Tracking the Expenses
All of the following information comes as a result of tracking our expenses with the superb mobile app MoneyControl. I had paid for the full version of both the mobile and desktop apps, but have found that the mobile app is really all you need, as you can generate reports right on your phone and export them in a variety of ways. Trail Wallet and other apps have been recommended to us (and I’ve tried them all) but have found that I prefer the ease of use, interface and reports of MoneyControl. The one advantage that Trail Wallet has is the ability to deal with a variety of currencies and conversions, but the functionality is currently limited. For Lori and I, everything eventually gets converted back into USD anyways, given that that is what we’re generally paid in and what our bank statements reflect, so I find it easiest to convert the amount to USD before entering it into the app. A huge advantage of this is that it gives you an immediate sense of how much you’re actually spending, as £4 (British Pounds) can seem appropriate for a grande gourmet coffee (until you realize that’s US$6.40!), and so on.
We spent 30 days total in Mozambique, traveling from Ressano Garcia (South Africa border) in the far south to Pemba in the far north. We utilized a variety of transportation including chapas (shared minivan taxis), machibombos (large coach-style buses), Tanzanianos or China chapas (shared minibuses), dhows(traditional East African sailboats), motorized dhows, ferries, private taxis, canoe, and finally, jet airliner from Pemba onward to Tanzania. And of course, we covered countless miles on foot.
We stayed in 11 different guesthouses, lodges and backpackers in Mozambique. Average cost of accommodation per night for two people was $37 USD, with our most expensive lodging being $51 in Nampula (a big surprise!), and our cheapest being $23 in Linga Linga. Best value for the money was Pensão Ideal — Double room with AC and en suite bathroom in a clean and safe guesthouse is pretty hard to beat in Moz. Most overpriced was Ruby’s in Nampula, but all accommodation in Nampula seemed much more expensive than average.
|Maputo (1)||Base Backpackers||US $39||double / shared bath|
|Maputo (2)||Base Backpackers||US $26||2x dorm beds / shared bath|
|Inhambane City||Pens‹o Machibombo||US $39||double / shared bath|
|Linga Linga||Funky Monkey / Lucio’s Place||US $23||double cabana / shared bath|
|Tofo Beach||Fatima’s Nest||US $44||double cabana / shared bath|
|Beira||Hotel Savoy||US $26||twin double / shared bath|
|Quelimane||Pens‹o Ideal||US $26||AC double / en suite bath|
|Nampula||Ruby Backpackers Nampula||US $51||double / shared bath|
|Ilha de Moambique||Mooxeleliya||US $32||double / en suite bath|
|Pemba (1)||Pemba Dive & Bush Camp||US $40||double “backpackers” / shared bath|
|Pemba (2)||Residencial Lys||US $42||AC double / en suite bath|
|Pemba (3)||Pens‹o Baia||US $26||double / shared bath|
Wi-fi was difficult (more like nearly impossible) to come by in Moz. The Base had a very slow computer to get online with (and Pemba Dive & Bush Camp also supposedly had one, but we never used it). Fatima’s Nest in Tofo and Ruby’s in Nampula both had wifi in common areas, but from 7pm to 7am only.
Internet cafes and restaurants/cafes with wi-fi were very hard to come by. The best options for free wi-fi were Caffettissimo in the top of the Polana Shopping Center in Maputo, Bistro Pescador near the pier in Inhambane City and O Escondidinho in Ilha de Moçambique.
If you’re planning a stay of any length in Mozambique, need to stay connected, and have an unlocked GSM world band smart phone (like an unlocked AT&T or T-Mobile iPhone, if you live in the U.S.), it pays to get an mCel SIM card and add a data package. SIM cards cost about US$1.50 and can be purchased from any mCel store or any number of vendors on the street. 100MB costs 40Mts (US$1.29).
The following is an overview of our costs (for TWO travelers — a husband/wife couple) in each location we visited. The table does not include transport or communication costs or incidentals such as water, toilet paper, etc. — but should hopefully give you some idea of what it might cost to travel through these parts of Mozambique on a month-long overland trip in shoulder season.
Average spent per day (for two people), categorized by DAY, FOOD, LODGING, and SIGHTSEEING:
|Maputo||US $94 /day||US $37 /day||US $56 /day||US $1 /day|
|Inhambane Province (I’bane, Tofo, Linga…)||$65||$28||$37||$0|
|Sofala & Zambezia Provinces (Beira, Quelimane…)||$52||$26||$26||$0|
|Nampula Province (Nampula, Ilha…)||$68||$30||$35||$3|
|Cabo Delgado Province (Pemba…)||$63||$30||$33||$0|
|OVERALL AVERAGES||$68 /day||$30 /day||$37 /day||$1 /day|
Overall, transportation ran us US$260 for two people to get from Maputo to Pemba and everywhere in between. Transport was almost always shared public transport, with the few rare exceptions of 3am private-hire taxis to bus stations.