Useful country information

Train operator:

Caminhos de Ferro do Moçambique (CFM), www.cfmnet.co.mz.

 

 

Time zone & dialling code:

GMT+2 all year round.  Dial code +258.

Currency:

£1 = approx 50 Meticais.     Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.turismomocambique.co.mz

Visas:

UK & most other citizens need a visa for Mozambique, see www.mozambiquehighcommission.org.uk.

Page last updated:

4 September 2013


On this page...

Train times, fares & information...

Johannesburg & Pretoria South Africa) to/from Maputo   

Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) to/from Maputo

Other train routes in Mozambique

Johannesburg & Pretoria to Maputo by train...

It's perfectly possible to travel between Johannesburg or Pretoria in South Africa and Maputo in Mozambique by train, a real adventure.  The South African Jo'burg-Komatipoort train is currently running 3 times a week as shown below, originally it ran daily except Saturdays.  However, good news, it's reported that from summer 2013 the Jo'burg-Komatipoort train has regained a sleeping-car, with 3 and 4 berth compartments.

 Johannesburg & Pretoria ► Maputo

 1. Take a South African train from Jo'burg to Komatipoort.

      This train is the 'Komati', run by Shosholoza Meyl, www.shosholozameyl.co.za

      It is currently running 3 times a week & has economy seats only and (reintroduced in Sept 2013) sleepers.

  Johannesburg

depart

18:10  Wednesdays & Fridays

  Pretoria

depart

19:40  Wednesdays & Fridays

  Nelspruit (for Kruger Park)

arr/dep

04:15  next morning       

  Kaapmuiden

arr/dep

05:15  next morning        

  Komatipoort

arrive

06:38  next morning        

 2. Walk across the border from Komatipoort to Ressano Garcia

       It's only a few kilometres, see below for advice.  The CFM train used to cross

       the border, but this proved to difficult for the customs authorities, so now you

       must walk across.

 3. Take a CFM train from Ressano Garcia to Maputo

      This train is run by CFM, the Caminhos de Ferro do Moçambique.

      It runs daily, and has 3rd class seats.  www.cfmnet.co.mz.

  Ressano Garcia (Mozambique)

depart

12:10 on Mon-Fri, 12:30 on Sat & Sun

  Maputo (Mozambique)

arrive

16:40 on Mon-Fri, 17:20 on Sat & Sun

Johannesburg to Komatipoort is 530km (331 miles).  Ressano Garcia to Maputo is 88km (55 miles).

 Maputo ► Pretoria & Johannesburg 

 1. Take a CFM train from Maputo to Ressano Garcia

      This train is run by CFM, the Caminhos de Ferro do Moçambique.

      It runs daily, with 3rd class seats.  www.cfmnet.co.mz.

  Maputo (Mozambique)

depart

 07:45 on Mon-Fri, 08:00 on Sat & Sun

  Ressano Garcia (Mozambique)

arrive

 11:20 on Mon-Fri, 11:35 on Sat & Sun

 2.  Walk across the border from Ressano Garcia to Komatipoort

       It's only a few kilometres, see below for advice.  The CFM train used to cross

       the border, but this proved to difficult for the customs authorities, so now you

       must walk across.

 3. Take a South African train from Komatipoort to Jo'burg.

      This train is the 'Komati', run by Shosholoza Meyl, www.shosholozameyl.co.za

      It currently running 3 times a week.  It has Economy seats and (reintroduced in Sept 2013) sleepers.

  Komatipoort

depart

18:00  Thursdays & Sundays

  Kaapmuiden

arr/dep

19:36  Thursdays & Sundays

  Nelspruit (for Kruger Park)

arr/dep

20:40  Thursdays & Sundays

  Pretoria

arrive

04:50  next morning          

  Johannesburg

arrive

06:16  next morning          

Fares...

How to buy tickets...

Shosholoza Meyl economy class train:  Sitter class.   Mozambique:  Train from Maputo arrived at Ressano Garcia

Above:  Economy 'sitter' class seating on the train from Jo'burg to Komatipoort.  Courtesy of Shosholoza Meyl.

 

Above:  The CFM train from Maputo, arrived at Ressano Garcia.  Photo courtesy of Andy Spencer.

The 07:45 train to Ressano Garcia, about to leave Maputo.   Maputo train station

Above:  The 07:45 train to Ressano Garcia, about to leave Maputo.  Courtesy of Andy Spencer.

 

Above:  Maputo railway station, Mozambique.  Photo courtesy of Andy Spencer.

Traveller Andy Spencer reports...

Coming from South Africa, arriving at Komatipoort: The Shosholoza Meyl trains are perfectly safe and all classes are patrolled by security throughout the night, but try and sleep with your head on your bag.  I was in with the locals and felt quite safe, the busier the coach the more chance you have the locals shield you from the occasional unsavoury individual.  Sitting alone leaves you vulnerable to approaches from chancers.  While on the train overnight there will be lots of ladies offering Mozambique Meticais (currency), get yours here their as rates are good, but hold on to some Rand as you will need this if you are going to get a Chappa bus later. 

When you arrive at Komatipoort, there are no taxis that go direct to Ressano Garcia station, but you can get a Mozambique-bound chappa (bus) and get out just over the Mozambique border (you may have to negotiate the fare just to the border).  To find the chappas, walk out of the main station entrance gates and 40m up on the left, behind a hardware store, is the Chappa base.

