Accommodation in coastal areas fills during Christmas and New Year’s, Easter and other South African school holidays; advance bookings are recommended. Ask about rainy-season and children’s discounts.

When quoting prices, many establishments distinguish between a duplo (room with two twin beds) and a casal (room with double bed). Rates are often quoted in US dollars or South African rand. Payment can almost always be made in meticals, dollars or rand.

Backpackers Lodges

Backpacker lodges (‘backpackers’) offer dorm beds (average cost Mtc500), private rooms, cooking facilities and, sometimes, campsites. They’re always worth seeking out and are often the best-value budget accommodation.

Camping

  • There are many camping grounds. Carry a tent to save money, and for travel in rural areas. Per-person prices average about Mtc250 per night or less.
  • Officially, camping is permitted only in designated areas. Where there is no established campsite, ask the local régulo (chief) for permission to camp; you’ll invariably be welcomed, and you should reciprocate with a modest token of thanks (eg what you would pay at an official campground or a bit less).

Hotels & Pensões

  • The cheapest hotels (pensão, singular; pensões, plural) may have a bucket bath, probably won’t have air-conditioning and, in rural areas, may or may not have electricity.
  • At the midrange level, expect a private bathroom, hot running water, electricity, air-conditioning (sometimes) and a restaurant on the premises. Top-end hotels have all amenities, at a price.

Self-Catering & Rentals

Many coastal places offer self-catering options, with a kitchenette or braai (barbecue) area, kitchen utensils and sometimes plug points. Some supply bed linen, mosquito nets and towels; at others you’ll need to bring these yourself. Some also have a restaurant. Most offer good value.