Driving in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, can be a unique experience given the blend of urban and peri-urban landscapes, combined with local customs and traffic patterns. Here's what you should know about driving in Maputo:
Driving License: If you're a foreigner, you'll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) alongside your original driving license.
Vehicle Documentation: Always carry your vehicle registration and insurance documents. If you've rented a car, keep the rental agreement handy.
Drive on the Left: Mozambique, like its neighbors South Africa and Eswatini, follows left-hand driving.
Road Conditions: In Maputo, main roads are generally tarred and in decent condition, but side streets can be potholed. Beyond the city, road conditions vary, with many being gravel or dirt tracks.
Traffic Jams: During rush hours, expect heavy traffic in the city, particularly in the downtown area.
Alcohol: The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Driving under the influence is a serious offense and is not recommended.
Roundabouts: Vehicles already in the roundabout generally have the right of way, but it's essential to exercise caution as this might not always be observed.
Street Vendors: It's common to find vendors selling various items at traffic lights or busy intersections. While it's generally safe to buy from them, always be cautious of your surroundings.
Bribes: It's not uncommon for drivers to encounter officials seeking bribes. Never initiate a bribe. If stopped, remain polite, show your documents, and if you believe you're being unfairly treated, consider contacting your embassy.
Fuel Stations: Available throughout the city, but it's good practice to fill the tank before long journeys. Most stations accept cash, with a growing number now taking card payments.
Parking: In central Maputo, finding parking can be a challenge. Always park in designated areas or parking lots. In some places, informal parking attendants will offer to watch your car for a small fee.
Roadside Assistance: If your vehicle breaks down, it's advisable to call your rental agency or insurance company for assistance.
Emergency Number: Dial 117 for emergencies.
Language: Portuguese is the official language, and not everyone might understand English. Learning a few essential phrases in Portuguese or having a translation app might be helpful.
Pedestrians: Be cautious as pedestrians might cross roads unexpectedly, especially in busy areas.
Night Driving: Avoid driving outside the city at night, as roads are not always well-lit and pedestrians or animals might be on the road.
In summary, while driving in Maputo can be challenging due to traffic and varying road conditions, with proper preparation and understanding of local customs, it can be navigated safely. Always stay alert, and enjoy the vibrancy and diversity the city has to offer.
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