The bus drives out to the border which is about 5 km by road. The Border itself is a large compound about 700m long in total.  You will be let out of the Chappas at the first gate. From here take the path to the left that runs along the compound to the South African immigration hut just along the path. Once you have passed through this building carry on up the path and it brings you back into the main compound, walk along the road and into the Mozambique Immigration hut, which is in the middle of the road. Here go to the first window and buy your entry tax (60MT) step left to the next window and the immigration will then stamp your visa. ( I bought mine in advance so not sure how it works if you need to buy one of these at the border) Walk out of this hut and you will find your Chappa just outside waiting for everyone else. When you rejoin the Chappa as you drive out of the compound you will need to show your passport to the security guards. The locals without passports pay R10 to cross the border, passport free, and this is where the cash is collected. Once clear of the final border gate you will see a road leading back on your left down the hill. Follow this road down for about 600 metres then turn left at the first substantial path. After a further 70 metres turn right, carrying on down the hill, to the station which is another 100m further on. If in doubt the station is at the very bottom of the hill and its location is obvious.

The train experience is similar to the trip from Maputo I describe below.  Your train to Maputo is the return working of the 07:45 Maputo to Ressano Garcia and will hopefully be in the station from about 11:20.  If you have any problems with the train, you can take a chappa all the way from Komatipoort to Maputo, the fare is around R45 plus R15 for any big bags.

Departing from Maputo, bound for South Africa: The ticket window at Maputo Station is open about 30 minutes before departure or the day before. The train appears about 15 minutes before the off if you're lucky! The carriages are very old and dilapidated; there wasn’t a single door inside or out on our coach. Get in and get settled, the train will seem full when it leaves but this is nothing compared to the crowds that join the train about 2km out of Maputo main station. Here the train quickly becomes a village. At its busiest there were 24 people across our bay of 8 seats, so if you want a window seat get it as soon as you get on and keep you bags either on you lap or directly under your seat. Also keep your ticket handy as searching your pocket isn’t easy in the cramped conditions. The train then becomes a social gathering. The locals will test their English on you and they were very warm and welcoming, even offering me cans of drink and food that was being bought direct through the windows. The situation is a little unsettling at first but rapidly becomes comfortable due to the friendly nature of your intimate neighbours. Just enjoy it and be prepared to be stared at all the way by the kids.

At Ressano Garcia there is heavy security and they don’t like pictures, but a couple of cigarettes and smiles can get you anything these days. Follow the crowd out of the station about 100 metres up the hill turn left and a further 70 metres and you reach the main road/path out of the village, turn right up the hill. You will reach the main road after about 600m and turn right toward the border compound. Walking through is easy, into the immigration hut in the centre of the road you will get your passport stamped then walk down the road and into the RSA immigration on the right hand side of the road. From here walk along the road and out of the compound into South Africa.

You can hang around at the South African end of the compound and see if any of the Chappas will drop you in Komatipoort but this is off the main road and most aren’t going that way. So I carried on walking into South Africa and about 1 km further on is “Komati Oasis”, a roadside petrol station area with shops, ATM and Bureau de Change. Here you can also get rid of the last of your Mozambique Meticais by changing them with the ladies (usually sitting on chairs with fists full of cash). Their rates compare very well for the times I used them and they will negotiate. You could try and get a lift to Komatipoort from here but because the town is off the main road you will probably end up walking along the road and once over the Komati River (2.5 km from Komati Oasis) take the first right towards the town and stick you thumb out. Once on this road the main station is about another 2 km further.

I felt perfectly safe, but avoid small groups on the road and if the locals appear to be keeping pace but not interested in engaging, just stop and wait for them to walk on. There are so many people about when you walk away from Ressano Garcia station that I felt quite safe. When walking through South Africa just be wary of individuals. I was only approached once on the road for some food, and handed over a couple of biscuits to a hungry local. Smile and don’t hide behind sunglasses are my hints, but be vigilant of the mood around you, relax and enjoy it. The Shosholoza Meyl trains are perfectly safe and all classes are patrolled by security throughout the night, but try and sleep with your head on your bag. I was in with the locals and felt quite safe, the busier the coach the more chance you have the locals shield you from the occasional unsavoury individual. Sitting alone leaves you venerable to approaches from chancers.


Maputo to Chicualacuala & Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

 Bulawayo ► Chicualacuala

 

 Chicualacuala ► Bulawayo  

Runs weekly on Wednesdays

Runs weekly on Wednesdays

Bulawayo

Depart

12:15 Wednesdays

Maputo

Depart

13:00 Wednesdays

Chicualacuala

(change trains)

Arrive

??:??  Thursdays

Chicualacuala

(change trains)

Arrive

03:42 Thursdays

Depart

13:00 Thursdays

Depart

??:??  Thursdays

Maputo

Arrive

05:49 Fridays

Bulawayo

Arrive

03:52  Fridays

The Zimbabwean train has 1st, 2nd & Economy class, with 1st & 2nd being sleeper berths.  The Mozambique train has 2nd & 3rd class.

Bulawayo to Chicualacuala is 500 km.  Chicualacuala to Maputo is 534km.


Other train routes in Mozambique...

Besides the line to Maputo in the south, there are also various rail lines leading inland from Beira in the north of Mozambique.  However, service is suspended due to line rebuilding.  There are a couple of other lines out of Maputo, see www.cfmnet.co.mz for details.

More information...

If anyone has any more information. photos or travel reports that would be useful for this page, please e-mail me!

Sponsored links...

 

Find hotels in Mozambique

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site, as it's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash (up to a limit) and belongings.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you're resident in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you're resident in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find some huge bills waiting for you.  I've known people run up a £1,000 bill in data charges just by leaving their iPhone connected during a simple trip to Europe.  However, if you buy a global SIM card for your mobile phone from a company such as www.Go-Sim.com you can slash the cost by up to 85% and limit any damage to the amount you have pre-paid.  It cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also works for laptop or PDA data access.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


Back to home page