Mandimba is a city in Niassa in Mozambique.
Mandimba is the first town you will come to while entering the Niassa District area of north-eastern Mozambique as it borders the Chiponde, Malawi exit. Travelers can enter by foot, by bicycle taxi, hired vehicle or personal transport. Regular vehicles drive in from Lichinga to the north and Cuamba to the east.
Getting around on foot or bike is no problem in this small town. It is easy to hire transport to take you wherever you may need to go whether it be nearby or far away.
There is not much for a tourist to do in Mandimba. You could hang out in some local bars, get to know the friendly folks that make this area interesting. It's mainly a resting point for travelers heading to Lichinga up north, or towards Nampula to the east. If you've got a mountain bike there are some nice dirt roads/trails leading through scenic villages and the like. There is a smallish waterfall outside of town heading towards Cuamba that's good for a swim during certain times of the year if you don't mind bilharzia (turn right past the second bridge out of town and go down a few KMs...where there is a branchoff to the right, park and cross the river on foot and walk down the rocks.) The first church of Niassa Province sits unassumingly just past the first bridge out of town heading towards Cuamba (on the right; sometimes there is a sign to mark the church set back off the road). Otherwise enjoy the local cuisine and roaming through the market.
There is a thriving local market that sells all kinds of locally available produce (tomatoes, onions, lettuce, ground nuts, maize, etc. depending on the season), as well as simple construction supplies. Visitors are known to come in from Malawi to purchase new Chinese motorcycles available at rock bottom prices with the quality to match.
- BIM. BIM bank offers 2 ATM machines outside allowing Mozambican and foreign transactions through credit/debit card. Visa and Mastercard accepted. Maximum withdrawl $100 USD.
- Kwacheiros. Money changers ply their trade all over the downtown area of Mandimba. Known locally as Kwacheiros, they are adept at taking your foreign currency (or Mozambican) and exchanging it to Malawian Kwachas. You can usually bargain them down by a few points from what they quote you. Look for the guys waving wads of cash at you as you pass by. They don't like Euros.
- Bangledeshis. As of 2012, there are now 5 shops in town run by Bangledeshi nationals. They carry the normal fare for Mozambique: biscuits, cement, hardware, cosmetics, grocery, cooking oil, rice, flour, etc.
- Nigerian Auto Parts Shops. Mandimba also has several auto parts dealers with owners of Nigerian origin. Mostly specializing in the thriving motorcycle spares market.
- Ze's, (corner shop opposite BIM bank). Ze's is the most established of grocery/household shops. Opens usually in PM of Monday or Tuesday and closes midday on Saturday. Refrigerated/frozen items available usually include chickens, prawns, fish, sometimes butter, Rama margarine, etc. Well stocked for Mandimba with trade coming in from Nampula. South African, Brazilian and Portuguese imports included. Yoghurt, chocolate, etc. also usually available.
Several dining establishments are available for those who enjoy chicken and chips, locally-caught fish, beef purchased from the Namwera, Malawi Saturday market.
- Massinga, (on the north end of town heading towards Lichinga just past the 2-story unfinished building), ☎ +258.820.858.016. The most popular eatery/bar in town featuring the normal Mozambican town fare. A bit pricey, but good food.
- Street food. Located where the chapas pickup/drop off, as well as in the main market behind the Petromoc filling station, you can find fresh chips, roasted corn, bananas, mangoes, biscuits, SOBO, soft drinks in cans or bottles, fried chicken, hard boiled eggs, and more depending on the season.
- Complexo Sitio, (heading north, turn left at the 2-story building), ☎ +258 823910729. The highest class of Mandimba's restaurant options.
There are several bars in Mandimba offering a wide selection of beers, wines and liquor.
Several locally-run resthouses are available for travelers, ranging from community bath to self-contained with air conditioning and television:
- Pensão Cupiha, (Located along the road toward Lichinga on the left opposite Bar Restaurante Massinga.), ☎ +258.824.693.730. Restaurant attached. 500MT/night (4 rooms, self-contained), 350MT/night (4 rooms, shared bath) and 250MT/night (7 rooms, shared bath). Updated 1/2012. 250-500MT/night.
- Bar Restaurante Massinga, (Located about a 1/2KM from town on the road toward Lichinga), ☎ +258.820.858.016. Individual rooms, self-contained roundavels and entire houses available. Prices range from 250MT/night (4 rooms) to 500MT/night (6 rooms). More exclusive options are available for 1,000MT/night (3 available) and 1,50MT/night (2 roundavels). Conference hall available for rent as well. Updated 1/2012. 250-1500MT/night.
- Estamos, (Located on the road from the border next to the wall that says Mocambique). Estamos is a nationally recognized NGO that offers accommodation and conference hall. 350MT/night. Updated 2008.
- Freedom Stone Beach, (Just past the bridge heading away from Mandimba heading toward Lichinga.). A few rooms available for a cheap price. Faces the river. Out of town just a bit. Updated 2008.
- Pensão Restaurante Fernando, (on main street next to Dept. of Education), ☎ +258822556668. Offers 10 rooms at 1200MT/night (self-contained with bathroom, desk, TV, mosquito net, double bed, fan, etc.) 4 rooms available at 750MT/night (shared bath). Updated 1/2012. 750-1200MT.
- Pensão John, (on the main road at the corner where the minibuses drop off/pick up), ☎ +258.827.832.720, +258.848.460.128. 15 rooms available at 250MT/night. Simple rooms with fans, nets. No restaurant. Shared bath. Updated 1/2012 250MT.
- Pensão Tanzaniano, (at the minibus dropoff/pickup, head back into the market area slightly to the north), ☎ +258.823.950.240. 7 VERY simple rooms available at 100MT/night. Restaurant on premises. 100MT.
- Namizimu Forest Retreat (3,300 feet), Chowe Village, Chiponde Road, Malawi (35km from Mandinba/Chiponde border towards Mangochi), ☎ +265 997225300, . Good place to choose when crossing the Malawi/ Moz border. 10 ensuite rooms in a 16 acre garden within Namizimu Forest Reserve. Huge panoramic views of Lake Malawi and the rift valley. Dinner B&B option. Call before to book. accomodation from U$ 40 pppn.
Media outlets include TVM (the national television network) and a locally-run radio station which uses a mixture of Portuguese and locally-based languages of Makua and Ciyawo (also known as Ajawa, Chiyao).
Several government offices are housed in Mandimba including the Administrador, Dept of Labor, District Court, City Planning, and others.