Africa’s longest suspension bridge, connecting KwaZulu Natal and Mozambique, officially opened on Saturday, November 10, after facing several delays. The Maputo-Catembe Bridge will reduce travel time significantly between Maputo and Kosi Bay, KwaZulu Natal’s East coast border post from six hours to 90 minutes.

Christiaan Steyn, Marketing Manager at Drifters Adventours says: “The new bridge will definitely make it easier for us to enter the City (Maputo) and cut down on driving time. At the moment our 16-day Southern Highlights tour spends a night in Maputo exploring this unique city.”

The new bridge will benefit all travellers to the area, as they can easily access Maputo instead of having to use the old route, which, in comparison, takes much longer, according to Steyn.

“It’s all about accessibility in good time, linking the capital of Mozambique to the Kosi Bay border in just 90 minutes is unbelievable for those who might have travelled the tedious road before,” adds Sales and Marketing Manager for White Pearl Resorts, Trish Lawrence. “For White Pearl, this puts us as a leader in the bush luxury resort category, as accessibility is now an easy road transfer; no more costly helicopter flights required.”

Lawrence explains that, in the past, travel time ranged anywhere from three to six hours, depending on weather conditions. “As part of White Pearl’s contribution to the celebration of the opening of the Maputo-Catembe Bridge, our management team took to the road this weekend to test the travel time, resulting in 90 minutes to and from White Pearl Resorts’ front door. We continue to celebrate our much-anticipated bridge opening.”

Over the years, Mozambique has seen an increase in international tourism to the country, but more so as an airport arrival destination with an immediate connection to travellers’ preferred hotel/resort. However, Lawrence says White Pearls anticipates more confidence in those opting for self-drive, willing to explore Mozambique at their own pace. “Regardless if they use Maputo as their primary stay option and travel out of town for the day; it is now possible with the new bridge and road.”

Lawrence says that the bridge is not only Africa’s longest suspension bridge, but in its own right, a great attraction for Mozambique.

Li Gang, Deputy GM of China Road and Bridge Corporation, the company responsible for the construction, said the bridge, the first in Africa of its kind, had become a landmark in Mozambique and further highlighted the country’s economic development.

According to Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique, who inaugurated the bridge on Saturday, prior to completion he was thinking about its potential to leverage the Mozambican economy, and its contribution to the integration of the Southern African Development Community as well as the country’s tourism potential.

Prior to the completion of the bridge, travellers had to use a ferry, often proving unreliable, to cross from Catembe district to Maputo and vice versa.

The toll rates applied to the Maputo-Catembe Bridge vary from 160 to 1 200 meticais (€2,34-€17,50). Class One vehicles, such as motorcycles and light cars will pay 160 meticais, while for Class Two vehicles with an average load of up to two axles, a tariff of 320 meticais applies. Heavy-duty trucks with three or four axles, classified as Class Three will pay 750 meticais, and Class Four vehicles with a heavy load of more than five axles a tariff of 1 200 meticais applies.

For buses and minibuses used for passenger transport, tolls are reduced by 75%; therefore minibuses will only have to pay 40 meticais, while buses will pay 80 meticais.