By Peter Ruddle
The previous post about hunting in Mozambique discussed what species can be legally hunted in the country, the best times for hunting, hunting areas, and professional associations. Now let’s talk about something very important: hunting laws. Then I’ll give you the most essential information about travel to Mozambique, and what else apart from hunting can this country offer to a tourist.
Hunting Laws and Regulations in Mozambique
When traveling to a foreign country to hunt, you should always make sure that you are aware of and comply with the most important legalities in the country you are visiting.
Hunting Licenses in Mozambique
Non-residents of Mozambique are required to purchase a non-refundable general hunting license, and a permit for each animal they wish to hunt. The hunting license application process will be formalized by the outfitter who will require the following:
- Most outfitters will ask for your license application information 3 months before your arrival date.
- Hunting license fees are payable 30 days before the commencement of your safari and the application will be submitted by the outfitter.
- A general hunting license plus a license for each species you intend to hunt is required.
- The cost of the license is non-refundable but is valid for the season or specified time on the license.
- The following information will be required: Full name, date and place of birth, nationality, country of residence and physical address of the applicant.
- A certified scanned copy of your passport for foreign hunters.
- A scanned colour copy of a passport size photograph.
- A scanned copy of your firearm proof of ownership or a copy of your US Customs form 4457 if you are a US citizen.
- Make sure the firearm make, calibre and serial number are clearly legible on the document. Firearms with multiple barrels require an individual license for each barrel and the action.
- The area where the hunt will be conducted.
- A declaration that you are mentally fit and do not suffer from any physical deficiency that might compromise the safety of hunting activities.
- A declaration by the applicant to the effect that they are not conditioned by any legal disposition or judicial decisions to exercise hunting activities or to hold a firearm licence.
- No person under the age of 18 may hold a hunting license.
Rules for Firearms and Ammunition in Mozambique
Several different airlines travel to Africa, some of which have banned the transportation of firearms on their flights. Before booking your ticket you need to ensure that your carrier will permit the transportation of firearms on your flight. You must familiarize yourself with the latest laws and regulations for hunters traveling with firearms and ammunition as each airline and country has different regulations.
Application for a temporary firearm import permit for Mozambique must be prearranged. Your outfitter will notify you of what costs are involved in this process. Hunters may not import more than four firearms, with a limit of 60 rounds of ammunition per firearm for the specific firearms being imported. Semi-automatic rifles and rifles chambered for regulation military rounds such as 5.56 mm NATO or .308 are not allowed. Handguns for hunting purposes can be imported with a special license.
Minimum Equipment Required for Rifle Hunting
The minimum calibre for hunting dangerous thick-skinned animals is a .375 magnum (9.3mm). There is some discrepancy regarding the minimum calibre rifle regulations for plains game hunting. However, this issue of rifle options should be discussed with your outfitter.
Bowhunting is legal in Mozambique and there are no restrictions regarding draw weights and arrow weights. Dangerous game or thick-skinned animals (elephant, hippo & buffalo) may not be hunted with a bow at this point until further clarification from the government.
However, common sense and these South African regulations can serve as a guideline:
- Big Game (Elephant, hippo & buffalo)
Bow Kinetic Energy – 80 ft/lbs
Arrow Weight – 700 grains
- Medium Game (Kudu, eland, hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra, sable, waterbuck, etc.)
Bow Kinetic Energy – 70 ft/lbs
Arrow Weight – 550 grains
- Small Game (Warthog, nyala, impala, duiker, steenbok & game birds, etc.)
Bow Kinetic Energy – 40 ft/lbs
Arrow Weight – 400 grains
Hunting Trophy Export and Import Restrictions for Mozambique
A trophy export fee will be charged by the outfitter to cover all the government paperwork, Customs, veterinary, wildlife inspection, dip and packing for transport to Maputo or the nearest export depot agent.
Then there will be exportation charges for the export of the trophies to South Africa to a local taxidermist for further instruction from the hunter.
Mozambique is a signatory to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and CITES I and II enhancement permits for the importation of specific species are required by signatory countries to the CITES agreements. Unfortunately, the EU and Australia do not always follow suit, so check with your outfitter if any of the species you would like to hunt need a CITES I or CITES II permit.
The following trophy bans are currently in place for Mozambique:
- USA: The US Fish and Wildlife have banned the importation of trophy elephants and hippos. Lions are currently only importable on a case by case under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA).
- EU: Likewise elephants may only be imported into the EU in a case by case situation.
- Australia: Has banned the importation of lion and elephant trophies.
Mozambique Hunting Laws
Listed below are some of the more important hunting laws you should be aware of when hunting in Mozambique:
- The official hunting season is from 1 April till 30 November.
- A separate Model A hunting licence must be issued for each hunting client.
- All animals hunted are subject to quota availability and hunting permits must be issued before the hunt commences.
- You may only hunt animals for which a license has been issued in the name of the hunter.
- All trophy hunting may only take place during daylight hours, with a few exceptions. Half an hour before sunrise till half an hour after sunset is considered legal daylight hunting time.
- Hunting at night with artificial light is permitted for lions, leopards, bushpigs and crocodiles. Some areas such as Niassa have their own regulations such as providing trail camera photos and reports showing the cats feeding at night.
- Vehicles may only be used to reach the starting point of the hunt, from where hunters must continue on foot.
- The shooting of an animal from a vehicle is not permitted – the hunter is required to be more than 200 yards from the vehicle before firing at an animal. Crocodiles can be hunted from a boat.
- The hunting of any females is prohibited. If you do shoot a female by mistake, you will pay the regular trophy fee and will not be able to export the animal.
