Ports of Call
Maputo Port of Call
Vamizi Island © vamizi.com
The capital of Mozambique since 1898, Maputo may look a little run-down, but the city is full of hidden beauty and unexpected sights and experiences. Most visitors to Maputo arrive via cruise ship and spend their time lazing on the beaches of Inhaca and Portuguese Island, but the city itself is worth exploring.
Visitors fall in love with the relaxed pace of life in Maputo, known as Lourenzo Marques before independence, with its lively markets and street vendors showcasing the emergence of African culture after so many years of Portuguese rule.
Enjoy the wide selection of hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, and take a stroll along the waterfront, where the majestic Polana Hotel has been standing since 1922. Residents are friendly and welcoming, and the streets are safe to walk in, even at night. From the spicy piri-piri prawns offered by numerous restaurants, to the busy markets and pumping nightclubs, the city is working hard to restore some of her former grandeur.
Maputo Port Development Company: www.portmaputo.com
While there isn't much reliable public transport in Mozambique, Maputo is small enough that visitors can get around quite easily on foot. The streets are laid out in a grid, but road signs are few and far between, so a map is a good investment. There are metered taxis available, but they need to be called for.
Maputo has a number of sights to see, including many grand but dilapidated buildings left over from colonial days, the colourful stalls at the Central Market near the waterfront, and the vast seafood market with its freshly-caught squid and barracuda waiting to be fried up on the spot. You can also enjoy a stroll along the promenade, or take advantage of the best nightlife and live music in Mozambique. There aren't any great urban beaches in Maputo, but the sandy beachfront of Catembe is only a ferry ride away.
Mundo's - Sports bar serving pizza, pasta and Portuguese food
Costa do Sol - Seafood restaurant a short taxi ride from town
Zambi - Highly rated Portuguese and seafood restaurant with an outdoor patio
You won't find shopping malls in Maputo, but the city has a few bustling markets with great opportunities to buy souvenirs like jewellery made of shells, seeds and beads; wooden masks and carvings; and brightly-coloured Batik fabric.
Brightly-coloured wax-dyed fabric, hand-carved wooden items, bead jewellery
Drive through a game reserve in Swaziland
Go snorkelling on Portuguese and Inhaca Islands
Take a ferry to Catembe
Visit the Maputo Elephant Reserve