Maputo is a very accessible town, and being the capital city of Mozambique, it also holds importance to the nation. Tourists love Maputo for its vibrancy, its diversity, its range of fun things to do and its beautiful setting on the bay overlooking the Indian Ocean.
With an international airport and a busy port, Maputo is worth exploring and has become the gateway to the rest of the country. Holidays in Maputo can be centred round the nightlife, the beaches, the fantastic food in funky restaurants, the history and the melting pot of cultures. Stay in world class hotel and enjoy the same kind of luxury you would find in Europe. Maputo is full of surprises and from here, you can take interesting day trips to destinations like Maputo Elephant Reserve, South Africa’s Kruger National Park and boat rides to Inhaca Island to marvel at its innate biodiversity.
The capital city is also the biggest city
You probably know that Maputo has been the capital of Mozambique for nearly 120 years – previously namedLourenço Marques, it is also the biggest city in Mozambique and home to the country’s most important natural harbour. Only 90 km from the border of South Africa, this harbour is found at the mouth of the Santo River in the extreme south and was initially known as Delagoa Bay. Vasco da Gama discovered the bay in 1498 and today it is an important transport centre for trade to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Botswana.
You can visit the port and see what is going on if that is what blows your hair back! Take a walk to the picturesque beaches from there, where you can surf the strong waves and meet some locals selling fresh cashew nuts. You can reach Praia da Macaneta beach by boat from Maputo or by road to Marracuene. This village is 30km north of Maputo and has views over the Incomati River – it is quite a mission to get there but well worth it the end as you have to catch a ferry first to the other side of the river, then drive for eight kilometres to the beach!
When you set off on foot to explore Maputo, you will find many others doing the same – residents, visitors, business people, tourists and children. It is a picturesque city with its wide streets from the colonial era, huge jacaranda trees, bougainvilleas and street vendors plying their trades.
So much to see and do in and around Maputo
Maputo is brimming with architectural excellence and this comes with great input from colonial days when the Portuguese ruled this East African country. If you go to St Anthony’s Church in the heart of the city, you will discover that the Indian pioneers who were some of the first settlers in Mozambique influenced the design of this historical and religious building.
In most cities of reputation there is a Museum of Natural History and suffice it to say that this one in Maputo is as gracious as the rest – take a look at the taxidermy assortment of wildlife and the famous display of the way an elephant forms in gestation – elephant foetuses are a huge drawcard here. There are also traditional musical instruments to marvel at and maybe a few locals will play live music for you too.
The gallant San Sebastian Fortress was built decades ago to protect Maputo Bay from Spanish and German colonial marauders. South Africa helped to build the fortress and Paul Kruger was also instrumental in starting the railway as a link between Pretoria and Maputo.
In fact the railway station displays the first ever train that journeyed from Maputo to Pretoria! There are still morning and evening trains and tourists love to sit at the traditional station bar to enjoy jazz evenings or simply have a drink and talk about the old Lourenco Marques days.
Many tourists like to catch a glimpse of Casa do Ferro, the Iron House which is completely made from iron – a house designed by the same man who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris! This was the governor’s house in the late 19th century but in the end, it was too hot for him to live therein and he had to move.
Outside of Maputo is a very good reason for a day trip – the Maputo Elephant Reserve is north of Ponta Malangane and is a huge area of 50 000 hectares – well worth experiencing if you love these gentle grey giants. It is very sad that there was so much poaching during the terrible civil war because so many elephants died and the entire population of White Rhino was decimated in those days of warfare. You can still go and seek out shy duiker, suni, nyala, hippo, crocs, reedbuck, monkeys and many fantastic bird species if that is what blows your hair back.
Restaurants for food lovers
- Mundo’s restaurant is popular with those who don’t mind a crowd – a great place to eat and chat, meeting new people. Order pizza, hamburgers, seafood.
- Cafe Camissa is a casual eatery for snacks and beverages. A meeting place for artists, intellectuals, travellers and locals.
- Milano Grill House is a steakhouse with an African atmosphere at the intersection of Avenida 24 de Julho and Avenida Salvador Allende, right in the city centre. Good food but expensive.
- Costa do Sol is a great place for very fresh seafood – about six kilometres from the city centre. Order a plate of prawns!
- The Taverna offers genuine Portuguese food where many local Portuguese people eat. Lovely breads, meat dishes and seafood plus decadent desserts.
- The Polana Hotel presents a seafood evening every Saturday evening. Eat lobster, prawns, paella, seafood curry and more from the buffet while enjoying live music.