- The safari duration and the minimum number of days will be set by the concession holder and based upon which species are being hunted.
- The number of species that a hunter may shoot during a safari is controlled by the outfitter.
- The hunting of giraffe, klipspringer, caracal, blacked-back and side-striped jackal, civet, genet, serval, honey badger or roan antelope is not permitted in Mozambique.
- The minimum permissible calibre is a 6mm.
- Bowhunting is restricted to all non-thick skinned species.
- PAC hunts (Problem Animal Control) are illegal.
Travel Information for Mozambique
The visa and health information should only be used as a guideline. When making your travel arrangements ensure that you get the latest information in this regard. Only $5000 cash may be taken in and out of the country.
All visitors to Mozambique need to present a valid passport on arrival. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from entry into the country. Passports must have at least two blank pages.
All foreign visitors except neighbouring SADC countries require a visa. Visas may be arranged through the Mozambique consulates in your home country or purchased on arrival at the port of entry. Tourist visas are valid for 30 days.
Health and Vaccination Requirements for Travel to Mozambique
Anyone considering travel should be aware that restrictions are subject to change at short notice, and all passengers should undertake proper research and carefully consider the necessity of their travel at this time. Visit your doctor at least a month before you travel. The following vaccinations, medicines and precautions are recommended:
- COVID-19: You must present a negative COVID-19 test result, issued no more than 48 hours before arrival at the border if you are not fully vaccinated. This requirement is reviewed and changed from time to time.
- Cholera: The vaccination is only required when active cases are reported.
- Hepatitis A & B: Recommended for unvaccinated travellers.
- Malaria: Hunters are recommended to take prescription medicine to prevent malaria.
- Rabies: If you are bitten by a dog or other strange behaving animal while in Zambia, seek medical attention. Do not pet strange dogs.
- Typhoid: Recommended for most travellers.
- Yellow Fever: Required if travelling from a country with a risk of YF virus transmission.
Insect repellents for biting flies, ticks and mosquitoes are provided in most camps. Your outfitter will also update you with the latest information regarding any changes in health requirement regulations.
The main gateway into Mozambique is Maputo Airport which is serviced by limited international flights. Scheduled commercial flight services are available to the following regional airports from where charter flights can be arranged to your hunting destination:
Beira, BEW, Chimoio, VPY, Inhambane, INH, Lichinga, VXC, Maputo, MPM, Nacala, MNC, Nampula, APL, Pemba, POL, Quelimane, UEL, Tete, TET, Vilanculos, VNX
In many instances traveling to Mozambique may require a layover in South Africa. Depending on your arrival time in Johannesburg (South Africa) you may have to overnight. If this is the case, you will have to complete the firearm importation formalities for South Africa if traveling with firearms.
For those requiring an overnight layover, there are an array of exceptional hotel options on offer.
Places to Visit and Adventure Activities in Mozambique
When traveling in the country do not take photos of any military installations, police stations, airports, border crossings or similar buildings. Always carry your passport on you.
Unfortunately, the biggest complaint by visitors to the country is the scourge of officials always looking for a way to solicit a bribe.
US travel advisories are issued from time to time. Hunters should ask their preferred outfitter for the latest updates regarding any restrictions or warnings related to their country of origin.
Some hunting clients, especially those travelling with family and partners use the opportunities to experience some of the local tourist destinations. Listed below are some of these popular destinations:
The capital of Mozambique is a lively city with various architectural styles and with some interesting colonial remnants. Interesting places to visit include the central market, the iron house and the early 20th-century train station with its imposing dome, the Maputo Fortress which is now a history museum and the Tunduru Botanical Gardens.
Known for its gorgeous colonial architecture. The city has a string of pearly-white beaches, swaying palm trees and is recognised as a scuba divers’ paradise.
- Bazaruto Archipelago
One of the crown jewels of the Mozambican coastline. The five main islands are encircled by aquamarine seas and coral gardens teeming with marine wildlife. The main attractions are the elusive whales, dolphins, dugongs and over 2000 registered fish species.
- Gorongosa National Park
Acclaimed the finest safari destination in Mozambique. This 4000km2 National Park is home to an incredible array of fauna and flora including African iconic animals like elephants, lions, hippos and a variety of antelope. It’s a bird watcher’s paradise and the best wilderness experience is a kayak trip in the meandering rivers found within the park.
- Quirimbas National Park
A great natural jewel and UNESCO listed biosphere encompasses both the mainland and islands. The reserve extends from the mountain forests, coastal plains, endless mangroves and coral reefs along the seashore into the Indian Ocean. The world’s largest terrestrial animals (elephants) and the ocean’s biggest whales can be sighted in this reserve.
- Inhaca Island
Just a short boat ride from the capital, Maputo. Enjoy one of the favourite beach walks to the lighthouse on the northern tip of the island. Numerous game fishing opportunities are also available from the various resorts in the area.
Take a laid-back sun, sea, sand and beach experience, swimming, snorkelling, surfing and diving in these plankton-rich waters. Boat safaris and fishing is available or just enjoy the beige sandy beaches in the area.
- Ilha de Moçambique
This UNESCO World Heritage Site and inhabited 1.5 square kilometre island atoll was once the hub of the Portuguese East African trading company now characterised by colourful mansions and remnants of medieval architecture, including the remains of Fortaleza de São Sebastião, a 16th-century with the nearby Capela de Nossa Senhora Baluarte, an abandoned and dilapidated chapel.
- Lake Cahora Bassa
One of the largest manmade freshwater lakes in Africa offers some excellent Tiger fishing opportunities. Dotted around the lake are numerous fishing lodges or you could rent a houseboat.
For more information visit: https://www.mozambiquetourism.co.za/