Useful words and phrases in Mozambique, local culture and custom.

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It is a good idea to get accustomed with common words and phrases as well as the local culture and customs of Mozambique. The official language of Mozambique is Portuguese though English is also spoken, particularly in Maputo and Beira. With most of the Mozambique people being bantus, other bantu languages such as chopi or tonga are spoken as well.

To the north of Mozambique the Makonde are renowned for their sculptures while the Chopi of the south coast are well-known for their dance and complex music. Mozambicans love soccer and form part of the Portuguese-speaking Sporting Leauge which includes other countries such as Portugal, Angola and Brazil.

Keep in mind these local customs whil’st visiting the country:

  • Handshaking is the common form of greetings between males.
  • Woman usually cover their thighs as this is seemed as a private part of the body.
  • Punctuality is not strictly expected in social situations but this depends on the individual.
  • It is rude to visit someone and not stay for a tea and a snack.
  • It is impolite to refuse food if offered.
  • It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings and to drive on the beach.
  • With the Mozambique government gaurenteeing all citizens freedom of conscience and the right to practice religion, many religions exist such as: Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim.

Here are some common words and phrases in Portuguese:

Hello – Hola
Goodbye – Até logo
Good morning – Bom dia
Good afternoon – Boa tarde
Good evening – Boa noite
I am from … – Eu sou de …
Thank you – obrigado
Excuse me – Faz favour
Friend – Amigo
How are you? – Como esta?
I am fine – Muito bem obrigado
What’s your name? – Como te chamas?
I’m English (male) – Sou Inglês
I’m English (female) – Sou Inglesa
How much does it cost? – Quanto custa?
I don’t know – Não sei
Milk – leite
Bread – pao
Beer – cerveja
Wine – vinho
Where – Onde
When – Quando
Toilets – casa da banho
I am lost – Eu estou perdido

Interested in a trip to Mozambique? We can help. Contat us on INFO@MOZAMBIQUEISLANDS.COM or on 011 476 4143, We offer special packages to the other islands in the Quirimbas and Pemba area, including Medjumbe Private Island, Vamizi, Londo Lodge & Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa.