Maputo is Mozambique’s fun, chaotic capital, fanning back from the northern shores of the sparkling Maputo Bay. You’ll find Art Deco architecture alongside colonial-era Portuguese homes on Maputo’s downtown grid of jacaranda and acacia-lined avenues.
Not all are well-maintained, and there are certainly potholes here and there, but on the whole, the impression is of a city on the rise.
You’ll find excellent restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and good hotels in Maputo. There’s also a three-hour ferry (or you can fly) to nearby Inhaca Island.
A Mozambique holiday should include Maputo if you’re looking for both a cultural and relaxed experience.
Don’t miss Maputo’s Casa de Ferro (House of Iron), the strange pre-fabricated iron mansion imported from Belgium in 1892.
The Natural History Museum should also be on your list, although more for its wonderfully ornate Manueline gothic building than for the slightly chaotic exhibitions inside.
There are seven major street markets in Maputo selling fresh fish, delicious food, and crafts, but the vast Barracas do Museu night market deserves special mention. Hardly a market at all, it serves nothing but drinks – an absolute must if you’re on the hunt for a vibe!
On the far side of Maputo bay, Ilha de Inhaca is the most accessible island in Mozambique. It’s an utterly beautiful, palm-fringed subtropical paradise and surprisingly crowd-free, considering its proximity to the capital.
Across the channel below Inhaca lies Cape Santa Maria and the Machangulo Peninsula, which connects to the mainland in the south.
Machangulo’s beaches are some of the most immaculate in Mozambique, though they’re hard to reach unless you stay at one of the region’s exclusive Maputo lodges.
- Maputo is a friendly, relatively crime-free city, but take the usual precautions, especially regarding pickpockets.
- By law, you’re required to carry personal identification at all times, so it’s worthwhile bringing a certified copy of your passport and leaving the actual document at your hotel.
- Most larger establishments accept payment by credit card, although mostly Visa over MasterCard (Amex is unheard of).
- Besides walking, the best way to get around the city is by taxi, and if you plan on taking multiple trips, then it’s less expensive to negotiate a day rate in advance.
- A few days on a Maputo holiday in Maputo is a rewarding option for the adventurous. It’s a lively, attractive African city that’s more inviting than overwhelming.