roads. The conditions of the roads also change throughout the year and may be worse in the wet season as a result of increased rainfall. The speed limit on majority of the roads is 60km/h in towns and villages, 80km/h on intersections, and 120km outside of urban areas.

 

Safety

  • Botswana is undeniably considered a safe country. Just like any other country, however, crime does occur, and visitors are advised to watch over their valuables when travelling. In large crowds it is also best to watch your pockets. Most areas in the country are not well lit, so walking around late at night might be risky. Other than that, Botswana is a friendly nation, and its people are warmly welcoming.

 

Culture

  • In the past, most ethnic groups lived pastoral lifestyles in permanent settlements, except for Botswana’s nomadic bushmen. These villages were traditionally located in hilly regions, or around reliable water sources where grazing conditions for animals were best. All of the citizens of Botswana are referred to by the plural for of the word, Batswana, or its singular form, Motswana. The population consists of the Setswana-speaking people and the non-Setswana-speakers. Over 60 percent of the population traces their heritage to one of the Setswana-speaking groups that reside in the country.

 

Shops

  • Every major town or city in Botswana has at least one shopping centre or mall. They may also have major supermarkets, clothing stores, liquor stores, furniture, homeware, and electronic shops, in addition to local banks and ATMs.

 

 

If you thought this was informative and would like to read more interesting articles and blogs, please click here.

 

Written by Saudika Hendricks

Edited by Eloise Williams