Train times, fares & information...

  Johannesburg & Pretoria to/from Maputo by train   

  Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) to/from Maputo by train

  Other train routes in Mozambique

Useful country information

Train operator:

Caminhos de Ferro do Moçambique (CFM),



Time zone:

GMT+2 all year round.

Dialling code:




£1 = approx 88,000 Meticals.  $1 = 71,000 Meticals.   Currency converter

Tourist information:


UK & most other citizens need a visa for Mozambique, see

Page last updated:

16 January 2018

South Africa to Maputo by train

It's possible to travel between Johannesburg or Pretoria in South Africa and Maputo in Mozambique by train once more.  Although Shosholoza Meyl discontinued their Jo'burg-Komatipoort train in December 2014, it resumed in March 2015, and it's back with Tourist class sleepers as well as Economy class seats.

Johannesburg to Komatipoort is 530km (331 miles).  Ressano Garcia to Maputo is 88km (55 miles).

Johannesburg & Pretoria ► Maputo

Maputo ► Pretoria & Johannesburg 

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Shosholoza Meyl economy class train:  Sitter class.   Maputo train station

Economy 'sitter' class seating on the train from Jo'burg to Komatipoort.  Courtesy Shosholoza Meyl.


The CFM train from Maputo, arrived at Ressano Garcia.  Photo courtesy of Hubert Horan.

The 07:45 train to Ressano Garcia, about to leave Maputo.

The train beytween Maputo & Ressano Garcia now has nicely-refurbished carriages.  Courtesy of Hubert Horan.

Travellers' reports...

A request:  Feedback or photos would be appreciated if you use this route, please drop me a line!

Traveller Hubert Horan reports from 2016:  "This train now has modernised equipment (see the picture above).  It is exclusively 3rd class, there don't seem to be any active 2nd class cars although the timetables show a 2 class option.  Trains came close to filling up 15-20 minutes west of Maputo, but we were never crowded or uncomfortable.  Seats have some padding, and trains ran late in both directions.  The fare to Ressano Garcia was MZM15 (US$0.60).  The suburban trains still use older coaches."

Traveller Andy Spencer reports:  "Coming from South Africa, arriving at Komatipoort: The Shosholoza Meyl trains are perfectly safe and all classes are patrolled by security throughout the night, but try and sleep with your head on your bag.  I was in with the locals and felt quite safe, the busier the coach the more chance you have the locals shield you from the occasional unsavoury individual.  Sitting alone leaves you vulnerable to approaches from chancers.  While on the train overnight there will be lots of ladies offering Mozambique Meticais (currency), get yours here their as rates are good, but hold on to some Rand as you will need this if you are going to get a Chappa bus later. 

When you arrive at Komatipoort, there are no taxis that go direct to Ressano Garcia station, but you can get a Mozambique-bound chappa (bus) and get out just over the Mozambique border (you may have to negotiate the fare just to the border).  To find the chappas, walk out of the main station entrance gates and 40m up on the left, behind a hardware store, is the Chappa base.

The bus drives out to the border which is about 5 km by road. The Border itself is a large compound about 700m long in total.  You will be let out of the Chappas at the first gate. From here take the path to the left that runs along the compound to the South African immigration hut just along the path. Once you have passed through this building carry on up the path and it brings you back into the main compound, walk along the road and into the Mozambique Immigration hut, which is in the middle of the road. Here go to the first window and buy your entry tax (60MT) step left to the next window and the immigration will then stamp your visa. ( I bought mine in advance so not sure how it works if you need to buy one of these at the border) Walk out of this hut and you will find your Chappa just outside waiting for everyone else. When you rejoin the Chappa as you drive out of the compound you will need to show your passport to the security guards. The locals without passports pay R10 to cross the border, passport free, and this is where the cash is collected. Once clear of the final border gate you will see a road leading back on your left down the hill. Follow this road down for about 600 metres then turn left at the first substantial path. After a further 70 metres turn right, carrying on down the hill, to the station which is another 100m further on. If in doubt the station is at the very bottom of the hill and its location is obvious.

The train experience is similar to the trip from Maputo I describe below.  Your train to Maputo is the return working of the 07:45 Maputo to Ressano Garcia and will hopefully be in the station from about 11:20.  If you have any problems with the train, you can take a chappa all the way from Komatipoort to Maputo, the fare is around R45 plus R15 for any big bags.

