Maputo is the bustling capital of Mozambique, and is also the largest city of the island nation. Most people come to Mozambique in search for a grand beach holiday but spending a day or two in Maputo gives you a different yet very interesting perspective of Mozambique.
Located in the southern end of the country, the capital city definitely has its own charms like its waterside landscape, wide tree-lined avenues, Mediterranean and Portuguese-style buildings and a range of hotels and restaurants. While most of Mozambique is all about a laidback relaxing beach life, Maputo boasts a very lively cultural scene, top by an electrifying nightlife.
Some of the best sites to visit in the city are the bustling markets. Here, you will see locals go about their day. A wide variety of items are being sold by women wearing sarongs, locally called capulanas. One of the biggest markets in the city is the Municipal Market found in Baixa district. Here, you can purchase fresh produce, seafood and housewares. And even if you do not intend to buy anything, it is still an excellent place to people-watch, and learn a little bit of the culture.
Maputo has always been an important harbor town mostly due its location, which is only 90 kilometers from South Africa’s border. When it comes to accommodation, the city has a variety ranging from multiple stars hotel as well reasonably priced hostels. If you are an early riser, make your way to Avenida Marginal, where fishermen organize their catch of the day and entice passing customers with the freshest seafood available in the city. And talking about seafood; don’t forget to try out their signature dish – sizzling peri-peri prawns, which is best accompanied by a Laurentina beer. In fact, don’t hesitate to indulge in various seafood dishes, considered some of the best in the East African coast.
One very lively tourist hub in Maputo is the Avenida Julius Nyerere, which is packed with restaurants, shops, video stores and boutiques. The street is also a frequent hang out for the upscale population of the Polana neighborhood. The Railway Station is also one of the most prominent buildings in the city worth exploring. This impressive building is situated on Praca dos Trabalhadores and at its liveliest during Friday and Saturday nights when live musical performances are being conducted.
The museum buff in you will appreciate the collection of paintings in the National Art Museum. Some exhibits feature Mozambican art while the others are the works of the famous artist Malangatana. And if you still crave more museums, drop by the other prominent sites like the Museum of the Revolution and Museum of Natural History. (Museu de História Natural). The Eiffel Tower may be Gustave Eiffel’s most famous work, but his architectural prowess is also showcased in the Casa do Ferro. This former Governor’s house, located in Avenida Samora Marcel, is often called “Iron House” or “Steel House” due to its all-metal design.
If you are looking for great beaches, the sandy stretches of Ponta d’Ouro and Catembe are just within reach. Ponta d’Ouro, in particular, is also a popular diving spot. Spring and fall are the most ideal time to visit Maputo because they have the most ideal climate. The city maintains an airport that receives daily flights from Johannesburg.