- For the more adventurous go to the fish market in a group. Order fresh fish or seafood and take it to the back, to a range of small restaurants where they will cook it to perfection on a grill.
- The T3 area just outside Maputo harbours small cafes which sell things like T-bone steak, fresh bread and beer – very cheap, very African!
Night life not for the faint-hearted
- Africa Bar is a popular nightclub on Avenida 24 de Julho and Karl Marx street, only five minutes’ walk from the city centre. Join the long queue with the more affluent Mozambicans in fancy clothes. Live jazz every Thursday.
- Coconut Live is a huge nightclub, boasting three large video screens and an enormous dance floor in the middle. One level up is a VIP lounge on mezzanine, overlooking the dance floor. Drinks are affordable and the place is very crowded on weekends. Definitely for the younger crowd.
- Sinatra’s on Ave. Martires de Inhaminga opens at 21:00 and closes very late – a place to sample Mozambican- Brazilian food and music.
- Chez Rango at Maputo’s main train station is one of the best places to enjoy jazz in an intimate environment with live bands every Saturday night and Afro-Jazz during the week.
- Gypsy’s Bar on Rua do Bagamoyo is popular but go in a group – a seedy part of town.
- Complexo Sheik on Ave. Julius Nyerere is more upmarket and dancing goes on until dawn with the city’s upper class.
- For the more adventurous, head to T3, a suburban area in Maputo usually not visited by foreigners. Small bars are the night life in these dusty streets – find burning barrels outside the bars and cafes to replace lights in the night. A genuine African atmosphere.
Best places to sleep
Staying in this capital of Mozambique is convenient and fun, a fantastic holiday destination for families, couples, business delegates and general travellers. Maputo hotels offer many specials on accommodation all year round, especially during holiday time. Conference specials are equally popular for discerning business people.
If you stay at Hotel Avenida you will be in a central and prized location with an array of businesses and services nearby – this is an excellent business meeting venue because the Business Centre boasts eight conference rooms accommodating up to 320 delegates. And you can retire to the Health Club and gym or the sparkling swimming pool for rejuvenation. Visit the Solarium, with a pamper session in the Steam Room, or relax into a one of many massages.
If you choose to stay in the Hotel Cardoso, an admired city hotel in the heart of Maputo with sweeping views of the harbour from its unique cliff top setting, you can sample their specials, great rates for corporate travellers and honeymoon couples alike. Indulge in one of 130 rooms with diverse features including Wi-Fi access, satellite TV, air-conditioning and tea and coffee stations.
If it is a top class four star city hotel you are looking for, head straight for the Pestana Rovuma Hotel with its friendly African vibes and furnishings. Some attractions for businessmen and international travellers include the large swimming pool, sauna, business centre, free car park, bank and pharmacy.
Conference facilities and a gym with steam room suit businessmen who work hard then need to unwind before dinner. There is even a hairdresser, clothing store and communications support centre in the hotel’s own small shopping centre. The 119 rooms and suites all feature air-conditioning, satellite TV and balconies with stunning city or Bay of Maputo outlooks. Situated in the centre of Maputo, the Rovuma is a haven for Portuguese-African decor and food – exceptional and addictive.
An institution in the heart of Maputo, the Polana Serena Hotel has survived years of civil war to remain one of the best Mozambique Hotels in the country. Built in 1922, these majestic buildings have been carefully restored to fill the luxury accommodation field with a colonial air and Portuguese flavour.
Magnificent gardens, inviting swimming pool and tasteful food all work together to enrich your holiday in Maputo. This five star hotel offers 168 elegant rooms, nine executive suites and 9 garden suites, all with en-suite gardens, air-conditioning and elegant decor. Other features include satellite TV, free internet access, mini bar, free newspaper and tea and coffee making facilities.
Work out at the first rate gym, health club and spa; dip into outdoor and indoor swimming pools; walk in lush, tropical gardens; get a new hairstyle at the salon and buy gifts at the curio shop. What more could you want?
The new Radisson Blu Hotel, in the centre of Maputo has stunning views of the Indian Ocean and is conveniently only a few minutes from Maputo International Airport. It is therefore easy to get to and easy to stay in – business delegates come for the high tech conference facilities perfect for large and small groups of serious travellers. Settle into the divisible conference room, a pre-function area and a business centre all with air-conditioning and the latest audio visual technology.
Maputo is humming at the moment and keeps getting better. Maputo is for the serious and the leisure traveller and Maputo is for you. Bring your friends and have a blast in this city where all cultures meet and greet. Enjoy warm Mozambican hospitality and breath-taking scenery. A holiday in paradise, yes? Contact us for more details about great packages and special deals.