Departing from Maputo, bound for South Africa: The ticket window at Maputo Station is open about 30 minutes before departure or the day before. The train appears about 15 minutes before the off if you're lucky! The carriages are very old and dilapidated; there wasn’t a single door inside or out on our coach. Get in and get settled, the train will seem full when it leaves but this is nothing compared to the crowds that join the train about 2km out of Maputo main station. Here the train quickly becomes a village. At its busiest there were 24 people across our bay of 8 seats, so if you want a window seat get it as soon as you get on and keep you bags either on you lap or directly under your seat. Also keep your ticket handy as searching your pocket isn’t easy in the cramped conditions. The train then becomes a social gathering. The locals will test their English on you and they were very warm and welcoming, even offering me cans of drink and food that was being bought direct through the windows. The situation is a little unsettling at first but rapidly becomes comfortable due to the friendly nature of your intimate neighbours. Just enjoy it and be prepared to be stared at all the way by the kids.

At Ressano Garcia there is heavy security and they don’t like pictures, but a couple of cigarettes and smiles can get you anything these days. Follow the crowd out of the station about 100 metres up the hill turn left and a further 70 metres and you reach the main road/path out of the village, turn right up the hill. You will reach the main road after about 600m and turn right toward the border compound. Walking through is easy, into the immigration hut in the centre of the road you will get your passport stamped then walk down the road and into the RSA immigration on the right hand side of the road. From here walk along the road and out of the compound into South Africa.

You can hang around at the South African end of the compound and see if any of the Chappas will drop you in Komatipoort but this is off the main road and most aren’t going that way. So I carried on walking into South Africa and about 1 km further on is “Komati Oasis”, a roadside petrol station area with shops, ATM and Bureau de Change. Here you can also get rid of the last of your Mozambique Meticais by changing them with the ladies (usually sitting on chairs with fists full of cash). Their rates compare very well for the times I used them and they will negotiate. You could try and get a lift to Komatipoort from here but because the town is off the main road you will probably end up walking along the road and once over the Komati River (2.5 km from Komati Oasis) take the first right towards the town and stick you thumb out. Once on this road the main station is about another 2 km further.

I felt perfectly safe, but avoid small groups on the road and if the locals appear to be keeping pace but not interested in engaging, just stop and wait for them to walk on. There are so many people about when you walk away from Ressano Garcia station that I felt quite safe. When walking through South Africa just be wary of individuals. I was only approached once on the road for some food, and handed over a couple of biscuits to a hungry local. Smile and don’t hide behind sunglasses are my hints, but be vigilant of the mood around you, relax and enjoy it. The Shosholoza Meyl trains are perfectly safe and all classes are patrolled by security throughout the night, but try and sleep with your head on your bag. I was in with the locals and felt quite safe, the busier the coach the more chance you have the locals shield you from the occasional unsavoury individual. Sitting alone leaves you venerable to approaches from chancers."

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Zimbabwe to Maputo by train



 Maputo Bulawayo  

 Zimbabwean train with sleepers every Wednesday

 Mozambique train with sleepers every Wednesday



12:15 Wednesday



12:00 Wednesday

 Chicualacuala (Mozambique)


??:??   Thursday morning

 Chicualacuala (Zim side)


06:35  Thursday

 Mozambique train with sleepers every Thursday

 Zimbabwean train with sleepers every Thursday

 Chicualacuala (Zim side)


14:30 Thursday



15:00  Thursday



09:42 Friday



03:52  Friday

The Zimbabwean train has 1s class 2 & 4 berth sleepers, 2nd class 3 & 6 berth sleepers and Economy class seats.

The Mozambique train has air-conditioned 1st class 2-berth sleepers, 2nd class 3-berth sleepers & 3rd class seats.

* In Chicualacuala, the Zimbabwean train uses a station on the Zim side of the border known as Sango border post.  The Mozambique train uses a station on the Mozambique side, you walk between the two stations across the border.

A request:  Feedback or photos would be appreciated if you use this route, please drop me a line.

Bulawayo to Chicualacuala is 500 km.  Chicualacuala to Maputo is 534km.

How much does it cost?

Bulawayo to Chicualacuala costs $11 in a 1st class sleeper.  Chicualacuala to Maputo costs 900 meticals ($15) in a 1st class sleeper.

How to buy tickets...

