A Comprehensive Guide about Living in Beira

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  • Mathias Döringer

    Thanks to InterNations, I have now made some new friends, who taught me a lot about the expat experience in Maputo.

Life in Beira

Transportation in Beira

Beira is an important trading port for the region, with Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and various other southern African nations relying heavily on the city’s infrastructure. Hundreds of millions of dollars are currently being invested by the Mozambican government in modernizing Beira’s ports. The plan is to make the ports of Beira easier to reach from the nation’s busy mines.

To the north-east of the city center is a small international airport, which is just 10 km out of Beira, an easy journey by either bus or taxi. The facilities within the airport itself are fairly minimal, although it does have a post office, a bar, a restaurant, and a shop.

Mozambique’s highway system is quite underdeveloped, but there is a decent road to Zimbabwe. However, the quality of the road deteriorates between the intersection and Beira and roadside services are extremely minimal. Drivers should take care when using Beira’s roads as large potholes are very common. Driving at night should also be avoided where possible.

One of the best ways to get around Beira itself is by minibus — called chapas locally — and these can be used to get to nearby cities such as Chimoio. Beira is also the central hub for the Beira Railroad Company, which is the longest established railway system in Mozambique.

Culture and Leisure

Mozambique’s government is attempting to develop Beira into a tourist destination, but progress so far has been quite slow. Hospitality is famously excellent in Beira, while the city is also known for its food and beauty.

As the city becomes increasingly developed, its culture and leisure are improving. There is, however, already plenty to offer foreigners who are considering living in Beira.

Among the most interesting sights for visitors is the Grande Hotel, which was a favorite holiday destination for rich, white Rhodesians in the era that Mozambique was under Portuguese rule. It was so prized that it was commonly referred to as the Pride of Africa. However, the hotel was ruined in the civil war that followed independence and the building is now seen as a symbol of the horrors of the war, as well as a reminder of better times.

Beira has a number of attractive parks where it is pleasant to spend time, while Rio Maria — located just 10–15 km out of the city center — is one of the most beautiful places in Mozambique.

There are many local beaches to explore but perhaps the best in the area is at Savanna Beach, which is a short boat ride away from the coast but is well worth the trip. For shopping, Mercado Central is the best place to go in Beira, as this is where people can pick up fish and fruits, as well as spices and local crafts.

Safety and Security

Beira is a relatively safe city compared to many other large cities in this part of the world, but expatriates living in Beira should still take care and stay on their guard when out and about.

Foreigners should employ common sense when in public and steer clear of flashing expensive looking cellphones, as this could easily make them a target for local thieves.

Driving at night can be very dangerous, not just because of the poor state of the local roads, so it is best to stay indoors after dark. Kidnapping is not uncommon in the region but the targets are usually wealthy Muslim families who live in Mozambique, rather than expats who are living in Beira.

At the weekends many local people indulge in large quantities of alcohol and drunkenness is a relatively common sight across the city, as it is in many major cities around the world.

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  • Mathias Döringer

    Thanks to InterNations, I have now made some new friends, who taught me a lot about the expat experience in Maputo.

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