The Metical is not a floating / international currency so banks and bureaus de change will not be able to provide Meticais. The best way to obtain local currency is by using one of the ATM’s in Mozambique. There are illegal / informal money changers at the busier border posts such as Lebombo / Ressano Garcia, but the only way they can make a living is by defrauding / scamming you, SO BEWARE!
Frequently Asked Questions - Money
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VISA credit cards can be used at many of the more upmarket lodges, hotels and restaurants in throughout Mozambique, but best to enquire in advance or when booking. As long as you have had a PIN number loaded on your VISA or MASTERCARD (Cirrus and Maestro) you can get cash at ATM’s which are now in almost all towns and service stations. Note that on Fridays and at month end there may be long queues and ATM's may run out of cash. Travelers Cheques are not widely accepted but you may be able to change them at a bank, BUT AT A MINIMUM COMMISSION OF US$50.
With the plethora of South African owned lodges and the influx of hundreds of thousands of South African tourists, the rand has just about become the currency of choice in Mozambique south of the Save river. Also in demand is US$ cash in large denominations ($50 and below are changed but at half the going rate). Many lodges also accept Euro and Pounds, but enquire in advance. SA Rands easily exchanged from Beira southwards.
In northern Mozambique (Cabo Delgado and Nampula Provinces), SA Rands are not widely accepted, so either draw all your cash needs in Meticais from an ATM (best). or carry dollar and Euro in cash (not very safe, but widely accepted).
Presently the Metical is losing value fast to other major currencies so it has become much more affordable to visit Mozambique. However, the inflation rate is rising too, so don’t expect this window of opportunity for a cheaper holiday to last a lot longer. At many resorts the prices are quoted in SA Rand and or US dollars and Mozambique meticais. Always carry enough meticais in cash and insist on settling all of your bills in local currency, or you may pay in forex at a very poor exchange rate.
The present (September 2016) exchange rate is Mt5,35 to the SA Rand and Mt75,7 to the US$ and Mt85 to the Euro. Prices of food (at markets), transport and accommodation may be lower than in ‘developed’ countries, but current prices compare quite well with similar products and accommodation in South Africa, for example.
If you are camping, self-catering and/or using public transport, expect to spend (per person) about R600 (US$40) per day. If staying at self-catering chalets and eating one meal at a restaurant per day, budget on R800 (US$60) per day. For fly-in folk, lodges range from US$100 to $800 per person per day. If touring in your own car (petrol or gasolina is approx Mt50, diesel or gasóleo is Mt40 per litre)