Buy tickets for each train at the station when the train starts.  It's not possible to buy online and it's not necessary to book in advance.

  2-bed 1st class sleeper on Maputo to Chicualacuala train

Chinese-built 1st class 2-berth sleeper on the train from Maputo to Chicualacuala.  Photo courtesy of James Beard.

Traveller's report...

Traveller James Beard took the train from Maputo to Bulawayo in late 2017:  "I travelled on train 515 leaving 12:00 on Wednesday 27th December 2017 (train 513 on Saturdays doesn’t connect with a Zimbabwean train) from the well-maintained station in Maputo. Train 515 is a modern Chinese train, similar in overall design to the Zambian TAZARA train, with 1st (2 berth) and 2nd class (4 berth) sleepers and also seating. 1st class (900 Meticais, about USD15) has A/C, and power sockets but no bedding.  A/C was too cold for me without my jacket.  Toilets (western style in 1st class) had water and were clean.  It was possible to buy drinking water, soft drinks, beer and simple food in the buffet car.  The train arrived at Chicualacuala station at around 08:30 Thursday morning.

It's necessary to walk from there to the border post, this is less than 1km and cross on foot to Zimbabwe.  There is almost nothing on the Zimbabwe side - just a bus waiting to go to Harare (an overnight journey) and a few ladies selling local food, cold drinks and biscuits from under a big tree. I made the mistake of crossing the border as soon as I could, because I wasn't sure when the Zimbabwean train left, and one of my fellow passengers told me the train had already arrived.  I don't know what facilities there are in Chicualacuala, but they can't be any less than on the Zimbabwean side.  The town on the Mozambique side seems to have a number of different names - Wikipedia says it’s officially Vila Eduardo Mondlane, its colonial name was Malvérnia, but it’s commonly called Chicualacuala.  The Zimbabwean border post is called Sango.  The Zimbabwean train stops on the Zimbabwean side of the border to drop passengers, and then proceeds to Chicualacuala empty (apart from any freight), to refuel (someone told me), as diesel is cheaper in Mozambique.

The Zimbabwean train is scheduled to leave Chicualacuala at 15:00, and stops just inside Zimbabwe to be inspected and for passengers to get on. The ticket seller sells tickets just by the train, but 1st class passengers (USD 11) are allowed to board after the inspection is complete and buy their tickets later. I had a compartment to myself. It leaves at 15:20. The train had a buffet car, which had beer and soft drinks, but no drinking water. Food was being prepared, but I gave up waiting at about 21:00.  Coffee was offered in the morning.  The rolling stock is mostly very old and dilapidated (one passenger told me there are plans to discontinue using the very old rolling stock), and there's neither bedding in the sleeping compartments nor water in the toilets.  Savvy passengers brought along containers of water for washing etc.  There was at least one security guard on the train. 

The train arrived at Bulawayo more or less on time (one passenger told me it's often early).  A security man at Bulawayo station helped me get a taxi, but if there are none around, taxis wait near the junction of 13th Avenue and Lobengula Street (~300m, by the corner of the power station) and by the PicknPay supermarket (~400m further on).  Bring enough USD in cash to Zimbabwe, as getting money from ATMs may not be possible (and anyway would be very time-consuming) and not everywhere accepts cards.  Both trains were absolutely fine, felt safe and people were friendly.  More people than I expected spoke English in Maputo, including the ticket seller at the station and on the train.  On the other hand, the guy at Chicualacuala station selling tickets for the Harare bus tried to convince me that there was no train to Bulawayo that day, and (more seriously) the police in Maputo have a reputation for hassling people, and may claim that it is illegal to take photographs of/at the station. It is required to carry your passport (or a certified copy, including the visa) in Mozambique.  Both Maputo and Bulawayo have railway museums that are worth a visit."

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Other trains in Mozambique

Besides the lines to Maputo in the south, there are various rail lines leading inland from Beira in the north of Mozambique.  However, service is suspended due to line rebuilding.  There are a couple of other lines out of Maputo, see for details.

Nampula - Cuamba

 Nampula ► Cuamba


 Cuamba ► Nampula

Runs Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Runs Wednesday, Friday, Sunday






06:00 Wednesdays






17:08  Fridays

More information...

If anyone has any more information. photos or travel reports that would be useful for this page, please e-mail me!

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Sponsored links...


Find hotels in Mozambique


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Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...

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Travel insurance



Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

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        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!


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